Batman Fluxx card game review

There are a lot of great card games out there.  There are also lots of great Batman products out there.  Combining the two seems like a no-brainer, right?

The good folks at Looney Labs have done just that, taking their in-house game Fluxx and, by partnering with our friends at Cryptozoic Entertainment, fusing it with characters from The New Batman Adventures animated series.  The result is Batman Fluxx, an incredibly unique game that doesn’t just rest on the image of a licensed property, but instead takes an already interesting game and adds some fun twists.

If you’ve never played it before, Fluxx is… incredibly random.  Designed for a group of 2-6 players, the idea of the game is simple: you have a hand of cards, and you play each one based on the rules that are laid out.  At the beginning of the game, the only rule is “Draw One, Play One,” so each player does just that: they draw one card from the deck, and play a card in their hand.

The twist is that each card changes the rules of play, so the rules are constantly evolving.  Like I said, it’s random, but you’ll never play the same game twice.

Cards consist of several different types: New Rule, Goal, Keeper, Action, Creeper, and Surprise.  Each type of card has a different purpose: New Rules are, obviously, new gameplay rules, such as changing how many cards are drawn or played each turn.  Goal cards determine how the game is won, typically by saying which combination of Keeper cards a player must have.  Action cards are “one and done” cards, enabling the player to do things like look through the discard pile or obtain a fresh deck.  Keepers are used to win the game and come adorned with Gotham’s heroes and various bits of Bat-tech.  Surprise cards are pretty self-explanatory, allowing the player who has the card to do things that throw a wrench in the gears for other players.

It’s the Creeper cards that are truly unique to this version of the game, and they add a twist to gameplay that affects every player.  The Creepers are each adorned with a different Batman villain and they supersede any existing Goal cards, making it to where the only time players can win is if a goal requires Creepers.  It’s a pretty cool twist that adds a different dimension to the game, as players aren’t just playing against each other but the cards as well.

Looney Labs take good advantage of the Batman license, adorning various cards with some great illustrations from the 1997 animated show.  The cards themselves are very nice, printed on sturdy stock and containing large, clear lettering.  Since the designs are solely from The New Batman Adventures, the characters are those that were “updated” from The Animated Series, including some of the less loved looks.  Joker has the black eyes and white lips, for instance, and Riddler is wearing a unitard instead of his dapper suit.  Still, they cards aren’t cheap and don’t look or feel that way either.  There are a few strange design choices (Batgirl’s boots are black instead of yellow, for instance), but the designs are largely spot-on.  The goals are fun and Batman-centric, too, with names like “I Am the Night!”  or “To the Batpoles!”  The original drawings from Derek Ring fit with the aesthetic as well, and while you can tell they weren’t ripped from the show they’re still consistent with the images that were.

Given the random nature of the game, it’s hard to say just how fun it is because there isn’t one unique gameplay experience.  It’s a fun game for sure, but it’s never the same so enjoyment can vary.  I will say that it’s best enjoyed with more people, since the fast-paced nature of the game allows for more opportunities for players to play different types of Surprise and Action cards.

This is a hard game to describe thanks to its random nature.  It’s not like Monopoly where you can just say “you’re trying to get as much real estate as you can,” or something like Sorry! where you just want to get all of your pieces home.  Each game of Fluxx is different than the last, and the only way to describe the object of the game is to say “do what the cards say.”

Batman Fluxx can be purchased just about anywhere online, and retails for around $15.  It’s a solid price for a well-put together game.  Given the high replay value and easy portability, this game is great to throw in a bag to take on long trips or to a friend’s game night.

Overall: It’s one of those games that’s as great as you make it.  The random rules ensure that you’ll never play the same way twice, and the Batman-related mechanics give the game a nice twist.  It’s an attractive, easily portable card game that may not be something you’ll invest hours and hours in, but it’s certainly a good warm-up for a game night or a “pick up and play” game when you’re trying to kill time.

Thanks to Looney Labs for providing a copy for review.