Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Was Eco Fluxx the shape of things to come?

It’s been a while since I’ve bought a version of Fluxx. Since I have at least six different versions, I already have more than enough ways of playing Fluxx, barring special occasions. However, in a couple years, I know I’ll hopefully be buying some more versions of Fluxx, the educational ones.

Out there, threatening to combine education and entertainment and chaos are Math Fluxx, Chemistry Fluxx and Anatomy Fluxx. If our now-in-Kindergarten son shows the slightest interest in Fluxx when he’s older, I am so getting them. In particular, I am quite curious about Math Fluxx since the Fluxx format seems ripe for fooling around with arithmetic.

However, a good twelve years before any of those games came out, Looney Labs put out what was a precursor for the other educational versions of Fluxx, Eco Fluxx. Which is now known as Nature Fluxx. And I feel like I should revisit it.

I have the original 2005 version. As I understand it, there was a second edition of Eco Fluxx which became Nature Fluxx that added more cards, including creepers which hadn’t been released when the original version came out. Which sounds really cool but I have the original version so that’s the one I’m going to try and get back on the table.

At the time, one of the defining traits of Fluxx was the retro art. While I will argue that Fluxx isn’t about funny cards but funny processes, that art gave the game a definite feel. Eco Fluxx broke away from with more realistic art of plants and animals. And that realistic art of Eco Fluxx gave a more serious feel.

And the goals also reflected that more serious tone, using food chains and weather and other natural processes to provide examples of nature at work, albeit in a very simple way.

And you know what? The game still worked. It had a different mood and the few times I played it were more serious but it was still a good experience. 

I expect that if and when I try the later educational Fluxx games, I’ll find them a bit more educational and focused. However, looking back, Eco Fluxx showed that the format could do more that just be goofy (but fun) pop art.

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