Doctor Who Fluxx
Let’s get this out of the way up front: One of us watched more Doctor Who than the other one. It’s not that much more, though — Isaac is only ahead of me by, oh, three Doctors and six seasons. (Hmm… I guess it’s a bigger “more” than I thought.)
Our Doctor Who experience began with the show’s 2005 revival. I’m stalled near the end of season 4, but Isaac continued through season 10. His favorite is the eleventh Doctor; mine is the ninth.
Shifting to the world of Fluxx from Looney Labs, we’re roughly even. We both played several versions of the game, ranging from basic Fluxx to Pirate and Firefly Fluxx. At least five versions of the game live somewhere around the house. (Oops… make that six versions; Holiday Fluxx was hiding behind some ornaments.)
Putting our varied experience together brings us to today’s review: Doctor Who Fluxx, one of the most recent additions to the Fluxx line.
Let’s look at the top five things you need to know about the game before we all run out of time.
You probably know the basics
If you played Fluxx in any recent edition, then you can guess what’s ahead with Doctor Who Fluxx. The basic game play stays the same. The theme comes out mainly in the Keeper and Creeper cards (more about those below).
If you never played Fluxx but you love Doctor Who, then you’ll be fine. Designer Andrew Looney kept the basic game mechanics simple, plus he put instructions on pretty much every card. If you prefer someone showing you the game, nip over to the Looney Labs channel on YouTube for several instruction videos.
New icons, renamed cards
Most of the themed Fluxx decks introduced cards with icons unique to that version. Pirate Fluxx, for instance, uses “ship” and “booty” icons because it’s a pirate thing.
Doctor Who Fluxx uses two very appropriate themed icons: The Doctor and Companion. These icons mark the two main kinds of Keeper cards in the game to make it more accessible to fans and pre-Whovians alike.
They also gave themed names like “Time Vortex,” “Psychic Paper,” and “Run!!” to some of the classic action cards. The game includes a rule unique to the problems of a time traveler, “The Blinovitch Limitation Effect,” which forces players to discard all but the highest numbered Doctor. These and the other renamed cards set the stage nicely for a Doctor Who-themed game experience.
Speaking of the Doctors and their Companions, the game features Keeper cards with all of the doctors from the first to twelfth, plus a clever “Future Doctor” card which always counts as the highest numbered Doctor.
All of the Companions you know and love (or love to hate) made the deck, too. K-9, Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, River Song, and all of the others are ready to help The Doctor set the universe right again.
You’ll also find The Doctor’s classic enemies as Creeper cards, including Weeping Angels, The Master, Cybermen, and plenty of Daleks.
From a fan’s perspective
Doctor Who Fluxx offers a ton of inside jokes and references, just like the other licensed versions of the game did before. It delivers many of these jolts of awesomeness in its themed card titles. (“The Pandorica Has Been Opened” is one of our favorites.)
We laughed throughout the game at the strange combinations of companions, Doctors, and enemies that appeared together in play, like a holiday special gone wrong. If you’re a fan, get ready to pop off your favorite quotes and follow-up lines as you play.
From a Gamer’s perspective
For all of its weirdness, Fluxx sticks around and keeps growing because it’s just fun to play. What else can you say about a game that starts with only two rules (draw a card, play a card) and offers no way to win?
Ever since the themed versions appeared on the market, we find ourselves gravitating to them rather than the base game. After all, when you can enjoy Fluxx with your favorite Doctor Who or Firefly characters, why play without them?
If you love Fluxx, feel passionate about Doctor Who, or know someone who fits into either of those camps, then Doctor Who Fluxx is an easy “buy” recommendation. The game play works just like it always does, but spiced with some well-designed flourishes made for TARDIS lovers everywhere.
As with all Fluxx games, you can mix and match cards from various decks if you feel like tinkering with game play. For a bit of true irony, toss in the Time Limit Meta Rule from Martian Fluxx. There’s just something inherently funny about a Doctor with a time limit.
Have fun flying your big blue box. Whatever you do, don’t blink and don’t get yourself exterminated. Allons-y!