My eldest son has gotten quite good at games. At four years he was continually kicking my ass at Crazy Eights and Uno. At five and six, he demolished me at Dragonwood and Monopoly. And now, at seven, he is destroying me at even more complicated and esoteric games.
Friends, I bring you Batman Fluxx or: How I Learned to Stop Trying to Lose Because I No Longer Needed to Try.
Most parents (I assume) can relate to the desire to lose intentionally every once and a while to stem the inevitable “flip-the-table-breakdown.” At my household, this is a near-daily occurrence, to the point that some games are now permanently banned (Old Maid, I am looking at you and your perfectly-done-up-bun).
In general, I am not one to care much for winning or losing. I very much enjoy playing games for the interactions and laughs (see my last post). And, no, this is not a cop-out for simply being terrible at games. I quit baseball after 10+ years just before Freshman year of high school because I didn’t want a possible strikeout to send my teammates into a rage. This probably explains why I turned to baseball card collecting…
Unfortunately, my 7yo was born from tougher stock. He wants to win and he wants it bad. Enter Batman Fluxx.
How it’s played
Batman Fluxx might be the easiest game to learn and the hardest game to formulate a winning strategy (which explains why my brother-in-law hated it so much).
Note: Batman Fluxx is solely a “skin” in the Fluxx franchise, which has dozens (if not more) varieties.
To begin, each player is dealt three cards from the deck. From there, the game has only one rule to start: Each turn, you draw a card and play a card. One, single, card. Cards you play can be one of five types:
- New rules that augment or overlay the old (draw two cards each turn, a new hand limit, etc.)
- Keepers. Cards that you play in front of you and that remain there until removed. In the Batman version of Fluxx, these are either heroes (Batman, Batgirl, Robin, etc.) items (Batarang, Bat computer, Bat cuffs), or locations (The Bat Cave, Gotham Bank, Wayne Manor). These cards can have effects on them (such as allowing you to remove creepers — see below) or drawing more cards. They are also the cards you need to win (see “Goals”).
- Creepers. These are always villains (Joker, Bane, Harley Quinn). These cards prevent anyone from winning the game (unless the Goal requires a villain or you have a card that contradicts this rule).
- Goals: These cards are what define the game’s end condition: You might need to control both Batman and Robin, or Bruce Wayne and Wayne Manor, or up-to-four villains. The moment you fulfill that condition, it’s game over.
- Actions: These cards allow you to steal Keepers and Creepers from your opponent, remove rules from the game, draw extra cards, and pull out cards from the discard pile.
Generally speaking, any card on the table supersedes any rules in the book. So if you are confused, you go with the cards on the table.
Why this game was great for my 7yo
There are several reasons why this game is lovely to play with a kiddo:
- Each turn is simple and doesn’t generally involve too much decision-making.
- You get to play cards like Batman, Robin, Joker, and Bane. What kid would not love this?
- There is a card in the game that let’s you draw an extra card for wearing Batman gear (my 7yo looked down at his shirt and had the biggest smile on his face when he drew this card)
- There is a good deal of reading on the cards, which is great learning
- It requires an amount of planning and management that is great for kids: Each turn you need to know what rules are on the table, which ones you might want to change, how many turns it might take you to achieve the goal on the table (or when would be the best time to play the goal in your hand)
- It can be quick! Games went from as fast as five minutes to twenty
- Losing doesn’t hurt as much, since you can quickly reshuffle and play again!
I have a few friends who I know would hate this game. It’s a tough game to really strategize around – every turn can change your objective and ruin your plans. But that, my friends, is what makes this game so much fun to play for someone who plays games for the sheer enjoyment of the game and not just to win.
The Batman skin on this game is enjoyable and the theme works well. There’s an Arkham Asylum card that grabs all the villains on the table, there are batcuffs and batarangs, and more villains than you can count on two hands.
And, especially playing with a child who has a hard time losing – the end of each game always comes on fast and ridiculous, and like tearing off a band-aid you just pile up the cards and shuffle again…