Looney Labs, the creators of the wacky card game Fluxx, wants to mix things up a bit. In Loonacy, there’s basically one simple rule that doesn’t ever change, but everyone plays at once. The game is quick and simple, and so’s this review!
At a glance: Loonacy is for 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, and takes about 10 minutes to play. Retail price is $15. I think kids as young as 5 may be able to play, but because of the speed element they may have some trouble holding a lot of cards in their hands at once and may be at a disadvantage.
There are 100 cards, each with two images on them (and smaller icons in the corners). The artwork is from the various flavors of Fluxx and will be familiar to anyone who has played those before. Card quality is okay—when the cards are new they tend to clump a little when you’re trying to shuffle, and it’s really important to shuffle thoroughly. The whole thing comes in a two-piece box which is fairly compact.
How to playThe goal is to get rid of all your cards first.Shuffle and deal 7 cards to each player. Then turn over a number of cards to form 1 to 4 discard piles—the more players, the fewer discard piles you have.There are no turns—everyone plays simultaneously. You can play a card from your hand onto any discard pile as long as a picture on your card matches a picture on that discard pile. You have to play one card at a time—no dropping stacks at a time—and you have to use the same hand.If you decide you have nothing to play (either because you can’t or because you choose not to), then you hold your hand out toward the draw pile. Once everyone has their hands out, everyone draws a card (without looking), and then everyone gets to look and start playing again at the same time.If the draw pile runs out, pause and reshuffle. You can start completely new discard piles, or keep the top card of each and reshuffle the rest.The game ends when somebody runs out of cards, and they win!
The VerdictLike other Looney Labs games, Loonacy is kind of crazy and good for a quick play between heavier games. It’s actually even faster to teach than Fluxx, because there aren’t different types of cards to explain and the rules never change. The one thing you may have to remind people is not to look at their new cards immediately when they draw, because you need to give everyone a chance to draw cards first.When the game is hopping, it’s a lot of fun—cards go flying and everyone’s racing to get their cards in before somebody covers up the picture they need. It reminds me a little bit of Spot It, except that you can tell immediately if your card matches or not. The downside is that not all cards match—and at times everyone might end up drawing multiple times in a row with no cards being played at all. The slowdowns don’t happen every time you play, but when they do it’s kind of disappointing. I’ve had one game end with only one draw, and one where we drew five or six in a row with no matches.For those looking for deeper strategic choices, Loonacy won’t be quite as satisfying. However, if you’re a fan of other Looney Labs games, you’ll probably enjoy Loonacy as well—the play time isn’t always consistent but it’s generally pretty short, and it’s a riot when things are going well. It’s fun to see a bunch of the Fluxx artwork mixed up in one game, and it’s a quick, compact game.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.