Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Sampling of Games from Looney Labs

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

The Histocrats support the idea of incorporating board-games into your personal life, as well as in the classroom.  As such, we are constantly on the lookout for games that we can play for fun, but also have academic merit.  Recently, I was able to play five different Looney Lab games with my family, gaming group and students.  Two of the games in particular, Chrononauts and Early American Chrononauts are quick and easy card games that could easily be incorporated into the history classroom. 

While Monty Python Fluxx may not be fit for the classroom, it is great fun for any history teacher or anyone who enjoys watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  When I played the game with my family, it was rather astounding how much of the film my daughter and husband were able to quote.  Plus, I enjoyed driving them crazy with my “speak with an outrageous accent” card.  This game was also quite the hit with our local gaming group. So much so, that one member brought a copy of the movie to play in the background. 

Loonacy is a really quick matching game.  This game could easily be played on the elementary level but any age group would enjoy it.  My husband and I played several games in a row and never tired of it.  This game too was a great hit with the gaming group.  Games for two, three and five players were played.  The game is most fun when more people play.  The need to put down a card quick and being beaten to the punch by other players leads to the chaos/fun that the game is meant to achieve.  Further, I have yet to see anyone tire of the game, it is just so simple and fun.

I had seen Star Fluxx when featured on Wil Wheaton’s TableTop Geek and Sundry show.  This too is a fun game.  It plays like other Fluxx games but has a Science/Science-Fiction theme.  It could be adapted to the science classroom in order to introduce certain elements to students.  It would be fun to have students play a game and then ask which card elements would be possible.  In other words, the game could be used as a preview for an upcoming unit of study. 

Each of these games is quick, easy and great fun to play.  Once you learn to play one game of Fluxx, basically you can play any variation.  I highly recommend giving each of them a play!   

Below are product descriptions for each of the games from the manufacturer Looney Labs.

Chrononauts
What would YOU do with a Time Machine? Would you stop the sinking of the Titanic? Prevent the assassination of JFK? Kill Hitler before WWII? These are just a few of the possibilities in Chrononauts, the award-winning card game of time travel. To win, you must change history at key points called Linchpins, so that history transforms into the Alternate Reality your character calls home. You can also win by collecting a specific set of Artifacts, such as a live dinosaur, the Mona Lisa, and an unpublished Shakespearean play. But be careful - if you create too many paradoxes, you could destroy the entire universe!

Early American Chrononauts
Win by changing the timeline to fit your alternate history goal, by collecting Artifacts, or by diligently patching the timeline. The TimeLine begins just before the American Revolution in 1770 and continues through the Civil War, stopping at 1916.  Players travel through time to change linchpin events, patch paradoxes, and collect artifacts. This is a stand-alone game, but Early American Chrononauts’ TimeLine can fit together with the Chrononauts TimeLine to combine the two games into one huge game.

Loonacy
Loonacy is a rapid fire game where players race to be the first to empty their hand of 7 cards by matching one of two images with the images on the open piles in front of them. Speed of the hand and luck of the draw determine the winner in this frenzied free-for-all!.

Star Fluxx
Just when you thought that Fluxx had gone as far as it could go it blasts off for the Stars! Explore the vastness of space-themed humor with your valiant Captain, Engineer, and, of course, your Expendable Crewman. Go check out that Small Moon or is it really a Space Station? You may be swayed by Unseen Forces, held hostage by Evil Computers, or find your ship infested with Cute Fuzzy Aliens. Beware the unexpected as Star Fluxx takes you straight into a Wormhole of hilarity. You will find yourself wanting to play again and again watch out. It is A Trap.

Monty Python Fluxx
Monty Python Fluxx includes singing, fake accents, reciting Python dialog for extra cards, and pretty much everything else. Loosely based on concepts from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there are guest appearances from King Arthur and all of his Knights, coconuts, a shrubbery, an unladen swallow, a trojan rabbit, a catapult, an airborne cow, the Holy Hand Grenade, and the Finger of God, as well as such Python classics as the giant foot, the nude organist, a resting parrot, and the Spanish Inquisition - which, of course everyone was expecting.

For more information:
Looney Labs
Geek & Sundry's TableTop Star Fluxx Episode




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