If you told me a week ago that I would not only enjoy, but recommend a multiplayer version of the card game Speed, I would call you crazy. In fact, I’d probably say you’re out of your damn mind. And yet here I am, slapping down pictures of spaceships and monkeys as fast as I can, my eyes full of manic glee. It’s madness; no, it’s in fact Loonacy.
Designed by Andy and Kristen Looney of Looney Labs, Loonacy is essentially an ode to the card game that defined the publisher for years, the mega-popular Fluxx. And while I’ve enjoyed a fair number of Fluxx over the years, it’s a game that I burned out on relatively quickly. It’s hard to get particularly invested in a card game that can last anywhere between one turn and 45 minutes. I was worried that Loonacy would fall into a similar trap of randomness that became another exercise in patience.
Utilizing art from the various incarnations of Fluxx, including Monty Python Fluxx, Star Fluxx, and Eco Fluxx among others, the object of Loonacy is very simple. 2-5 players are dealt a hand of seven cards, and each of the 100 cards features two distinct images. Depending on the number of players, starting cards are placed face-up in the middle of the table and in real-time, players attempt to empty their hands by playing a card with at least one matching picture. If the table deck shows a cookie, you can play any card with a cookie on it. And if no one is able to make any plays, each player draws a single card and adds it to their hand at the same time, allowing gameplay to continue. The winner is the first player to completely deplete their hand of cards.
And that’s it. Loonacy is that simple. So what makes it better than something like Spot It! or even the classic Speed?
Oddly, the entertainment in Loonacy doesn’t come from the playing of cards, but rather when everyone runs out of options and has to draw. This creates an exciting rollercoaster of rapid card plays around the table, followed by an abrupt stop and escalating tension. Will you or your opponent draw a monkey card and continue play? It creates a level of excitement that is rare in most card games, as you desperately attempt to throw in one of your cards during a sudden waterfall of plays around the table. And the hilarity of going half a dozen or more draws without a single playable card from anyone is tough to match as well.
The game plays well with any number of players, with more stacks to slap cards down in smaller sessions and only one to utilize with five players. Loonacy is certainly wild with just two players, but the craziness of five different hands trying to play on a single stack is an entirely different but equally entertaining beast.
Loonacy isn’t going to be a game that you play for hours. After a single game or two, you’ll likely want to move on to something less exhausting, but that’s okay. As a light, quick, portable, and inexpensive card game that scales well with different size groups, Loonacy becomes an easy recommendation for those that enjoy a little chaos and insanity at the gaming table once in awhile.