The first time somebody suggested we play Aquarius I was ready to run. I hate Fluxx. So much down time, SO much chaos, and way too much reading of cards you'll never even get to play. It's really just an exercise in frustration for me. Not even fun themes like zombies or Monty Python can salvage that game. Being the good guy I am, I decided to humor my friend and I'm glad I did because Aquarius is different. So is Aquarius groovy or a square?|
Everyone gets a goal card. You're trying to connect 7 consecutive cards with that symbol on it which must all be connected. You can play cards to mess with the board or other players. You can even switch goals which is great.
Simple, simple, simple. You can read the rules here. Go ahead, we'll wait. It won't take long anyway. Nice and straightforward with plenty of illustrations. I love that it's clean and easy to read.
Final Score: 5 out of 5
You get a lovely box, a rule sheet, and either 60 or 79 cards depending on if you've got the first edition or the second. It's the same game, but the second edition adds in some more action cards which allow for more screwage plus a new card which is split diagonally instead of just orthogonally. The cards are of a good stock with a nice semi-gloss finish. They shuffle well and are pretty sturdy.
My absolute favorite thing about Aquarius is the artwork. It's loud and colorful. I love the bold color choices because it really makes the cards pop, especially against the black border. This is part of what made me like this game so much. It's just a really happy looking design and it conveys the hippie imagery. The artwork is simple, but it's really eye-catching and that helps make this game fun.
Final Score: 5 out of 5
Easy to teach - You want to talk about a good gateway game? This is a winner. You can teach this game to anyone in about 5 minutes. The rules are so straightforward that anyone could play in no time. This also makes the game work well for kids because there's no overhead and it looks great.
Easy to play - You do two things on your turn, play a card and then draw. There's no text on most of the cards and the action cards just have 2 words. That couldn't be much easier. This makes for fast turns and very little downtime. You could play this game while having a full conversation and you'd notice very little slowdown.
Light decisions - Make no mistake, this is a very light game, but you still have some choices. Do you go for the gusto and make your intentions obvious or do you try to be sneaky and worm your way to victory. Do you zap someone's card and drop yours in that space? Who should you trade goals with? All of those little decisions give you something to think about and add a little spice to the game. Of course, you don't want to make yourself a target....
Screwage - There's the chance for lots of screwage in this game, especially in the form of the Trade Goals and Shuffle Goals cards. Those cards either allow you to trade goals with another player or take all the goals, shuffle them, and redeal them. That creates havoc! Add to that the Zap and Move cards which alter the cards already on the table and you've got lots of chances to mess with each other.
It's all about the company - Aquarius is a game of having fun and enjoying the ride. I firmly believe your enjoyment of this game will be based on who you play with. If you play with fun-murderers then the game will be boring. Play with someone who doesn't get the chaotic nature or backstabbery and you could end up with hurt feelings. Like every other game, bad players can ruin the experience.
Length of games - This is both a positive and a negative. The game is generally pretty short which means there's not always a lot of time to develop your position. On the other hand, if you lose quickly you can just start again.
Luck of the draw - It's a card game, sometimes things just don't go your way. The good news is you'll be able to try again soon.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Compare it to...
Obviously it compares to Fluxx and I think it's better in every way:
1. WAY less downtime
2. Still chaotic, but more manageable than Fluxx. You actually can almost plan things in Aquarius.
3. Card text is almost non-existant which speeds up play significantly.
The only con against Fluxx is the lack of expansions and options.
Aquarius scores an 18 out of 20 possible points. It does what it sets out to do really well and that's provide a colorfully chaotic card game. If you want to like Fluxx but just can't, this might be a good choice for you.
Aquarius is a great game if you're looking for a very short filler or a game you can play many times in a row. It's quick and simple, but not completely brainless and it's got some great ways to mess with your fellow players which is something I enjoy. I love the art on the cards and the overall presentation. It's hard to beat this one for $10.
Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:39 pm
I saw the word Fluxx in the title and started to hyperventilate.
Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:59 am
|This WAS our gateway game! It is so much fun!|
Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:00 am
I enjoy Fluxx, but I like Aquarius a lot, especially as a 2 player game. Great review!|
Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:09 am
|www.theboardgamereviewer.com. I just started last Tuesday so there's only one review up there so far, but I'll be doing at least 1 a week going forward.Thanks so much for the compliments. If you guys like my reviews, please come visit my new website,|
Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:43 pm
|My granddaughter, who is 5, really enjoys Aquarius. It's perfect for teaching children, and has excellent suggestions in the rules for how to simplify the game initially, then add in more elements as the child gains experience.|
Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:34 pm
I play with my 5 year old daughter, we've worked our way up to using all the normal rules, except she wins when she gets her age, instead of 7. It means she wins about 75% of games, but I think the confidence boost is good for her and she's 6 soon.|
+ it actually means I don't need to pull any blows playing against her!
Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:20 pm