Card Matching Frenzy: A Review of Loonacy

Loonacy

Lunacy (lo̅o̅′nə-sē) Insanity, especially insanity relieved intermittently by periods of clear-mindedness.

Loonacy is a new card game for 2 to 5 players by Looney Labs (the creators of Fluxx) that gives players a chance to experience lunacy in the form of a quick and competitive speed game. If you're able to survive the madness and get rid of your cards first, you will be declared the winner.

Gameplay

The concept of Loonacy is simple. Each player is dealt a hand of 7 cards, each of which contains 2 distinct images. A certain number of discard piles is formed based on the number of players in the game. Players then simultaneously try to get rid of their cards by playing them on a card that contains at least one matching image. The first player to get rid of all of his cards wins.

If no one is able to play, all players simultaneously draw a card to add to their hand, then continue playing. A player may choose to hold onto rather than play a matching card for strategic reasons — for instance, if he wants to keep it to assist him with discarding a larger group of cards later on.

Loonacy components

Review

Loonacy is Looney Labs' answer to speed matching games like Spot It! and Blink, both of which are very popular mainstream titles, but with a few key differences. First, Loonacy includes many discard piles (up to 4 with 2 players). Second, it allows a much larger hand of cards, allowing players to strategize a bit in the order in which their cards are discarded. Third, it seems designed to pause at regular intervals to allow players to catch their breath and revisit their strategy. This is partially due to a wide variety of images but also a side-effect of making cards optional to play. Spot It! and Blink both play through with minimal interruptions, while over many plays we are yet to see a game of Loonacy not include at least 4-5 pauses.

This game is very accessible, as the rules are almost self-explanatory — no need to go over a long rulebook or maintain the attention span of your group for 30 minutes explaining rules. The gameplay works well and the game is quite enjoyable, especially with more players, as the game gets even more frantic. The title of the game is very good, as the definition of "lunacy" describes the emotions of gameplay almost exactly.

The components and artwork in this compact game are good, but there will likely be casualties over many plays, as cards tend to get scrunched and bent when players try to discard a card at the same time. It's really no surprise here, and just comes with the territory for this type of game.

In all, Lunacy is a very enjoyable speed game that is extremely easy to learn. It adds just a little bit of quick strategizing that other speed games don't, which is good — but ultimately, quick reflexes and the luck of the draw are the major factors in gaining the victory in this 5-minute game.

Pros:  Fun and easy to learn speed game with light strategy; compact and easy to take along

Cons: Cards can get bent easily

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.