Looney Labs Fluxx Mailing list Archive

Re: [Fluxx] After Andy's "Draw First" ruling

  • FromJoseph Pate <jpate@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 9 Oct 2007 14:03:53 -0700 (PDT)
Please pass the salt.  :-)

I'm trying to make this my last post on a topic in which I'm very 
interested, but that's not a promise.

My favorite kinds of games are "rules simple, options complex" --
this is why Fluxx is a natural fit for me.  I've already indicated
that I'm in favor of "draw first optional".  Further, as a self-confessed
rules lawyer, I would go 'beyond the pale' and say in the case of 
no-hand bonus, after you draw your 3 cards, you are not obligated 
to draw your other cards until later in your turn.

I don't remember whether I expressed this point or not -- feel free
to e-slap me if I did -- but the way I look at a turn in Fluxx is not
"do the following in this order", but instead, "your turn is done when
you have done the following".  That said, in my opinion, for the rules-
lawyerly, each player should in effect have a "draw pool", e.g. a 
virtual stack of cards from which they may draw at any point during 
their turn, from which they can draw any or all of the cards available
to them.

Certainly cards like Composting make this interesting, especially if
you manage to have a high draw & play count in effect with a small 
discard pile -- it'd be very possible to end up playing the same card
more than once in the same turn.  I've had turns where I played more 
than 20 cards, due to a perfect storm of some Draw 5-Play 1 hand buildup
and judicious use of Play All, Pilfer The Trash, Jackpot, Trade Hands,
Let's Do That Again, Draw 3 Play 2, etc.  You get the idea.  Astoundingly,
I never did get a winning combo in all of that, and IIRC I didn't win
that game.

As for "fair", how about Everybody Gets 1 with Hand Limit 0 in play --
you get to give everyone some wonderful cards which they must discard
immediately.  It doesn't make them happy, but it's certainly fair (they
can Pilfer The Trash next turn and return the favor, if EG1 is close
enough to the top).

All that said, however, I could certainly see Andy changing his mind 
and saying "to reduce frustration among new players and non-rules-lawyers,
I hereby decree that draws are always top priority" (e.g. whenever you
can legally draw a card, you must draw a card).  If that means someone
can foist a Zombie Quartet on you just before you would otherwise win,
so be it.  It's hard to enjoy a brilliant play sequence if everyone 
thinks you're cheating, and still thinks so even after you explain why
it was legal.  By all means, play to maximize fun for everyone.

Geez, long post again.  Sorry everybody!

I really really hope my zombies are waiting for me when I get home...


On 10/9/07, Anthony Kozar <anthonykozar@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: [a whole bunch
of interesting stuff - I'm only going to comment on a few things and will
snip out the rest. I also changed the Subject line to help with threading.
 Your inbox thanks me, I know.]

> Secondly, "play first" breaks "Trade Hands" in my opinion: save that card
> as
> the only card in your hand, and then play it at the beginning of your turn
> before drawing any cards.  It also seems unfair with "Time Vortex".

First, please remember that what I write are my own thoughts and
interpretations and are not meant to be taken in any other way than one
person's whistling in the wind.  Grains of salt will be provided upon

"Unfair" and "Broken" are two different things.  They may feel the same, I
and hear what you're saying, but Fair is not what

Fair is treating all things equally.  As a former teacher, the ONE thing I
heard most often was "that's not FAIR!" when I told Student X they couldn't
do what they wanted.  Well, if Student X is being treated exactly the same
way that Students Y, Z, Q, L and P are all treated, then it's Fair.  Whether
it is Right or Good or anything else is a totally different matter.  Too
many times "That's Not FAIR!" comes out when it's just not the way we want
it to be.  As long as the ruling that Andy made is the same for all
circumstances, then it's fair.  Remember, Andy's ruling was that you MAY
play first.  Specifically, Andy said "drawing first is not required."  With
that wording, it is totally FAIR.

Broken means the cards don't work any more.  Here's an example of why I
don't think Andy's ruling Breaks the game:

What if I had no cards in my hand at the beginning of the turn?  Say the
current Rules are "Draw 1, Play (anything more than 1)"  Is it fair to
play this card if it's either Trade Hands or Time Vortex?  Sure.  Will my
opponents cringe?  Sure. I may even have gleefully evil chuckles.  Does that
mean that either card is broken because of the circumstances of me having no
cards in my hand at the beginning of my turn?  Nope.

Now, take that same scenario, but with one change.  I have 1 card in my hand
(either Trade Hands or Time Vortex... either one will do for this example).
 I choose not to draw.  My opponents will cringe and I will likely chuckle
gleefully as I play the card, but it really is no different than the above
scenario.  Remember: the cards have no memory - they won't know if I've
drawn or not.  The only thing is that we've all gotten used to the "draw
first" standard.  I don't think it's caused any cards to become Broken...
whether or not it's Fair is a different thing.

I also think that "No-Hand Bonus" becomes problematic with "play first".  Do
> you have to draw the 3 cards before playing any if your hand is empty?  In
> my opinion, "No-Hand Bonus"'s text definitely implies that "observing the
> current draw rule" is the first thing you do "at the start of your turn".

There's no problem with the "No Hand Bonus" when mixed with the "Play First"
option. If you have cards in your hand, the No Hand Bonus doesn't affect
you.  Nor does it say that you must Draw your cards at the beginning of your
turn. It simply says you must "draw a new hand of 3 cards before observing
the current Draw rule."   If you don't have any cards in your hand... well,
then you can't continue your turn until you Draw cards.  You can't play what
you don't have.

Now the true Rules Lawyers in this group will say something to the effect of
"it doesn't say you must observe the current Draw rule immediately after
drawing your hand of 3 cards" but to me, that's going way beyond the pale.
 Argue it if you want... for me, I follow the wording on one card before I
go onto the next card: remember... the cards have no memory.  Finish one,
then move on.


 I don't have a copy of "Zombie Quartet" to look at
> yet,

Zombie Quartet: when it's killed, it doesn't go in the discard pile - it
goes to the top of the Draw pile - and there's lots of ways to kill
Zombies.... heh heh....

but I imagine that if another player can strategically get it onto the
> top of the deck so that you will draw it, you should not be able to simply
> "ignore" your draw and win.

I understand what you're saying - but that's part of where Fluxx can be played
a bit strategically.  Which, in my opinion (more grains of salt being passed
as needed) it part of what is making Zombie Fluxx a better game.  Less chaos
(dependent pretty much on what you draw) and more strategy (hey, my brain IS
worth something in this game!!  And as more than just Zombie food!!) is, for
me, a good thing.

Further, I think "play first" allows players to skirt around the intentional
> chaos of cards like "Final Card Random" and "First Card Random".

Is "Final Card Random" Broken or Unfair when it's Draw 3, Play 3, Hand Limit
0?  I draw 3 cards... I play two of them.... here, you choose which I should
play for my final card, will you please?  I can think of lots of ways to
skirt intentional chaos - that's part of my strategic playing of Fluxx.

> One last troubling issue with "play first" is this: when you do choose to
> draw, do you have to draw all of the cards that your are required to by
> the
> current draw rule or can you draw only as many as you like, then play more
> cards (if allowed) before finishing drawing?  It just seems simpler to
> stipulate "must draw first".

Granted, this seems picky, but I understand what you're saying.  I think
this part is quite obvious - but then again, you thought the "you should
draw first" was obvious.  And I do know plenty of Rules Lawyers who would go
to town on this part of the rule.

However, that being said... I'm not sure how much it would really matter.  I
would have to play around with this one and see if it makes much of a

Final thoughts from my point of view: while you're shuffling the deck, make
sure that everyone is in agreement with whatever ground rules and house
rules you play with.  That should be enough for everyone.

Anyone else need the salt shaker?

I know that I can "play however I want" and that I cannot "force anyone else
> to play the way that I think is correct", but I wanted to point out that I
> think there are a number of issues that allowing "play first" makes MORE
> confusing or less fun (IMHO).  I _do_ play Fluxx first and foremost to
> have
> fun, just like the rest of you.
> Anthony Kozar
> anthonykozar AT sbcglobal DOT net
> http://anthonykozar.net/
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