Looney Labs Fluxx Mailing list Archive

Re: [Fluxx] Eaten by Zero Zombies?

  • FromFillard Rhyne <fillard@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 28 Mar 2008 10:20:29 -0800
>  This shows the difficulty of writing game rules.


Several years ago, I was reading the Fluxx rules pamphlet (version 2.0) in preparation for my first-ever game. I remember being impressed by the pamphlet's clarity and organization, but one sentence leapt out at me as completely unnecessary: "A discard is not the same as a play in FLUXX." Well, duh!

Then I actually played the game, with three of my family members (who also hadn't played before). Everything was going smoothly until one of the other players, when required to play a card, chose to discard instead. I pointed out that the current rules specifically said to _play_ however many cards it was... and immediately found the other three players joined against me, saying that of course it was all right to discard instead of play. After recovering from (culture) shock, I remembered the sentence that had seemed so out of place in the pamphlet. I read it out loud, and that resolved the issue.

There are all sorts of observations I could make about this and about similar experiences I've had over the years, but I'll confine myself to the topic: Playing a game is a cultural experience (like everything else in life), and one part of a culture is how you deal with the rules. ("Well, of _course_ I downloaded the errata and FAQ from the designer's web site!") Even if a group of players or a group of writers agrees that the rules will be completely literal, the written words can still mean different things to different people. Nothing is so clear that it can't be misunderstood.

P.S. Some friends got me EcoFluxx for Christmas last year, and I noticed (with some amusement) that the pamphlet has an entire paragraph on (not) discarding!

503-777-MATH (6284)

A hundred years ago -- June 1, 1908 -- the voters of Oregon amended the state constitution to allow Instant Runoff Voting in public elections. The provision has never been used.