CS 377G Assignment 2: Fluxx Critical Play

Fluxx is a card game in which the rules constantly change as cards are played. I played Fluxx with three other friends online, using the website Board Game Arena, while video calling on Discord.


Fluxx can be played with 2-6 players. The players interact in multilateral competition, and all players hold the same role. The invitation to play was performed through the Board Game Arena website. To play, we had to send each other a friend request on the website. One player had to set up a game and invite the other players, and the rest had to accept the invitation to start the game. 


The objective of the game was alignment: players had to play the Keeper cards specified by the Goal cards in play. The actual objective was constantly changing, as players put new Goal cards into play. 


The starting action was to distribute three cards to each player. These cards may be a Keeper, Goal, Action, or Rule card. Keeper cards display an object. The Goal cards contain a list of Keeper cards that must be played to win. The Action cards contain a special action. Rule cards introduce new rules to the game.

To progress the game, on each turn players draw the specified number of cards and then play the specified number of cards. By default, players draw one card and play one card, but these numbers change when Rule cards are played. When players put Action cards into play, players may be required to take special actions at the end of their turn. The resolving action is to play all of the Keeper cards specified by the Goal card currently in play. 


The Rule cards and Action cards restrict the players’ actions, such as by specifying the number of cards to play and draw. Some action cards have effects, such as redistributing players’ cards. Goal cards also change effects by specifying the winning condition. The Keeper cards define the objects the players have available. 


The resources available to the players are the cards they have in their hand. The Keeper cards are similar to currency: by holding the necessary Keeper cards, players are closer to winning. Some of the action or rule cards act as power ups, by giving positive effects to the player or negative effects to other players. The Action cards give special actions to the player. 


The conflict is between the players. They must compete against each other, using Action and Rule cards to limit other players’ actions, or changing the Goal cards to make it harder for some players to reach the goal. 


The boundaries of the game are within the card game. The rules do not apply to real life. Specifically on the website Board Game Arena, the game is restricted to the website. 


There can only be one winner, when one player has all the Keeper cards specified by the Goal card. Because there are no duplicate Keeper cards (I think), there can only be one winner, with no draws.


This game was pretty chaotic because the rules kept changing. If we weren’t playing on Board Game Arena, I probably would have been pretty confused without the computer telling me what was allowed on my turn. Because we were all fairly confused, sometimes one of us would win by accident without realizing why. 

I thought that some of the rule cards were too restrictive, which gave us less choice. I felt like I was doing things because I had to, not because I had any sort of strategy. For example, at one point, we had to draw one card and play all cards. Because of that, we only drew one card at a time and played one card at a time, and we never had anything in our hand. The game progressed incredibly slowly until someone finally drew a new rule card. We couldn’t make any decisions, only wait until the rules changed. Sometimes this effect was quite funny, such as when we had to draw six cards and play all cards. The state of the game was rapidly changing, which was very funny, but also made it hard to understand who was winning. As a result, I think this game’s fun has a very strong social component, but not much strategy. We just played cards without thinking and then laughed at the results. 

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