Q: If during your draw phase, the draw pile runs out, can you play a card that requires use of the discard pile before reshuffling it to finish drawing?

A: If you’re asking if you can interrupt the completion of your Draw phase to play a card that requires the discard pile, and the answer would be no. You need to complete your Draw phase before playing anything. In this example, let’s say the draw pile contained two cards, and it was Draw 3. You’d have to draw those two cards, reshuffle the discard pile, and draw your last card. Then, and only then, could you start playing cards from your hand.

If, however, you’d completed your Draw phase, and it ran the draw pile out exactly you should technically not reshuffle the discard pile until someone needs to draw more. So if there were three cards in the draw pile, and it was Draw 3, and you drew three cards, the discard pile should technically be left in place until you, or the next person needs to draw again. In that case there would still be a discard pile for you to use with various card plays on your turn.

Q: Why does Let’s Do That Again say we shouldn’t change the order of the discard pile?

…It seems like it wouldn’t really matter.

A: Actually, this is mostly unnecessary. There used to be a rule where one could take things out of the top three cards, but that card has been replaced in all current versions with this one, which is more liberal. That said, there is a promo card which allows you to take the bottom card off the discard pile, so it would matter if you were playing with the promo card Composting. Hmm.

In EcoFluxx, the Action Scavenger lets you look down through the discard pile and play the first Keeper you find. Anyhow, you could look at the other cards in your deck, and see if this is going to matter for the version you’re playing with. It’s a matter of logic.

Q: Is there a limit or order to drawing off the bottom of the discard pile using Composting?

A: You can choose to take any or all of your Draws from the bottom of the discard pile, and you can do it in any order. You can take one off the draw pile, then one off the bottom of the discard pile, then one off the draw pile, then one off the bottom of the discard pile. Each time you draw, you can choose which place to draw from.

Since you can look through the discard pile at any time (without changing the order) you can look at all the cards near the bottom of the deck, and see if drawing four cards will get you to a specific card you’re looking for. It’s a pretty powerful promo in some ways.

Q: Do you have to complete an Action before it goes on the discard pile, or does it go on the discard pile at the start of the Action?

A: The intention is that you do what it says and THEN put it on the discard pile. While in practice it often happens that you just place the card on the discard pile and do what it says, it’s very important for some Actions that the one you’re using NOT be in the pile, so even it you DO decide to place it there right away, you must understand that, technically, it’s not actually in there until you’re done using the Action.

For example, if you played Draw 3 Play 2, and pulled Let’s Do That Again as one of your three cards, the Draw 3 Play 2 is not technically in the discard pile to be pulled until after you complete those two plays plus discard. Otherwise it would create a loop that would totally break the game.

Andy says, “In an ideal, imaginary world, I’d like the Action you’re using to sort of hover in the air upright before you, slowly rotating for all to see. Then when the Action has been completed, it would gracefully settle itself onto the discard pile.” Obviously, we’re not going to be implementing that technology any time soon, but picturing this might help you to remember how Actions are supposed to work, even if you do decide to shortcut it to the pile for convenience.

Q: Can anyone look through the discard pile at any time?

…or only when they play Let’s Do That Again, which seems to be the only place that allowance is stated.

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Little Answers

A: Anyone may look through the discard pile at any time.

Here is our logic: If you could only look through the discard pile if you had played the card, then you’d never be able to check to see whether there was anything worth playing in there, so you might totally waste what is a potentially great card.

So, let’s say you’re only allowed to look if you’re planning to play it. Then it would only allowed if you had the card in hand, then you’d have to prove it to everyone, by showing it, potentially, which isn’t terribly fair.

In short, it’s just as the card says: “Anyone may look through the discard pile at any time,” and “anyone” means “anyone,” not just the person with the card, and “any time” means “any time,” not just when you play it.

Q: When you play Rewind or Quick Trip, and you look through the pile, can you choose not to play those if there’s nothing you want to play?

or do you have to go ahead with choosing and then playing the card you select?

A: This would ultimately be your call: how lenient do you want to be about letting people take back plays? You should form a house rule about this that everyone is clear on before they start.

But for perspective, this is how we usually rule it:

We have always played that, since anyone may look through the discard pile at any time (as it says on the Rewind card), one should check before playing a Rewind, and not play it if there isn’t something you want there. So we’ve always been lenient if someone played it, checked and realized there wasn’t what they needed, since it’s no skin off anyone’s back that they just looked through the pile after playing the card instead of before. They can retract their play, since looking through the pile is an action that made no difference to the game (except they revealed they have a Rewind, which is only bad for them – the cost of any play retraction “oopsie”).

Looking through the draw pile, however is hidden information, and we’ve always ruled that once you look through that, which you can ONLY do if you play a Quick Trip, then you DO have to choose _something_ and immediately play it. You can’t take back having seen what cards remain in the draw pile – so you can’t take back that play.

Q: In Seven Dragons, can we put the discard pile on top of the Silver Dragon to easily see what color it is?

A: Only if everyone in the group wants to play that way. It should be noted that the designer rejects this House Rule. According to Andy, “Part of the challenge is remembering that the Silver Dragon changes color, and keeping track of that change. Covering the Silver Dragon with the discarded actions is a memory crutch that some people may prefer, but for me it interferes with the aesthetic of the game.”

Q: The Composting promo card says it’s okay to look at the bottom card of the discard pile. If there is a multiple play in effect, can I look at more than one card at a time?

A: Any player may look at the entire discard pile at any time, but the order of what’s in the pile should not be changed. So you can look at as many of those cards as you like, and if you see a card you want that’s, for example, third from the bottom, then (as long as you have at least three draws available on your turn) you can take all those “from the compost pile” to reach it.

In fact, when Composting is in play, some people choose to splay out the bottom of the discard pile to more easily see what’s within drawing range for a turn.

Q: What happens if I play Draw 3 Play 2 with no draw or discard pile? Do I redraw it as part of executing it?

A: You would draw as many as you can and make do with what you have at that point, even if that makes it “Draw 0 Play 2 of them.” If you don’t get your full value for the card because of the situation, maybe it’s not a good idea to play that card at this time.

The important point is that you would not redraw the Action played as one of the cards for the Action. The Action card does not become part of the discard pile until after the Action has been fully resolved. (I find it helpful to imagine that the Action card hovers in the air above the discard pile while the Action is happening, perhaps spinning slowly in space so that it can be seen by all, then gently settling down onto the discard pile afterwards.)

Note that this ruling will also apply to Draw 2 and Use ‘Em (D2UE) and Fizzbin. Neither the original action, nor the cards executed from your temporary hand are in the discard pile until the whole Action is completed.

Q: What happens if both the draw pile and the discard pile run out?

Suppose it’s a Draw 5, Play 1 type of situation and no one plays a Hand Limit or a multiple Play rule. Eventually everyone has a big hand and the draw pile runs out. The discard pile gets reshuffled and reused, but suppose the situation continues until there are no cards left to be drawn. What happens? Do you just skip the draw phase of your turn till your next turn comes up where you can draw enough cards for the ‘draw requirement’? or draw what you can now and proceed to your turn?

A: Draw what you can and continue. In general, if the rules command you to do something impossible, then you just do as much as you can, and move on. If the rule says Play 3 and you only have 2 cards, then you Play 2 and stop. Similarly, if the rule says Draw 4 and there are only 3 cards for you to draw (even after reshuffling) then you draw 3 cards and proceed with the Play phase.

So yes, if the Draw pile and the Discard pile are both empty for someone, you just continue with some people not getting any new cards during their Draw phase. Now, some cards might enter the discard pile during a person’s turn, but they don’t get to immediately Draw those available cards retroactively. You don’t assess whether the discard pile needs to be reshuffled until there is an actual need for someone to Draw. Mind you, you’ll all find yourselves drawing things someone else just played for a while, but you might not choose to use them right away.

In such a situation everyone will be holding massive hands of cards so there should be plenty you can Play, even if you’re not drawing any. At some point someone will play a Hand Limit and suddenly there will be plenty of cards to shuffle again. (This is why every version of Fluxx has Hand Limits.)