Q: Some New Rule cards say “Takes instant effect.” Don’t all New Rules take instant effect? Does that mean that they can be played as soon as drawn?

A: No, it doesn’t mean they can be played as soon as drawn. You are absolutely right. All New Rules take instant effect.

The way this phrase came to be on only some New Rule cards is this: some other rules have helpful little subtitles about what sorts of Rules they replace, or a reminder that they’re Free Actions, and we wanted to have something consistent in that location on the layout so that all New Rules would have a similar feel. So we picked that “Takes instant effect,” although it doesn’t really mean anything more than what is true for all rules, as you’ve pointed out.

So it’s a little silly, but we hope at least that explanation makes it make more sense!

Q: If someone tries to steal the Batcave from me on their turn, and I use a Surprise to stop them, will my Surprise work?

A: The question here is, when your opponent played the Steal a Keeper Action, would they immediately gain possession of the Batcave, thereby protecting them from being Surprised? Or would the Surprise successfully prevent Steal a Keeper?

We would rule that the Surprise would work to prevent the Steal a Keeper Action, since, at the time the Action was played, your opponent did not yet have any protection. Assuming you played the Surprise quickly enough to stop the Action, i.e. before anything else happens (like another card being played), then the Surprise will be able to undo the Steal a Keeper Action. You’d better be playing that Surprise in a timely manner, though!

The issue here will arise if you think too long deciding whether to play that Surprise, because the Batcave may have already been moved to your opponent, and the longer it sits there, the longer it feels like it’s “theirs” and that it’s too late to undo the Action. Our official ruling on this is that, as long as the next game action has not occurred, your Surprise play should be sufficiently “surprising” to work.

Although we often talk about things being “instantaneous” in Fluxx, some things are “more instantaneous” than others. So, for example, a Surprise, when played for it’s out-of-turn function directly after a given card-play is so much “more instantaneous” that it retroactively cancels that previous card play.

It’s because it’s actually surprising the person it’s being played against. If the surprised player then counter-Surprises, by playing their own Surprise to cancel the immediately-previous Surprise, the counter-Surprise is always considered to be “even more surprising” as it were.

(If you have any doubt of this, just listen to a game where this happens, and you’ll hear the group exclaim louder and louder each time as each subsequent Surprise is played to counter a previous Surprise.) Another way to think of this is that the last Surprise played is effectively the “most surprising” and is therefore the “winning” effect.

See also: If multiple Surprises are canceled by each other, how do you figure out what happens in the end?

⟫⟫ The only exception to the rule of out-of-turn Surprises canceling the previous play is the playing of the actual Batcave itself.
See: Can I use That’s Mine to cancel the play of the Batcave?

Q: The Treasure Map says I can reveal my Booty at any time. Does that mean I can reveal it when someone steals my Map, so that they don’t get the Booty?

A: The bottom of the Treasure Map card says “This card cannot be Plundered, but if it is lost or stolen, the Booty goes with it.” This indicates specifically that you CANNOT save your hidden Booty if the Map is stolen. Being able to “reveal [Booty] at any time” does not include retroactively deciding to have already dug up your treasure when you realize that someone is about to take possession of the map.

Once someone plays Steal A Keeper, the transfer of ownership is considered to take place instantaneously; there’s no time in between playing that card and them owning your Map during which you could reveal those cards. The only thing you might do after Steal A Keeper is played is play the Surprise that prevents Actions. Surprises are the only cards intended to interrupt or retroactively prevent what is normally an instantaneous effect.

Q: Does the total effect of playing a card have to be resolved before checking for win conditions, or could someone win partway through?

There are a lot of cards where, unless all steps are considered to be simultaneous, there could be timing issues.

A: A good rule of thumb is that most things resulting from a single card play in Fluxx (and many other Looney Labs games) are considered to happen simultaneously, so if there are timing issues, assume that things take place all at once, and then consider the outcome. There are a exceptions to this, but you’ll notice they follow a pattern: Draw 3 Play 2 of Them, and Draw 2 and Use Em result in actual secondary card plays, and you could win after one of those sub-plays, and Take Another Turn, since that’s a delayed thing that also results in secondary card plays (your entire second turn).

But for things like exchanging, or redistributing Keepers or Creepers, those are considered to happen all in one instant. As stated before, if you’re bumping into an issue which could go one way if it’s simultaneous, or another way if it’s not, it should almost certainly simultaneous.

See also: We think we broke the game…

Q: If I play a New Rule or Keeper that’s not a Draw or Play, but increases my Draw or Play, do I do that immediately?

A: Rules that increase your Draw or Play based on a formula (Doom, or what Keepers or Creepers are in play in front of you or elsewhere) as well as Keepers that change the way the rules work for you personally, should be treated as you would an increase in the actual Draw or Play Rules, so the total number of draws or plays you get on your turn increases:

If you had Draw 1 and played a card that made it Draw 1 (+1), then it’s just like you have gone from Draw 1 to Draw 2, and you draw 1.
If you had Draw 4 and played a card that made it Draw 4 (+1), then it’s just like you have gone from Draw 4 to Draw 5, and you draw 1.

Likewise, if such a card is already in play, increasing the Draw rule results in the exact same draw increase as though the formula were not in place.
See If there’s a Rule (or Keeper) in play that adds to the Draw…

Contrast this with Actions that give you extra draws on a one-time basis. If I play an Action or use a “Free Action” that lets me draw cards…

Q: When a Draw or Play Rule is played, do I get to immediately draw or play the number on the New Rule?

Or is it dependent on how many I have already drawn or played during my turn?

A: Rules take effect immediately, and the wording on Draw/Play Rules states that you should “Draw/Play [x] cards per turn.” Therefore, if you have already played 3 cards on your turn so far, and the rule is (now) Play 4, then you can only play one more card. The count does not start from the point the card is played, since the number of cards played is per complete turn.

Here’s another example which may be useful: If “Play All” is in effect and you play 6 cards, and then play the card “Play 3,” your turn simply ends, since you have already played 3 and have no more remaining plays in your turn.

Draw rules are similar, in that you count the total number you have drawn on your turn, so if you start with “Draw 3” and then play the card “Draw 4” you only get to draw one additional card, since Draw rules specify “so that you have drawn [x] cards on your turn.” When you increase the Draw rule, you only draw the difference. If you decrease it on your turn, however, you don’t have to “Un-draw.” You just get to keep the excess cards you drew when the Draw rule was higher.

Q: What happens if one of the Rules you turn up with Pandora’s Box is Inflation?

A: Then Pandora’s Box now goes to 4. Since everything happens immediately in Fluxx, Inflation is applied to the Action that caused it to be played. Even if it was the third Rule you played, and you thought it would be the last, you’d suddenly have to go to a fourth New Rule, so you’d continue.

Adventure Time Fluxx includes the Inflation analogue, Mathematical! Inflation is also available as a promo card to add to any Fluxx deck.

Math Fluxx includes a card called Increment All, which is similar to Inflation except it only affects Actions and New Rules.

Q: If Inflation is played as one of the cards during the Action Draw 3 Play 2 Of Them, does it apply to the Action in progress?

A: Yes. Since everything happens instantly in Fluxx, Draw 3 Play 2 Of Them (D3P2) suddenly becomes Draw 4 Play 3 Of Them (D4P3, if you will). The player should immediately draw an extra card and add it to the remainder of the cards being chosen from (the mini hand for the Action, not the set-aside main hand). It’s kind of like if you’d only drawn 2 cards instead of the 3 you were supposed to, realizing the mistake after playing one of them, and drawing the extra card you need at that point.

Of course, your regular hand will also need an extra card, since the Draw Rule itself has also incremented. You could do that at the time you’re executing your D3P2 by drawing a card and adding it to your set-aside hand, or you could catch up with that when you pick your regular hand back up again after the action. Note you’ll also have an extra Play to execute as well.

Star Trek Fluxx includes Fizzbin, which is similar to D3P2/D2UE. If Inflation was played as part of Fizzbin, all numbers would need to be increased, so you’d draw an extra card from the draw pile, and take an extra card from your neighbor. You should then reshuffle your temporary Fizzbin hand and continue.

Adventure Time includes the Inflation analogue, Mathematical! Inflation is also available as a promo card to add to any Fluxx deck.

Math Fluxx includes a card called Increment All, which is similar to Inflation except it only affects Actions and New Rules.

Drinking Fluxx includes a card called Double Vision, which is similar to Inflation, but only changes 1 to 2, without affecting any higher numbers, so actually, it won’t affect Draw 3 Play 2, but it’s worth noting.

Q: How does 10 Cards in Hand work in conjunction with Trade or Rotate Hands?

If you and an opponent each have 11 cards in your hand, and you play Trade Hands, would you win because after the card’s effect occurred you had 11 while the opponent had 10, or would the opponent win as soon as the card was played and left your hand?

A: You should need to finish the Action (i.e. follow through with the hand swap), before considering the issue of someone meeting the Goal. Thus, it’s that first thing you said.