Q: Can I use It’s a Trap to counter someone playing Beam Us Up with the Teleporter in play?

A: To review, if someone plays the Action Beam Us Up, if a player has the Teleporter in play the person with the Teleporter takes ALL Being Keepers into their hand. Since this is someone else taking your Keepers, you can counter that Action with It’s a Trap. This would cancel the playing of Beam Us Up (saving everyone’s Keepers).

It’s pretty clear what’s going on when the person playing Beam Us Up is the person who has the Teleporter: they’ve triggered the action, and they’re the one stealing your Keepers. It’s a Trap takes one of their Keepers. But what if the person who played Beam Us Up is NOT the person who has the Teleporter? It could happen! Maybe they were forced to play it because of Play All, or they didn’t have any being Keepers to lose, so they didn’t care. In that case, who do you get to steal from when you play It’s a Trap?

After some deliberation, Andy and I played it out, looked at the exact wording on all of the cards involved, and ruled that It’s a Trap targets the person who is stealing your Keepers, i.e. the person who is receiving them, regardless of whether they triggered the action or not. So you’d steal a Keeper from the person with the Teleporter.

This more complicated scenario looks like this:

Player A has the Teleporter in play
Player B plays Beam Us Up
Player C, who has Keepers which would be taken by A in this scenario, plays the Surprise It’s a Trap out of turn to cancel B’s Action Beam Us Up, and steal a Keeper from Player A, the person with the Teleporter.

Q: If It’s A Trap is played for it’s in-turn function to have everyone discard a card, can players discard cards they have in play?

…Most of the players didn’t have a hand, so they discarded one of their cards in play. Meanwhile, I had a hand of one card that I didn’t want to lose, so I discarded a card of mine in play as well. Can we do that?

A: Unless a card specifies that you discard a Keeper (or Creeper) from in play the default is from your hand.

What should have happened is that, for players with no cards in hand, nothing happens – they have nothing to discard. It’s quite common for a card to be played that simply has no effect at that specific time… and of course, you, with one card in your hand, were actually required to discard that card. Sorry.

Q: Can I use It’s A Trap! if someone uses Zap A Card to take one of my Keepers into their hand?

A: Quick answer: Yes.

Obviously, the more generic Belay That! (counter Action) would work, but the question here is about whether Zapping would trigger the Trap. The card It’s A Trap! is intended to counter Keeper “stealing” in all general senses to include more than just the specific Action Steal A Keeper. It was originally conceived to counter Keepers with special stealing abilities, like The Captain or The Scientist in Star Fluxx, but it also works if someone is invoking Crime Happens (AKA Plunder) to steal one of your Keepers.

So, since Zap A Card essentially lets someone steal one of your Keepers, we would answer yes: you can use It’s A Trap in response to someone Zapping one of your Keepers into their hand. Of course, if they don’t have any Keepers in play themselves, you won’t get anything back, but you will still squander their Zap A Card, and prevent your Keeper from being taken.

Note that You Can’t Take This Guy From Me (Firefly Fluxx) has the same trigger, and can be invoked by all the same situations. Although there is no Zap A Card in Firefly Fluxx, there is a Plunder card, and Zap A Card is available as a promo, so it could be added to any deck.

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

Player A uses That’s Mine for its in-turn function to steal a Keeper from Player B
Player B uses It’s A Trap! to cancel the steal, and instead steal from Player A
Player A uses Canceled plans to cancel It’s A Trap, since Surprises can cancel Surprises.

Does the original steal go through? Player B argued that there was no steal in either direction, as both That’s Mine and It’s A Trap had been canceled by subsequent Surprises.

A: The short answer is that That’s Mine is carried out for it’s in-turn function for the Keeper steal.

The long answer:

  • That’s Mine is played in turn: Keeper is stolen
  • It’s A Trap is played out of turn by victim: That’s Mine is negated and the Keeper steal is reversed
  • Cancelled plans negates It’s a Trap, which had previously been reversing the Keeper steal and negating That’s Mine. This leaves That’s Mine un-negated to steal the Keeper as originally played

It’s not that cards just get put on the discard pile, covered and they’re gone. Think of each card as going into a “being played” area only into the discard pile when they are done being used, or when negated for good. There was sort of a little wrestling match out there in the “being played” area between all the Surprises, and It’s A Trap lost.

Here is a generic version of what a battle like this could look like. It can continue until you run out of Surprises. Keep in mind that it’s totally possible and allowed for some other player, for example, Player C, to jump in on either side, potentially confusing the toggle state of the original play. If things come to this, it may be very important to keep track of the original play being canceled, perhaps putting it in the middle and flipping it over to indicate which state it is in: effective, vs canceled.

  • A plays some card X.
  • B plays Surprise 1, canceling X.
  • A cancels surprise 1 with Surprise 2, so X is in effect again.
  • B cancels surprise 2 with Surprise 3, so Surprise 1 goes through, and X is canceled again.

and so forth. If there were more, it would look like this:

  • A cancels surprise 3 with Surprise 4, so Surprise 2 goes through, canceling Surprise 1, so X happens.
  • B cancels surprise 4 with Surprise 5, so Surprise 3 goes through, canceling Surprise 2, so Surprise 1 is in effect again, so X is canceled.

So far, the maximum number of Surprises in a version is 6, in Batman Fluxx, but here’s the page where we would update that info:
Complexity Factors for Fluxx editions

Q: Would a counter-Surprise cancel It’s A Trap in full, or just the reverse-steal function?

[Note that in Firefly Fluxx, the Surprise You Can’t Take This Guy From Me has a similarly retaliative function as It’s A Trap, though the punishment is different. All of the same issues might arise with that card as with It’s A Trap!]

Player 1 played Steal a Keeper. Player 2 played It’s A Trap, then Player 1 played Belay That.

Player 1 believes that Belay That cancels It’s a Trap as if those two cards never got played, so the original Steal A Keeper stands, and Player 1 gets to steal a keeper from Player 2.

Player 2 thinks that when Player 1 played Belay That it should have then stopped Player 2 from stealing a keeper from Player 1, but that’s it. It should have been a wash and nobody got to steal from anyone.

A: Player 1 is correct in this case. Here’s how that works:

Player 1 played Steal A Keeper (an Action) to steal Player 2’s Keeper

Player 2 played the It’s a Trap (a Surprise) to prevent the steal and steal a Keeper from Player 1 instead.

Player 1 then played Belay That (a Surprise) to use its Surprise-countering ability to counter It’s A Trap. In this case, Belay That is not countering an Action, it’s countering a Surprise. It counters the entire card as if it had not been played, not just the counter-steal part of It’s A Trap, so Player 1’s original Steal A Keeper goes through unimpeded.

In fact, Player 1 could have played ANY Surprise to counter It’s A Trap, not just Belay That. They could have played Canceled Plans, or Veto, or That’s Mine, since all Surprises counter other Surprises. In fact, if Player 2 had had a second Surprise of ANY type, they could have played it to counter Belay That, and their It’s A Trap would have gone through unimpeded.

Q: How does It’s A Trap! work with Exchange Keepers?

A: After some discussion, we decided that Exchanging Keepers does not count as “Stealing” a Keeper.

Think of it this way: you cannot then reverse the action against your opponent. (What would that mean “and instead you [Exchange] one of their Keepers”? – that doesn’t really make sense.) So we concluded that Exchange is unstopped by It’s A Trap! Neither would you be able to use You Can’t Take This Guy From Me (a Surprise in Firefly Fluxx which has the same trigger as It’s A Trap).

What It’s A Trap! was designed to protect you against, in addition to Steal A Keeper, is any of those annoying other Keepers, like the Captain and the Scientist who can steal certain Keepers at will. One of my favorite things is to put out a juicy Crew Member and wait for the person with the Captain to try to take it, at which point, instead… It’s A Trap! and I get to steal their Captain instead!

Q: If you play a Keeper/Item that lets you take another Keeper/Item, can you immediately use that power to take the target card?

For example, in Star Fluxx, can you get the Captain and immediately use him to take the Scientist. Can you then immediately use the Scientist’s special power to steal, say, the Energy Crystals?

In Firefly Fluxx, can you use Zoe to take Wash, then Wash to steal Serenity, then Serenity to get Stolen Goods?

In the Back to the Future Card Game, can you play the Dust Jacket, and immediately use it to steal the Almanac?

A: Yes, you can chain Keeper/Item stealing-powers like this. It is a thing that can happen. While some feel this is overpowered, we don’t feel that it breaks the game, though. Not all of the cards are always out at the same time, and, of course, sometimes you might get screwed over mid-chain by the Surprise It’s A Trap (in Star Fluxx), or You Can’t Take This Guy From Me (in Firefly Fluxx). In the Back to the Future Card Game, of course, there’s only one Item that lets you steal another in this way.

Q: Does the Surprise card It’s A Trap! prevent special Keeper powers or Rules that might allow someone to take your Keeper?

It doesn’t show a specific type of card that it counteracts, but the wording is “Cancel any single game action in which another player is stealing a Keeper you have on the table, and instead you steal one of their Keepers.”

A: In fact, special Keeper powers that let someone take one of your Keepers is exactly the kind of situation that It’s A Trap was designed to counter. The wording is deliberately not specific to a type of card so that It’s A Trap can prevent ANY situation in which some other player may be trying to take your Keeper, whether that originates from an Action card or not.

I have often deliberately put out tempting crew members when I had It’s A Trap hiding in my hand, in the hopes that the person with The Captain would try to steal them, and I’d get to Trap their Captain instead. Or put out the Energy Crystals to try to trap the Scientist, for example.