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Q: If a Surprise is one of the cards allocated for Dreams & Omens, does the player use it’s in-turn effect or out-of-turn effect when the time comes to play it?

…Dreams & Omens creates a situation where one card has been allocated to each player, placed in front of that person, to be played “before starting their next turn.” Does that mean it’s not the player’s turn, and they must use the out-of-turn effect?

A: Although it says “before starting their next turn” it is, for all intents and purposes, that player’s turn as soon as they start “doing stuff”. The point is that this card must be played before the regular draw and play phases, and even before any available optional Free Actions.

Furthermore, if you read the out-of-turn instructions on the Surprises, you’ll see that they are in reaction to a specific game event (a specific card play, or an UnGoal being fulfilled) and without that event occurring, there isn’t really any logical way to execute the out-of-turn effect.

See also: Many cards state that you can do something “on your turn”. When does one’s turn officially begin and end…

Q: If I use Even Death May Die to take a Keeper out of the discard and play it, can that Keeper play be stopped by Twist Of Fate?

A: Yes. To refresh on what those cards do:

Even Death May Die (Action) says “Search through the discard pile. Take any Action or investigator Keeper you wish, and immediately play it. (Anyone may look through the discard pile at any time, but the order of what’s in the pile should not be changed)”

Twist of Fate (Surprise) says “Out of Turn: When another player plays a Keeper, it goes in front of you instead of them, possibly preventing their victory. During your turn: Steal another player’s Keeper and put it in front of you.”

Although it was an Action which precipitated this Keeper being played, and Twist of Fate does not stop Actions, at the point when that Keeper is pulled out of the discard and played… it counts as a Keeper play, and CAN be stopped with Twist Of Fate.

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?

Scenario 1) I keep my Batcave because my Surprise was successful at canceling the other player’s steal.

Scenario 2) The player that is attempting to steal the card was successful because, instantly taking possession of the Keeper, the power of the Batcave prevents me from using my Surprise on their turn.

A: Scenario 1 is the correct outcome.

So, 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: Is the third Surprise function (countering another Surprise) limited to in-turn or out-of-turn play?

A: You can use the counter-Surprise function at any time, either during someone else’s turn or your own. Here are some basic examples:

On your own turn:
Someone cancels one of your plays with a Surprise. You play a Surprise to counter their Surprise. Note: although it is your turn, this does not count as one of your Plays.

On someone else’s turn:
They play a Surprise for the in-turn function. You play a Suprise to counter it.

On someone else’s turn:
They play a card. You cancel it with the appropriate Surprise. They counter-Surprise you. You counter-Surprise them!

On someone else’s turn:
Player A plays a card. Player B cancels it with a Surprise. You decide to counter Player B’s Surprise, for whatever reason motivates you.
(In other words, if there is a Surprise/counter-Surprise “battle” going on between two other players, as described in the previous example, you can jump in at any time on either players “side”.)

Q: If someone plays Trade Hands with me, and I have some Surprises (other than Stop That, which could prevent the trade) can I use them up with no effect, just so I don’t have to give them to the other player?

A: No. Surprises can only be played for an out-of-turn effect when there is an effect to be had. You can’t just play a Surprise for no effect just to burn it.

When used for their in-turn effect, of course, they behave much the same way as Actions, and, as such, may or may not have an effect.

Q: Can a Surprise be used to cancel a Hand Limit on your own turn?

…Example:
Player A plays a Hand Limit
Player B and C discard down to the hand limit
Player A plays Veto to cancel the Hand Limit for themselves.

Is this allowed?

A: Well, it all depends how Player A was trying to play the Veto. Every Surprise has two different instructions on it. One for when you’re using it to interrupt someone else’s play, and one for if you play it out of your own hand as a regular card on your turn.

First case (the out-of-turn function):

If Player A was trying to use the out-of-turn function to cancel the play of their own card, that’s not allowed. It’s their turn, so they can only use the in-turn function. See also: Can one ever use the out-of-turn function of a Surprise on their own turn?

Note that even if it were another person playing out-of-turn to cancel the card (let’s call them Player D) the Surprise should be played immediately after the card one wants to cancel: in the case of a Hand Limit, that would ideally be before anyone has discarded anything.

Moreover, even if everyone decided to cut imaginary Player D some slack about the timing, and they did let Player D play the Veto after some people had discarded, canceling the Rule would “prevent it from ever taking effect” and everyone would get to take all their cards back as though the Hand Limit had never been played. Long story short: you can’t Veto a rule just for you. The Rule applies to everyone, so when you Veto it, it’s Vetoed for everyone.

Second case (the in-turn function):

If Player A still had a play left on their turn after playing the Hand Limit, they could simply play the Veto for its in-turn function. What it does in this case is let them “discard [their] choice of up to 2 New Rules currently in play”. The Rules discarded don’t even have to be ones that were recently played.

In this case, those rules are not being “canceled” without ever having taken effect, they’re just being discarded. The Rules were played, they took effect for as long as they were in play, and then they were discarded. So if Player A did that, they could simply trash the Hand Limit before their turn ends, thereby avoiding having to discard down at all. Of course, this uses up one of their plays for their turn.

Q: Can the Stop That! Surprise counter the “free action” provided by some Rules or Keepers?

A: Those are not considered “Actions” in the sense that they are not Action cards, and Stop That (or Belay That) is intended to cancel out Action cards specifically. Nor will Veto! which cancels Rules stop this type of free action.

More broadly worded Surprises might prevent some of these, however. For example, Skullduggery is designed so that it can prevent Plundering (among other things), which is a “free action” on a Rule. It’s A Trap and You Can’t Take This Guy From Me are designed so that they can prevent special Keeper actions that let someone steal one of your Keepers.

There might be some confusion on Let’s Keep Doing That, since there is an Action card permanently in play, but it is intended to act as if it were a New Rule, so we would rule that it’s no longer stoppable by the Stop That! Anti-Action Surprise.

Q: Does countering a Surprise on my turn count as one of my plays? Can I also use it for the in-turn function if I do this?

A: If you are the active player, counter-Surprising does not use up one of your total plays for the turn. By the same token, however, this means you cannot use the Surprise for it’s function which would use a play. To wit:

You can only use a Surprise to do one of three things:

1) use it on your turn as a play, for it’s in-turn function
OR
2) Use it to Surprise another player,
2a) on another player’s turn to cancel a play
OR
2b) on your turn to counter their interruption of your own play (“counter-Surprise”)

You cannot do more than one of those things.

So if you’re using it to counter-Surprise on your turn (2b), you can’t also use it as one of your plays for it’s “in-turn” function (1).

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

Example:
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: Can I use That’s Mine to cancel the play of the Batcave?

The Batcave reads “Other players cannot play Surprises during your turn.” Which comes first? The canceling of the play (so its special power never comes into effect) or the play itself (preventing the Surprise)?

A: So, the idea behind the Batcave is that if you have it, it’s as though you’re in it, and it’s fortress-like power of über-surveillance means that you cannot be Surprised. Since the out-of-turn function of Surprises is to literally surprise the player they’re affecting, the owner of the Batcave is immune from the in-game version of being literally being surprised: other people using Surprises against them on their turn.

Furthermore, (and perhaps most pertinent to this question) the Batcave is special, and it’s power is simply invoked faster than any Surprise that could normally be played for it’s “surprising” (i.e. out-of-turn) function. In this sense it is “even more instantaneous” than Surprises.

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

Q: If I have the Time Traveler, and play the Time Portal and someone uses a Surprise to cancel it, what happens to the Time Portal card?

since the Time Portal normally gets to go back in your hand if you have the Time Traveler…

A: The Time Portal gets discarded. Since the Time Traveler doesn’t get to use the Time Portal at all, he can’t get it back again.

Also of note: The Time Portal causes your turn to end immediately, but if the Action gets canceled, then all portions of the Action get undone, so your turn also does not end early. It’s like the Surprise makes the Action disappear entirely.

Q: Can one ever use the out-of-turn function of a Surprise during one’s own turn?

A: If you use the Surprise card as one of your plays during your turn, then you must use the “during your turn” functions. The “out of turn” functions almost always cancel some other card play, and it is not allowed to cancel your own play with your own Surprise. Thematically, consider this: it’s hard to really call it a “surprise” if you’re doing it to yourself in this manner.

The only time when you might not use the “during your turn” on your turn is when you’re using a Surprise to counter a Surprise played by another player against you during your turn.

See Does countering a Surprise on my turn count as…

Q: Can I use a Surprise from my set-aside hand to cancel a Surprise played on one of my Draw 2 & Use Em, or Draw 3, Play 2 (or Fizzbin) cardplays?

Also, could I use a Surprise that was part of the subturn to cancel the attacking Surprise, and if so would that count as one of the plays?

Example:
Player #1 plays “Draw 3, Play 2 Of Them” and gets an Action, a Keeper, and a Surprise.
They play their Action and Player #2 plays Belay That [Avast, Stop That] to cancel it.
–> can Player #1 use the Surprise in their mini-hand to cancel that Surprise,
–> and if so do they still get to play their Keeper afterwards?

A: Yes, you can use a Surprise from your main hand, or from your sub-hand, to cancel another player’s Surprise during your Draw 3, Play 2 Action. Playing a Surprise to cancel a Surprise is a free action, so yes, you would get to play the third card if your second card is a Surprise that you use to counter a Surprise being used to stop your first card.

In the case of Fizzbin, you don’t have the option of using any of the cards in your temporary hand, you have to play them blind, in random order, so any Surprises that are in that temporary hand won’t be useful to you – but you can still use Surprises in your set-aside hand to counter Surprises played against cards played as part of your Fizzbin action.

Q: If a player uses Trade Hands, and their hand contains Stop That (which cancels actions) can the other player use it immediately upon receipt to cancel the Trade Hands?

In this scenario Player #1 has the Trade Hands and Stop That, and Player #2 is being forced to trade hands.

A: No. If the surprise were in Player #2’s hand, then Player#2 could use it to stop the Action, but if the surprise is in Player #1’s hand, then Player #2 does not have access to the card until after the Trade Hands Action has been resolved, by which time it’s too late to be stopped.

If you think about it too hard, you’ll realize it can ONLY work this way. If it worked the way you described there would be a paradoxical loop:

You used the Stop That you received in Trade Hands to stop Trade Hands, so you didn’t trade hands, so you didn’t have the Stop That, so you couldn’t use it, so you traded hands, but then you had the Stop That, and you used it to prevent the Trade Hands, but then you didn’t have it, didn’t use it, but then you traded and had it…

…and so forth to insanity.

Q: Can Canceled Plans prevent someone from winning the game? What about That’s Mine!

Player #1 contends that he won the game because the rules say that as soon as a goal is achieved the game is over and no other actions/cards can be played. Player #2 says that no, the Surprise card overrides the general rule and cancels the playing of the goal and therefore the game does not end. Which is true?

A: Yes. If the Canceled Plans card played is played immediately, it cancels the Goal and play continues to the next person. That is the intent of the card.

It works the same way for That’s Mine. If the winning play is a Keeper, That’s Mine can be used to cancel that play, preventing the win.

Again, Surprises are meant to be able to work this way… but you have to be using the correct Surprise for the type of play you’re canceling – and you must play your Surprise in a timely manner: say, within a few seconds of the player playing their card.

For more nuanced suggestions about how to resolve some tweaky timing issues, check
Can a Surprise card be played to stop a card played previously during someone’s turn?”

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.

Q: Can a Surprise card be played to stop a card played previously during someone’s turn?

Some examples:

Example 1: Player A plays a Keeper, and then plays a Goal card to win. Player B plays That’s Mine (the counter-Keeper Surprise) to cancel Player A’s Keeper card hoping to cancel the win. Conversely, maybe Player A played a Goal, then a Keeper, and Player B tried to use Canceled Plans (the counter-Goal Surprise).

Example 2: Player A played the That’s Mine as an in-turn card and stole the Computer from Player B. Then Player A set down a Keeper. Player B then played a Surprise card, claiming that the wording on the card says it may be used on the Surprise card just played.

Example 3: Player A played Draw 3 Play 2 Of Them, drew three cards, and one of them is a Goal that let them win, so they played it. Player B then played Stop That (the counter-Action Surprise) to try to cancel the playing of Draw 3 Play 2, hoping to cancel the win.

A: In all of these cases, Player A’s actions stand, as the Surprise has been played too late. The counteractive Surprise must be played IMMEDIATELY after the card you wish to counteract. It also doesn’t apply to “the most recently played card of the target type played this turn.” Once another card of any type has been played, or a subsequent resulting action taken, it becomes too late to retroactively stop a previous card play with a Surprise.

Don’t be that person needing to ask for a special exception to the rules, and make sure the new players you’re teaching understand: Surprises need to be used in a timely manner. Whenever you have one in your hand, acquaint yourself with its power right away so that you can make a snap decision about whether to use it, since, if you hesitate too long, your opportunity is likely to pass.

So are there ever exceptions? It depends how relaxed you want to play, and how everyone is getting along. If Player B was a less-than-experienced player, it’s highly likely that it just took them a little while to read their own Surprise card to realize that it could be used in that way. If the results of a rewind are relatively inconsequential, one might cut them some slack. If Player A somehow anticipated that Player B was going to counter their play, and took their next action with barely a blink then that’s a bit rude. But if there was a heated disagreement, please do fall back on the official ruling. The ONLY reason you might choose to ignore it is if you wish to cut Player B some slack for being a n00b, or if you want to call shenanigans on Player A’s playing style for some reason.

Remember: it’s never appropriate to see the consequences of a previous card play, and THEN realize that you wish you’d stopped it before something else happened as a result of that play. In example 1, Player B probably didn’t realize that the first play would result in the win until the second card was played. In example 3, Player B couldn’t know when Draw 3 Play 2 was played that it would result in a win. Too bad. No exceptions for those cases.

This is where careful ordering of your plays and a good poker face are important so as not to broadcast your intentions. And people say there’s no strategy in Fluxx…

Q: With That’s Mine (That Be Mine, Twist Of Fate) played out of turn, if someone uses the Steal a Keeper card, will this Surprise card allow you to take the Keeper they have just stolen?

A: No. They didn’t actually play the Keeper card, they simply got possession of that Keeper by playing an Action. All you could do here would be to stop the Action itself using the Stop That! (Avast! Belay That! The Stars Are Wrong!) Surprise. Using that would not gain you the Keeper they were stealing. It would only stop them from stealing it.

Q: If someone cancels one of my plays with a Surprise, do I get the card back, and still have that play to use?

… or does the card that was canceled go in the trash (or to my opponent in the case of That’s Mine), and my attempt has used up one of my plays?

See this answer in a video!
Little Answers

A: No, it’s that second thing you said: the card that got canceled goes away, and that play has been squandered. On the other hand, your opponent had to give up a card from their hand as well, so it’s not as though it’s without sacrifice on their part too.