Get the MacGuffin FAQ

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Q: The Interrogator card says that if the MacGuffin “has not been seen” then the Backup MacGuffin must be shown, but what if the MacGuffin has “been seen” because it is in the discard pile?

We had been playing that if the MacGuffin is in the discard, it “has been seen” and the Backup MacGuffin need not be shown, but then we noticed that the rulesheet says “if no result,” in which case the Backup MacGuffin should be shown if the real MacGuffin is in the discard. Which is correct?

A: The interpretation you’re getting from the rulesheet is the correct one. Essentially, the Interrogator has the power to call out whoever currently has the “most real” MacGuffin. If the real MacGuffin is in the discard pile then it’s as though it has been destroyed or no longer exists, so NOW the only MacGuffin that matters is the Backup, so that is what needs to be shown.

Since The Interrogator has no effect once the MacGuffin (or “most real” MacGuffin in the game) is in play, and it’s rare for it’s location to become unknown again once revealed, obviously, it’s best used early in the game.

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Q: Are the people in Get the MacGuffin based on real people?

A: Most of them are. The artist is a good friend of ours, Alex Bradley, who based most of the characters on friends who frequented our game nights at the time he was around (by the time we tapped him to do the art for Get the MacGuffin, he had moved to LA, but of course he still knew everyone from back on the East cost where Looney Labs is.)

• The Grand Marshal: Andy Looney
• The Hippie: Kristin Looney
• I’m Not Dead Yet!: Alison Frane
• Can I Use That?: Rich Potter
• The Tomb Robbers: Gina Mai Denn / John Cooper
• The Shrugmaster: Sleevs
• The Interrogator: Jacob Davenport
• The Merchant: Josh Drobina
• The Vortex: Wil Allyn
• Wheel of Fortune: Izolda Trakhtenberg
• The Garbage Collector: Tom Eigelsbach
• The Thief: Renee Camus
• The Time Traveler: Leila Zucker
• The Third Eye: Janet Morton
• Robin Hood: Kory Heath

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Q: Can the card Don’t Do That (from the Plan C Expansion for Get the MacGuffin) cause the discard of an Item which remains on the table when its power is used?

A: Yes. If someone is using the power of The Crown to pass on their turn, or the power of the MacGuffin or Backup MacGuffin to pick it up and put it back down as a turn option, then using Don’t Do That will result in the discard of the Item in question. It would also cause Plan C to be discarded rather than put back in the owner’s hand.

However, the passive effect of having people call you Your Majesty does not constitute a “use” which could be stopped with Don’t Do That, so The Crown can only be discarded with Don’t Do That if the player is using the passing power.

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Q: Is there any time-limit for how long someone can take on their turn?

A: There’s no time-limit on how long someone may take for their turn, but annoying the other players by taking forever to make decisions may make them decide they don’t want to play with you very often. In other words, the only time limit is the tolerance of your fellow gamers.

We’d suppose this applies to… almost any game, though what is considered a reasonable amount of time for a turn probably varies from game to game. As long as you are within what is considered average for that game, you’re probably fine.

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Q: If an opponent plays Can I Use That and picks Don’t Do That from my hand, does that nullify their play so I’d get to keep Don’t Do That?

A: No. No matter how this plays out, you don’t get to keep Don’t Do That. Let’s run through some scenarios. We’ll call you Player B, and your opponent Player A (since it’s their turn).

Player A plays Can I Use That (CIUT).
They pull Don’t Do That (DDT) from the hand of Player B.

Player A must now play DDT as if they’d had it in their hand themselves.
Since there’s nothing which DDT can affect when it’s played during your own turn (unless some future susceptible card is created) DDT simply joins the used-up CIUT in the discard pile without having had an effect.

This is a pretty disappointing pull for Player A, but, on the other hand, Player B definitely does not get to claim Don’t Do That would act as though they had decided to play it, to prevent its own theft. Not only did Player B not decide to do that in a timely enough manner, it simply cannot protect itself once it is the target in question.

Don’t Do That can result in some pretty exciting plays… if you decide to use it. This is what Andy calls “The Curse of the Surprise” (after Surprises in Fluxx, which are similar to Don’t Do That). They have the potential to be so powerful that they become precious, and people hold back from using them… but, of course, they have no power at all if you don’t use them.

But could Don’t Do That have done anything, here? Well, yes, and no:

So, to lay out some of the more exciting ways this could have played out:

Player A plays Can I Use That (CIUT)

Player B plays Don’t Do That (DDT)
– they can decide to do this immediately after CIUT has been played
– they can decide to do this after Player A has declared they will target Player B’s hand
– they can even decide to do this after Player A has pulled a card to use…
as long as the card pulled is not DDT itself. At that point, it’s just too late, as DDT can’t protect itself.

In any case, if Player B had successfully decided to use DDT themselves, CIUT is now in the discard pile, having been canceled, and DDT has been used up, and is also now in the discard pile.

Was it worth it? Player A’s turn (and card) have been squandered, and, although Player B has lost DDT, they’ve saved some other card in their hand from being taken and used by Player A. After all, that’s just the way DDT works: you have to use it up to get its benefit.

Ironically, we have seen that this is exactly what happens if DDT is the card chosen. Either DDT is randomly chosen instead of some more valuable card, or it’s voluntarily sacrificed to prevent some other more valuable card from being picked.

So, even if we had ruled that Player B was allowed to use DDT after it had been selected by Player A… it still wouldn’t result in Player B getting to keep DDT. Either Player B successfully used DDT to stop the play, in which case it’s used up and discarded, or they didn’t successfully use it, and it gets picked by Player A.

It’s just way more exciting for someone to make a conscious decision to disrupt someone else’s play, rather than wait and have DDT accidentally chosen. And, really – if you have a more valuable card in your hand, do you want to risk having it taken, or throw DDT under the bus on purpose to save the other card?

Of course then you run the risk of broadcasting to the rest of the players that you have a valuable card in your hand… OR, to double-overthink it even further, you make everyone think you have something valuable in your hand.

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Q: The card Robin Hood from the Plan C expansion for Get the MacGuffin is a bit unclear on how many cards should change ownership. How many should it be?

…The card says “must give their choice of their cards.” We’ve been letting the “rich” player decide how many, and it’s always just one.

A: Sorry that card is worded a little ambiguously. Yes, you’ve been doing it right: the “rich” player is only supposed to give one card to the “poor” player. In the future, we should probably add the word “one” in there to read “must give their choice of one of their cards…”

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Q: In Get The MacGuffin, when I use the Third Eye (from the Plan C expansion) must I reshuffle afterwards? What if I have Tomb Robbers, and remember where the card I saw is in the deck?

A: There’s no requirement to shuffle the Tomb after you look at it with the Third Eye but the Tomb Robbers card requires that you draw a random card from the Tomb, so other players may insist that you shuffle those cards before drawing one if you’ve previously played the Third Eye.

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Q: Must one always discard the Object when using it’s power?

A: If it does not say you have to discard it to use the power, then no. Rock, Paper, and Scissors remain in play when you use their power. Money, on the other hand says you have to discard it from play in order to use its power. The MacGuffin and Backup MacGuffin’s power depends on the presence of other cards on the table or in your ownership, but if you’re able to use them, their power is to remain in play, essentially.

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Q: When a player is allowed multiple plays on their turn, are there any guidelines for timing between plays?

A: TLDR: Officially, no… BUT, when playing in any of our games which include interrupt cards which cancel a previous play (Surprise, Memo From Your Future Self, Stop Time) it’s good practice to play a little slower if you happen to be executing multiple plays, so that your opponents have plenty of time to play one of these cards, should they so desire.

Deliberately playing super-fast, “shotgunning” as one fan put it, is just rude, and, rather than avoiding arguments about interrupts, actually ends up causing them. So if you have someone who insists upon playing that way, feel free to implement a requirement of a full one-hippopotamus silent count between card plays. We think those worried about their second-to-last winning play being foiled by an interrupt will find that others are not as psychic as they feared. Read on…

So here’s a typical Surprise situation, which can cause a bit of controversy:

I recently won when the rules called for Play 2. I played my first card, a Keeper, and then a moment later I played a Goal card that caused me to win. My opponent then showed me that he had the Surprise card in his hand that could have stopped me from playing the Keeper, and we had a brief discussion about whether I should have left him more time to consider playing it.

In my opponent’s defense, I didn’t leave him much time to play his Surprise card that would have allowed him to take my Keeper for himself. In my defense, he didn’t really have any reason to play the Surprise card and take the Keeper – until he saw that my next play was the winning Goal.

So… are there guidelines on timing between playing consecutive cards?

Slapping them down so quickly that no one has a chance to do anything doesn’t seem entirely fair – but it also doesn’t seem strategic after playing a card to wait and look around at other players to see if they have any game response before playing the next card.

(Related question: A player doesn’t have to “announce” or “report” their play out loud, right? They can just play their cards and if other players aren’t paying attention, that’s the fault of the other players? We all want to have good sportsmanship, but you know how games can sometimes get, in terms of either other players not paying attention, or in terms of being very competitive!)

Here’s our response:
While we don’t have any official guidelines about exact timing of card plays, We recommend a slight pause between a two-card play like this when the active player knows it’s going to make them win. It’s rarely the case that the person with the Keeper-stopper will intuitively know that the necessary Goal is coming… until it gets there (or vice-versa: if they had the Goal-stopper, and you’d decided to play the Keeper last, they couldn’t know you’d have the winning Keeper to play after the innocuous Goal), so playing slow is often to your advantage, as the player who’s about to win.

In fact, playing casually, even pretending you don’t know what you want to play next, can be a great move. Playing slowly enough to allow a possible Surprise doesn’t have to mean broadcasting your impending win. (For example, looking significantly around the table as if expecting a challenge). Of course, announcing your your play is in no way required, but could even be part of your nonchalant act, depending on how you do it. (“Hmm… Well, there’s this Small Moon… and… let’s see… That’s No Moon, for the win!”)

That said, one often doesn’t have the presence of mind to think about deliberately hesitating. In real life, you’re usually just taking your play, and winning, at regular game speed.

Here is where the question is really about what your opponent was thinking, and they have to be honest about it: did it only occur to them to play the Surprise after you’d played the winning Goal? If you’d just accidentally played the Goal first, and then the Keeper, their Keeper-canceling Surprise would have gone through and prevented your win. But just as they couldn’t know your next play would be the end of the game, you couldn’t know they had a Surprise. For all you knew, they had the Goal-stopping Surprise, and it’s just chance which order you chose to play those two cards in. It’s not as though you deliberately played in such a way as to deliberately thwart a Surprise on your first play.

The thing to point out here is that, had you stopped playing after the Keeper, would it even have occurred to them to use the Surprise? Probably not, if they’re being honest. It’s extremely rare that one’s opponent is prescient or observant enough to realize that this play might be your second-to-last. People rarely want to squander a Surprise on the off-chance that your next play will be the winning one*. In the kind of situation you describe, the Surprise-having player usually just shrugs, and says “Darn! I had [the Surprise that would have prevented your second-to-last play], and I could have stopped that play, but it’s too late now… Oh well. Let’s deal again…”

Because, in the end, if they didn’t get that Surprise in after the applicable card, that’s the way it goes, and that’s the official ruling if people get – ahem – unruly.

*I mean, imagine it. If they’d canceled your Keeper before you’d played the winning Goal, your best reaction is probably simply to shrug as if mildly confused by such a powerful play, apparently for nothing, and make them feel like they just wasted their Surprise on a random Keeper play… heh heh. You don’t have to let them know they totally blocked your win. Meanwhile… you don’t have to get upset about missing that chance… it’s just Fluxx, and victory is snatched away at all the time in the course of any given game – usually completely by accident. Or you can let them know their spidey-senses were working, or congratulate them on how observant they are. It’s up to you.

Now let’s return to that “shotgunning” player who’s deliberately playing quickly so that nobody can slip a Surprise in on that penultimate play… It is, as the fan above pointed out, not entirely fair, and, moreover, it invites the argument “But you didn’t leave me enough time to play my Surprise!” If, on the other hand they had played it slowly, as described above, their opponent has no excuse to challenge the win, on the claim that they “were going to play a Surprise.” The opponent had plenty of time, but in the vast majority of cases, they won’t play the Surprise, because they have no idea what’s coming next. That’s part of the beauty of Fluxx!

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Q: Can the player who uses the Garbage Collector then pull it out of the discard pile?

A: Do you mean, can they pull it from the discard pile on the same turn as they use it? No, as in Fluxx, the Action you’re using isn’t in the discard pile until you’re done doing what it says.

If the move thus postulated were allowed, one could play it over and over again, without an end, and that would make it as powerful as the MacGuffin, which, of course, is not the intention.

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Q: What card sleeves work with Get the MacGuffin?

Short answer: A fan informs us that 75mm x 115mm should be right if you can find them, but we doubt that exact size exists (see below). They said that Swan has a 75mm x 128mm that works, but you’d need to trim the top down. No, unfortunately, they won’t fit back in the box that way, unfortunately.

Another fan has said that for many of his games he actually LAMINATES the cards, which might be a great solution for Get the MacGuffin.

More background: We did very seriously think about this question when we were figuring out the card specs. We looked at all the tarot-ish card sleeves that existed, and considered making our cards one of these sizes – but ultimately it didn’t make sense. Only one of them could really have worked, and it would have cost us a big bunch of cash to make tooling for this size card, and then the cards still wouldn’t fit back into the box.

At first we were considering putting the game in our 2 part box, with cards sized that would fit WITH sleeves on them. This would have been really cool, but ultimately it made more sense to go with a simple tuck box and a card size my printer already had the tooling for. This allowed us to give the game a $10 MSRP – which ultimately was way more important that the handful of folks who really really really wish they could sleeve the game.

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Q: With promo cards or the expansion added in to Get the MacGuffin, the cards will deal out completely with some group sizes. Is there still a Tomb?

A: There should always be a Tomb. If your Get the MacGuffin deck is not a prime number of cards for some reason, simply start the Tomb with one card, then deal out the rest of the deck as evenly as possible, and take the remainder and add them to the first set-aside card to form the complete Tomb.

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Q: If I have The MacGuffin, and my opponent has another Object in play, but no cards left, who wins? Is it a tie?

A: Note #4 in the Turn Options section. If someone’s turn comes around, and they have no cards in hand, but they have an Object in play, then they must take the turn option of discarding the Object. Ties can happen in Get the MacGuffin, but not in this way.

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Q: If I have the Crown on the table, and play the Assassin, am I required to destroy my own Crown? If I don’t have the Crown, but have the only Object in play, am I then required to take out my own Object?

A: To refresh, the Assassin reads:

If someone has the Crown in play, that player must immediately discard it.
If no one has the Crown in play, discard any Object in play or a randomly chosen card from another player’s hand.

If you have the Crown in play, and you play the Assassin card, sadly for you, the Assassin is required to take out the Crown. No ifs, ands, or buts.

On the other hand, if the Crown is NOT in play, you have the option whether to take out an object in play, or target another player’s random in-hand card.

It may seem cruel or counter-intuitive for you to be required to do something detrimental to yourself, but that only happens in the first case. That’s the spirit of the Assassin, its primary aim is to kill the monarch – but with no Crown in play, the Assassin actually becomes a much more versatile, and therefore more powerful card. It’s interesting how timing can change how powerful certain cards are in Get the MacGuffin, isn’t it?!

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Q: What exactly does “in play” mean?

A: “In Play” always means, for all cards: laying on the table with it’s face showing – not in the draw pile, or the discard pile, and not in someone’s hand, not face down, not hiding under some other card.

Keep in mind that, for Creepers, you’re not allowed to hold them in your hand, so if they’re not in play, they’re either in the draw pile or the discard pile (or they may be covered by some other card, like a Keeper which effectively nullifies them rendering them as if they were not in play. The Elder Sign in Cthulhu Fluxx can cover (nullify) one Creeper in this way, as can Batman Cuffs.

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