Q: What happens if a Goal and UnGoal are met at the same time?

… We were playing Cthulhu Fluxx, and what complicates things is that my wife had the Secret Cultist, so she would win if the UnGoal overrides the Goal, but my son would have won with the Goal if that overrides the UnGoal. [Note from Looney Labs, in Cthulhu Fluxx, a simultaneous Goal and UnGoal could arise from either Double Agenda or The Stars Are Right. Zombie Fluxx and Martian Fluxx could also generate this condition since they both have Double Agenda and an UnGoal. Zombie Fluxx also has the Zombie Boss Rule which can make a player win in the case of the UnGoal being met.]

A: Well, this IS a doozy. Andy and I had to think this through carefully.

But in the end, the answer seems obvious: on the rule sheet itself, at end of the first page in “Notes” is the ruling for ties:

“The game doesn’t end until there is a clear winner. If for some reason two of more players meet the winning conditions simultaneously, the game continues until a single winner emerges.”

So, for your situation, the answer is actually fairly simple: there were two players meeting winning conditions simultaneously, so keep playing until a clear winner emerges. Note that the “clear winner” need not be one of the two originally tied. It could happen that someone else manages to break the tie and win instead of either one of them.

What got a little tricky for us, is that we also wanted to rule in cases where the Cultist/Secret Cultist/Zombie Boss wasn’t invoked, which is to say when there is one player winning, but the conditions for “all players losing” is also met. How could that be? Would we rule that there is only one player winning? Or would we rule that there is “no clear winner”, since that player should simultaneously be both winning and losing?

We went with the latter: If a Goal and UnGoal are met simultaneously, then, even if there is not an actual player that can claim victory in the case of the UnGoal conditions, having the UnGoal met is like having the “forces of evil” be the winner. So if a player meets the winning condition, they are actually tied with “the forces of evil” , thus play would continue until a clear winner emerges.

In a way, all that the Cultist/Secret Cultist/Zombie Boss does is make an actual player represent those forces of evil, thereby claiming that victory.