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Improving the Odds

Strategies for Winning at Fluxx

Luck is a big factor in any game of Fluxx. There's just no denying that fact. However, the game isn't all luck, as I've heard some people say. There are some strategies that can help you win, which aren't immediately obvious, and that's what this article is all about.

1.) LEARN THE COMBOS. This one's pretty basic. Knowing which Keepers go together and which ones don't is vital when that Keeper Limit card gets played. For example, a common mistake is thinking that War and Peace go together, and retaining them both, when it would usually be better to toss the War card in hopes of winning with Peace, no War. Of course, if that goal recently hit the discard pile, you might want to discard them both in order to keep more promising Keepers, which brings me to my next point.

2.) KEEP TRACK OF WHICH KEEPERS AND GOALS HAVE BEEN DISCARDED. Just as you can do much better at highly luck oriented games such as Black Jack by counting cards, so too can you improve your odds at Fluxx by paying attention to what has already been played. Since there is only one of each card in the deck, there's no point in holding on to Peace if both Peace No War and Love and Peace have gone into the discard pile. Sure, there's always the chance that the deck will run dry, and allow you another chance at the card you need after the re-shuffle, but chances are good someone will win long before that, which brings me, again, to my next point.

3.) DON'T CLING TO OLD BATTLE PLANS. Everything changes quickly in Fluxx and so too must your plans for winning. Yes, it can be terribly disappointing to have the right pair of Keepers on the table for a goal you have in your hand, only to have someone play a Hand Limit 0 just before your turn, but that's the way the game works. The key to winning is to accept such misfortunes when they happen and immediately being developing a new plan for winning, rather than clinging to the Keepers you have in hopes of still winning somehow with a goal that has hit the discard pile.

4.) HANG ON TO GOOD GOALS. Another common mistake is playing goals too early. If you have Taxes on the table and Death and Taxes in your hand, then avoid playing that goal until you have no other choice. If you play it, there's a much better chance of someone else canceling it with another goal than of you drawing the other card you need, whereas if you wait until you get the other card you need, you can then play the goal on your next turn and win.

5.) WHEN YOU HAVE A WINNING COMBO DOWN, YOU WANT TO PLAY LOTS AND DRAW FEW. Your chances of winning increase greatly when you have a winning combination on the table and your opponent(s) are forced to play whatever cards they happen to draw. If the rules say draw 2 play 4, they may end up being forced to play the goal that makes you win. So you should strive for this sort of imbalance in the rules whenever you are meeting one of the winning conditions.

6.) WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A WINNING COMBO, YOU WANT TO DRAW LOTS AND PLAY FEW. By the same token, when you are without a winning combination, and particularly if someone else at the table is in line to win, you want to draw as many cards as possible, thus improving you chances of getting what you need, while at the same time removing the likelihood of being forced to play a goal that makes someone else win.

7.) LEARN TO USE THE POWER OF THE HAND LIMIT CARDS. Many people groan when Hand Limit rules are played, but they can be powerful tools for those who are playing to win. A Hand Limit can be just what you need when your opponent is closing in on victory. Anytime you see someone else with a winning combo on the table and a smug look on the face, you should play that Hand Limit 0. Force them to discard that great hand. Or, in a multiple play situation, you can try one of these great tricks: play a Hand Limit, wait for everyone to toss their cards, and then trash the Hand Limit, allowing you to keep your full hand. Similarly, the best time to play the Taxation card is when the Hand Limit is 1 - your opponent(s) has to give you that one great card they decided to keep when throwing everything else away.

8.) PLAY THE STOPPERS WITHOUT DELAY. War, Taxes, and Television all prevent someone from winning with a solitary Keeper. Unless you are the one with that solitary Keeper, it is always best to play a stopper as quickly as you can. If you let a stopper sit idle in your hand while playing other cards, you'll kick yourself when someone wins with a goal that you had the power to prevent. And don't worry... if you yourself end up getting the Keeper that your stopper is interfering with, you can always dump that stopper when a Keeper Limit goes into play.