So I had a series of blog posts that I was writing in the past: I called them “Games that Teach”, and I intended to use them as examples of how common board games can teach or aid in teaching or increase understanding of various events, problems, and/or theories in life. However, I discovered after writing a few posts that I was discouraged when writing them. This was because I soon didn’t feel the title accurately reflected what I wanted to discuss. It sounded like something that should go in a school, and what I was talking about wasn’t school stuff. Still, I wrote a few more. I ran out of ideas for a while and then came back. And now I’ve decided that the old name has to go, and will be replaced with the much more open ended title “Lessons from Board Games”, which I think will allow me to discuss a much broader range of more interesting topics without feeling like I’m getting sidetracked. I hope you enjoy.
Fluxx and Changing Plans
Fluxx is a fun game, though strategy doesn’t play a big part. Most times, people win by accident. I’ve certainly never been in a game where that hasn’t happened. In a game where the rules and goals can change five (or so) times before the game comes back to you (even longer, if the turn order is reversed) there is little room for a plan. The game might be different with two players in that regard. I’ve never played that way. And it’s the wackiness of many players that makes it fun. The game could even be played with a few more than the box recommends (in theory a ton more, but it tops out to be unwinnable eventually). It’s a game that can expand with your plans a little bit, as you’re forced to do a lot in the game.
It could be a metaphor for life or something, but I wouldn’t go that far. But it does help one to understand that they should always be changing strategies as the need arises. Getting closer to victory is better than sticking to a plan. Fluxx is a game that forces you to do that if you are at all attempting to win. And sure, you can win without trying at all, and you can just try to have fun, hoping a win will result (my strategy, and much preferable to the former if you’re bad at games). But for the most part, some understanding of the game is required to win. And prior knowledge of the cards can shape strategy (in a mostly ineffective way). The best thing about Fluxx is that it teaches you to be adaptable in such a low-stakes manner. It’d be terrible to be in a five-hour euro game, when suddenly you realize that you’ve put all of your production into coal, and iron is what you need to win the game, because of some card that just came up. Fluxx lets you adapt and be flexible, without the pressure there of being in a long game of blood, toil, tears, and sweat. And it’s quite a welcome filler game, especially before longer games that require adaptation, for that reason.