How Games Work – Fluxx


Today I want to mix things up and talk about a card game instead of a video game. Fluxx is a card game that I tried last year when I was doing Pete’s ‘Gamification for Business’ elective at the University of Brighton. It’s a super fun game that offers a lot of great experiences to players and it can teach us a thing or two about real life too.

The core idea in Fluxx is that nothing remains the same. Pretty much like in real life right? Things change around us all the time and adapting can be hard for some people. Fluxx is here to train your agility skills and help you adapt to rules and situations that change.

You start playing Fluxx using some simple rules like “draw a card” and “play a card”. But very soon things become more complicated. While playing you get the chance not only to change the rules of the game but also the winning state. Rules and how you win a game are usually the two pillars that a game is based on. You should not change how these things work throughout the game. Imagine if in Monopoly suddenly the player that had the least money won, or every time you went in jail they gave you money instead of imprisoning you!

Fluxx is the only game that I have played that thrives on the basis that you don’t know what the rules and the winning state will be on your next turn. That’s why there is no point in making a long-term plan and sticking with it. You will have to change it very soon. It’s fun to watch people’s faces when they play Fluxx for the first time and something unexpected happens in the game. Some players even get angry and say that the game is not fair and winning is not based on skill. But is not flexibility a skill? In the corporate world there is a global market and people sometimes have to move around or travel a lot.

In GAMIFICATION+ we do our fair share of travelling across the globe too. We know that mobility is something you need to have as a professional today. Being mobile and being able to adapt to new information is something that is a great skill to have. Fluxx can help you get into that mindset. It offers a safe place for people to experiment and find out how agile their thinking is and how fast they can adapt to new rules. This game should be used to teach strategists in companies how to be ready for change.

Think about how fast things change around us and how many changes happened in the last 10 or even 5 years. As technology evolves in such a fast pace, affecting our work and everyday life, the way we think about the world needs to change too. We need to be fast on adopting new technologies, be creative on how to use them and improve our businesses and our lives. Fluxx can be a great first step towards being more adaptive to change. Also it’s super fun to play!​​

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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