Every other week Scott Jon Siegel contributes Off the Grid, a column on gaming away from the television screen or monitor.
Rules are awesome. If you're a fan of games, this is an inescapable truth for you. Every game you play is comprised of a set of rules, ranging from elementary to near-incomprehensible. If it's a digital game, the rules are there; you just can't see most of them. If it's an analog game, though, it becomes your job as a player to know the rules. How else are you supposed to play?
Certain clever game designers have recognized the sheer importance of rules in game design, and have even recognized design itself as a sort of game. The result is games that are about rules – games that make and break their own rules as they're played. The most well-known of these rule-based games is Richard Garfield's Magic: The Gathering. But we're not dealing with that right now.
The most accessible of these rule-based games, however, is a little family game called Fluxx, designed by self-proclaimed hippy Andy Looney over at Looney Labs.