Epic Funhouse

Players 1
Length 60 minutes
Required Bits one standard piecepack
Designer RonHaleEvans and Marty Hale-Evans
Version 1.0.1
Version Date2004-01-12
License GNU Free Documentation License


So you're on a three-day "vacation" from your crummy "job" as software developer for a crummy "Silicon Trailer Park" startup, and because you can't afford a "trip" to "Europe", you've sampled most of what the crummy little swamp town of Rolando, Florida has for sale. You've (yawn) fed the squid at WetWorld, seen the 3D Gigantimax remake of A Brief History of Time on the Cosmological Studios Tour, and visited a couple of "orange groves". (Since global warming kicked in and most citrus farming moved to Newfoundland, "orange grove" is a code word here for "chicken ranch", which is itself a code word for... But this is a family feature.)

Rolando's biggest attraction is EisnerLand (named after the great cartoonist, of course, although due to a groundbreaking 2005 trademark law decision, he had to change his name). EisnerLand is known worldwide as "The Magic Duchy", and thanks to intensive MPRIAA lobbying, may soon become a real duchy (the Mouse That Roared, you might say). Until now, you've managed to pass the duchy every day of your trip to Rolando, but today some unnameable force draws you toward its turnstiles. Could it be Fate?

Inside EisnerLand, it's hot, sweaty, and mobbed with FunSeekers. Colas are $10 a pop, and ice costs $3 extra. APRICOT Center is a pit, of course, but the crowds of FunSeekers inexorably hustle you into the main park, toward a creepy mansion decorated with whimsical gravestones. A sign reads,

Your home for epic fun!
But can you find your way out?

Har har, you think, but a thick fist seizes your wrist. Oh, no - it's a FunFinder! "We just need your thumbprint on this form," he says, crushing your thumb painfully into an ink pad. Underneath the clause signing your life savings over to EisnerCorp "in case of accident", you see another clause indemnifying the corporation against any "decapitation, mental anguish, and/or putting his/her eye out that FUNSEEKER may encounter in FUNHOUSE during his/her otherwise enjoyable visit."

You have just time to squeak, "Decapitation?" before the FunFinder grabs your face with five meaty fingers and shoves you backward into a dark, sloping tunnel.

Looks like you just became the hero of this epic...


Epic Funhouse is an interlocking suite of solitaire games representing a trip through a funhouse with stops in six rooms. The rooms are designed to be played together in order, especially since the setup for each is affected by how you play the previous game. However, with a little ingenuity, each game can also be played separately.


Magic Mirror: Room #2

Since each room's game depends on the game in the previous room, you may want to read the full rules of Epic Funhouse before you start. You should at least read the full rules for each room when you start it. Be sure to read the Transition section for each game, so that you are aware of what aspects of the current room you will need to preserve for the next room.

Don't despair if you do badly at Epic Funhouse the first time you play. As you play, you will learn not only how to play the individual games better, but also how to set up the next game in the sequence to maximize your chances of scoring well. The Strategy section at the end of the rules gives strategy hints for each game and for the skillful setup of the next.

You will score yourself in each room. The perfect score for each room and for the Funhouse as a whole is zero. Your score for the entire Funhouse is the sum of your scores for the individual rooms.




Reviews & Comments

Honorable Mention in the SolitaryConfinement Competition: "Cleverest overall concept: Epic Funhouse by RonHaleEvans & Marty Hale-Evans. This is a series of 6 mostly abstract games that are played in the 6 rooms of an amusement park in a not too-distant dystopian future. Also contains the only dexterity game of the contest."

Personal feedback from SolitaryConfinement judge Phillip Lerche (quoted with permission):

I judged each game based on several things.
First impression; Overall fun; Rules; Strategy vs luck; Replayability; Use of the pack; Theme; Lasting impression.
I don't have anything specific to say about your game. I could see the great amount of work that went into your game - a super effort that I was in awe of. The presentation of the rules is excellent, and the setting certainly appealed to my sense of humor. I have already commended you on the clever concept. Certainly initially I was a little overwhelmed by the rules package after I printed it out, but I did enjoy myself in the Funhouse and there is some good replayability there.
All 6 games are solid solitaires, however I did think games 1 and 2 felt a bit too similar, and I don't personally enjoy flicking games (although i did think it was neat to see a dexterity solitaire - a unique finding in the contest). While the 6 games are solid, none really stood out (compared with the top 3 entries).

Ron & Marty, I don't have a piecepack with me at work, but I read over the Epic Funhouse ruleset at lunch, and I must say, it looks delightful. I can't wait to play it! -- ClarkRodeffer

Thanks, Clark! Nice to know the judge of the next competition appreciates our entry in the current competition. :) Marty got to play Mathrix a little tonight (2004-01-14); I'm sure we'll both have some comments on your games. --RonHaleEvans

I had a hard time in the one where you are jumping over the passage. (The dexterity game.) I had a sequence of tile placements that spiraled in on itself, and there was no way to "get out." The rules don't seem to cover such a situation- help!

I believe this was part 3 of the game, after the house of mirrors.

(We may want to, on the Piecepack wiki, make a page of "general systems for constructing mazes by piecepack."..! Then you could reuse the mechanism in future games, and evolve the mechanism itself, independent of particular games.)

-- LionKimbro?

The rules for Catwalk (Game 3) say,

If you can't even add tiles to the catwalk by continuing in the same direction (for example, if the catwalk is about to run into a dead end), roll a die to pick a random direction from those available. In some cases, only one direction is possible. (EF version 1.0.1)

I believe this covers your situation. But the Epic Funhouse rules are currently 16 pages of small print (hey, it's epic!), so I'm not surprised you missed one rule.

I like your idea about a page for general systems for maze construction. In fact, I have thought more than once that there ought to be a comprehensive catalog of piecepack mechanics -- perhaps a PiecepackPatternLanguage??


I had the same "spiraling in" problem with my game LabRats, where you can get in the situation where even changing the direction of the last tile is insufficient to fix things. All I could come up with was allowing the player to back out as many tiles as necessary to free the maze from the spiral, but left it up to the player to decide how many. -- Mark A. Biggar

We meant the phrase "if the catwalk is about to run into a dead end" to be interpreted broadly, as in, "if you can foresee that a few turns from now you may be stuck...". Perhaps this should be made more explicit in the rules. --RonHaleEvans

CategoryGame SolitaireThemedGamesCategory MechanicFlickingCategory