Filkers' Rules For Encore(TM)
The game "Encore,"
published by Endless Games,Inc., is great fun for filkers to play. Unfortunately for us,
the rules are targeted at players who don't know a lot of songs; some modifications are necessary
to make it enjoyable by people who can quote large numbers of lyrics and their parodies by heart.
The following are some suggested rules for filkers. With appropriate changes, they can also be
used by anyone who needs changes in order to avoid a truly "endless game."
Disclaimers: I have no connection with Encore or Endless Games. This page is offered just
as an attempt to make the game more enjoyable.
This commentary is based on the Endless Games rules, which are slightly different from the
earlier Parker Brothers rules.
- Only existing songs, which the other players could conceivably have heard before,
are permitted. No creating songs on the spot. Players are trusted to be honest
about this; take challenges offline.
- For a given round, only one set of lyrics to a given tune is permitted.
- If two tunes are generally considered interchangeable for the same lyrics (e.g.,
the different tunes for "The Cat Came Back"), they don't count as different songs.
A parody of "The Cat Came Back," using a different tune, isn't allowed if "The Cat
Came Back" was already used in the current round.
- Rule 4 under "The Sing Off" is broken. As it's written, the winning strategy is
always to wait for the other player to start the timer. Instead, every round should
be timed. Use a stopwatch rather than the sandglass included with the game; not only
is the glass not very accurate, you have to wait for it to run out before flipping it.
Start the timer immediately after reading the category, and restart it each time
a valid answer is given.
Every round continues until a team can't come up with a song within the time limit.
- Anyone who's acceptable to all players may run the timer.
- Certain categories should be ruled out in advance; if you get a card with this
category, go on to the next card. For filkers, I suggest ruling out "Celestial Songs,"
"Songs About Space," and "Songs About Famous People." (Think of how long you could go
just with songs about Jesus.) Players may also agree, when an interminable category
comes up or after going back and forth too long, to skip it. A possible alternate
rule, which I haven't tried, is to put a maximum number of rounds on any card, after
which another card is drawn.
- Ignore item 4 on the questions page; punning answers, such as "Ford every stream"
for "Automobiles," are not acceptable.
- In "The Grand Finale," it's ambiguous whether the challenged players have to come
up with songs for all the categories in a single 30-second interval, or in 30
seconds per category. I've never been sure which way to do it, but really expert
players should be able to fill the whole list in 30 seconds.
- Ignore the rule that the losers have to wait hand and foot on the winners -- please.
Encore is a trademark of International Design Workshop, Inc.
Copyright 2000 by Gary McGath