I am a game designer, not a one-trick pony. I just found the rules for this old game designed back in 1978 with Daniel Carver, but it’s mostly mine. I’m retyping the rules exactly as they appeared then in a copy I made to share with my friends. I am editing out any mistakes in the original manuscript.–Ken St. Andre 4/31/2015
FRUITBAT AND FUNGUS
(a Phizzbin class card game for 3 to 8 players by Ken St. Andre and Ugly John Carver with a little help from what’s left of the Cosmic Circle. c.1978, all rights reserved.) (copyright renewed, March 31, 2015 by Ken St. Andre)
Sequence of Play = Rules
1. Deal each player 6 cards face down. Do not look at them yet. (If someone looks at their hand, the penalty is that the player on the right will name the genre the offender must play in.)
2. Each player, starting with the dealer and moving to the right around the table then declares which genre they intend to spore in: Fungus, Fruitbat, or Floon. Definition: In a regular deck of cards all the numbered black cards (Ace to 10) are called fungus. With two fungi of the same value, the spade outranks the club. All numbered red cards are called fruitbats. With two of the same value, the heart outranks the diamond. All face card (jacks, queens, and kings) are called floons. After declaring which genre one is playing in, one can only score for cards played in their genre.
3. SPORE: This is the first scoring round. Each player looks at his/her hand and selects three cards to play face up for a score. Point values for various hands are listed separately in the rules, but the basic idea is to play 3 cards which will score as high as possible. Giant fungi and fruitbats are not allowed yet.
4. Trading. Starting with the player on the dealer’s right and moving around the table, each person gets a chance to improve its hand by trading with one of the other players. Any number of cards may be exchanged, but a point value of 10 or more must be given away when you trade. All floons are counted as 10 points for trading. A player may decline to trade during its turn, but may not decline if chosen by another player. Traded cards are kept secret. After everyone has had a chance to trade, we move on to the next round.
5. SPAWN: This is the second scoring round. Giant fungus and fruitbats are now allowed. A giant hand is one that uses more than 3 cards. At least 3 cards must be played. Players may change genre at the beginning of this hand, but there is a penalty of 50 points for doing so. There are no giant floons. Having all 3 of your cards in the declared genre is called a complete hand. If one must include a card that is not part of the declared genre, it is called a handicap, and the face value of the handicap cards is subtracted from the value of the hand. During either the Spore or Spawn round, a player may choose to not play in genre, but to play instead an Ecology, which consists of 1 fungus, 1 fruitbat, and 1 floon. See the list of all possible hands for the value and effect of an Ecology.
6. FLOONING: This is the third scoring round. After the spawn round, and while the cards are still face up, each player, startng with the one on the dealer’s right and continuing around gets a chance to floon. If you have one or more floons left in you hand unplayed, you can now play them on other players’ hands. You may only play 1 floon on 1 player at a time, and you cannot play on the same player more than once, even if you have 2 or more floons left in your hand. You can play on more than 1 player until you run out of floons. Flooning is done by replacing 1 card with your floon. The flooned player then gets your card, and you get the card you replaced, but you get the score for flooning. Players may not use cards that have been shown face up on the spawn round to floon with, and they cannot floon with fungi or fruitbats.
7. THE CLUTCH OF DOOM: The dealer now deals 3 cards face up from the deck. This is called THE CLUTCH OF DOOM. All players (except those who played an Ecology on the Spawn round) must discard all cards in their hands that have the same value as the Clutch of Doom cards. (Example: the 3 cards in the C. of D. are a 3, 7, and Queen. All players with 3 s, 7 s, and Queens must discard those cards.) The discards are taken out of play for the rest of the hand. Now all players pick up their remaining card and prepare for the ELIMINATION round.
8. Before we explain ELIMINATION, it is important to understand what the genres do. Fruitbats eat fungus, Floons kill Fruitbats, and Fungus rots Floons. In Elimination, any fruitbat will beat any fungus, any floon will beat any fruitbat, and any fungus will beat (destroy) any floon. Larger fungus conquer smaller fungus, and likewise with fruitbats and floons. Among floons the order of suits is spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs in order of importance, king being high and jacks being low.
9. ELIMINATION: The object of the final round is to play the last surviving card. The player at the dealer’s right plays any card in his hand face up, and play continues around the table in a counter-clockwise direction. Fungi, fruitbats, and floons are eliminated by each other until either all cards have been played, or all players are out of cards except for the player whose card is triumphant on the field. 100 points are awarded for having the last surviving card plus face value of any cards left in your hand. Whenever a player fails to destroy the reigning card during the elimination round, the owner of that ruling card is awarded an additional 10 points. (Example: Ken plays the 10 of clubs, one of the largest of fungi; John plays the 8 of spades (a smaller fungus–Ken gets 10 points); Liz plays the Queen of Spades, a floon which is rotted by the fungus (Ken gets 10 points); Rob plays the Ace of Diamonds (a little tiny fruitbat, but it devours the great big fungus) and now his fruitbat holds thef field. Rob gets no points for knocking off Ken, but Ken cannot score any more on the big fungus.)
10. When the ELIMINATION round is over, the scores are totaled. Of course, the object was to make as high a score as possible. Fruitbat and Fungus is normally played in a series of hands, until one player has 1000 or more points. The highest score in excess of 1000 at the end of a hand is declared the winner. It usually takes about 5 hands for someone to win. For a shorter game, reduce the number of points needed to win; for a longer one increase them.
11. For maximum enjoyment players should announce the names of their hands during Spore and Spawn rounds, and give a running commentary during the other sequences of play, especially during Elimination.
12. Please study the scoring table and list of possible hands that follows. For purposes of humor, certain derogatory American slang has been used in the naming of floon hands–the names being suggested by the fact that you are using kings, queens, and jacks. The inventors of the game have no bias against thugs, faggots, lesbisans or anyone else. We merely use these labels because we find them humorous when taken out of contest and believe that most of our compeers will do so also.
Scoring Rules and Vocabulary
FUNGUS AND FRUITBAT HANDS
Mated–a pair, scores double face value of hand in a complete fungus or fruitbat.
Sprained–any 3 card straight (or longer) in either fungus or fruitbat. Scores triple the face value of the cards.
Flushed–any 3 (or more) cards all of the same suit in either fungus or fruitbat. Scores four times the face value of the hand.
Badass–a straight flush in fungus or fruitbat. Scores 10 times the face value of the hand.
Giant–using 4 or more cards in a fungus or fruitbat. Can only be played during the Spawn round.
It is proper when playing a hand to declare it gleefully as a Giant Sprained Fuitbat! Etc. It adds atmosphere.
1 Jack–Bastard. Worth 15 points.
1 Queen–Lady of the Evening. Worth 15 points.
1 King–Stud. Worth 15 points.
2 Jacks or 2 Kings–Faggots. Worth 40 points for women; worth 100 points for men.
2 Queens–Lesbians. worth 60 points for men; worth 150 points for women.
2 Jacks and a King–Thugs. Worth 60 points. If played, it wipes out any score made for Faggots during the round. When played on a floon round it scores only its face value.
2 Kings and a Jack–a Congress. Worth 50 points for a female player and 75 points for a male player. If played it can be used to wipe out the point value for any other hand played during the round.
2 Queens and a Jack–a Cathouse. Worth 50 points for a female player and 75 points for a male player. It wipes out any score made for Lesbians during the round.
Jack and Queen of the same suit–an Oedipus. Worth 40 points.
King and Queen–a Marriage. Worth 20 points, unless . . .
King and Queen of different colors–Miscegenation. Worth 25 points.
King, Queen, and Jack–a Family. Worth 60 points. It is taken out of play, and left face up beside the player’s hand. The player is dealt 3 new cards to replace them. If the player can then make another family & play it, that is a Clan and is worth 240 points. In addition, the player gets to use all 6 cards in the Elimination round. When clans are not made, the family goes to the discards after the round is over.
King, Queen, and Jack of the same suit.–An Incest. 180 points. Not counted as a family for purposes of throwing out and getting new cards. Leads to the only possible giant floon. If you have a double Incest in your hand and you play it, it is worth 540 points.
3 Jacks–Punks. Worth 150 points.
3 Queens–Gaggle. Worth 150 points for men; worth 450 points for women.
3 Kings–a Pride. Worth 150 points for women; worth 450 points for men.
The Ecology can be played without penalty during the Spore and Spawn rounds. It consists of 1 fungus, 1 fruitbat and 1 floon. It has no intrinsic value of its own, but counts for the same amount as the lowest hand played by another player. It also protects the player who used it from losing any cards to the Clutch of Doom, and it limits Floon hands to face value regardless of the bonuses normally associated with them above. An Ecology can be destroyed by flooning, but if not destroyed, they continue to have their regular dampening effect on any hand created by flooning.
Comments 37 years later:
Yes, Fruitbat and Fungus is a real game, that Daniel Carver and I created in the summer of 1978. The rules, scoring, and style of play are mostly mine, but Carver helped greatly with naming various types of hands, and special rules. For example, these rules talk about Giant Fruitbats and Fungus, but Dan quickly changed that name to Humongous. So we could have a humongous fungus among us. My group of friends played it a lot for about 3 years and then we lost all copies of the rules and got involved in other things and it was mostly forgotten. All names and attitudes associated with gender and politics and societal norms were meant to be taken as satire, and not intended in any mean-spirited or derogatory fashion. We had gay friends (I even had one transgendered friend) even in that uptight era. It was meant to be an underground, secret game because we used language not considered acceptable in polite society back then. In today’s climate of political correctness, it might be considered outrageously offensive, but when we wre playing it, both men and women, gay and straight, considered it to be hilarious. It was also complex enough that we had to keep the rules on hand in order to remember the scoring, and the possibilities for scoring and reversals of fortune are extremely varied. My group (Ken St. Andre, James “Bear” Peters, Liz Danforth, Dan “Ugly John” Carver, Rob Carver and some others) eventually went our different ways. The rules had been mimeographed and distributed, and those copies got lost. I discovered my original hand-typed edition of the rules today (March 31, 2015) while going through and cleaning out some papers, and I have spent the last 3 hours retyping it here in order to preserve it from being lost forever. In today’s free-spirited geek culture, I don’t think the game would cause any alarm at all, but the politically correct might still be offended. I’m posting it where anyone can see it and play it, and you are invited to do so, but the copyright is mine. Don’t sell it!
If you’ve ever played any really strange card games, why not leave a comment. I mean really strange. If a game is available commerically, it’s not that strange.