EPP15: Eric's Circle of Friends

Congratulations Team Moon Pie!

Pi-Day 2015 was a thrilling ride for all teams involved. Fourteen teams competed in "Eric's Circle of Friends", and while most teams ended up solving more puzzles than they ever had during one of my Parties, only four of the teams decoded enough of the hidden information to make it into the "Inner Circle". The event came down to the wire and depended upon the final challenge: the "Center of Attention". After a nerve-wracking finish (in more ways than one), Team Moon Pie prevailed.

Kudos to team captain Steven Clontz and the rest of the Moon-Piers: James Dabbs, Julie Gaddy, Steve Gaddy, Diego Medina, and Rex Miller.

In addition to the final scoreboard linked to above, you may view and graph of how all of the teams performed hour by hour by clicking here.

Here is a list of the puzzles the players had to face (without some of the physical props). They can give you a fair notion of what the participants were up against during the day.


Change of venue for the Opening Puzzle. Due to the high probability of rain Saturday morning, the Opening Puzzle will be moved to the lobby of the Auburn University Student Center (near the Foy Information Desk). Start time will still be 9:26:53am (the building is supposed to be open as early as 8:00am). Please try to have your team assembled there between 9:00-9:15 so that we can start promptly.


When Puzzle Partyers Tracy Cobbs and Anne Daniels both pointed out to me that "PI Day" fell on a Saturday in the year 2015, and that this would be designated (in the United States, at least) as 3/14/15, the mathematical constant out to four decimal places, I couldn't forgo the opportunity to host a PI-themed Puzzle Party (even though it will be about a month earlier than usual). Players will also understand why the start time of the Party is a bit earlier than usual, as well, beginning at 9:26:53 AM that morning.

So, what will my "PI Puzzle Party" entail? Well, obviously, there will be lots of references to the irrational, transcendental, never-ending number 3.141592653... Players can also expect lots of "PI/pie" puns... oh, so very many other those. There will be circles, Greek letters, and anything else that I can think of that is even remotely related to PI.

But fear not, the puzzles will not be all math-based. As usual, there will be a great variety of challenges: wordplay, mazes, hidden things, and plenty of running/driving around Auburn, Alabama. (More information about the puzzles is farther down the page.)

If you are reading this webpage, there's a good chance you've at least heard about my past Puzzle Parties. Consider yourself, on some level, to already be in my "circle of friends". You are invited to my 15th Puzzle Party, and encouraged to invite new people as well. I've been hosting these things for over ten years now, and this one will be as intense as ever.


In the past, teams for my Puzzle Parties have been designated by colors. This year, in keeping with the pun-and-pi theme that will abound, teams will be designated by a type of baked pie of their own choosing.

When you are ready to claim a Team Flavor (you must have at least two people committed to being on your team), email me with your team members (including Team Captain info, if known at that point)and your chosen Team Flavor. Team Flavors will be approved by Eric and confirmed by him listing them on this webpage. Flavors will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Beyond that, team formation rules will follow my fairly standard system. Each player has a "value" based on participation in, and trophies/wins from, past Auburn puzzle events. There is a point-cap for a team which the total of players' values may not exceed. If a team member has never particpated in an Auburn puzzle event, he or she is worth 8 Team Points, otherwise his or her value is equal to 9 + [number of trophies/wins] from past puzzle events.

If the player is visiting from out of town, his or her value is reduced by 1 (to encourage out-of-towners to attend). If a player wants to participate remotely (i.e. they will officially be on a team but not in town -- corresponding via internet or phone with their team), the player's Point Value is reduced by 2.

Here is a PDF of all past-players and their Trophy/Win counts (the final yellow column). Visiting and remote Player Point deductions are not included in that value. If a person's name is not listed in that PDF, he or she must be a newbie (and thus worth 8 Team Points). If there are errors in that PDF, please let me know.

The total value of an EPP15 Team may not exceed 60 Points.

You are welcome to adjust your team rosters anytime before Party-Day (adding teammates, removing them), just send me an update-email when you want to make changes.

TEAM ROSTERS (60 Team Points maximum)
Team Captains are in boldface. The Captain needs to be sure that I have his/her cell phone number and email address and needs to tell me a password for his/her team.
† Visiting participant (-1 Team Point)
‡ Remote participant (-2 Team Points)
(States represented: AL, CA, CT, DC, FL, GA, IN, LA, MA, MD, PA, SC, TN)
Dan Crowdus ‡ (6)
Trina Crowdus (9)
Michelle Facker (8)
Kelly Hollingsworth (11)
Shannon Locklear † (8)
Allison Miller † (8)
Deana Schnuelle (9)
Bryan Leclair † (8)
Sean Molley † (8)
Megan Orr † (7)
Heidi Pritchett † (7)
John Richardson † (8)
Brian Schoner † (8)
Greg Watson † (8)
Josh Cazalas (7)
Michelle Cazalas (7)
David Jarrell † (10)
Karina Aleksandrova ‡ (6)
Kentaro Obara † (7)
Sanny Omar (8)
Meghan Vaughn † (8)
Erin Beaver (9)
Emily Knoebel † (10)
Kris Knoebel † (7)
Ashley Loyd (9)
Kathryn Madzar (8)
Meredith Mitchell (9)
Patrick Buckingham † (9)
Alex Byaly (11)
Sean Gugler ‡ (6)
Charles McPillan † (12)
Erin McPillan † (11)
Calvin Thomas † (10)
Ricardo Aitken † (7)
Johnathan Davis (9)
Kate Fuller (8)
Frank Giuliano † (7)
Louise Glew † (8)
Jeff LaMondia (9)
Eric Spurgeon † (8)
Steven Clontz (13)
James Dabbs † (10)
Julie Gaddy † (9)
Steve Gaddy † (9)
Diego Medina † (7)
Rex Miller † (9)
Chris Daniel (8)
Lee Daniel † (7)
Paul Daniel † (9)
Joseph Hall (8)
Simon Lee (8)
Ben Mullins † (7)
Tom Beard (9)
Edward Boudreaux † (9)
Sharon Boudreaux † (9)
Eric Cahanin † (7)
Robert Ford † (12)
Tim Hardwick (12)
Tanner Bain (9)
Nate Hannon ‡ (6)
Michael Hollingsworth (12)
Heath Hopkins ‡ (10)
Daniel Rundle ‡ (6)
Paul Rundle ‡ (7)
Jared Watkins (9)
Stephen Bennett † (8)
Kelly Bragan (11)
Liz Littrell † (7)
Cathlena Martin † (8)
Benton Tyler † (8)
Scott Varagona † (10)
Ian Hoffman † (8)
Phillip Ferentinos (9)
Melanie McDonald (9)
Angela Tortomase † (8)
Anthony Tortomase † (8)
Viviana Valenzuela † (8)
Thomas Yuill ‡ (7)
Kyle Booth (8)
Tim Georgeson (8)
Korey Gilley (8)
Taylor Pruitt (8)
Ian Schaefer (10)
Neil Schaefer (9)
Sara Speetjens (8)
Laura Abell (8)
Meredith Bragwell (8)
Alexander Calvert (9)
Orie Cecil (8)
Leah Donahue ‡ (7)
Makenzie Reynolds (9)
Connor Watkins (8)
"Un-teamed" players. These are players who have said they will likely show up on Puzzle Day, but for one reason or another have not yet settled on a team. If you are looking to bolster your team's roster, you may want to try to recruit these folks. If you want me to add your name to the Un-teamed list, email me and let me know an email by which prospective teams can contact you.

  • No un-teamed players at this time.

Of course, you are also encouraged to invite other friends as well.


As is typical for my Parties, the day will start with some type of Opening Puzzle. This will likely involve all of the teams in the same area (probably outside), some scurrying around, and trying to accomplish some not-too-terribly-difficult task. As teams complete this Opening Puzzle they will then be eligible to pick up their main puzzle booklet for the day.

With this booklet obtained teams can officially consider themselves in "Eric's Circle of Friends". There will be twenty puzzles of various types within that booklet. One can expect logic puzzles, wordplay challenges, mazes, physical/manipulative conundrums, and much more (there's always something for everyone!)

Despite their wide variety, each of these puzzles will have something in common: they will all lead the solver to a destination somewhere in Auburn, Alabama. At each destination players will then be able to collect the "Numeric Passcode" necessary to enter on their team's online dashboard. These Numeric Passcodes are 15 digit numbers usually found on a sticker or plaque of some sort at the destination. Here is a sample of such a sticker:

When a team enters that number as proof of solving the associated puzzle, they will earn a certain number of points for their team. Puzzles will be worth a base 100 Points for the first team to solve it. After the puzzle has been solved by one team, its value will be reduced for other teams at the rate of about 0.05235987755982988730771072305466 Points for every minute (PI Points per hour) after the initial solve time. You are allowed multiple attempts when submitting a Numeric Passcode for an answer, but you will receive a penalty of -1 Point for each incorrect submission (whether from bad guessing or careless data entry).

There is also another, deeper level of challenges that will be available to teams who reach "The Inner Circle". How do teams join this exclusive club? Well, that's a mystery unto itself. But if a team can figure out how to find the puzzles of The Inner Circle, not only will they have opportunities to earn extra points from these variable-scoring challenges, but they will also learn how, at the end of the Party, they may become "The Center of Attention" (which can reward even more points).

By accumulating points in some or all of these ways teams will end up with a final score at the end of the Party. The team will the highest final score wins.


You may, for any of the puzzles in the "Eric's Circle of Friends" booklet, request a hint if your team feels it is completely stuck. To receive a hint for a puzzle a team member must come to my house. Upon arrival tell me what puzzle you need help on, and I will ask how far you've gotten on it. I will try to get as good a feel as possible as to where you are in the solving process of that puzzle so that I can give you a valuable hint (without just giving you the answer). Once I have the necessary information, and if I feel I have a worthy hint to give, I will ask if you want to receive it. When you definitely state that yes, you want the hint, I will tell it to you.

Hints will cost your team Points. The number of Points subtracted from your team's score will be randomly determined by rolling a number of dice equal to which number hint this is for your team (i.e. the first hint will demand one 6-sided die be rolled, the second hint -- regardless of whether for the same or a different puzzle -- will require two dice to be rolled, etc). The player receiving the hint will roll the dice as I watch, and I will deduct the Points (you will soon see it on your team's dashboard).

You may request multiple hints for the same puzzle (which will necessitate multiple dice rolls, of course). I do not guarantee that my hints will be crystal clear, but they will be relevant.

Teams may not request hints about how to find or solve any of the "Inner Circle" or "Center of Attention" puzzles.


Here are some recommendations:

The Trophies

Trophies custom made by Nicki's Clay Creations.