Astro Jail meta

by Dan Katz, Mike Selinker, and Meta Group A, animal illustrations by Francis Heaney

The Astro Jail turns out to be a loose translation for "zoo." Solvers move between rooms on the map: the outer rooms are empty, while the lettered rooms each contain an animal. Each animal room has an animal and an associated puzzle (the animals and puzzle answers are given below). Solvers start with access to Rooms (f), (g), (j), and (k). Solving a puzzle gives the solver access to all orthogonally adjacent rooms to that puzzle. So for example, Room (g) contains the Copperhead's Sandcow. Solving the puzzle in this room (which has the answer DIE) opens Rooms (c) and (h). If you then solved (c) it would open (b), (d), and an empty room. (Note that empty rooms never give access to adjacent empty rooms.)

Here are the animals in the sixteen puzzle rooms and their puzzle answers:

Each of the sixteen cards that come with the boardgame has some flavortext with a single word in boldface:

Adding a letter at the beginning and a letter at the end of each puzzle answer forms a word clued on the Escape from Zyzzlvaria card which anagrams to the animal associated with the puzzle. If you read the added beginning letters from left to right, you get four-letter strings which form animals if you (again) add a letter at the beginning and at the end. The same process works on the added end letters, reading down each column.

G R(EVOLVE)R (piece) O(VERSE)E (run) U(NAGIN)G (immortal) S(TERN)A (bones) E
A L(CHAI)M (cheers) P(AMPERE)R (masseuse) A(DIE)U (farewell) C(ELLIS)T (musician) A
C A(GOUT)I (beast) I(CHO)R (fluid) M(ARCHES)A (noblewoman) A(TAR)I (console) N
R A(POLLYO)N (Angel) B(EGON)E (leave) B(ROW)N (university) I(DIO)T (fool) T

The across animals are the GROUSE, ALPACA, CAIMAN, and RABBIT. The down animals are the ERMINE, FERRET, IGUANA, and RATITE. Reading around the added outside letters spells Ralph's location, the FIRE ANTEATER CAGE.