Hi Steve - current rules from Zoch are here:
Subject: Confused but only slightly
Just got the game and I have a simple question, when the hamster falls out does it need to be placed back in the wheel?
Yes. Page 5 of linked rules:
All pieces that
fall out of the hamster wheel, will have to be put in again later.
And Page 7:
If, during your turn, playing pieces fall out of the hamster wheel (they only have to
touch the table, even if they are still lying partly inside the wheel), you take these
Though I feel that a strict interpretation of these rules implies that the "hamster" must (in order to "get rid of all of your pieces") be placed back in the wheel, it surprises me that this isn't explicitly mentioned. (Though, to me, these rules are notoriously loose around the edges)
I am assuming yes but it is a heavy sucker.
Its weight is usually a red herring. Don't let it intimidate your play.
Oh one more, it appears that consensus is that pieces added need to be placed in the direction of building direction, correct?
Yes. See page 6 for "Stick to the rolling direction!"
Any FAQ anywhere?
Love the game
Not that I know of, but there are many FAQ-ish threads, with community input, but I don't know of any official or quasi-official clarifications:
A few questions after two plays