Tuesday, 10 April 2012

How Far Would You Go For A Quiz - Our Games Marathon

I finished putting the quiz together yesterday in time to head off down to Newport for Trevor’s Monday night quiz. It’s a bit of a step – well, actually, at a 90 minute round trip it’s a lot of a step – but now that the league season is over in Bridgend I want to start going over to Newport when I can. When you’re not working the next day it becomes an attractive prospect. Before my old mate Alan passed away a couple of years ago there were three of us who made the trip regularly, and we could share the driving between us, but sadly those days have passed. It’s drive myself, or don’t go now.

If you’ve never regularly undertaken an 80 mile round trip to play in a quiz, you’re probably asking yourself – is it worth it ? I suppose that if you looked on it in purely financial terms, the answer would be no. Even if you win – as we did last night – you won’t win enough money to cover what you spent on petrol I’m sure. But in terms of the quiz – well, yes, actually , I think it is. For your money - £2 to enter – you get 3 rounds of twenty questions. The first 10 to a dozen are all in the news – and despite me combing the papers for questions myself I have never managed to predict all the questions Trevor picks. The rest are a wide mixture of subjects, and during the evening you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear at least a couple you’ve never heard before. Trevor runs his own business setting quizzes, and as you’d expect he knows his onions, and has great skill in putting the rounds together. Between rounds one and two you get a picture handout – or as we call it – our Waterloo. We only conceded about 3 or 4 points on the pictures last night, and that was the foundation of our win. Then between rounds 2 and 3 you get a handout round , with multiple questions on a range of topics, and usually about 50 points on offer. If it suits you, then it can make the difference between a win, and a minor placing. Last night it suited.

There’s a real pleasure in a well put together quiz like that, and I’m honest enough to admit that it’s all the more so if you win. Of course, I’m back at school next week, and with the best will in the world that changes everything. But I’ll definitely be happy to make the round trip again when I can.


I don’t really know why we chose to do it today rather than any of the other days that I’ve been home, but today my youngest daughter Jess and I decided on the spur of the moment to have a bit of a games marathon . Rules ? Well, not many since you come to mention it, but the main idea was that we’d take it in turns choosing the games. I got first choice – well , age does have its perks. My first choice ? The World According to Ubi. I was recommended this game last year by LAM readers bj and cwj, and I have posted about it since. This game has actually really got something. Basically the board, which is very large, is a map of the world, overlaid with a hexagonal grid. The name of the game is finding places on the map, which are the answers to questions – some of them quite cryptic – on cards. Each hexagon is split up into 6 triangles. You role two dice to find out which area you have to answer a question about, and whether hexagonal accuracy, or triangular accuracy is required. If you answer the hexagonal correctly, you get another go. If you answer the triangular correctly, you get a piece of a pyramid. Once your pyramid is built, answer a triangular question to earn the capstone, and you win. The game may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. People tended to find it difficult because the questions are so tricky if you’re not a quizzer. Even if you are, getting triangular accuracy can be difficult. I promised Jess I’d help her with that unless she got as far as needing just the capstone, in which case she was on her own. Even so, it took us the best part of three quarters of an hour or so to play to a finish. The more I play this game – which isn’t very often unfortunately – the more I enjoy it.

I can’t say the same about the Disney trivia game that Jess brought out for her first pick. This wasn’t the official Disney Trivial Pursuit, but you can see that it was certainly influenced by the giant of all quiz board games. Basically it too involved piloting pieces around a board ( shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head), answering questions to collect different coloured Mickey Mouse ears. First to collect all the colours, get to the finish, and correctly answer a category question chosen by the opposing player would win. I was surprised actually at not knowing some of the questions – for example, did you know that in Cinderella, the song the mice sing while running around making Cinderella’s dress – “Cinderella , Cinderella etc. etc. “ – is officially called The Work Song ? No, I didn’t either, which probably explains why Jess beat me 2 – 1 in our best of three mini tournament. Which meant that we were all square at 2 games apiece .

My third choice was The University Challenge Electronic Game. I don’t know if you ever saw this one a few years ago when it came out. It has an electronic ‘desk’ from which 4 buzzers emerge, and a set of lights which gradually count down the duration of the game. The big criticism which people made of the game when it first came out – that there aren’t many question cards, is a valid one. There are 4 sets – Basic – Beginner – Intermediate and Advanced. We played with the beginner set, but I made a rule that Jess would get first crack at each starter, and I’d only answer if she got it wrong. Still, the fact is that even the beginner cards still have questions of quite a decent standard, and by the time the gong went – yes, it really does have the sound of the gong going off at the end of the game – it was a fairly comfortable win. 3 -2.

Jess surprised me with her next choice – Scrabble. To be fair to her we hadn’t stipulated that the games had to be quiz/question based. About a year ago I wrote a post about the way my father desperately wanted to beat me at Scrabble when I was a kid, and the way I couldn’t just LET him win, even though it would have made my life a lot easier at the time. So I gave her fair warning about this, and we began. At this point Jessie’s slightly older twin, Jen, my third daughter came in with her boyfriend Shaun. Who were both instantly taken with the idea of the games marathon, and when they promised to make lunch while we were seeing out the first game, we graciously allowed them to join in from the next game. Well, that made our head to head score irrelevant, but never mind.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure whose idea it was to leave the board games behind and move on to Buzz Quiz World, on the PS3 (What on Earth is a PS3 ? It is a new fangled video games console, I am reliably informed, m’lud. )I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of the Buzz games, but this one at least does have categories other than modern entertainment. Well, anyway, as we progressed towards the last round – which I never lose, there was a knock on the door. The repairman for the washing machine had arrived. Did I mention that we were waiting in for the repairman ? Well, anyway, I explained what the problem was ( basically we’d prefer the water to stay in the machine rather than squirting all over the floor ) , and by the time I rejoined the game, I found that in my absence they’d decided that the current game would continue , and the result would be winner takes all , superceding all previous games. And they made sure that I was already out, thus making Jess the Supreme Games champion of the day. I have to take my hat off to the girls – a display of nefarious chicanery of which I would have been proud myself. Chips off the old block.

And when I think – I could have ended up just wasting today !


DanielFullard said...

Sounds good! I often find the opposite with my family and other half....what is supposed to be "a quick game of scrabble" turns into a marathon of trivial pursuit and various other quiz games before ending up inevitably on Wii bowling.

drgaryegrant said...

Buzz is a fab game....I lost years of my life playing that with my ex on the PS2 version. Maybe that's why she's an ex! Come to think of it, those might be the first 'quizzes' I ever played, so the game has even more to answer for!

As far as 'How Far Would You Go?' I can't match you on distance, but last night saw the restart of the Orrell Quiz League, KO 8.45pm. I finish work on a Tuesday at 8pm, and it takes about 45 minutes from Bury to Wigan/Orrell, so for me it was straight from work, having not eaten for 8 hours, drive like the wind (whilst observing national speed limits however, should any police/the GMC be reading. Ahem.) to the 1 hour and 40 mins minute quiz then 45 minutes home, finally arriving back to some very pissed-off and hungry pet cats at about 11.20pm. And I do intend to do this every week....

Londinius said...

Hi Gary

I bet your cats find somewhere else to feed them as well. I have two, one of which eats anything and everything, one of which hardly ever eats with us. Yet he's perfectly healthy ( not my words, but the vet's ) , so he's obviously getting fed somewhere.

Actually this is equally true of teenage kids.

Gruff said...

I thought you had retired Gary!

There was a time when the thought of travelling any sort of a distance out of the local area for a quiz would have been madness to me. But the Grand Prix circuit changed that, and now 6 hour round trips and overnight stays are regular occurences. But the highlight of my year are the European Quiz Championships, which have taken me to Paris, Oslo, Dordrecht, Bruges and this year will take me to Tartu.

The fact of the matter is, if the quiz is good enough I am now prepared to do the travelling. But my committment still pales into insignificance when compared with fellow quizzers who have travelled from India, Canada and the US to attend events in Europe (and vice versa).

Domestically I make a once a month 90 min round trip to Harpole in Northants for a pub quiz run by Nic Paul. It's worth it, but I can't think of any other pub quizzes that would be.