Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Linkee on' Dragon's Den'

I think you probably know me well enough that it doesn’t come as a complete shock to you when I say that I have not been averse to making the odd bob or two from quizzing when the opportunity has arisen. A few months ago a friend of mine who supplies questions to, well, basically to anyone who wants them, asked if I fancied putting together some question sets for a game called Linkee. I won’t lie, I had a go. To be fair they do invite you within the game itself to have a go and send them questions for nothing, and if it gets used in a future edition, then your name will feature on the card. Sorry guys, but I prefer the cash. Well, the reason why I mention it now is that I’ve just got round to watching Sunday’s edition of “Dragon’s Den”. The Linkee people were featured on it, pitching the Linkee game and brand to the dragons offering £50,000 for 10% of the company. If you want to see it for yourself it’s 30 minutes into the show.

If you’re not familiar with the game, well, basically it’s all about connections. The game consists of question cards. Each card has 4 questions. The QM reads out the first, and the selected player answers – or not, in which case it goes across. The answers to all 4 questions on the card are linked. As soon as any player knows the link, they shout out ‘Linkee!’ and give the connection to win that set of cards. Each card has a letter on the back, one of the letters of the name of the game. Once you collect all 6 letters to spell out Linkee, then you win.

Well, that’s basically it, anyway. At the risk of biting the hand that has fed me I will make a couple of observations. Speaking as at least a student of the quiz games genre if not a connoisseur, it’s not a bad game at all, and there are a lot worse out there. However, on Dragon’s Den the guys described it as ‘anti genius’ , saying that you don’t actually have to know very much to be ‘the smartest person in the room’. In addition the packaging does make a boast of the fact that the most serious quizzers are no more likely to win than any other player. I beg to differ. Even allowing for the randomizing factor of the letter collecting a serious quizzer will have read, or encountered a lot of these connections before in quizzes, and is more likely to spot them earlier. Let me give you an example of how this works, although not one from the actual game. Last week Rob from Lemurs produced the quiz in the rugby club, and bloomin’ good it was, too. After the first round it was obvious that he was asking connections questions. So when one set started with the question “What did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his hat?” I immediately said "The connection is penguins!” George of my team looked at me, shook his head, laughed, and said “How do you know things like that?” or words to that effect. Well, it’s pretty simple really. Most people know that Yankee Doodle called it macaroni. So if the connection begins that way then it’s most likely to be either the mundane connection of types of pasta, or the better connection of species of penguin. Not only that, but whenever I hear macaroni as part of a connection, then that connection is penguins. I’ve even used the same connection in one of my own quizzes. So it’s penguin, alright?! No, I didn’t say this to George, but I’m sure you know where I’m coming from. Well, the same principle works with the game. There are some good, original questions sets in it, but a lot that regular quizzers will have encountered before.

During their pitch in ‘Dragon’s Den’ the three creators revealed that they had been approached by a TV producer and asked if they’d ever thought of doing a TV version. Hmmm. I can’t help thinking that what would come of it would be a weak, watered down version of ‘Only Connect’ , without Victoria Coren Mitchell to boot.
I’ll be honest, I thought that they’d priced themselves out of the market completely by giving the company a £500,000 valuation, bearing in mind that they’d only sold 2000 units at the time of recording, still the creators did actually get one offer of funding. Duncan Bannatyne offered the money in return for 40%, which they didn’t want to go for.

Is that it for Linkee, then? Not necessarily. The Dragons have turned down winners before. Certainly the appearance on the show probably won’t do it any harm. Good luck, anyway.

If you want to read my take on Linkee and a lot of other quiz games, past and present, then you can either click on My Web Pages in the adjacent links section, or you could follow this link : -
My Quiz Games Page


Watergrass Jon said...

Knowing a bit about the boardgames industry in the UK I'd offer a little bit of advice to them - forget it. There are literally HUNDREDS of people who have come up with board games (some good, most not) and believe with a religious fervour that theirs will make it big, and they pretty much ALL lose money. There just isn't a market for board games in the UK - it's moribund. Better to try Germany where there is still a reasonable market - but the game had better be good to make it there.

Londinius said...

Hi Watergrass Jon

I haven't actually had any dealings with the creators personally, just put some questions together for someone they contracted to make some for them, so anything I say has to be viewed in this light. I get the impression that they are extremely positive about the game - nothing wrong with that.

Speaking personally, it's not a bad game to play at all, even if I don't agree that it negates the advantage of a serious quizzer. But how many people actually play quiz games at home.

I'm interested to see you mention Germany. One of my current favourite quiz games - Bezzerwizzer - takes its name from the German word for know-it-all. I'm guessing that it was successful in Germany first.

Techno Tim said...

Well me old mucka Watergrass Jon got that wrong didn't he...