Saturday, 15 November 2008

Jackpots and Home Made Quizzes

When Winning the Jackpot is a dangerous business

Regular readers will recall a few months back the saga of my friend John and I searching for a new quiz to play in on a Sunday night, following events coming to a head at the Dynevor Arms in Groesfaen. Well, a few weeks ago we found a place that really suits. Its the Culverhouse Hotel, in Cardiff. The question master sets his own quiz every week, and the difference in quality between this, and the kind of quizzes pubs buy in from companies such as Redtooth is huge. Now, for all I know you might very well attend a Redtooth quiz every week and enjoy it. Good luck to you. I don't. In my opinion they are too full of gimmicks, there's too much popular culture and trivia, and too few genuine quiz questions. Feel free to disagree.

We'd tried out three or four different places in a row, and each one of them was using a Redtooth quiz, so finding the Culverhouse was like an oasis in the desert. For the last three weeks in a row we've won the quiz. Not a huge amount of money, but the that is of little or no importance. The fact is that its an enjoyable quiz.

So, I'll cut to the choice. We won again on Sunday. That's fine. there was some good natured banter along the lines of "Don't come back next week " from some of the teams. But it was OK. Then we made a mistake. We won the jackpot. The jackpot goes every week. you each pay an extra pound into the pot, and then have to answer one question. You play as an individual, not a team. The answer is always a question. So this week we were asked,
In which year was St. Paul's Cathedral in London damaged by an earthquake ?
I thought to myself that I have never heard of Wren's cathedral being damaged by earthquake, so surely it must have been the medieval cathedral which was destroyed in the Great Fire. I didn't reckon anybody else would would go that early, so I played fairly conservative, and offered 1624. The answer was 1580, and I was the only one within 50 years.

I promise you that we did try to give the money back, but they wouldn't have it. Then we promised to play just for the fun of it this coming Sunday, and not take a prize if we won. That wasn't accepted either. I just hope that we're not going to start killing it, because I can see teams starting to give it a miss if we keep going, and with the best will in the world, we have played with just 2 of us, against teams of up to 9 players, and in a quiz worth 50 points, nobody has yet to get within 5 points of our own total. Its a hard life, being a quiz hustler.

Why would you want to make your own quiz anyway ?

Its a question I've thought about off and on for a long time. I mean, putting yourself in a landlord, or pub manager's position , why would you want to put yourself through the hassle of putting together your own quiz, when you can download one off the internet for a couple of pounds ?

I've been writing a quiz once or twice a month for the Aberavon Rugby Club for the last 13 years or so. During this time I've also set questions for the sadly defunct Neath Quiz League. I think I can honestly say that I've enjoyed doing the quizzes, and acting as question master just as much as I have enjoyed playing in quizzes. I'm not really sure why. Its not a competitive thing. In fact, I always feel that if the teams score badly in your quiz , then you've failed. its actually about getting together a set of questions which people might or might not know the answers to, but which they will enjoy. Its about giving people the opportunity to come away feeling pleased about what they know, as well as maybe having learned something interesting they never knew before.

But then I'm a quizzer, and your average landlord isn't. So you can't expect them to see it the same way. So I'd like to offer a vote of thanks on behalf of quizzers throughout the length and breadth of the country, to those landlords, landladies, and volunteers who selflessly give up their time to produce proper quizzes. Ladies and Gentlemen - I salute you !

1 comment:

martin green said...

Hi David

My name is Martin Green and I write pop culture and trivia questions for the 4,000 pubs and clubs that play one of 23 different quizzes produced each week by Redtooth.

Our main objective is to stop the smartest quiz teams from winning and killing the quiz nights.

You are living proof that this is working.