LIVE! Schlag den Raab 17th November 2012

By | November 16, 2012

Saturday 7:15pm UK time
Pro Sieben or dodgy internet streaming

Get your Wodka Gorbechow ready, this episode, Bother’s Bar brings you a worldwide first as myself, Only Connect‘s David J Bodycombe, Daniel Peake and Lewis Murphy from Fifty 50 will be attempting to guide you through the evening’s Schlag den Raab – LIVE! Come back here at 7ish for a link to the live stream. We’re hoping to go on through until the close of play which could be any time between 11pm (if it’s a whitewash) and 2am (if it goes to the wire). Even if you can’t join us for the entirety of it, just tune in when you want!

And we want you to get involved! Your best way is either opening up the stream in a new window and making YouTube comments or tweeting with the hashtag #bbsdr. We’ll read out the most worthwhile ones. And some of the not-so-worthwhile ones. And we’ll be doing it LIVE. Stream links will appear here about 7pm.

US – You can open it in a new window by clicking here – we will see your YouTube comments.


The Live stream we will be commentating on.

Stefan Raab has won the last five episodes, so tonight there’s an eye watering €3m on the line for one lucky contestant. The musical guests are Lana Del Ray, Udo Lindenberg and Die Fantastischen Vier. I know! Udo Lindenberg!

If you’re new to Schlag den Raab then welcome! I’ve included a basic FAQ under the cut.

What is Schlag den Raab?
Schlag den Raab
(Beat Raab!) is a German TV show on six times a year where members of the public take on TV personality Stefan Raab in a series of games for a lifechanging cash prize – €500,000. If Raab wins, the money rolls over. The action is broken up by musical guests.

Who is Stefan Raab?
Part Jonathan Ross, part Simon Cowell, Stefan Raab is one of Germany’s most popular TV personalities. The show he is probably most famous for is weekly chat show TV Total, but elements of this have spun off into their own shows – annual wok racing championships (it’s going down a bobsled run on a wok), celebrity diving, celebrity stock cars… all sorts of things. He’s also a song writer who has competed in the Eurovision Song Contest and runs the German Song Contest. It was a Stefan Raab show that found Lena, of Satellite fame. And he’s competitive, very competitive.

How does it work?
Five contestants limber up and the public decides who will be the evening’s challenger through a live telephone vote. Contestant chosen, they will face-off against Raab in up to fifteen games – the first game is worth 1pt, the 2nd two all the way up to game 15 worth 15 points. With 120 points on offer, the winner is the first player to reach 61 points. At least 11 games have to be played (that will get you 66 points, and yes there have been 66-0 shutouts) but with the big points towards the end you’re rarely out of contention.

What sort of things do they do?
Literally anything could come up but there are a few things you can bet will happen:

  • Three or four rounds are likely to be quiz rounds. The formats differ each time. You can guarantee Blamerien oder Kassieren will turn up starring Raab’s TV Total colleague Elton (this is a quiz they play on TV Total).
  • There is usually some sort of driving event, usually in the form of a time trial.
  • There will be three or four events based around sports, sometimes straight but usually a variation of something known.
  • There’s usually some sort of strategy game.
  • Almost certainly a hard test of mental agility and memory.
  • The rest defy pigeonholing and are often wildly inventive.  You’ll just have to watch and see!

Isn’t this just Beat the Star with Vernon Kay?
This is the show Beat the Star was based on. The main differences are it’s the same opponent each episode, the games tend to go on a bit longer, and the show can be on for five to seven hours. And it’s all completely LIVE.

How did it start?
The legend has it (i.e. we read somehwere) Raab invited a female boxer onto TV Total, and then joked that she couldn’t hurt him. She gave him a black eye. A format was born.

19 thoughts on “LIVE! Schlag den Raab 17th November 2012

  1. David

    Here’s a couple of things you may want to look at later on- well if they can make Up Jenkins and Tetris into game shows, why not Bulls and Cows? Behold, the Japanese show “Numer0n”…

    (it’s actually pretty interesting I thought- it’s done well enough that they went from an occasional special to a regular time slot, and of course it’s got an official app..)

    And if you ever wanted to do your own version of Run for Money, this person has made some flash clocks you can use:

    You can adjust the game time, money added per second, and even have it lose money per second as well…

    1. Andy "Kesh" Sullivan

      Thanks for the link to NumerOn there. I love finding out about other Japanese game shows that are doing the rounds, it gives me something that I can show to my anime group when not much is going on. We’re having a meet this Saturday and I’ll be showing them episode 3 of Battle For Money, and I think I’ll show them NumerOn as well.

    2. Poochy.EXE

      In case anyone is interested, here’s a quick translation of the Numer0n rules:

      Each player gets 15 cards: one of each “Low” digit (0-4) and two of each “High” digit (5-9). They use these across the entire tournament.

      For each match, both players each pick a secret 3-digit combination using their number cards. They can’t use the same digit more than once in a combination. They then play Mastermind (the board game, not the quiz show), taking turns: Player 1 guesses a 3-digit number, and player 2 responds with “X Eat, Y Bite” where X is the number of correct digits in the correct position and Y is the number of digits which appear in the combination but in a different position. Each turn has a 90-second time limit.

      Whoever correctly guesses their opponent’s combination first wins, and also gets the 3 cards their opponent used.

      The tournament has two groups of 3 competing in a round robin, then the winner of each group face each other in a final round with 4-digit combinations. Whoever wins that gets 100 yen times their combination in the final round. So if you pick 9876 and win, you get 987,600 yen — but that might be a bit too obvious.

      If the group stage has each player winning one and losing one match, then they go to a tiebreaker where the host picks a 2-digit number and the three of them take turns guessing it, again being told the Eat and Byte numbers after each guess. Whoever guesses the correct number wins the tiebreaker and advances in the tournament.

      There are 6 items that players can use. Each player picks 3 of them (again, can’t pick the same one twice) ahead of time to use; these have to last them the entire tournament.
      * Double: Take 2 turns in a row.
      * High & Low: You are told which of your opponent’s digits are High cards and which are Low. For example, if your opponent’s combination was 716, you’d be told “High-Low-High”.
      * Target: You guess a digit. If your opponent has that digit in their combination, they must reveal it. (Otherwise, you know for sure it’s not in there.)
      * Slash: Your opponent has to tell you the difference between their highest and lowest digits. (For example, if their combination is 726, they would have to say 5.)
      * Shuffle: Change the order of the digits in your combination.
      * Change: Take out one of your digits and replace it with another. It MUST be a different digit than before, but you can only replace a Low digit with another Low or a High digit with another High. You have to tell your opponent which digit you swap out and whether it is High or Low.
      Shuffle and Change can only be used before your opponent guesses, so you can’t use them to dodge a correct guess.

      1. Poochy.EXE

        A couple more notes on the items:
        * You can’t call a number or use an item in the first 10 seconds of your turn, so as to give your opponent a chance to use the Shuffle or Change.
        * The Double has a drawback: You have to reveal one of your digits to your opponent when you use it.
        * You can only use one item per turn. Even if you use the Double, you can’t use a second item on your extra turn.

          1. Poochy.EXE

            They’re not all that long; Japan has plenty of quiz and game shows that are the typical 30-minute or 1-hour fare. But there are plenty which air as periodic specials (Run For Money, for example), usually one 2-3 hour episode every 2-3 months, and I think are noticed more since they tend to be more spectacular. Or there are shows like DERO! and TORE! which are a regular weekly 1-hour series but with the occasional 2-3 hour special episode every few months.

      2. Chris M. Dickson

        Thanks, you two, for sharing and translating. Glad you gave me the chance to watch, but I’m not sure I feel the need to TurnItOn a second time.

        I’m broadly well-disposed to this sort of puzzle, but the TV interpretation does not work so well. My best guess is that I ascribe this to the puzzles either lurching from impossible to trivial in a single bound, or lurching from impossible to “a matter of permutation”, so a 1-in-n shot of getting them right. The final round offered the most scope for the puzzle process being interesting, but let me check I’m not missing anything here; the winner was incredibly lucky rather than incredibly brilliant… weren’t they?

        The special powers do make the game more varied and more fun to think about – for instance, I suspect that the Slash power is probably more powerful in the first round than in the final, and I think you can make a case for the choice of any three from the six. Without them, I think the whole thing is a round of a show at best – indeed, the 7-choose-3 variant was a round of Bang! Bang! Bang!, which was two-thirds quiz, one-third the Japanese version of Gladiators.

        I’m guessing that the contestants were celebrities; if not, there was a fairly undue quantity of, er, messing about. Did like the middle host, though; if ever I have to cosplay or die, then I can think of many characters who I would much less like to be than The King of Numbers!

    3. Poochy.EXE

      Calcolon, from the makers of Numer0n:

      Quick rundown of the rules:

      The deck contains three cards of each digit from 0 through 9, two “1/10” cards, four of each basic mathematical operator (+, −, ×, and ÷), 6 cards with a parenthesis, one “Trade 1” card, and one “Trade 2” card.

      Each player is initially dealt 4 cards. Play works like Mahjong or gin rummy. Players take turns in clockwise order. On each turn, the player first draws a card. If they now have a 5-card complete hand, they can Attack (but they don’t have to; they can hope to form a better hand later), else they must discard one card. If they discard a card which someone else can use to complete their hand, the other player can Rob & Attack – they take the discarded card, put it in their hand, and must immediately Attack.

      A complete hand is any hand with 3 numbers and 2 operators which can be arranged into an expression which evaluates to an integral multiple of 10, and that value is the point value of the hand. For example, a hand of 128×+ is worth 10 points, since 8 × 1 + 2 = 10, which is a multiple of 10. A value of 0 is allowed. Standard order of operations apply, i.e. multiplication and division take precedence over addition and subtraction. You can’t concatenate two numbers together — for example, “1”, “3”, “7”, “8”, and “+” is an incomplete hand, since you can’t use “83 + 17 = 100”. Also, the “-” card can only be used between two numbers as an operator; you can’t stick it in front of a number to make it negative.

      Once a player opts to Attack, their opponents each draw 2 more cards and try to make the best final 5-card hand out of the 6 cards they now have. If they can’t form a complete hand, they Bust and get a score of -10 for the round. Out of the complete hands, whoever has the highest value hands wins, and the value of their hand is added to their total score. Any players who also formed a complete hand but of lesser value get 0 for the round.

      The best hand possible is a “9” with two each of “1/10” and “÷”, for 9 ÷ 1/10 ÷ 1/10 = 900 points.

      Special cards are as follows:
      * Parentheses cards are useless in your hand, but when one is discarded, they must be given to the player who goes next, who then places it face up next to their hand, where it does not count as one of the 4 or 5 cards in their hand. A player who gets 2 parentheses this way can then use them in their final hand to change the order of operations. For example, a hand of 135+× is normally an incomplete hand, but if you also have 2 parentheses discarded from the player whose turn is immediately before yours, you can make (1 + 3) × 5 = 20 for a complete hand.
      * The Trade 1 card may optionally be invoked when discarding it. You pick one of your own cards, and one of your opponents’ cards (without being allowed to look at any of your opponents’ cards), and swap the two.
      * The Trade 2 card works just like the Trade 1, but you swap 2 cards at once. Both must be swapped with the same opponent.
      * One of the 0’s is red and called the Devil Zero. You can sic it on another player instead of discarding it. The victim must take it into their hand and must discard another card (they might be allowed to Attack instead if it happens to complete their hand, but I’m not sure), and they are then stuck with it for the rest of the round. If they Bust at the end of the round, they get -100 instead of -10, but if they win the round, they get a Rebellion for the next 2 rounds. When you have a Rebellion active, you can’t be hit by another Devil Zero, you can trade one card in the round without using a Trade 1 card, and you can play a “6” as a “9”, a “+” as a “×”, and vice versa.
      * The other two 0’s, when discarded, skip the next player’s turn.

      There are 6 contestants split into two groups of 3. Each group plays a 6-round match, with the final round being worth double the score. Additionally, if you win two consecutive rounds and either (a) you won the first of those two with a 0-point hand, or (b) you won both of those rounds with the exact same hand value, then you get double the score for the second of those two rounds.

      The winner from each group faces each other in a 2-round match with 7-card hands (4 numbers and 3 operators in a complete hand) instead of 5. Their totals from the group stage do NOT count towards their final match score, but do count for the endgame if they win.

      The winner’s endgame is pure luck. There are 2 cards in the first column, a × and a ÷. The second column has 3 cards: 100, 10, and 1/10. They pick one card from each column, and their total score (group stage and final match) is multiplied or divided by 100, 10, or 1/10 based on the cards they picked to get the amount they win in yen. So if you win with 5000 points, you could walk away with 500,000 (×100), 50,000 (×10 or ÷1/10), 500 (×1/10), or 50 (÷100) yen.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Thanks for finding, sharing and explaining again. Blimey, that’s one of the weirdest game shows I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely playable and I consider it interesting to think about, but in the UK it would have a reasonable shot at a zero audience, even if there were a channel that would take it. There are lots of things about it that… well, make me appreciate the numbers game on Countdown for its simplicity.

        First off, it requires a fair bit of luck to get a hand that is a legal equation, let alone one that isn’t a bust. If I were doing it, I’d consider making this easier, perhaps by having separate piles for numbers and not-numbers, so you can always draw a number if you want one or a not-number if you want one – or, alternatively, by some sort of drafting system, whereby you have a choice of an already revealed card (which rolls on to be available to the next player if unselected) or the unknown card atop the pile.

        Secondly, the “divided by one-tenth” strategy is incredibly powerful, to the point where I think there is no other strategy to pursue in practice in the opening round; I’d fancy the chances of one big score and five busts quite a lot of the time, for a suitable definition of “big”. I have a suspicion it would work better replacing one-tenth with one-fifth, to require the contestant to get an even number as the, er, numerator, but we’re getting even more firmly into “niche interest” territory. (It’s probably better still to replace one-tenth with one-half, to make the addition and subtraction parts relevant once again.) The final is more interesting than the main game.

        Thirdly, I don’t think the bows add anything to the game; any reason not to let people parenthesise wherever and whenever they like? Again, it would make creating a legal hand easier.

        Lovely set, even if I can’t quite see how the setting translates to the theme. At some point it would be interesting to learn what the cultural significance of Japanese shows sporadically breaking into English and then back again really is, but I don’t know if this is something that can genuinely be generalised.

        Anyone want to play and/or host this over Skype, etc.? It’s so distinctive that I’d be really intrigued to know what it feels like in practice.

        1. Andy "Kesh" Sullivan

          Yeah, I’d be interested in trying this and possibly NumerOn out over Skype. Both games look rather fun to play

        2. Poochy.EXE

          Regarding the way it’s hard to make a legal equation and the bow/parenthesis cards, I think they *don’t* want making a complete hand to be easier, or else the person in the lead could just Attack as fast as possible before anyone else has a chance to create a halfway decently scoring hand just to maintain their lead, which would be rather dull.

          (Incidentally, Calcolon seems to be based on the Japanese Riichi variant of Mahjong, which also has a bunch of rules to make it harder to form a winning hand for the same reason – Riichi is used more for tournament play, unlike other Mahjong variants which are mostly played for “X amount of money per point” gambling stakes. In gambling play, the difference between a narrow first place finish and a close second place is perhaps the difference between winning £10 and winning £7, but in tournaments it’s the difference between advancing and being eliminated, thus giving the player in the lead an incentive to take tiny wins just to end hands quickly and deny opponents chances to score.)

          I think the “sporadically breaking into English” is because the Japanese tend to keep the original foreign word when they import a foreign concept. They’ve already borrowed a lot of loanwords from English, particularly their game and sports jargon. Japanese baseball umpires call “out”, “safe”, “strike”, and “ball” in English (or at least English phonetically spelled out in Japanese katakana), and they have association football announcers who shout “GOOOOAL!” just like their European counterparts, and also refer to the players’ positions as “forward”, “midfielder”, “defender”, and “goalkeeper”, all in English. Plus there’s the factor that using a foreign language tends to sound more exotic and fancier – restaurants in English-speaking countries call their dishes “escargot” and “calamari” instead of “snails” and “squid” for the same reason, after all. It just sounds odder when someone in a foreign country does it with your native language.

          I’d definitely be interested in playing Calcolon and Numer0n online as well, although since all players in Calcolon draw from the same deck, I’m not sure how that would work over Skype. I could probably code up an IRC bot to shuffle and deal.

          There’s also an (officially licensed) Numer0n iOS app with online multiplayer, but I tried it out and it’s buggy and a bit rubbish.

  2. Andy "Kesh" Sullivan

    Well, that was great fun. Already looking forward to the next one.

  3. Daniel H

    That was very very good! Well done to all four of you!

    I’ve never watched much SDR before but I now get why you all love it so much!

  4. Brig Bother Post author

    Thanks for listening everyone, we had a great time doing it, hope you enjoyed it despite lag/lack of appreciable German skills/etc. And thanks also everyone who sent in comments, and for helping us work out what the German for ‘remote control’ is.

    The next one is we believe December 15th.

    The prize will be a WORLD RECORD BREAKING €3.5m. We reckon there’s a fair chance Steven will fall down the stairs carrying all the cash.

  5. Andrew

    Managed to catch a bit of the show, was well done by everyone involved. Entertaining!

  6. James

    A small ratings post from last night.

    SdR scored 3.32m (13.6%) with 2.19m (21.8%) in the key 14-49 demo. It was up against Das Supertalent which managed 4.89m (15.6%) and 2.48m (20.9%) in key demo. All in all, good but mixed results for Raab.

    I think with the next show being worth €3.5m, the ratings may even be higher.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Yep, you got a share of 0.0000004% overall, but peaked at a share of 84% in the all-important People Who Matter demographic. Not a bad start!


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