We wrote about our possible misgivings with the upcoming US Weakest Link last week – basically it looks very pretty, Jane Lynch ought to be excellent, but they’ve added gameplay elements that look like they solve some issues but may have opened up several more, then Buzzerblog posted this:
Urgh. We have an early round with a chain that basically encourages banking after each question (great TV!) and a slightly later round that’s, frankly, slow as anything to get going. We always thought the US chain sucked and this isn’t doing anything to allay our fears.
Weakest Link UK always had a similar issue, in that in having so many players they have to bulk out the chain in such a way that by step four, your rate of change is increasing but your return on investment makes it less worthwhile not to bank. However, by accident or design, the chains held to a standard, four questions in a row = 20% of the target. Everything up to that point is always worth the gamble, 20% feels like a decent chunk (even if in reality it’s £200). As a game, the chain made much more sense starting with seven players as they eventually experimented with (2%, 4%, 10%, 20%, 40%, 70%, 100%) but as an elimination game it’s more of an entertaining journey with nine.
You can argue that these US chains make it much more worthwhile to go for it. And you’re right. Except have you considered how likely that is? Let us consider that if the probably of getting a question right is 90% – that’s easier than Tipping Point – then the probability of getting eight questions in a row correct, assuming nobody banks, is 43%. If you up the difficulty to 80% chance (consider the sort of Pointless questions which get around 80), that drops to 17%. More likely the difficulty will be around 70% or lower, and the chance of getting eight in a row here is 6%. So more likely than not, very little gets banked and we’re actually in not much better a position than the original show where of the million dollars on offer people took home about $30,000. Except now it looks more generous, but the prize pot probably ends up at being about a dime. Now the show has to work really hard not to be seen as a waste of time.
This is of course all theory but we won’t have to wait long to see how it all shakes down in practice.