Bother’s Bar does De Slimste Mens

By | March 12, 2017

Right, so if you didn’t join in with our Schlag den Star watchalong on Saturday you probably missed Bother’s Bar Does De Slimste Mens – “they” won’t make it so we will – an English language edition of one of our favourite Flemish quiz formats. I thought it would be a good idea to edit that into its own video. So here it is!


I know, right! I quite like doing producer commentary, so I will tell you my thoughts under a cut so as to not ruin the result or anything.

First of all my thanks to unofficial site for having programmed and setting up the game control. It’s free to sign up and create your own quizzes, but if you want to play with all the bells and whistles there’s a couple of Euros fee (apparently server costs were getting high), although there is a stripped down free version available also. Right now the person running it hasn’t worked out how to do sound from both Quizmaster’s screen and Contestant’s screen, I got round this by having two separate windows up at once – the one I shared for the contestants and my QM screen with all the buttons on it (mouse, keyboard or touch control, very intuitive although a bit AZERTY) and my sound mixer did the lifting. It’s pretty easy to use – nothing a bit of intuition and Google Translate can’t sort. On TV the game is traditionally played with three players, the software can cope with up to four. The creator is constantly improving it.

I’m a big fan of game controls and I would be happy to pay to use them, up to a point, although I don’t know how big the market is for them. I’m working on something for an upcoming Game Night Final which involves lots of graphics and 100-odd questions in PowerPoint. It’s not coming any time soon, especially as there’s another SdS in April.

  • 3-6-9 – I nicked all these questions from a round of most recent The Chase Quiz Book. Sorry.
  • Open Door – I did a little bit of formatting here as we can’t have celebrities giving questions like on TV, so made a distinction that this round would be about people and things and Collective Memory would be about events – this might be quite close to how it actually works, I don’t know.
  • Puzzle – Wow, this surprised me a lot. The clues and categories were a mixture of translated supplied ones and my own (if you’re making a quiz and hit the two arrows, it will fill with a random question). The ‘1999’ Prince clue was originally ‘Purple Rain’ which I thought was too much of a dead giveaway, 1999 has many more connotations. I wrote most of these, at the time I thought they were a bit easy so I was quite shocked that everyone had so much difficulty. I’ve also just realised that the puzzle round is effectively Open Door but in reverse – you get the keywords and have to come up with the subject. Also De Slimste existed many years before Only Connect and had Pointless friends years before Pointless so don’t bother writing to OFCOM. I know what you’re like.
  • Gallery – these were all pre-made, although I swapped out some Flemish singers that our contestants would have had no chance of guessing with Jarvis Cocker and Garth Brooks. I kept Jacques Brel because I reckon he’s famous enough even if not mainstream, and I also recently bought a new best of Marc Almond collection and he’s always banging on about him.
  • Collective Memory – I came up with all of these (most of the supplied ones were too Flemish) although I think in many ways some of the answers people were giving were a lot better than the ones I put in, especially on the World Cup question. Also I did see them do a question on Live Aid once on the Dutch version, although I couldn’t remember the answers.
  • Final – These were a combination of translated originals and my own. I think they turned out fairly well, I think the talkabout a subject questions are more entertaining but most of the supplied ones were list questions. I think I had fifteen lined up.

So there we are, will probably do again.

14 thoughts on “Bother’s Bar does De Slimste Mens

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    I’m very much considering doing this as a short four episode live series, probably with a rather boring three heats, winners through to final format, which isn’t as much fun as the winner-stays-on format of the original but I don’t have the time to commit to a 20-40 episode run.

    The guy who’s programmed the software reckons he’s almost there with sounds coming from the contestant screen, so I can full screen that and control it from my iPad, and it should be big enough that I can just present to everyone rather than screenshare so we can have webcam feeds running down the bottom for visuals.

    It probably won’t happen until after SdS next month but look out for details.

  2. David B

    This partly explains the bizarre 1m58 clue for Prince, namely 1m58 = 1.58m = 5’2″ = Prince is short. I thought it was a reference to a track of his that was almost two minutes long.

    1. Alex

      I was looking at the other clues and thought the link was the Mona Lisa, and it must be 1m52 tall.

    2. Brig Bother Post author

      I reckon in future the puzzle walls will be person/place/thing to make them slightly easier, also in retrospect there was probably too much crossover in the second grid.

  3. Oli

    I can often figure out what Dutch words mean with my knowledge of German. This is a rare case of a ‘false friend’. The German word “schlimmst” means “worst” but the Dutch “slimste” in the title of this show means “cleverest”. That caused a bit of a misunderstanding for a minute!

  4. Alex

    Absolutely putting my name down for the inevitable series. I love this sort of thing.

  5. Joe

    Well, that waas fun! Hopefully I’ll actually be able to watch live when the next Schlagstream comes around.

  6. Alex

    I’m having a bit of a mess around in the site, what does the switch next to the questions in 3-6-9 do?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I believe that they introduced nearest-to questions in the last few years, and that’s something to do with that, is my guess.

  7. Nico W.

    I recently wondered what the fairest amount of contestants and episodes would be, if a German TV channel wanted to have a test run for two weeks or so.
    IIrc my solution is thinking of a number of episodes you want, add 1 and divide that by two if the number is even. This way you could get a fair but short run of 9 regular episodes with 5 people (equalling two weeks when airing on weekdays). This way everyone could get two gos in total (I don’t count being the people that stay on right here), which is the fairest way to handle the contestants to me.
    So if you don’t want to have a go on a full series, but David would (as I read on twitter), you wouldn’t have to have an entire series the length of a TV series, but could have 9 episodes with five contestants, 15 episodes with 8 contestants or 21 episodes with 11 contestants.
    I just wanted to share it with you and I prefer giving everyone two possible gos instead of just one chance, therefore I made these calculations.

  8. Brig Bother Post author

    I just watched a Dutch episode from January. Two interesting notes:

    1) Contestants aren’t told the theme of the Gallery, they have to work out what is wanted. Also there are only eight questions.

    2) All Final questions are ‘what do you know about…’.

    I’m going to watch a recent Belgian episode in due course and see if it’s the same.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Just watched a recent Belgian episode, funnily enough I find the Dutch version an easier watch, not least because it’s 70 minutes plus ads in Belgium, of which the first half an hour is mainly chat and larking about with the judges during 3-6-9. The Dutch show feels like a much tighter 40 minutes, but still finds time for comedy. Admittedly my opinion might be different if I understood the jokes.

      However of interest to my fact-finding mission, the Belgians do indeed do a mixture of list questions and ‘what do you know about…’ in their Finals. Also I reckon their keywords for some of the early rounds are a bit easy – during collective memory they played a clip of Die Hard With A Vengence featuring Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson and Jeremy Irons and the five keywords were Die Hard, With A Vengence, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson and Jeremy Irons. To me that seems a bit easy, but at the same time I can’t argue with a show that’s been running almost fifteen years.

      1. David B

        None of the explains why the Linda de Mol version wasn’t a roaring success.

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          I think you can probably put that down to being on Tien, which was not really a successful breakout channel even if John de Mol did basically put lots of his own entertainment hits there. It did get two series under Linda de Mol.

          In many ways the current Dutch success defies quite a bit of conventional wisdom seeing as it’s hosted by basically your Grandad and his grumpy historian mate. It’s kind of the Dutch equivalent of being hosted by Kenneth Kendall and with Simon Schama offering up comment on the contestants and questions. Which I’d totally watch if it were possible, actually.


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