The Genius: Black Garnet


Starts 1st October.

And so we come to the long awaited third season of Korean amaze-o-show The Genius, this time with an (almost) all new cast and a lovely looking set.

If you’re new to The Genius, it’s a reality game based around games of logic, guile and game theory. It’s not always brilliant, but when it hits it really hits.

This time round the theme is Black Garnet. Garnets are the show’s currency – the more you have the more power you potentially have as you can buy advantages in the games. But each garnet also represents prize money so there is a balance to be struck. Evidently there is a twist to come.

We recommend following @bumdidlyump on Twitter for updates as she has subtitled the previous two seasons of the show. Links will likely appear on her TumblrΒ and if you want to catch up on Seasons 1 and 2, and you should, here is a big list of episodes. It seems to be going out on Wednesdays this time round which is a change from the usual Saturdays.Β We discussed the last series here.Β Edit: Links to Series 3 eps.

A note to our international friends – please don’t comment on episodes here until they’ve been subbed. We’re a UK site with a mainly UK audience. Once the English translations are up then it’s fair game.

So you can avoid spoilers, links to discussion based on specific episodes can be found below.

392 thoughts on “The Genius: Black Garnet

  1. xr

    I’d love to see the chain used in a majority win game sometime; the potential for bare-faced cruelty is awesome.

    The main match cinematography was quite something – large flat action tableaux to convey activity, shots with multiple interesting depths to convey tension, and perfect sound level mixing to go along. Very old-fashioned, and shockingly effective.

    All the ways to get a decent number seemed both obvious and pointless due to the overpowering harm of being guessed. The fact that so many people got away with decent results doesn’t speak well of the cast. Jinho at least seemed to have realised that chips are the most controllable aspect of the exercise and went for those.

    The Deathmatch game fried my analytical circuitry. It’s a distance function over a Nim game over another Nim game right? I just about pulled out of that to actually watch them play it, and then they broke my suspension of disbelief.

    Hyunmin and Dongmin feel indispensable for production; the first because without him nobody would make sense of the games for the viewers’ benefit, and the second because the rest of the cast has been so ridiculously low-key viewers would fall asleep without him. Were I a producer on the show, this is a DM result I’d be happy with.

    Prediction time: Animal Shogi makes the final DM, and this one appears in the finals.

  2. Deo

    There’s something that bug me:

    Final match are always Death Match from previous game, right?

    But here’s the thing.

    Those Final Match always have power-up, but I can’t think of any single Death Match that can be powered-up.

    Well, the “WIN LOSE ROSHAMBO” and double sided poker can be powered-up (extra chips,chance to move first) , but those game still in the genre of bluffing game. Last two season proofed that Genius Game won’t play two game on the same genre.

    So Double Sided poker and _________________ ?

    1. David

      Probably Memory Maze; there are a few things you can do as powerups:

      -Checkpoint; use this instead of moving on a turn and you turn that space into the new starting point should you hit a wall

      -Glance; you can take a peek of a map where all the walls are (say 15 seconds)

      -Break; you can bust through one wall with no penalty (you can elect to not use it and go back to the start)

      -Stop; you can stop a turn early after ant successful move (can be combined with a double move to stop after 4 or 5 spaces)

      -Double Move; same as the original, can move six spaces instead of three.

    2. Brian Duddy

      I guess they solved the problem by making Twelve Janggi powerups so weak they wouldn’t be used (although Dongmin probably could have used the extra time!). I was worried they would give one player an extra Man or something…

  3. Alvin W

    From the past seasons, there is always a final match game where the observing players participate in some way, shape, or form.

    Season 1 was Gyul! Hap! And Season 2 was Quattro.

    Assuming that the spectator-involved game is not a new game, the obvious choice is the Betting RPS. However, I do not think the finals will contain two betting games, and Double-Sided Poker is definitely a more individual, Genius-like game.

    I don’t think Monorail or 12-square Chess (Animal Shogi) will be in the final just because it seems a bit “simplistic”.

    I also agree with Deo that Double-Sided Poker will be in the finals according to tradition of one poker DM in previous finals.

    Mirror Maze seems to be the second-best choice after Double-Sided Poker.

    Black and White is good conceptually, but it is difficult to make it interesting to watch.

    My prediction: Double-Sided Poker and Memory Maze.

    1. JC

      Thanks! Looks hard to get hold of the original, but fortunately not too hard to make your own, I guess.

  4. Alex McMillan

    Aah, the return of Lee Sangmin! Made the episode for me.

    Pretty happy I backed Yeonsung now, I feel like he can make it through next week and will have experience in the death matches. While I must commend Dongmin for persevering where most would’ve given up, that was one of the “ugliest” victories of the shows history, and probably won’t win him much favour with the returning contestants, should he make the final.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I find everyone’s dismissiveness of Dongmin absolutely baffling. Without question he deserves to go to the finals, he’s basically orchestrated everything!

      Unfortunately a Hyunmin/Dongmin final is likely to be a bit dull as they tend to err on mental agility and Hyunmin grasps the mechanics better. Hyunmin/Yeonsung would likely make more interesting viewing. I don’t think having done death matches really puts you at an advantage because everyone seems to practice the deathmatches whether they’re involved or not.

      1. Brian Duddy

        The issue with Dongmin is that he’s made a few really obvious mistakes in the last couple episodes. Obviously he still deserves to be where he is, but it seems even less likely than before that he has any chance against Hyunmin. But see my next point…

        When people talk about lack of death match experience, I don’t think they’re just talking about people having not played the games. Rather, they’re talking about the experience… pressure is a thing. Hyunmin, even if he has been to the death match, hasn’t really faced a significant amount of pressure the whole season. Could that be an issue?

      2. Ronald

        My feeling is that a final with Dongmin would be a boring whitewash against him, with either of the possible opponents. He was really a long outsider to win a Deathmatch against Yeonjoo, as well.

        He has orchestrated things magically in his favour, but in the last few rounds he has shown his lack of understanding of the game elements. Since at least the constellations game when he talked himself out of the correct plan, he has floundered in every game. Once we get down to a 1-1 situation, he has no chance of an orchestrated escape.

        My other feeling is that Dongmin most likely will get to the final, the opposite of Alex: the returning contestants are likely to help him out of loyalty, and the remaining contestants will as well: he is now less of a threatening opponent.

  5. Jason

    Before people get stuck in with Episode 11, the Episode 10 BTS was also posted a couple of days ago.

    The “Bonus Round” clip between Hyunmin and Jinho is amusing… it also gives us an insight of just how much Hyunmin has in reserve!

    1. Alvin W

      Well, if you think about it, it could have been worse. Losing Yeon Seung’s garnets could mean only 38 garnets.

      Maybe they will add an extra 20 garnets to the prize pool like S1 or reintroduce the garnets lost by the eliminated players.

  6. Alex McMillan

    Found the result of the Main Match rather underwhelming, there was really nothing that could be done about the victory when Jungyhoon kept getting so many lucky rolls.

    Deathmatch was…eh. Maybe I was soured by the result but I felt that version of Black or White lacked any sort of nuance. Once the screen went up, the game was essentially over.

    This continues my streak of my favourite player finishing 3rd. Maybe next season πŸ™

  7. Jason

    I thought this episode had a lot of potential with the three remaining players, sadly it wasn’t to be.

    The main match was alright. The players were incredibly unlucky with that crazy streak of rolls – Hyunmin for doubting them, and all three for losing out on an additional 30 garnets in the pot. The lack of trust for the guests by betting just 3 garnets on the outright winner removed any potential for a final twist.

    I wasn’t a fan of the DM, I think they’ve beaten that horse to death now.

    Hyunmin pretty much nailed the strategy. He needed to be +7 after the first four turns, and with Yeonseung betting {1, 2, 3, 3} with weaker tiles he was finished as soon as the screen went up. It would have required an even bigger mistake than last week to change the result.

    I could only think of one additional defence for Yeonseung beyond mirroring the strategy:
    – place 1 chip on rounds 1 through 9, and 21 chips on round 10:
    — the downside is that your biggest numbers may only be worth +1 chip
    — it potentially leaves you exposed in the final round if your opponent realises they have a higher number
    — the upside is that each round you have more information, so can make more informed decisions – particularly when the big bets are involved.

  8. Brig Bother Post author

    I thought the main game was hugely entertaining (especially considering how dull Tactical Yutnori was in S1), that they went on to lose half their garnets through bad decisions and misplaced trust is, in itself, quite funny. Would agree that the way the die fell rather lessened the tactics but what can you do? Ahyoung seemed to get into the spirit of it at any rate.

    Deathmatch was meh, but it was won by the person who worked out the strategy.

    The big question is will it take Hyunmin two or three games to win next week?

    I’ve really enjoyed this series, they’ve really improved the pacing on S2 for me, and the games haven’t been so complicated you couldn’t follow them. Good.

  9. Alvin W

    I am going crazy or are the black tiles in different shades of black?

    Like darker shade equals higher number or something?

    At first, I thought it was the glare from the lighting, but in a few camera shots from above, it didn’t seem so because the shades of two side-to-side black tiles were different colours and glare does not follow the boundaries of the tiles.

    1. David B

      Interesting thought. On the overhead shot at 22:09 on the second video, 6 and 8 both seem to be a lighter colour but so does the 0 on the right-hand side only. The side shot at 22:46 looks suspicious, with two clearly greyer tiles. At 23:05, we see three greyer tiles on the right-hand side. Given that this player’s first four numbers were 9678, this would indeed match up with the 6 and 8 we saw in the first shot.

      There seems to be something going on, but the 0 is not congruent. Maybe there’s three levels of grey – for 0, 2 & 4, and 6 & 8?

  10. Kain

    Here is Korea, Monday afternoon on local date. After two days, the final ep will be on air. So…

    Yes. I can’t wait. How about you?

  11. Deo

    Ok, let’s talk about Final Match:

    Analyze Time:

    1. Who will get more power up?

    Will it be the 3rd season in the row where there’s tie in number of power up gained by each player?

    I don’t think so.

    I think this may break this season.

    Two things to remember.

    — Many people final moment was with Dongmin , so many people will help Dongmin (one may argue that all those people dead when they are around Dongmin, but tbh, it’s not Dongmin fault, and Dongmin obviously shows effort to let them survive, but alas.)

    Possible people helping Dongmin: The math teacher, The four ladies (Harvard, dealer, monorail lady and financial nana), Yeon Seung (there’s no way he’s gonna help Hyunmin) That’s 6 power up already.

    — Dongmin has ‘garnet advantage’

    So I believe Dongmin already has at least 7 power up.

    2. The game line up.

    I think it’s a consensus that the Final are : Double sided poker, NEW GAME and Memory Maze.

    Dongmin obviously want to play double sided poker (Hyunmin hates bidding game, right?) And Hyunmin obviously want to play Memory Maze.

    And by experience from past two season, the new game will be either observation or strategy (or math!) . Both are Hyunmin’s area of expertise.

    But we have to remember something!

    Hyunmin have a very weak mental. He can’t recover from meltdown


    I believe the winner of this season is decided by who has the ‘First Game Pick’ powerup

    Here’s why:

    — If Dongmin got the ‘First Game Pick’, he will play poker, wins it. And Hyunmin will have a mental breakdown and can’t play the second game properly.

    — If Hyunmin got the ‘First Game Pick’, he will play Memory Maze, aces it and then make the final blow with the new game.

    And since Dongmin in my prediction will have more power up, I think Dongmin will win.

    1. Alvin W

      I would argue that Hyun Min will have a higher chance to win based on the limited DM footage with the two of them playing. Hyun Min, in my opinion, is stronger working solo, while Dong Min gains strength with people, therefore, the final match game format is more suited to Hyun Min.

      To quote a S1 player’s words “The game’s format favours Hyun Min more than Dong Min in a ratio of 6:4”
      (the original words were “The game’s format favours Jinho more than Kyungran in a ratio of 6:4”)

      I agree than Dong Min’s mental fortitude is strong, but I felt that Hyun Min dealt with his mental breakdown pretty well in Episode 11 after the terrible MM experience with Kyung Hoon as his partner. He still got himself together in the DM with an excellent game analysis and gameplay.

      (I would have murdered Kyung Hoon after his second betrayal, figurately, if he decided to mess up my game plan in the semi-finals)

      I feel like that this final match is up for grabs for either side, but I predict that Hyun Min will win.

      Sorry to Dong Min fans, but I have yet to see the Genius-like moment from him. He feels a bit like Kyung Ran from S1. They are both good enough to go to the finals but just missing that 1% of something that I see in JinHo, SangMin, Sunggyu that is not in them. But this does not mean he does not deserve to win, I would be happy if either of them win because they are arguably the two strongest players this season.

  12. Poochy.EXE

    I was pretty disappointed by the Main Match being decided by Yoohyun’s incredibly lucky fluke. Although I suppose with all the distrust and bad decisions made throughout the game, they reaped what they sowed for the most part.

    I also spotted a potentially lucrative strategy in the rules early on and was hoping one of the players would also notice and try to put it into action, but sadly nobody did. Here’s the strategy:

    1. All 3 players and 4 guests form an alliance. The 3 players pick a guest and each bet 5 garnets on them to finish first. (Note that the first bets had to be placed before the turn order was determined, so nobody knows this guest’s turn order.)
    2. Until the guest being supported gets their turn, everyone plays normally (i.e. as if this alliance didn’t exist).
    3. That first supported guest declares any combination of Yut and Mo rolls until their first piece finishes, then plays the last extra turn normally. Along the way, they signal to the players whenever they actually roll a Yut or a Mo so someone can raise an incorrect doubt and add a garnet to the table.
    4. Repeat with the guest after them in turn order, until all 4 guests have each gotten one turn of support in which they get one piece across the finish line for free.
    5. At this point it becomes every man/woman for themselves, only the players are up 20 garnets each. If they haven’t each donated 2 garnets to the table, they should attempt to do so at the first available opportunity. The game is still fair, the goal simply becomes finishing with 1 piece out of 5 instead of 2 pieces out of 6.

    It’d require all 7 of them to cooperate for a bit, but it’d be mutually beneficial and they could agree that anyone trying to betray the alliance would be targeted. I realize it’s not the most stable strategy in the face of potential betrayal, but it would’ve made for a brilliant outcome if it had actually been successfully used.

    As for the Death Match, I don’t really have much to say except that Hyunmin came up with the better strategy and won with it.

    I’m definitely looking forward to the final. I think Hyunmin has the advantage in head-to-head play since Dongmin’s main strength throughout the season has been getting allies to help him execute his plans in the Main Matches, something that won’t be as useful in head-to-head games.

  13. David

    Considering they lost 15 garnets with the betting on 2nd place, 60 is still decent (and I think there’s still a couple of black garnets hanging about, which might end up being worth something)…

    Deathmatch was a damp squib-I think the idea in theory was good though. You needed the higher bet on as many numbers as possible to force your opponent to either put chips up or move them from other numbers or fold….The big bet on the first number sorta forced the game to end quickly.

  14. xr

    While low on intellectual workout, I enjoyed the follies this main match had to provide us. The main match alone had more amusing shots of faces than the first half of the season combined. I don’t quite get why the very similar, not clearly optimal bets in the first half occured. Was there a leak trail from Huynmin to other players via guests?

    What would happen if the Yutnori prize / doubting pool went dry? Would the bettors be allowed to doubt still? In any case, it feels like it could turn into a stalling marathon, with nobody’s EV increasing by moving the proceedings along. I could also do with the die replaced by a bag of chips, perhaps replenished before running out, giving a bit more signal for doubting purposes.

    Deathmatch was over on screen removal. Hyunmin’s approach nukes the liquidity constraints of the game from orbit, and what’s left after that is the pointless vanilla version. What followed however was quite impressive from a media handling POV. Or at least, good enough to get a kind farewell instead of a recap of your weaknesses from the voice-over man.

    While deserving people made the final, Dongmin’s people skills aren’t really applicable, which is probably why Hyunmin backed him throughout, and why Dongmin should have burned him before, even at cost of a much harder time in the remaining games. Dongmin needs a lot of the bonuses, and for them to be strong to have a chance. He did try to make nice last impressions, but he has been obnoxious and/or a bully to more than a few of them, while Hyunmin has been distant but kind and cheerful enough; I can’t see it breaking as dramatically as he needs. But it looks like we’ll again get our 10 minutes of dramatically lit staring, so I’m impatient enough.

    1. Brian Duddy

      I believe the rules stated that if the pool was empty, players could still doubt but would receive no prize for doing so. I’d like to have seen the reactions from the guests if that happened…

      My gut feeling is that if the bonus handing-out process is public like the last two seasons, it’ll end up 6-6 again. Otherwise, I’m thinking that Dongmin’s status as the underdog may gain him some pity votes. He’s been obnoxious, but Hyunmin has orchestrated more of the games…

  15. Lefty

    I think “Jungle Chess” will return in the final episode. Dongmin is a God at this game – self-proclaimed.

  16. Ronald

    I liked the DeathMatch and I would welcome it back for a final game – after Dongmin declared his skill from the green room, it seems possible.

    Putting more chips on the big, winning numbers is the most important strategy; the game was over simply as soon as Yeonseung didn’t do that.

    The amount of information given away by declaring your big numbers is very low cost because your opponent can’t do too much with the very late arrival of the information.

    If both players recognise this, the game becomes interesting again – maybe a bit too much luck, but those tiny chances to move a few late chips out of danger might become crucial. So: I don’t think Hyunmin necessarily did right to give up that possibility.

  17. Alvin W

    Not really a spoiler, but the final match games are Betting RPS and 12-piece Chess (Animal Shogi/Jungle Chess).

    1. Brian Duddy

      Betting RPS, are you kidding me? Guess the producers decided the problem with Quattro last time was that the other players didn’t get involved enough. Bleh… well, hopefully it shouldn’t be too much of an issue because Hyunmin and Dongmin were allied basically the whole game, so it’ll come down to their skill instead of the other players.

      Animal Shogi should be good. I wonder how much they looked up the strategy of the game since it was initially played?

      1. Alvin W

        It might be unfavourable to Hyun Min because most people support Dong Min.

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          And Hyunmin really dislikes the betting games. HM is clearly the favourite, but the producer’s are clearly stacking the deck a little against him.

          I still think BRPS is a very underrated game though.

  18. Alvin W

    According to statistics, the winner of the Episode 11/ Semi-Finals will win the season.

    Hong Jin Ho won the 5:5 Game in Episode 11 and went on to win in the finals.

    Lee Sang Min won the Elevator Game in Episode 11 and went on to win the finals too.


    Jang Dong Min won the Doubtful Yutnori Game in Episode 11 this season, will he follow the pattern and win this season?

  19. Alvin W

    Oh my God. I feel so bad for Hyun Min. He was in such a disadvantage in both the items and in the final game.

    The items was split 3:8 (technically 3:9 with the 1st game selection power to the side with more garnets, which is Dong Min), and the info for the Betting RPS was split 3:8 (6:11) too, Dong Min literally had double the info for the final game than Hyun Min.

    However, Dong Min totally deserved to win the second game. He did very well on his part.

    Oh Betting RPS …

    No matter what … Season 4 here we come!

  20. Nico W.

    Though I was quiet upset about Alvin’s comment because I was dumb enough to read half of it before realising it would spoiler me, I am really happy with this finale.
    I am not quiet sure the person who’s won was the better overall player, but in the finale this was the only possible ending.
    All in all I think this season had great players and great stories that were able to shine. I love the producers for getting almost everything right. I think this season had a mediocre choice of music and the death matches were a bit tiresome. Now that I think of it, I think it’s funny we complain quiet a lot about the death matches every season and they still manage to put so much suspension into these DMs that we love them anyway…
    I am once again really looking forward to the next season. I love the fact that the year starts with great television (Wie is de Mol? and Danish XFactor) and ends with great television (The Genius). And in between we have some unbelievable Schlag den Raab episodes (e.g. Ringing the Bull).

  21. Brig Bother Post author

    I think the point lots of people miss about Betting RPS is the huge advantage you have in having the chip lead, you have so many more options open to you, and if you’re playing catch-up you are always more likely to go for the win when putting a card down or having to make a hugely risky betting strategy. I was surprised more people didn’t try and force the opponent to zero early on in the games, because if you have zero chips you can’t bet (and it becomes harder to build a stack), so they can do whatever they like.

    Anyway greatly enjoyable final, pleased it wasn’t a whitewash and actually quite happy with the result given he basically made the series. Did the right person win? Well there are a lot of different aspects of Genius, and he clearly had the social side down whilst still being decent enough at the games, so fair enough really.

  22. Deo

    Does anyone realized that the power-up is getting crappier, every season?

    Season 1: 9 out 9 used
    Season 2: 5 out 12 used (First game selection, Double chip, 20 question starter and 2 times chance)
    Season 3: 3 out 11 used

    Good thing tbh.

    And does anyone realize the payout getting crappier?

    Season 1: 70 +
    Season 2: 60 +
    Season 3: 60

    I must admire Genius Game. They’re good at giving away, and taking back the Garnets.

    And yeah. I know right about the winner and Dongmin has at least 7 power up. πŸ˜‰

    1. Alvin W

      In my opinion, the items are not less useful, but it is the distribution of the items to those who don’t need the item.

      For example, in the first game, Hyun Min’s strategy was to not let Dong Min have time to think of a strategy, so the 90-second item is useless to Dong Min. However, there were multiple times when Dong Min used up almost all his strategizing time and played the wrong move due to time pressure. In the case that Dong Min gets the 90-second item, he would have definitely used it.

      Also, Hyun Min always made his move too quick for Dong Min to use the Second Thought/ Mulligan Item.

      Also, the two big power-ups, item disabler and item duplicator were basically useless to their respective owner. Hyun Min had no use for the items he had and also did not have a lot of items to begin with, so the duplicator is utterly useless for him. For Dong Min, it is the same. Hyun Min did not have many items for him to disable in the first place, and also, Hyun Min didn’t exactly use his items that allowed Dong Min to be able to use it.

      If Hyun Min got the Item Disabler, he would definitely have used it on Dong Min (I.e. When Dong Min used Double Chance in the 2nd game); Dong Min would most likely have used the Item Duplicator to protect himself from Hyun Min’s Disabler.

      Also, technically, 4 items had been used.

      The Double Chance Item in Round 2
      The Priority Item in Round 2
      The +1 Chip Item in Round 3
      The Card Revelation Item in Round 3

      And technically, the First Game Selection Item which was given to Dong Min by proxy of garnet amount.

  23. David

    It came down to the social aspect- knowing 11 of the 14 Betting RPS sets because of the votes was a HUGE advantage- though if Hyun Min’s bet had worked out, it could have changed things a lot..

    Anyway, glad it wasn’t 2-0, and a good ending to a good series as a whole…

  24. Poochy.EXE

    I was a bit disappointed at the way it came down to Betting RPS, to be honest. The first two games were both brilliant, and Animal Shogi was my favorite DM of the season and I was very glad to see it return. Betting RPS, on the other hand, was one of the less interesting DMs this season in terms of strategy, and that was further exacerbated by the fact that each guest’s card was shown to exactly one player.

    If you have the choice of playing or betting, and you don’t know the card but your opponent does, your best move is usually to play to avoid letting your opponent leverage their knowledge. But then that means you have to play your card completely blind, and the round all comes down to pure luck. And regardless of who the guests support, on average this situation will occur 5.5 times out of the 14 rounds.

    Quattro had the same issue of being too luck-based when they disallowed passing information in the finals last season, and I was surprised the creators made the same mistake again when they had generally managed to avoid repeating their season 2 mistakes.

    With that out of the way, I must say this was a brilliant Animal Shogi match. When the guests all thought it was over, I even wanted to yell “No, Dongmin still has exactly one move!” at the screen. They both played very well, although Hyunmin was the better player and his victory was very much deserved.

    Quite liked Same Number Hunt too, I’m hoping it returns as a DM in season 4. The Priority item seems way overpowered though. The obvious strategy for using it was exactly what Dongmin did with it, although I doubt its use actually affected the outcome at all in this case.

  25. Alvin W

    The payout is arguably worse. However, the extra money won by the guests are a significant sum.

    Season 1: No guest winnings offered, but has a special bonus of 20 garnets

    Season 2:

    Episode 10: Big Deal Game of 5 garnets to the winning Super Junior player
    Episode 11: Elevator Game of 20 garnets to the winning team

    Season 3:

    Episode 10: Chain Auction of 10 garnets to the winning player
    Episode 11: Doubtful Yutnori of 4 garnets for the correct doubts

      1. Alvin W

        The ones I listed above are the garnets that the producers offered in the game to the players or guests.

        The 9 garnets that you talked about are the 4 basic garnets available from the producers and the 5 garnets gained from unsuccessful doubts from the players that added to the pile; therefore, I don’t consider the 5 garnets as a producer-given prize money.

  26. Jason

    An enjoyable final to an enjoyable series.

    The introduction worked really well – the better choice of music throughout combined with a more humble side of both Dongmin and Hyunmin we hadn’t seen before.

    Hyunmin was incredibly unfortunate with the power-ups, not only from the lack of them but also that he got the worst ones:
    * The 90 second one which neither he or Dongmin was likely to need – could it have been more interesting as an accelerator-style power-up a la Duel?
    * The peek would have given too much information away as he had to show it to Dongmin as well.
    * Then the copy, which is only useful if you had something worth copying.

    The new game worked a lot better than its previous incarnations – possibly one we will see again in series 4?

    The only let-down was Betting RPS – the advantage of power-ups (peek and bonus chip) combined with knowledge of 80% of the cards stacked the deck firmly against Hyunmin. I didn’t think there was enough strategy left in it to be worthy of the final match – particularly against two such worthy adversaries.

    Same again next year? πŸ™‚

  27. xr

    I was so very wrong in near all predictions about the final.

    Intro was excellent, and probably the best setup of all finales: exact, detailed, analytic, dramatically shot and yet so very cloying. The prim and proper smack talk that followed was also amusing.

    What followed felt a lot like lynching, both game selection and ally split. The characterisation of the players by the Korean audience seemingly addressed in the episode seems at odds from what I got out of prior episodes. Which isn’t to say play itself was bad: It was a pleasure to watch two people who know what they’re doing play Animal Shogi, and Dongmin played the memory game perfectly. When I saw writing on some of the envelopes, I momentarily hoped some ally had done something sneaky and underhanded, but that was not to be.

    Let’s hope for another season, perhaps one where the prize won is actually the one accrued, with less player shakedowns and out-of-the-blue bonuses. And can we have Animal Shogi as the title theme that time around? I’d like to see some angular tigers corner an inventive player.

  28. Henry F

    A really good end to the series. I understand people saying Betting RPS is a letdown but remember it could have been the first game. Perhaps Dongmin has an inkling that he would get more support from others so deliberately decided to have it last? Yes, he’s gambling on doing well in the second game if he fails the first but if he thought he’d made enough allies – and he had – it made a lot of sense for him to make that choice so fair play to him!

  29. RoarJustice

    That move Dongmin made the end-game was the best move of the whole series, it was pretty incredible.

    Think about it, Dongmin is in a really good position if he continues to draw all his rounds when he plays, thus meaning that Hyunmin HAS to overtake him with the few rounds (half as many) he has. As long as Dongmin keeps drawing, he is suffocating Hyunmin’s chances, but he also knows that Hyunmin can still catch him. So rather than drawing and hoping he can snipe out Hyunmin’s cards when hes the one without the power to place a card, he deliberately loses. If Hyunmin sniffs this out, he has lost, but he doesn’t and as a result Hyunmin destroys himself. It was massively risky, gave him a perfect victory and a much deserved title as The Genius.

    Great season as always, but really glad Dongmin won. In poker you have players who analyse all the plays, and those who play with heart, guts and tells, and I like seeing the latter win!

    1. Jason

      The drawing strategy was pretty common knowledge – it came up in both episode 2 (Yongsuk) and episode 6 (Jongbum).

      Dongmin played a great game, but I would counter that the game mechanics largely forced the situation.

      In round 3, Hyunmin tried – and failed – to zero-out Dongmin.

      At the end of round 6, Hyunmin wasn’t just behind, he was in trouble:

      * Hyunmin knew information about 4 rounds – 8 (virtual), 12 (Jongbum), 13 (virtual) and 14 (Yeonseung), but three of those were controlled by Dongmin.
      * Dongmin knew 6 of the 8 remaining rounds, and could peek at a 7th.
      * Hyunmin may be unable to execute the “draw” scenario on any remaining round – either he didn’t have the information, or Dongmin could play the “draw” power-up when he did.
      * Dongmin could draw off any round he wanted to, Hyunmin only had a 1/3 chance of winning (or losing) even if he wanted to – round 13 aside.

      Hyunmin was clearly getting flustered – they both knew he had to bet big to build a lead, and he’d already had a go in round 6. The first psychological game was looming, and Dongmin executed it flawlessly.

      In a way, Hyunmin winning the first would have been much more interesting – he was far from home and dry at 14-11.

  30. Alex McMillan

    Anyone else think it was cool that the sum that won the memory sum game was SUM?

    I did.

    1. David B

      Quite a high number of the answers seemed to make a famous word or initialism but that’s probably luck.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m intrigued by layout of the letters, is the Korean transliterated alphabet in a different order to our alphabet?

  31. Chris M. Dickson

    Finally got round to watching the Semi and the Final; thank you, everybody for not spoiling things.

    This has been the most satisfying season of the three as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps it didn’t have a magical moment as high as Open, Pass or the fake icon of life, and the music similarly didn’t have the highs (as well as the lows!) of season one, but the quality of the gameplay was frequently extremely good, the players were likeable, the people who I hoped would reach the final actually did and the montage at the start of this episode (just like the first episode!) was fantastic – and long without becoming self-indulgent.

    Many thanks to everyone involved with the show, and a million thanks to Bumbdidlyumptious for the translations.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think S1 you can never have again, S2 was a bit rushed, S3 felt like the producers knew what they were doing – in the main good games that work for television (sword and shield maybe notwithstanding), and correctly paced to fill the extended timeslot – I don’t think I looked at my watch once, last year I was willing the main match to just end several times.

      It’s a pity the final two were so far ahead of the rest of the cast in ability, but thankfully they were hugely entertaining, so.

  32. Chris M. Dickson

    A friend of mine (who, I think, has posted here once or twice) lives in the north-west and attends a games group there. He is putting on his own local version of The Genius for members of the games group – but, because they’re all local, he can play it in real time, one game per week over twelve weeks. He has invited people to watch series one to get a taste for the format but has requested that people don’t watch past that because he’ll be reusing the games from season two (and possibly season three – not sure, he might be picking and mixing, or maybe he’ll be trying to play season two and only subbing in season three when he has to). The games group plays RPGs as well as trading card games and board games, so the existing-board-and-card-game-heavy season two would seem to be a good fit. No idea if/how he’s doing the hidden immunity idol gimmick.

    1. Lewis

      I can’t imagine he won’t be mixing in season 3 games. Unless he can get the God’s Judgment dice manufactured somehow!

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Yep, I got it wrong πŸ™‚ The plan is for season three games by default, substituting in season two games where necessary, not the other way around. Episode one last night, with Food Chain and Black and White II, apparently went well, though only one player scored enough to earn garnets. Many more “change fruit”s and far fewer “secret”s were played than on TV.

  33. Pingback: The Genius: Black Garnet, Coming Soon! | Clavis Cryptica

  34. Bed

    About ep 10 when DM yeonjoo – dongmin, yeonjoo actually used 1 hour before she placed the last piece


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