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 Tumblr 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. We discussed the last series here. 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. David

      Indeed- I actually wondered why he was using Korean characters instead of numbers…

      1. sam

        Hey, let me explain to you why he wrote the numbers like that. What he wrote was Korean character. It’s like writing 1 as ‘one’. YeonSeung thought that it is possible for Kang to see him writing the number over the table. So he wrote Korean character that Kang cannot recognize. And if you watch the genius ‘behind’, YeonSeung says that he could win because he saw Kang writing the number and found out what number it is. I’m Korean so my explanation might be confused…

    2. Poochy.EXE

      Regarding why it was edited out, my hypothesis is this: If this was shown early on in the Death Match, it would make it pretty clear that Yeonseung was almost sure to win, thus killing the suspense. If they showed it later, they couldn’t play up Yeonseung playing exactly one number higher as an impressive read on Lawyer Kang. So they could either show the portion they edited out or play up Yeonseung’s tactic as an impressive feat of predicting Lawyer Kang’s moves, and they chose the latter.

  1. Alvin W

    I totally agree that the Death Match, to some degree, factors in the aspect that you can see your opponent’s hand movements and speculate; there is a reason for the podiums to be designed to face each other visibly in the middle of an empty hall.

    I felt that Lawyer Kang’s behaviour of writing big and carelessly reflects his personality in some way. It is like how he does not understand the tiny details of the game that are the keys to winning(as in Round 2 Main Match when he totally forgot that the citizen leaders knows all the criminals but their leader, but he just blatantly get into a room with his fellow criminals. Maybe he is the only one who cannot connect the dots?). Also, this further shows how he is not suited for the Genius Game. (We can treat this as an example of natural selection? Maybe?)

    1. Matt Clemson

      I recall the first time the game was being played being somewhat surprised that the players were writing their numbers so small; I wonder if that’s just coincidence, or they’d come to a similar conclusion.

      1. Poochy.EXE

        I figured “write small so the other player doesn’t see” was fairly intuitive since there was absolutely nothing blocking the other player’s view. I thought of it myself, and when I saw the players in the first Death Match doing it, I simply figured they had both come to the same conclusion.

        What I definitely didn’t see coming, though, was someone actually managing to read their opponent’s gestures. I figured it was just insurance, since it doesn’t hurt to write small but it reduces risk.

  2. Deo

    Worst.Main.Game.Ever (beside blackout game)

    Worst.Death.Match.Ever (seriously, give me tactical Yutnori)

    Lessons learned: Something sucks always happen on Top 10 Episode.

    1. Poochy.EXE

      I wouldn’t call it the worst ever, that dubious award goes to both the Main Match AND the Death Match in S2E6, because absolutely nothing even remotely interesting happened in either game on that episode. I think the fact that it’s the only episode with no extra videos is a clear sign the producers had trouble even just filling up the hour.

  3. Nico W.

    I agree with Deo about the main match….
    However I quiet liked the Death Match, the only problem I found was the lack of suspense. Not even the music could make me nervous enough to really care about the Death Match.
    I liked to see the first Black Mission and I’m glad that failing the mission didn’t make him too nervous to win the Death Match.
    By the way, which font is used on the table of the Death Match (so the words “Front”/”Back”)? Is it a font used just in this show or can you find it anywhere else?
    And I’m really looking forward to next week, proper props being used, one of the reasons we like The Genius so much (I still dream of owning those Laser Chess figures)!

  4. Brian Duddy

    I didn’t think it was that bad… Yes, the main match was over quickly (props to the editors for making it as tolerable as it was!) and the death match had no huge moments, but sometimes that’s how things go. I think neither team really had a good strategy in the main match (neither leader having double shields? People who were still to go challenging?) which probably contributed to how quickly it was over. As for the death match, that’s just what happens when you get two passive poker players in a game… Perhaps they could rethink the “bet both” rule, though, it seems a bit unfair as it is.

    Hweejong certainly deserved what he got, anyway… why did they bring him back again?

    Is anyone else not liking the music as much as that in the first season? Seems like a lot more generic stuff instead of the original inspired choices…

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    I quite enjoyed the episode despite none of the games being all that great really – the main match was sort of a bit like Coup (which is a 5-10 minute game anyway), I couldn’t get my head round the Death Match at all, and the Black Mission was basically my worst nightmare made reality.

    Next week’s looks like classic Genius though.

  6. David

    I thought the main game was sorta meh, but the other two were good- I think in that Black Mission the error was he called Gyul way too soon- you shouldn’t call it until the last couple of seconds, just to give you time to double-check the board to see if you missed anything.

    I thought the Death Match was good, it’s just the players were weak… thought the card-counting idea was brilliant.

  7. Kevin G.

    If they’d spent the prep time actually prepping, and not trying to wedge loose saboteurs in the other camp, the game would have had a lot more jeopardy. As presented, I’m not sure the game could have been played worse. One captain was super obvious, the other stood there and took a double-sword attack without protesting it.

    The problem with the captain-and-team main matches they’ve played is that the game is effectively over once the captain is spotted. In the zombie game and burglar game from S1, figuring out who the starting zombies/burglar were didn’t take away the bargaining and horse trading for victory. The zombie game was still about horse trading for points; the burglar game turned into a push-pull between staying with the burglar and getting robbed until the last round, or running from the burglar and collecting gold for survival.

    I think there’s a little too much in the death match. The first player must always choose back-of-card, because the second player gets complete information if you don’t, and can wager accordingly. It looks like a lot of options are there, but not many are useful. I don’t know what you’d do to get a double-down opportunity besides a wild risk, a bad opening bet, or a three-bet/four-bet hand. The strategies all kinda devolve to straight high-card poker, unless I’m missing something.

  8. xr

    Coup reworking to avoid dull early eliminations was bold; unfortunately, replacing the coin game with staring and eeny, meeny, miny, moe is also dull. Coup Reformation-style shenanigans may have been a better base. If the point of this exercise was to prod the somewhat reluctant group into alliances and relevant drama, production enjoyed modest success. It is fun watching these people talk; I just wish the game facilitated more interesting conversations.

    I always like it when Gyul Hap comes up, since I can play along/ against the contestant. Wouldn’t have been a bad place to insert some garnet betting for the gallery. The early call was always going to be stupid irrespective of the result, and it did get me shouting at the screen.

    I’m never big on the recurring poker variants, but this one is probably the best of the lot in both looks and play. The deck however is much too big, allowing for ludicrous swings and making non-paper card counting rather tricky. Dropping 9s and 10s ought to fix that. I’m kind of surprised no-one talked about the implications of the two faces always being different, especially wrt both-sides betting. The win, based on key card counting and nerves of steel felt richly deserved this time around.

    I’m happy escrows are allowed after all. I’m eager for the resentment coming out of sharing the loser’s spoils, and await with bated breath for the trusted player to keep all those garnets for himself.

  9. Deo

    I never understand why some people love this poker variant. I find main match is, well watchable, but death-match, it’s like Quatro in Finals. Too luck based. Seriously, Hweejong can do the same stuff without counting cards, but he was in bad card streak..

    What makes this game is bad for me, is even though you card count, you can’t prevent disaster.

    In Indian Poker and Indian Holdem Poker. If you have good card, card counting can help you win. If you have bad card, it helps you to fold. It helps you to spell disaster and prevent disaster.

    But in Double Sided Poker, you can’t avoid disaster. if you keep having bad card, you wont have the chance to double-side-bet, and what’s worse, you can’t fold when opponent double-side-bet (folding still cause player to lose 10 chips…) If you have bad luck like Hweejong, well sucks to be you.

  10. Deo

    Talking about death mission. Let’s brainstorm.

    Observation -> Hap! Gyul!

    Memory -> Same picture hunt

    Math -> ?!?!?

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    I couldn’t understand why you’d ever bet Front given that’s obvious information.

    I think Indian Poker has been the most successful of the poker deathmatches because it’s simple yet allows for a decent amount of strategy and skill. Indian Hold ’em is fine as it goes but it’s just a more complicated version of the same game, and I’m all about keeing it simple if possible.

  12. Poochy.EXE

    I thought the Main Match provided for some interesting strategy possibilities, but it was too poorly played by the leaders. One possible gambit I thought of which nobody mentioned is to have one sword and one shield, then first block with the sword side and/or attack with the shield side. I’d expect players to be less likely to raise a doubt early in the game when there’s less information and therefore more uncertainty, so your first bluff is likely to succeed. If it does, the second time around, you truthfully attack with the sword or block with the shield as a double-bluff. Surely someone on the opposite team will notice that you’ve been inconsistent, and psychologically, they’re likely to want validation on not raising the doubt on the first go as well.

    I quite liked seeing Gyul Hap make a return for the Black Mission. It’s one of the games I can play along with easily. Calling Gyul with 19 seconds left on the clock was definitely a major tactical blunder though; the very first strategy I thought of was to call Gyul at the last second no matter what. Calling it early gives you absolutely no reward whatsoever, why take the unnecessary risk?

    As for the Death Match, I agree it was too luck-based. But I also see a second flaw in that the risk vs. reward is too unbalanced in favor of being risk-averse. Whoever has the higher front card has a massive advantage for the round, and the other player will usually fold unless they have a higher back card. As a result, many rounds will end up in one player folding and the other player winning 1 chip, as seen many, many, times in this episode. Far too many if you ask me.

    And it still bugs me that the rule on a tie is to roll over the pot to the next round. That also adds to the luck factor since what cards you get on the next hand suddenly become more important than in most hands. Chop the pot like in real poker!

    1. Matt Clemson

      Did the player actually have the timer visible for the timed Gyul Hap? It strikes me that keeping it only visible to the audience would eliminate that “Gyul at the last second” strategy – but on the other hand, I do recall the hidden-timer game in Britain’s Brightest often going well past the time limit.

  13. Chris M. Dickson

    Liked this episode from beginning to end, personally!

    One strategy I’d have considered for the main match would be to load a non-captain player one up with both bare hands, get them to open with a pass, look very suspicious and treat them as sacrificial. Either they die because of defending with disbelieved shields, or they die because they are first to attempt a doubt. Super-risky tactic to hold back in reserve: get your captain to put themselves up for a doubt – sure, if it goes wrong, it’s game over, but if it’s right, you’ve thrown suspicion off the doubter completely.

    I have a silly half-feeling that all the Black Missions might relate to Gyul! Hap! somehow, with the memory mission being to memorise a board perfectly, and the maths mission being… some combinatoric calculation about, I don’t know, the possible number of different Hap!s from a certain selection of not-nine cards. Deo’s idea of the Black Missions being ways to at least evoke games from previous series makes at least as much sense, though.

    I’m with Brian about the music not being quite as good, and with Kevin about the poker variant not standing up to full scrutiny, though I enjoyed it plenty while they were playing it, which is really what counts, I guess.

  14. Tom F

    I thought Sword and Shield was a nice game, but not really deep enough to be a main match, much like the R4 game last time; blackout. And I could see it returning as a deathmatch, like blackout did, although potentially reasonably well. (Maybe have the elimination players secretly choose their leaders?). I think the producers must have been very relived that the black mission happened, this ep felt slower than normal even with the extra event.

    The black mission felt right, both in terms of difficulty and style. Doublesided poker works well enough. It still throws up a lot of the same twists as the other pokers, but different enough to be interesting. If it comes back with more impressive players I think it could do better. Nam was fun to have around, but I never felt he was really a serious contender, so not too disappointed to see him go.

  15. xr

    I finally figured out the poker game using this deck that would make me happy, and it is pretty much impossible to deal. Remove all 9s and 10s, for a 56-card deck. One player always gets two cards white-up, the other always gets two cards black-up, and two common cards are dealt, one in each colour.

    During the first three raises, you may peek under a common card, and turn it over if you like. At resolution, starting player turns over as many of his own cards as he likes, then so does the other player. They then declare, for both common cards, whether they’d like the obvious or the hidden sides. You may fold during this process if you like, if you’d rather not reveal card sides.

    Combinations are the usual: pair, triples and four of a kind, two pairs, and runs of two, three and four, with high card as the tie breaker, and number of cards in your colour as the second tie breaker.

    1. David B

      I enjoyed. Nice that there was a ‘trick’ albeit one we couldn’t really play along with, that the trick was spotted, and that it had a material effect on the game in the end.

      Result of the end game seemed a bit harsh but I guess the actions of the winner were fair enough. I’m not loving the death matches that much this series, though.

      I do wish the rules videos would put a bit more theme into the explanations to make them a bit easier to understand, because sometimes the mechanics don’t work quite the way you expect (e.g. “Three players will be the miners, while the other six will be the investors. The investors say how much profit they want from one mining expedition…”)

      1. David

        I had a feeling there would be some trick with the cubes- it was subtle (and I don’t think a lot of people would have been able to notice the weight difference simply by feel), but there was one..I don’t think Su Jin would have won the Deathmatch even if she hadn’t made that betting error though- she seemed to just be a bit outclassed.

        I feel a bit sorry for Bumdidlyump though- next week looks like it’s going to be absolute hell to translate with all the information in the main game..

  16. Selene

    Oh, there is discussion for S3. I think Double-sided poker is not a good death match game. It relies heavily on luck.

    I don’t think anybody here has mentioned Jang Dongmin? I only know him as a comedian, I think he did very well so far.

    Ep 5 has the cast combo that I wanted. I thought I wouldn’t see it but it did.

  17. Chris M. Dickson

    Best main match so far this series and the death match had as little to offer as we expected, unless we’re all really missing something, which I don’t think we are.

    I have a gut feeling that the main matches towards the middle of the series tend to be the most interesting, or at least it’s possible to have too many or too few players to be completely interesting.

    1. Lewis

      I think at the 9, 8 and 6-man rounds it’s easy to split the players into nice teams like this week, and team based games work well it seems. Obviously at 7 you can’t split into teams though.

      I also think team needs vs individual needs games like this episode and the bean-picking episode work very well in terms of torn alliances, betrayal opportunities and working with a member from another team. All of those are elements of a good Genius episode.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Agreed throughout. I wonder whether team-based games work relatively well because they’re more easily chunked down and thus simpler to follow? The “floating team” arrangement of S2 E3 (the 11-player two-teams-of-five-plus-one-odd-player) was also really clever and original.

    1. David

      Probably- they used Indian Poker and Indian Hold Em, so this will probably be one of the three finale games….

  18. Bobby Jones

    After watching Ep.5, I felt really worried for Dongmin in the future episode. His alliance have fallen one by one, and he also being targeted by most of other players. From preview, the next MM is all about the war of information. I hope he would team up with Yoohyun once and get the immunity, be safe from elimination. And also, we will see a NEW Yeonsung with a NEW haircut!

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Dongmin is certainly the standout character of this year’s show, I think he’s smart enough to go a while yet. I’m hoping for a Hyunmin/Dongmin final, brains against smarts.

  19. Brig Bother Post author

    Super fun main match (is that based on an actual board game?), and now I’ve got my head round it a bit more I think I might have been slightly harsh on double-sided poker last week, there were some good bluffing opportunities Sujin missed unfortunately, especially on carryover pots.

    Quite enjoying that it feels like they’re coming up with original ideas this series rather than repurposing an existing board game every week like series two.

    I agree with David in that the theming of the explanations could be a bit better – once they were playing I understood it but the rules dump at the top wasn’t hugely clear.

    It looks like garnet escrow is officially a thing now then. I wonder if the producers expected that, and how it might impact the garnet economy for the rest of the series?

  20. Lewis

    Was I the only one who saw it coming from miles away that the feel of the cubes would be super important, and that bombs would feel different? It felt like such an obvious Genius twist, I would have preferred it to be straight strategy and out-guessing what the opponents will do with either their claims or the amount they’ll mine. Compared to, say, the dice in God’s Judgement, which had a twist and we all knew there would be a twist, but the actual twist itself was unexpected, this just felt a bit flat. All that said, at least it didn’t end as quickly and anticlimactically as last week’s game.

    The deathmatch is still incredibly disappointing too. Seeing Yeonseung basically just get all the luck drove home the nature of the game, though Sujin’s big blunder definitely means she got what she deserved in the end. I guess it doesn’t help that everyone playing a poker game so far has been pretty meek and unable to bluff, but what is The Genius’s obsession with these ultimately luck-based poker games? Have we even had a decent deathmatch this season, between Black and White II and double-sided poker? (yes, betting rock paper scissors was pretty decent, though also with a pretty obvious ending strategy)

  21. Brian Duddy

    Maybe I’m crazy, but hear me out. The double-sided betting rule was explained (both times) as “the loser” will pay 10 extra chips, nothing about folding. Would it be possible that both losers just misinterpreted the rule? Surely not… right?

    1. Deo

      If you fold, you became the loser. What make wondering is, will the “guy who make the double-sided bet” will also pay 10 if they fail?

        1. RoarJustice

          But surely you can raise on a single side?

          Theres a massive bluffing strategy in that game, every time you have a higher ‘up’ card you could make the two bet and make it extremely difficult for your opponent. For me the luck element is nowhere near high enough to suggest that it will massively affect the swing of this game, both players have thirty bets and can fold immediately if they so choose. Get Yooyhun in there and watch him destroy this game, suddenly no-one will be screaming the ‘luck’ card.

  22. xr

    Main game was excellent and fun, and -for once this season- felt fully explored. I found “The human hand may hold 11 to 15 minerals” to be the most amusing line in the series; I don’t understand why either.

    I’m not entirely sure the deathmatch accident wasn’t actually a closeted giving up after the terrible luck of the draw.

    I’m not getting my fill of deviousness, twists and shocking flashbacks this season. It strongly feels like only two are making the effort, with spectacular levels of coasting from the rest. At least they all understand the rules now, which I suppose counts as an improvement. Thankfully, the shared logic problem game coming up may finally coerce people into a semblance of activity.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I’ve been considering Bother’s Bar: The Lock-In for a while (before Lewis beat me to it with Fifty 50) and it might yet happen, but it will almost certainly be in the form of a regular live Youtube video chat as I can’t be bothered to edit.

  23. Deo

    Ok. I figured out the winning strategy if you got double-sided bet by other player.


    Take Oriental doctor vs Financial Planner match (I can’t recall their name…) It’s $28 vs $32(I think so?) when the double-sided bet happened.

    $1 ante ($27 vs $31, pot: $2)

    Oriental Doctor bet 1 on double-sided bet. $25 ($25 vs $31, pot: $4)

    Financial planner shouldn’t call. She should raise, like $14. Why $14? So Oriental Doctor MUST ALL-IN to call. That’s where the bluff kicks in.

    Double-sided bettors must bet twice the others bet. $14 x $2 = $28. Oriental Doctor’s money after ante is $27.

    Oriental Doctor had two options here

    -> All-in
    -> Fold

    And I’m confident the Oriental Doctor will fold, saving the financial planner from 10 chips penalty.

    So TL;DR: If one person double-sided, make’em all in.

    1. Brian Duddy

      I don’t think those two played each other… but you do have a point, that’s the way to stop that strategy. Too bad all the players so far have been too passive to even think of trying something like that…

      1. Brian Duddy

        Ignore my ramblings, of course those were the two that played in the last episode…

  24. Kheve

    Main game pretty boring but i guess they are running out of good games to play. Death match was surprisingly very competitive. Truly a 1v1 deathmatch

    1. David B

      I didn’t enjoy this as much as its spiritual successor Scamming Horse Race, which was much more tense. Last week’s trail seemed to imply there was going to be misinformation spread but that didn’t seem to happen. The market crash seemed like a bit of a desperate way to introduce tension, and there seemed not much way of being able to plan what shares would be available in advance. Nevertheless, it was a nice theme and well executed technically.

    2. Alvin W

      I felt that it was a good MM accounting that 6,7,8-person are just difficult to work with in terms that there is not enough people to sustain a large, complex game but has too many people to play a small group game, while making it entertaining.

      I found the Catch the Burglar Game, Bean’s Dilemma from Season 1 and the Monopoly Game, Negative Number auction from Season 2 less attractive in their own ways.

      Catch the Burglar was boring when we all figured that Sunggyu will be a joint winner after he was revealed in Round 2 out of 10 of the MM.

      Bean’s Dilemma was just boring with Sang Min going back and forth betraying and double-betraying. I mean for prisoner dilemma games like these, the thinking in your brain part is 90% of the strategy, and it is not good TV to see someone’s monologue on their thoughts. That episode was bearable thanks to the efforts of the production team.

      Monopoly Game was just a joke, so it might have been nice if it was played properly sans ID card stealing, Broadcaster Alliance, Sign of Immortality mad scramble, dumb Yoo Hwan trading the bomb with Se Young, a hands-tied Jin Ho that could do nothing, an about-to-cry Do Hee, a lesson on how life is crappy from Sang Min who ironically contributed to Do Hee’s crappy experience… (Non-exhaustive list)

      Negative Number Auction. Sigh…..
      Dumb Im Yoo Hwan in rehearsal, dumb Im Yoo Hwan in real MM.
      Is there anything to say about this MM? (Rhetorical)

      It slowly turned into an article about how Season 2 sucks. Apologies.

  25. Alvin W

    Kim Yoo Hyun was very a disappointment in this episode. I guess I was expecting too much, however, he still has Episode 7 to redeem himself. I still hope he is the Hong Jin Ho of this season and if you think that he was totally out of it up until now, compare him with Hong Jin Ho in Season 1 before the Open, Pass game. Trust me, Jin Ho did not do terribly well either.

    If we compare him to Hong Jin Ho of Season 1, they both failed Episode 1 in their respective ways.
    Hong Jin Ho totally got manipulated in the DM and eliminated his ally and Kim Yoo Hyun’s plan was destroyed by the Seoul University student’s sudden betrayal.

    Both of them failed Episode 2 too.
    Hong Jin Ho’s alliance was totally an illusion while Kin Yoo Hyun’s Criminal team was a joke.

    In Episode 3, neither of them had much action.

    In Episode 4, Hong Jin Ho’s Human Alliance pulled out his first self-made victory while Kim Yoo Hun had a highlight lying about his double sword when attacking Nam Hwee Jong (not a Genius moment, per say, but still memorable)

    For Episode 5, Hong Jin Ho barely escaped last place in Scamming Horse Race while we know what happened with Kin Yoo Hyun in Miners’ Game.

    In Episode 6, Hong Jin Ho did poorly in the MM too, but he eliminated Kim Gu Ra in the DM, therefore it seemed like he shone in the episode while Kim Yoo Hyun was not able to spot a blatant alliance between Dong Min and Hyun Min and landed with third behind them.

  26. Alvin W

    To those who think Kim Yoo Hyun was overrated, especially in this episode, I would like to say that it is partially true. His strategy and insight to the game is seemingly weaker than Oh Hyun Min’s and Jang Dong Min’s by a lot in this episode. However, we do have to note that Kim Yoo Hyun came in third with 35,800, behind Dong Min’s 59,200 and Hyun Min’s 49,800; the closest one behind Yoo Hyun is Choi Yeong Sung with 25,800.

    Analyzing this data, we can conclude that without knowing all the clues and the market crash at 2:40, Kim Yoo Hyun did pretty well as an individual player to secure a third place while everyone else, excluding Hyun Min and Dong Min, were in the 20,000-25,800 range.

    However, one of his fatal flaw is his inability to connect with others and react appropriately, game wise.
    Tell me his was not expecting Ha Yeon Joo and Shin Ah Young to use a combine 12 garnets to buy a hint that he did not even chip in a garnet for and share it with him. I mean, I get that he does not have a lot of garnets, but try to be reasonable and show some commitment.

    I am being spiteful for his action, or inaction.

    I am pleased, though, that Ha Yeon Joo finally womaned it up and participated in the bidding in her own free will. Finally, she is part of the action, and do not get eliminated just when you are about to show your colours.

  27. Deo


    1 episode of Genius Game costs player more then 1 season of Wheel Of Fortune costs player to buy vowel. Seriously. It only costs $250 to buy vowel? Shame on you WOF’s director.

    The thing I love about Genius Game, is that if the player don’t shine, the game mechanic will stand up and shine like a….


    PS: Guys, you’re complaining the game mechanic too much. You must admire the ability of the director to manipulate the game like a boss.

  28. Chris M. Dickson

    The main match only barely had enough there to be interesting, but this particular playing of the main match shone because of how well it was played. (In one instance, though that’s enough to make the episode roll along perfectly well.) The timing restrictions were subtle and quite sweetly designed.

    Different people will find different games harder or easier to follow – for instance, I always struggled with things like the jungle game and the layoff game last season. However, here’s an example where I was hoping for a bit more content; specifically, it could have been fun for some of the other prices to move up and down a little as well, and for there to be patterns to discover (for instance, if a price rises two moves in a row, it will fall on the move afterwards – something like that, or perhaps some sort of signal towards future price moves conveyed by the sizes of the price moves). Might it be possible to have fit a third round in? If it wouldn’t have been possible this time, could it have been possible if this game had been played later in the season with fewer players? Next week’s main match looks fun, though I can’t help feeling they’ve spoiled the funniest gag already!

    The death match was decent enough and probably a more interesting game than the previous time it was played, with the greater degree of strength to the “play” option in the final rounds. If you’re the spectator who is lucky enough to draw the final declaration, I can’t help feeling there’s the scope for you to pull off a truly Extreme Ways-worthy backstab by lying to your less favoured death match participant about which symbol you placed. If the player you suckered didn’t suspect it, I can’t see how they could defend against it.

  29. Alex McMillan

    I actually really enjoyed Stormy Stock Market, it achieved a pleasing rhythm once the timing trick was figured out, although the limited stocks did mean players who didn’t get their act together early had no chance to make a comeback.

    Death Match was alright, although in all honestly I prefer the more puzzle-y death matches like Laser Chess. The Rock, Paper, Scissors element really loses all meaning if both players get entire true information, they may as well be playing to “take garnets” or “leave garnets” at that point.

    Yeongseung is my favourite this series, he’s brilliant. I feel he is also quite the dark horse, nobody expects much from him but he seems to be playing a very solid game.

  30. Brig Bother Post author

    I liked the idea of Stormy Stock Market but didn’t think it came across as great television in practice – possibly everyone was privy to a slightly too much information beforehand so it was a bit too difficult to spread misinformation around. As I’ve said from the beginning not all the games are gold. Still would be perfectly happy to see Hyunmin’s brains vs Dongmin’s smarts in the final though.

    I do really like Betting Rock Paper Scissors though, for me by far the strongest of this year’s death matches. I hope it’s not just going to be that, double sided poker and the other one though.

    The games definitely feel a lot more like S1 Genius than S2 so far, which is a good thing I think.

  31. xr

    I liked the main game a lot: I (and presumably players) expected a deduction-heavy Scamming Horse Race-style game, but the spoils went to those who actually figured it was a queue management game earliest. The auction for the 2:40 info only needed to be announced for the clear-headed to know what would happen (and strength of conviction to follow through) so I need to applaud the players who stripped so many garnets off one leader.

    Players were so loose with information that we didn’t get to see players form AXB queue patterns early on, where A tells B the stocks left so B can infer Xs knowledge and play along. We also didn’t see anyone share his notes where his arrows or +s and -s happen to mean the opposite of the usual. Still, it was played well enough to be amusing.

    Long term, the Dominating Duo is dumb to be so overt, and the preview seems to agree. Painting this big a target on your back is an all-in bet that no future game will be majority controlled, though in fairness we’re very thin on such games so far.

    Deathmatch: Of the duelists, I only vaguely recall the pair of spectacles as being part of a previous episode. It easily cleared the low hurdle of better play than last time, though I still find I need to refocus my attention to the proceedings a lot.

    Could the preview game be another one with a physical trick, like stars with peeling paint or partially erasable constellations or something?

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Has anyone been keeping track of Black Garnets? There’s every chance if one of them is selected for the Death Match they might be able to win their way out. Hyunmin must be close to three through earning them in main matches.

      I think 9 or 10 have been given away, of which three have been used up.

      1. Alvin W

        There is currently 7 black garnets:

        1 for Poker Player Yoo Hyun,
        1 for Announcer Ah Young,
        1 for Doctor Yeon Sung (assuming that he returns 1 black garnet to Webtoon Jong Bum)
        2 for Webtoon Jong Bum (1 from this DM and 1 from Actor)
        2 for KAIST Hyun Min,

  32. Kevin G.

    Sujin left behind five garnets to Dongmin to hand out, but then he didn’t. Those were a huge deal! I don’t think there’s any universe in which Dongmin/Hyunmin spend 13 out of 15 garnets on the bonus information; 13 out of 20 is a much easier bite to swallow. Their overwhelming victory directly resulted from that information.

    Suddenly, your garnets dying with you might be preferable to banking them with someone who might not follow your wishes. This may be a big deal down the stretch.

    Plus, Dongmin strikes me as a super-pragmatist (possibly Wile E. Coyote *super-genius*?), who will discard Hyunmin the instant that it helps him.

    I don’t know if Yeonseung or Ahyoung can win the game, but they’re currently my favorites, and I suspect someone’s road to the finale will have to travel through them.

    1. Brian Duddy

      Yup… especially because whats-her-name figured out that threatening to deny garnets from the pool might influence people’s decisions.

      I agree that Dongmin is probably waiting for the appropriate moment to backstab Hyunmin. Surely he doesn’t think he can beat Hyunmin 1v1 in a final, does he? On the other hand, I’m sure Hyunmin would be thrilled to take Dongmin all the way to the final with him.

      I actually agree that Ahyoung is a lot more dangerous than she looks. Not sure about Yeonseung, though. He’s not stupid, but he doesn’t strike me as winner material.

      1. Chris P

        Yeonseung is a strong DM player though. He plays a horrible main match, but I think he realizes this, and just works to survive them. He has a great brain for the head to head matches, which will be pretty dangerous in a potential final.

        I get the feeling he’s very much like a Junghyun from S2: gets absolutely no respect in the early stage, but people realize he’s pretty formidable later on. If he does win another DM or two, I think players are going to realize they don’t want to meet him in the finals.

  33. Deo

    I don’t understand since the beginning, but… why people escrow their garnets? Don’t they make themselves more ‘vulnerable’ since there’s no garnet to lose?

    1. David B

      At the beginning of the series, it was explained that the loser’s garnets in a deathmatch disappear. There is a rule that says that once the deathmatch starts, no further garnet exchanges are allowed.

      The players worked out that they can circumvent this by giving their bag of garnets to any other player they trust BEFORE the start of the deathmatch. In the event of them winning the deathmatch, they hope that the player will hand back their garnets. If they should lose, they have the opportunity to tell the escrow player what they would like to happen with their garnets – a living will, if you like. There’s no guarantee that either of these things would happen, but it would be bad form to go against it.

      1. Brian Duddy

        That just made me realize something – that rule might prevent people from obtaining garnets if there’s another “garnets -> chips” game. Or does the rule only prevent DM players giving them away? Or does this just mean there won’t be any such games?

        1. Alvin W

          Well, the only games that needs a garnet to chip exchange are poker games and currently both betting games games (double-sided poker and betting RPS) have a predetermined starting amount. I think the producers foresaw this as a potential problem and avoided it by completely ousting the whole garnet to chip mechanism in DMs.

  34. Bobby Jones

    At this stage of the game, I feel like the less strong players like Yeonseung, Jongbum, Ahyoung, and Yeonjoo would be the key to decide which strong player will be eliminate next. The ideal result would be Jongmin, Hyunmin, and Yoohyun all fallen one by one if they somehow manage to trust and make an alliance with each other.

  35. Steve

    So we’ve seen Black and White II twice, Double-Sided Poker twice, and Betting Rock Paper Scissors twice. Surely this means we’re due for a new DM game next week?


    1. Alvin W

      Well, there is a new Death Match in Episode 7 and it is way more Genius-like, in my opinion. Not going to spoil it.

  36. JC

    Slightly duff episode for me this week. I agree with Brig that Stormy Stock Market looked like it was a lot of fun to play, but I found it very difficult to follow with any sense of involvement, other than enjoying the nice reveal or two.

    I’m a bit bored of Betting Rock Paper Scissors. The involvement of the spectating players is fairly irrelevant, the players may as well just play rock-paper-scissors against each other with a betting mechanic. Though, I would have like to seen a spectator betray the players on the final round, turning a draw into a non-draw. There just isn’t very much incentive to betray the players like there was all the way back in previous series’ Rock-Paper-Scissors games, because the influence of the spectators is so weak.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      The actual RPS element is actually an irrelevance and they could play with 12 virtual players each time and it wouldn’t really change the game, the entire game is based around accumulation and betting strategies and hoping to wrongfoot your opponent into betting big on a wrong read. It’s more poker than double-sided poker.

    2. Tom F

      A betting RPS tactic that my friend came up with: When you’re “playing” shuffle the 3 cards at random and pick one without looking. (Even better, when you know what it is, remove the ‘draw’ card, and shuffle the other 2 at random)

      Then the betting player has expected outcome zero. Arguably their best tactic is to bet 1/2 the pot size on win to make a certain small loss compared to you, whereas you have expected outcome positive.

      Of course, and, annoyingly, if you started this your opponent might well copy on their turns to “play” and then it’s a game of luck.

  37. Alex McMillan

    Fun fact I only just realised: The premier of Black Garnet was the first episode of The Genius ever to not feature Lee Sangmin.

    No wonder I thought it was missing something…

  38. Jason

    I’m rather late to the game… I only watched my first “The Genius” episode three weeks ago – now I’ve watched 30 of them!

    The lack of potential “leaders” this season has made it difficult – particularly as the strongest players allied early on. The first couple of episodes felt like “The Dongmin Show” rather than The Genius.

    I wasn’t a fan of Hweejong coming back – his arrogance caused his elimination in Season 2, which is not a trait you’d expect The Genius to exhibit.

    I quite liked the Stormy Stock Market game, but with little misdirection and far too much free-flowing information, it lost a lot of the play value for me. With so many players frozen out of the game (lack of cards, opportunity or information) the queuing strategy – while novel and clearly important – was too easily manipulated by the key players. It would have been more interesting if we had seen one or two of the key players caught out by a price crash because they didn’t enter in time or had the wrong information.

    As a contrast, I thought Scamming Horse Race worked better – particularly as shared information was often incomplete, inaccurate or outright fake. Those small differences made a noted impact on the game.

    Looking forward to Episode 7 all the same… in the meantime, I’ve got an hour of Idiotape to enjoy before SdR thanks to Mister Al ( 🙂

    1. Alvin W

      Unfortunately, Episode 7 might be a disappointment as it does not follow the “devil-is-in-the-details” kind of game like The Genius classic – Open, Pass or the God’s Judgement game from S2.

      However, it does make sense to mix it up a bit so that people are not searching for details deliberately, thus, losing its magic.

  39. Ronald

    Stormy Stock Market was the most interesting game for me: Game Design 8/10, Result 4/10

    The queue management aspect was extremely interesting and subtle – I liked the concept really a lot. One criticism I would make is that the timing was close enough that if you gained a good position in the queue, you could easily lock yourself into that place in the queue. Hyunmin and Dongmin had the good positions locked up and Ahyoung particularly suffered from being locked out – she must have played well to avoid last place.

    The information sharing aspect was less interesting. This game quietly discouraged lying about info: false information would have seemed horribly unfair and been easily caught out. Nobody went for that option. So this was a game of time-limited data collection – not my favourite way of distributing info.

    Hyunmin/Dongmin were effective at both elements to the extent that they were untouchable, which was disappointing.

    How many weeks delay is there between filming and screening just now? Once the plotting is revealed in full, I suspect (and hope) the other players will be very unsympathetic.

    In general, the players have been very honest and open – which sets up well-timed dishonesty as a great tactic for later in the series. I have enjoyed this friendly style of play much better than anything of Season 2.

    Yeonjoo is my one to watch: she has acted out being a very meek and passive character, but in this episode she made some very strong plays both in the auction and in the deathmatch.

  40. David

    Kudos to the music editors on this one- the “Jaws” theme? Perfect..

    Interesting this wasn’t a “trick” game like they usually have about this time- maybe they’re holding off. I don’t think there was any way a person could have lost via bombs without some major collusion..

    And we see the 2nd Black Mission- I’d be terrible at it. 12 items to memorize?

    The Deathmatch was interesting at first- though what I found out about it looking it up makes me question it’s use:

    Basically, the game is biased- if both players play perfectly, the player with the first move must eventually lose.

    1. Brian Duddy

      I mean, every game must be won, lost, or drawn with perfect strategy, and it wouldn’t be very good TV if the latter was true (hello, Laser Chess…) I like that they went with a DM where the decision to go first or second wasn’t obvious.

  41. Jason

    The choice of music was very clever in this episode – David has already touched on Jaws, but I thought “Pop goes the weasel” was an amusing choice when the unbeatable alliance suddenly appeared vulnerable.

    I liked the main match – I think the game choice was clever given it encouraged a 5+2 model in a game that had been 2+x for a while. Dongmin and Hyunmin both realised very quickly what was going on, but their Plan B faltered as well.

    The black mission looked tricky, particularly if the extra detail (e.g. school entrance rather than school) was intended rather than translational. I thought the reverse dealing eating into the 30 seconds was a bit cruel – the devices from the main match would have been ideal.

    As for the Deathmatch, it was nice to see a new game – not sure how many times they can play it before it becomes predictable or boring though. Almost all of the games will have a “bias” in them – however small – hence opportunities like the player with the most garnets gets the choice (although this series seems to be the picked DM player instead)

    1. David

      My issue is that the DM was a “solved” game- they probably don’t know that of course- and it was biased completely against one player. I don’t have a problem with games where one player or another has a slight advantage- but knowing that whoever plays first must lose unless the second player makes an major error just doesn’t seem right to me.

      1. JC

        With a state space of size 1.6 billion, unless you can memorize everything (a task that not even The Genius would propose as a black mission) I don’t think that matters too much. Especially since players were not able to research the game beforehand. I much preferred this deathmatch to the boring coinflips we’ve had in recent weeks.

      2. xr

        Solvable only matters if there is a human memory-efficient winning strategy, or at least strong heuristics. Even if there is (and I haven’t found one yet, perhaps due to language barriers), this only makes it a poor choice for a second play, since it seems unlikely that both players will know it beforehand or figure it out during practice. And anyway, most of these contestants cannot be counted upon to do their homework on past games in case they pop up again.

        You can have a go against an adjustable skill AI at

      3. Poochy.EXE

        Technically, Go and Chess are also theoretically solvable games, but their state spaces are so huge that not even the world best supercomputers could compute the solution to guarantee a win. Or for a closer analogy, Connect 4 has been solved, but people still play it because you’d have to be Rain Main to memorize the solution well enough to play optimally without a reference.


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