The Genius: Grand Final

geniusgrandfinalA note to international friends: this is a UK site with a mainly UK audience, please don’t spoil anything until the English subtitles have been uploaded then please feel free to discuss away.

Quick links to places in the discussion:

Keep an eye out on Bumdidlyumptious’ Twitter for subs updates and her page here.

An All-Star season (impressive given there’s only been three seasons, and half of the S2 cast were in S1) starting June 27th:

We’ll flesh this page out as and when. Meanwhile here’s a video.

Things to note: a big throne, I can’t tell if black garnets are returning or not, the logo suggests not, the video suggests otherwise.

Who are they? It might be difficult for Westerners to put names to faces, so here’s a very quick guide:

  • Jinho – Starcraft player who was the winner series 1, got halfway through series two.
  • Kyungran – Female TV host who finished runner up in series one.
  • Junseok – Politician and first player out of series one!
  • Jungmoon – Singer and teacher who finished 9th in series one.
  • Sangmin – Record producer who finished third in series one and won series two.
  • Yohwan – Jinho’s Starcraft nemesis from series two. Finished runner-up.
  • Junghyun – Announcer and politician who almost made it to the end of series two.
  • Yoonsun – Female Lawyer who finished 8th in series two.
  • Dongmin – Loudmouthed comic who played a great social game to get to the finals in series three, and proved he had the smarts to win it.
  • Hyunmin  Student and Dongmin’s partner in crime in series three, finished runner up.
  • Kyunghoon – Lovestruck Seoul university graduate from series 3.
  • Yoohyun – Professional poker player who finished fifth in series three.
  • Yeonseung – The doctor who almost broke up the Dongmin/Hyumin partnership in series three.

362 thoughts on “The Genius: Grand Final

  1. Matt Clemson

    I’m struggling with some of the names, but at the moment, Kyungran’s the only female name I’ve picked out. Who else is there? I fear it’s similarly light on women, although to be fair, I thought Kyungran was a very good player.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Off the top of my head:

      Jinho and Kyungran are well known from S1 as are Sangmin and Dongmin as winners of S2 and S3.

      Junseok is Lawyer Kang. (Edit: No he isn’t.)

      Junghyun was the announcer turned politician from S2. Yohwan is Jinho’s rival.

      Hyunmin was runner up in S3. Yeonseung was third place.

      I’ll list them all tonight.

      1. Matt Clemson

        I think we’ve at least got 1st/2nd/3rd from each series, right? That covers 8 (’cause Sangmin came third in S1 and won S2). I think all the remaining slots got quite far, too.

        In terms of performance previously, it’s a rather good lineup. I think only Lawyer Kang went out early. Wasn’t Junghyun the guy who used the tactic for Same Picture Hunt of deliberately getting things wrong to not give his opponent information? That was quite fun.

        1. Matt Clemson

          …although that said, I’ve just recalled Sunggyu, who feels a bit conspicuous by his absence; I felt he had a fair impact on his series.

          1. Brian Duddy

            He must be busy, surely. I believe he’s the biggest star to have participated so far, I can’t imagine the producers would have let him get away easily.

        2. MarkP

          Junseok was the first episode boot in Ep 1 S1, I think. And Kyunghoon was 2nd eliminated this year who seems like the only obviously poor bit of casting.

          There’s only 3 women in the cast: Kyungran, Yoonsun (who lost the Khet game against Yohwan) and Jungmoon who I don’t remember much about.

          1. Matt Clemson

            Oh, Jungmoon! I misread it as Junghoon. Still not a great balance, but nowhere near as bad as I feared.

          2. Brian Duddy

            Apparently the Korean audience found Kyunghoon hilarious, so there’s that. Every season needs its cannon fodder so we can get to know the real contenders, I guess.

            Or maybe it’s all a ruse, and during the first episode we’ll find Kyunghoon backstage in a heap while Sunggyu just happens to be available to replace him, WWE-style.

  2. Brig Bother Post author

    I have added a basic guide to the players, if I’m missing a particular highlight to jog people’s memory do let me know. It’s surprisingly hard.

    1. waye

      I think you got jungmoon wrong. She’s a student, also a mensa member, with IQ over 150 ? She was eliminated in 5th episode of season 1. She kinda had loveline with changyeop, the actor from season 1 too.

  3. Deo

    Do we know if they have any twist?

    I mean, 2nd season is immunity token. 3rd season is Black Garnet. 4th season ?

    1. Brian Duddy

      I have a suspicion that the throne that’s appeared in some of the promotional material might be related to a twist…

      1. Lewis

        In case you’re not a Bumdidlyumptious follower, the Korean for the kind of all-star season they’re going for here is “King of Kings” – likely to be where the throne comes from, but that could easily be part of the twist as well.

        That or they’re playing that game from season 2 where they have to move across the room in the dark every week.

  4. Alvin W

    Basically, there are 5 contestants representing each season, with Hong Jin Ho and Lee Sang Min representing both Season One and Season Two.

    Hong Jin Ho was the winner of Season 1 and came in 7th in Season 2.

    Lee Sang Min was the winner of Season 2 and came in 3th in Season 3.

    Kim Kyung Ran was the runner up in Season 2, losing to Hong Jin Ho in the finals but defeated Lee Sang Min in the final death match during Top 3. She is also the only contestant in this season who has previously beaten a season winner.

    Choi Jung Moon was the Seoul engineering student who came in 9th in Season 1. She was in a love line with Choi Chang Yeop.

    Lee Jun Seok was the politician who was eliminated in the first round after a betrayal by Hong Jin Ho.

    Im Yoo Hwan was the runner-up in Season 2. He was known to have won zero Main Matches and survived with zero garnets from Episode 7 until Episode 11, where he defeated Yoo Jung Hyun.

    Yoo Jung Hyun came in 3rd in Season 2, losing to Im Yoo Hwan on his 4th consecutive Death Match.

    Im Yoo Sun came in 9th in Season 2, losing to Im Yoo Hwan in her death match.

    Jang Dong Min was the winner of Season 3.

    Oh Hyun Min was the runner-up in Season 3, losing to Jang Dong Min in the finals.

    Choi Yeon Seung came in 3rd in Season 3, defeated by Oh Hyun Min in the Top 3.

    Kim Yoo Hyun came in 5th in Season 3.

    Kim Jung Hoon came in 12th in Season 3.

    1. S

      Something to note is that the 4 non-winners from Season 3 invited were all the open cast members.

  5. Scott John Harrison

    I just finished watching Season 2 today – so I am now basically 2 seasons behind. God damn the Finale was a great the same as the first year I am hoping that Season 3/4 have some great twists with the games like Season 2 did. (The Dice game in particular.)

  6. Alvin W

    Does anyone realize how much prize money Hong Jin Ho earned in 3 seasons?

    A hefty 91,000,000 won!!!

    Which is around 82,000 U.S. Dollars

    79,000,000 won from winning Season One
    2,000,000 won from winning The Elevator Game (Episode 11) in Season Two
    10,000,000 won from winning The Chain Auction (Episode 10) in Season Three (probably shared with Lee Sang Min)

    Lee Sang Min came in second with a 62,000,000 won (56,000 U.S. Dollar) from his Season Two win.

    Jang Dong Min came in third with a 60,000,000 won (54,000 U.S. Dollar) from his Season Three win.

    Kim Yoo Hyun came in fourth with a 9,000,000 won (8,100 U.S. Dollar) from his win in Doubtful Yutnori in Season Three, making him the greatest earner without being a season winner.

    Sung Min (Super Junior) came in fifth with a 5,000,000 won (4,500 U.S. Dollar) from his win in Big Deal Game in Season Two, making him the greatest earner for a non-player/ guest.

  7. Brig Bother Post author

    Exciting, a rules video on Facebook seems to suggest that losing the main match won’t be the deciding factor in who goes to the Death Match but rather who has the fewest garnets automatically going, picking someone who hasn’t won immunity.

    It also looks like there are 11 pre-prepared deathmatches, both players eliminate three and one of he remaining five is picked at random.

    Of course I could be *completely wrong*.

    1. S

      8 of the 11 matches are your standard loser of the game is the deathmatch candidate.

      3 of the 11 matches are “Garnet Matches” similar to the 2nd last episode of Season 3, where they use garnets instead to decide who goes to the death match.

      Of the Deathmatches you can choose from: Tactical Yutnori, Indian Poker, Same Picture Hunt, Gyul! Hap!, Quattro, Black and White, Betting RPS, Double Sided Poker, Twelve Janggi, Monorail and Same Number Hunt, each player vetoes 3 and then the actual game is selected randomly from the remaining 5.

      1. David

        I’m wondering if a DM can only be played once- there are 11 of them, and 11 DM before the final- a couple of them, specifically Quartro, will be difficult to do when there are only a few players left, but it can be worked around I guess..

  8. S

    Was rewatching random episodes and found a solution to Truth Detector (S2 Grand Final):

    Q1: Are there repeating numbers? (Actually optional)
    Q2: Which positions are your highest number not located?
    Q3: Same for 2nd highest
    Q4: Same for 3rd highest
    Q5: What numbers not in your password?
    Q6: Answer

    Example: 1928
    Q1: Yes, Q2:1,2,4 , Q3: 1,2,3, Q4: 1,3,4, Q5: 034567, A6: 1928

    I’m pretty sure it’s legit given the rules they showed, but I might be missing something :\ (If they have repeating numbers it’s a bit more annoying for Q2-4 but the repeating positions would only have 2 positions instead of 3)

    1. 5470

      Werent they only allowed to answer yes or no? And no tell lie. So urs cant be used except Q1.

      1. S

        The example question they gave in the rules explanation was “How many odd numbers are in your password” (Can’t say “I’m a man”, “5” or “I don’t know”)

  9. Brian Duddy

    The debut is today Korean time! I can hardly wait for the translation…

  10. Brig Bother Post author

    A reminder to our international friends that this is a UK site with a primarily UK audience and we’d appreciate no spoilers until the English translation has uploaded, then go ahead. Thanks!

  11. S

    Extreme ways are back again 😀 Now to wait for the subs… (only watched the player introductions)

  12. Alvin W

    Not exactly a spoiler but…

    The rating for the 1st episode is 1.80% (average) with a highest instant rating point recorded at 2.60%.

    Off to a good start with the 2nd highest viewership rating ever!

  13. David

    We might get the episode Wednesday, according to a Bumdidlyumptious tweet…if not then, I suspect Thursday at the latest.

    1. Poochy.EXE

      Just finished watching episode 1. I like the new Death Match format, it basically prevents matches from becoming too lopsided since each player can remove their biggest weaknesses and/or their opponent’s biggest strengths.

      The Main Match was interesting, but left me wondering why everyone was still going for a 3-point joint win after the Convict card had been traded. At that point it’s guaranteed that someone’s getting the 3 points for the last Convict trade, and most likely they’re going to have 2 points for trading with a Civilian, so 4 points almost surely won’t be enough to win.

      Also, I was surprised that nobody in the alliance came up with the idea of an unofficial trade followed by an official trade to get your card back. You know what you’re getting so you need not fear the Convict card, the worst that can happen is you get no points and don’t know it.

      1. Brian Duddy

        The original plan is that everyone aside from Yowhan and Kyunghoon would stick together and get the 4-point joint win. The other two couldn’t trade with each other (as they already had), had 0 and 3 points respectively (Kyunghoon would get the 3 points for the convict trade), and there would be no reason for anyone to trade with either of them as neither was a commoner.

    2. David B

      Good first episode – a simple game to start, and a couple of surprising moments.

  14. Kevin G.

    I’m still working my way through the episode, but I want to give another two thumbs up for the music director throughout the entire series to date. Even the “players entering” sequence is filled with great choices that immediately call back to previous series.

  15. Clicky

    Ooooo, I’m excited for next round’s match! Looks like it’s based off this game:

    (quick summary: there’s 5 racers, each player has their top two preferences on who wins and gets points if they score in the top 3, and each player casts “votes” that will affect how the characters move, but each of the characters has a special thing that makes them move a certain way)

  16. Jared


    Well, that episode was incredibly frustrating. My favorite contestant from all 3 seasons gets the boot in the first episode because of Sangmin’s stupid shenanigans throwing them under the bus. All to save the complete idiot Kyunghoon. I hope he gets eliminated soon.

    I was happy to hear Extreme Ways again at least.

    1. Alex McMillan

      Pretty much, Kyunghoon just destroys plans with no real follow through, I don’t get why Sangmin chose to save him and endanger Junghyun. That’s one of my top 3 dropped immediately :/

      Still got Sangmin and Yeongsyung, anyway.

      1. Mister Al

        My guess is that Sangmin wants to keep Kyunghoon around because he feels he can control/manipulate Kyunghoon much more easily than he can most of the others. And I think he’s dead right too.

        1. Jared

          On one hand, that seems reasonable. On the other, Kyunghoon doesn’t seem reliable enough to go out of your way to betray an 11 person alliance to save. He seems like the kind of guy that you can tell what to do, but there’s a good chance he’ll screw it up in some way or another.

          1. Alex McMillan

            Kyunghoon is very much the Hennimore of South Korean Gameshows in that regard

  17. xr

    Set looks better than for the past two seasons, though after the introduction I was hoping for an urban decay look. It was about time they dressed up the dealer room. Some rooms still don’t look functional enough for much use: poor flow, and also a dearth of convenient deaddrops, sound-muffling surfaces, and view obstructions for purposes of prestidigitation.

    I like the idea of the title sequence, but I find it lacking in visual cohesion and the frenzied, inventive aggression of seasons past.

    The cast is OK I guess, though I would prefer the comedian from season two over half of them, and some fresh faces even more.

    Main game was meh. Nothing tricky to discover, and with a large incentive to just sit there drinking out of the bag for a couple of hours. All the drama and big moves and such consequently felt desperately staged rather than organic. At least the on-screen scribbling is getting both more useful and more humorous.

    The Deathmatch shopping list is a good idea for a season such as this, but the items on it are still as underwhelming as they were first time around. And how is it that the fully-solved Same Picture Hunt is on the list, but Laser Chess is off it? Frankly, I wanted both of the deathmatch contestants to go, so not having a horse in this race may have made it duller.

    1. Matt Clemson

      Regarding the set, I had one overwhelming impression about halfway through, and I think now I’ve had it I’m not going to be able to forget it. That weathered stonework, those rustic doors, that put my in mind of nothing as much as the Great House at Crinkley Bottom.

  18. Brig Bother Post author

    Man, I’ve missed Sangmin, although not happy Junghyun is first one out – to be honest probably the least Genius player there, but his fish-out-of-water-ness was always quite endearing.

    There was so much going on towards the end I basically lost track of it all, but it was super fun to watch.

    Black and White is Black and White. At least B&W 2 isn’t in the mix – I wonder if it’s now out of contention for the rest of the run?

    I assume the producers aren’t letting people put their garnets in escrow this time round.

    1. David

      I’d think it is- they had 11 DM choices, and there are 11 DM’s before the final. They just lower the number of vetoes as time goes on- when there are three DM’s left, the one they don’t pick is the DM, when there are two DM’s left, the person who was the first DM player choose from the last two, and then the last one there’s no choice.

      Quattro will be interesting to see how they work it, especially if it comes up late in the season..

      1. David

        And of course former BBUS winner Ian would be a fan of the show…

    2. Ian T.

      Heheh, what do you have against Black & White II? I kind of liked the version with the maths thrown in there a little better, and I found the on-screen back-solves very satisfying.

  19. Alvin W

    I’m not quite sure how I think about this season yet.

    The cast is definitely brilliant and the first game is pretty good too. However, besides the opening scenes, I didn’t find myself laughing at all during the entire episode (Not that it is actually a BAD thing, griping onto my chair the whole time shows how I am engaged, which is a good thing)

    This season seems to be more serious, game and strategy-wise, which is possibly due to the fact that everyone there is smart and witty (imo. besides KyungHoon), but I kind of miss the sweet and comical relief amidst the seriousness.

    Anyways, let’s see what episode 2 has to offer, and since it is a garnet match, I’ll put my eggs in the Sang Min basket since one or two garnets can make all the difference.

    1. Matt Clemson

      I’m very curious as to whether you can trade garnets temporarily at the end of a garnet match to try to save an ally. They’ll be too few at this stage, most likely, but later garnet matches may well end with a kingmaker, even if they’re not necessarily the winner.

      Were the garnet matches “2 lowest garnet counts play deathmatch” or were they “Lowest garnet count plays deathmatch, chooses an opponent”?

      1. Tom F

        A similar idea I had was that we might also see teams try to trade garnets at the end of a GM to get a joint top score for team immunity. This could be fun IMO because will handicap big teams.

    2. Jared

      I can see what you mean about the lack of comic relief in the cast. It’s a real shame they chose Kyunghoon over Ahyoung. Not only would it have helped the really severe male-female imbalance this season, but Ahyoung was perhaps one of the most entertaining contestants to watch from any season for me.

    1. David

      And it’s confirmed- each Deathmatch will be played only once.

      1. Ian T.

        In fairness, it could just be that the same game two in a row isn’t allowed, but with there being 11 available at the start, I’d tend to agree with you.

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      No spoilers, but I laughed my socks off at a comment by the narrator somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes. Haven’t got further yet, but it seems very promising…!

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Really enjoyed that episode although felt they probably could have condensed the last half of the race a bit further. Can’t believe they didn’t spot the hidden trap, and although it’s true that two of them were magnetic is that actually any help to solving the game?

        Tactical Yutnori was one of the more boring S1 Deathmatches but Dongmin made it super fun – really proving his S3 success wasn’t a fluke.

        Really it’s all about Jinho, Sangmin and Dongmin and a supporting cast at this point. But it’s entertaining, so that’s fine!

        1. Jenny

          The magnetic property of the chips allows players to use the magnet of their garnet badge to draw them out. The magnet is small enough to be hidden in the palm. The only thing is that others may notice the missing garnet badge. One way to get around is for players in an alliance to lend a magnet to the player who is about to draw the coins, making it less likely for others to notice the missing garnet badge from the non-playing players.

          I still find it amazing how Dongmin managed to feel the difference of 100mg, or 0.1g. He has insane sense of touch. And the way he totally owned that DM with ease and poise is jaw-dropping.

          1. xr

            The different fit may have led to different sound or balance, and that may have been sufficient to separate them. Or maybe the label colours were not equally glossy. Whatever the case, he is amazing at this sort of thing.

          2. Jenny

            It looks like many people asked about the magnet on the badge. The official facebook page has explained that besides the magnet, there is also a safety pin on the badge that players can use so that they will not be found out should they use the magnet on the badge. Pic here:

          3. Chris M. Dickson

            My favourite games are the ones which deliberately have secrets to be found, most frequently in the props. I think Brig tweeted about the launch of the official board game in Korea – sadly, I fear that it probably wouldn’t be practical to implement such amazing twists in a home game. (Doesn’t mean that the game couldn’t be very, very good, just that it would be difficult for it to be absolutely great.)

        2. Chris M. Dickson

          In a sense, it makes much more difference if you’re a late player than if you’re an early player.

          While you know that – if nobody surrenders their chips – all of the 36 discs are going to come out, if you can pull the “right” three out then you can make a big difference as to whether they all go on 4 or on 1. Similarly, if somebody *has* surrendered their chips, you’ll know that three chips are not going to get placed, so being able to pick which three chips they are would have a considerable impact.

          I misunderstood the game at first and thought that when a player surrendered their chips, they drew three chips first and had those three chips ignored – so this could have been an offensive act to nullify the effect of three chips. Not the case!

          1. Brig Bother Post author

            I enjoyed Voiceover Man basically pointing out the idiocy of the players whi realised this before the game then failed to implement it.

            My reading was you surrender after the coin draw as well, for what it’s worth.

  20. Ronald

    (I’m a bit behind)
    “Mr Bandage Man” is different, right?
    And maybe has had a gender swap?

    Surely, a reveal is coming.

      1. Ronald

        That was exactly the direction I was thinking, even before I saw the press conference clip for season 4.

  21. Jared

    A solid episode, even though everyone’s strategies to get joint wins were pretty poorly thought out. The most impressive bit of playing was probably done by Yoonsun, and the show practically glossed over it. I think she’s worth keeping a closer eye on.

    The deathmatch was great. I actually really love Tactical Yutnori, it’s one of my favorite deathmatch games in the series, and the winning team played brilliantly. Thankfully it was also the team I hoped would win.

    1. Alvin W

      The essence of this game is probably to NOT FORM ALLIANCES.

      Both alliances contained major flaws just by the pure fact that alliances is the root of all problems in this episode.

      Hong Jin Ho’s 5 People Alliance contained the obvious flaw that 1) the players with the least garnets support two entirely different character groups as stated in the episode. 2) The mistrust in the group is strong. 3) The group is composed entirely of tactical-style players, which often led to conflicting strategies and disagreement (basically everyone thinks they know best and tries to make everyone else follow their strategy). 4) Did not implement the “Coin Pass” strategy for reasons I don’t know.

      Jang Dong Min and Lee Sang Min’s 6 People Alliance contained the flaw of 1) everyone supporting the same characters (which Jang Dong Min realized later on). 2) Very difficult to have a joint win.

      In general, both alliances are very flawed; however, it was just that one alliance made more mistakes than the other one.

      On the other hand, Im Yoo Sun, the lawyer, benefitted by not being in either alliance, which led her coin information to be kept safe. We can all see her ease of flying solo in this episode. However, in the long run, not having a stable alliance or “go-to” people will bite (Park Eun Ji, the female broadcaster who was eliminated in the Number Auction episode in Season 1, is a good example)

      1. Nico W.

        I think playing Sang Min style would have been the best idea for this episode. Try to have two alliances and make them choose certain symbols because “you will choose them as well to get a joint win” and then just betray everyone by choosing the symbol that was chosen the least thus being likely to be drawn often. This seems to me like the only way I could have played it (although I would never try to betray an alliance especially that early in the game). I’m glad Dongmin is such a great player and was so helpful, didn’t like Yohwan

      2. xr

        I am unconvinced of the existence of any strategy for this game other than always pass if given the opportunity. The Get Bit – style, “largest unique goes” rule is fickle and you need massive numbers to force a result without last places. Overcoming the chip scarcity of a large agreeing alliance would need luck, even with the magnet trick. This means said alliance would need to force lots and lots of ties, which again points us to needing last place.

        Of course, how the game was actually played was stupid but more entertaining.

    1. Alex McMillan

      I love that cover. It looks like Sangmin is about to solve a murder and point the blame squarely at Dongmin

    2. Clicky

      OMG I want this :D.

      I want to rewatch next week’s rule summary real quick. I’m thinking there’s a trick where you’re allowed to put MORE than one food item in your box (or none) and some of the players don’t think of that.

  22. Ronald

    Main Match Game Design for the first two episodes has been 10/10 for me.

    Both seem designed to break any majority alliance, which is just what you need at this stage of the series.

    They also solved the problem of not knowing who the players are for the first couple of episodes, I guess 😉

    1. Nico W.

      Oh that’s true! I didn’t realise that normally the first couple of games are there to get to know each other and find more or less reliable allies (e.g. 1-2-3, food chain,…) but this season’s first couple of game are really about breaking possible alliances. That’s cool, I mean everyone has probably made up their mind before playing this season who they would want to work with and the producers just don’t let them.
      Thanks for that observation!

  23. Alvin W

    No spoilers…

    Episode 3 received a viewership rating of 2.2% (average) with a highest rating point of 2.7%.


    I watched the live streaming so, in my opinion, the rating truly reflects the gameplay. Please anticipate!

    1. Alvin W

      A correction.

      It is actually 2.34% for the average viewership rating.

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          It’s very high for cable, I understand – I *think* that’s a rating based on population rather than market share, so would be the equivilent of something on Dave getting almost 2m viewers (happy to be corrected if I’m wrong here!).

        2. Alvin W

          Any rating that breaks through 1% is considered a success (non-drama) for a cable network, so this is a really good rating.

          There are some exceptions to this rule though (all shows listed for variety shows), like Three Meals a Day, which garnered a highest 13% viewership rating; Abnormal Summit, which averages to 6-8%; or Flowers over Grandpas series, which averages to 8-9%. (Considering that the FREE MAJOR channels have difficulties breaking through to the double digits for dramas in the last 2 years, these are crazy numbers for a PAID channel)

          1. Ali B

            Good news! Anything that will encourage a S5 fine by me 🙂

  24. Alvin W

    Also, just saying…

    This episode became one of my favourite episodes of ALL SEASONS. Hope I’m not bringing the expectations up too high… 😉

    My favourite episodes (overall episode) are….

    Season 1 Episode 1 – 1.2.3 Game
    The classic with every aspect of the genius, from alliances, to different ingenious gameplays and strategies, reversals, and betrayals

    Season 1 Episode 7 – Open, Pass
    The birth of the icon of The Genius, alongside with a heightened gratitude towards the producers

    Season 1 Episode 11 – 5:5 Game
    The epitome of rule breaking, resourcefulness and thinking outside the box

    Season 2 Episode 1 – Food Chain
    The birth of arguably the most sophisticated MM and DM, AND played brilliantly

    Season 3 Episode 9 – Middle Race
    A lot of people found this game very confused, I personally didn’t, so I found this game very entertaining. Also, playing it for the second time with a helper gave the players more control over the development, and don’t forget the epic end to the MM

    Season 3 Episode 10 – Chain Auction
    A game that brought together three seasons, and not to mention, triple the fun. An epic battle of brains with the calculations in MM and the biggest reversal ever in the DM

    Season 4 Episode 3 – Today’s Menu
    The long awaited return-to-the-basics for the game rules with lots of twists and reminded us why we love the Genius (of course with a tinge of The-devil-is-in-the details on the producer’s side)

  25. xr

    This episode was just awesome from start to finish, in every possible way, and quite possibly the best episode since the first season!

    1. MarkP

      Great episode, but losing my 3 favourite male contestants in a row has killed my enjoyment for the season immensely. It’s hard to care about Dongmin and Hyunmin working together after we’ve already had so many episodes of it a few months ago.

  26. Jared


    That was a really great and crazy episode. I totally called that saving Kyunghoon and trying to use him would come back to bite Sangmin. I seriously cannot figure out how he didn’t foresee Kyunghoon botching the plan.

    On one hand, I want to be happy that Sangmin had to pay the price for sending Junghyun to the deathmatch in episode 1 in order to save someone really toxic to him. On the other hand, I’m annoyed that Kyunghoon lives to play another game. Having a significant portion of each episode focus on how badly Kyunghoon is making a mess of everything or Kyunghoon trying to work with everyone as they scream and run away from him is already kinda dull. Plus, Sangmin is obviously incredibly entertaining to watch and the game’s going to become very different without his presence.

    On a different note, it seems like the S2 cast is cursed or something. The entire top 3 is gone in the first 3 episodes!

    1. Alvin W

      I agree, Kyung Hoon literally messed up Lee Sang Min’s plan twice and Jang Dong Min’s plan once just by not controlling the big mouth of his.

      In a sense, it was like he was playing all the big players unintentionally.

      And, it was because of him that all the awesome gameplay that we saw was born.

      Tbh, if he continues to play this way, it is “entertaining” (at least it makes good tv), I’m going to be really annoyed with the unnecessary and “unintentional” tongue-slips. If you are going to pull off a big move, get it right.

      My death note for E4 is very apparent. (I am also scared for my favourite player, Hong Jin Ho 🙁 )

      1. Ali B

        After the poetic justice of Sangmin going out to Kyunghoon, I am also worried for Jinho given how well Junsoek seems to be doing this season! Very happy to hear you are a Jinho fan; there don’t seem to be many of us around. I truly believe he’s laying low on purpose, unlikely to get picked for early DMs so just aiming to stay off the bottom MM spot. The voiceover after the (admittedly disastrous) Yohwan yutnori DM said people would have to change their strategy and winners couldn’t win in the same way twice. I think Jinho has realised he needs to change some of his strategies. I reckon he can do it too. Go Jinho! Fighting!!

  27. David B


    Well, they’re really hitting it out of the park with this series so far. The games are excellent – simple enough to understand but lots of angles to find.

    I kinda saw the ‘gimmick’ coming. I was thinking the backside of the cards was going to be pure black, which might have been more elegant. Anyhow, worked well besides.

  28. Brig Bother Post author


    I do bloody love a bit of Betting RPS though, and good on most of the contestants recognising how much of a massive disadvantage you have with 0 chips (which I pointed out last time it was played) and then both players recognising the other would have considered this fact. Kyunghoon played a blinder, it’s just a shame that he’s a very distracting player to watch in the Main Matches.

    I felt Today’s Menu was a good game but felt a bit light for the length of time it ran for.

    Next week Fruit Stand v2.0, can’t wait.

    1. David B

      I feel the games are the right length; the show is cut overlong.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Absolutely, but I can only enjoy the edit that’s put in front of me. It’s the first one where I felt a little bored despite the little bits of excitement.

        Edit: this series, anyway.

  29. Edward Lee

    Kyung Hoon… What can I say about you…?

    You seriously screwed Lee Sang Min over (mind the language)… And you did it TWICE in one day!!!

    I mean, seriously, keeping your mouth shut is not that difficult, right??? But it doesn’t seem like this is the case for you, especially when you are in a competition called THE GENIUS. You are seriously going to run your mouth wild with all your plans and strategies.

    FIRST, do you think you will end off better by throwing your ally that you cherish so much under the bus? If you can think about betraying people to get first place and save Lee Sang Min, can you not figure out that by telling other fuming players right after your betrayal will paint a huge question mark on Sang Min?

    SECOND, like what Lee Sang Min said, at such a precarious moment that decides his fate, you decide to tell your opponent of your plan….

    You are like a betrayer that lacks the ability to foresee what the repercussions of your actions will be and act accordingly. I am like speechless… , you are like a naive and kind person who only knows how to betray people to help others, but you are sooooo naive (maybe too good at acting, if it was all an act) that infuriates me.

    However, I still have to applaud you for your DM win, it was well deserved.

    End of my whining. I’m all good now, feeling much better now.

  30. Uli

    This episode is… woah.
    I can’t stop going “What?!” on every turn of the DM. Well, at least this time Kyunghoon really showed his worth–he graduated from a prestigious university, after all. On the other hand, I feel that it was such a shame for Sangmin. However, the show must goes on.

    I thought it will be difficult for Kyunghoon to advance on the next episodes though–other players will find it hard to believe in him anymore, especially after he slayed his one and only benefactor. I just hope he will play better and more seriously in the future.

    All in all, this season is really enjoyable.

  31. Poochy.EXE

    I actually saw the box gimmick coming this time, although I was expecting some sleight of hand instead of a double-layer box. More specifically, I thought someone would hold a card against the lid and then open the box at an angle to keep the lid facing down and preventing anyone from looking into the lid without going out of their way.

    Quite liked the Main Match this time, both in terms of the game’s design and the crazy antics that happened. Junseok in particular deserves tons of respect for his gutsy move in R4. I can’t understand why Sangmin would orchestrate Kyunghoon’s betrayal in round 2 though. Any way I look at it, if Kyunghoon was going to betray everyone, it would be far more beneficial to cooperate in R2 so everyone gets a garnet and show that nobody (else) is nuts enough to pull a betrayal, then propose going for a repeat in R3 and *then* betray the rest. There’s no way the plan would be accepted in R4, since the scores were already uneven from R1 and whoever is in last place (or tied for last) going into R4 obviously wouldn’t cooperate. R3 is the last plausible chance to set up such a betrayal, and the later you do it, the fewer chances the others have to turn the game back around.

    Of course, I’m of the opinion that betraying others this early in the game is inherently a bad move, since it puts a massive target on your back. Kyunghoon should have learned this the hard way in the first two episodes of season 3, yet he clearly still hasn’t learned. I think he’s going to be eliminated pretty soon, since everyone else knows he’s a loose cannon after the second Main Match, and the only person who was still willing to work with him is now gone.

    Which bring me to my next point: I have mixed feelings on the outcome of the Death Match. Kyunghoon played it brilliantly and made it quite entertaining to watch, although based on previous Main Matches (both this season and S3) I’d say he was the one more worthy of elimination. But Sangmin had already failed the metagame hard by painting a gigantic target on his back with his chronic backstabbing habit. I can’t help but think if he had survived, it would only have been a matter of time before the Main Matches devolved into either (a) everyone else ganging up on Sangmin, or (b) an alliance of people openly teaming up against Sangmin vs. an alliance of people sucking up to him in order to try and throw him under the bus later (i.e. the rather dull middle third of season 2 all over again). Perhaps it’s for the best that he didn’t make a deep run this time.

  32. David

    Is it just me, or did Bandageman’s announcement that the winner could have a total from 0 to 200+ garnets sound like there could be a last episode twist?

    If they had worked together from the beginning, everyone could have gotten at least three garnets each (agree to pick the same item and put all the boxes on 11 in Rounds 1-3, then Round 4 it’s everyone for themselves); instead the most anyone got was 2.

    I agree with David B- the game was interesting, but the show edit was a little off (I guess the episodes go 2 hours w/ commercials over there? That’d be one issue if they tried an English-language version; I don’t know if a 60-minute slot would be enough to get the nuances of the show)

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I note holding funds in escrow is now back on the table.

      I think someone (Ronald?) worked out what the max possible take was for series one but I don’t think anyone’s done that for the others. I expect the max possible for each ine is potentially quite large, but max effieciency (effectively what garnets measure) is rarely conducive to survival.

      1. Ronald

        I don’t think that was me, but I’ll give it a go. It’s not always easy to work out because it depends on sneaky edge-case rules:

        S4E1 157 garnets available (all handshakes can score 2, but one can score 3)

        S4E2 59 garnets available (?) (one person lets all the others finish first but takes equal second)

        S4E3 44 garnets available (each player gets 4×4 points for 16 garnets – alternative strategy of going for bonus garnets doesn’t seem to improve the total)

        In summary, 260 garnets would make for really boring TV.

        1. Ronald

          Correction to S4E1: 52 garnets (I was counting points not garnets). Told you it was difficult.

    2. Ali B

      I also suspect that revealing the person behind the new smaller bandage man might happen later. Else I can think of no reason why they needed to change him (/her)…

      1. Uli

        I think it’s almost certain, seeing the opening sequence and the opening part of episode 1. Though I think Bandage Man reveal her/himself means this season is really the last one.

      2. xr

        OG Bandage is of course the final Boss, and beating him in the final grants you his throne (and that fancy headgear). 😉

    3. Brian Duddy

      I think you may be on to something. Of course with the garnet confiscation it’s possible in theory and was in S3 as well, but it’s a pretty big leap from there to making the statement that it actually could happen. The last game especially had some indirect prisoner’s dilemma overtones, maybe there will be something similar in the finale? Let’s hope not, but…

  33. Tom F

    e3 was a top, top episode. Everyone was playing the game so perfectly, from the maths to the hidden box trick to the team psychology when trying to help Jungmoon and Hyunmin. Also the moment they spotted Sangmin under the table was classic. On one level sad to see Sangmin go, he is certainly an icon of the show, but I was never really convinced he was all *that* good.

    -I’m worried yoonsun is deteriorating from S2e1 yoonsun to S2e5 yoonsun. She seems to be getting more impulsive and less strategic over time.

    -Juneseok’s skill in foiling that Dongmin play was utter brilliance, I think they should have made more of that – it was basically the final nail that stopped sangmin pulling a classic last-second escape, and all because Junseok clocked Sangmin talking to Dongmin.

    -Conversely, Dongmin basically tried to shaft Jungmoon and although he didn’t manage it, he also didn’t get rumbled. Quite rare that someone actually gets away with something *entirely* unnoticed in this game.

    -They upgraded betting RPS with the ‘draw’ option? I didn’t make it any less awful a DM imo, but that suggests there might be changes to the other DMs perhaps.

    -The field is so open right now. Imo we’ve seen 2 of the 3 “really volatile” DMs go now (the third being Quatrro) so the strong 1v1 players should have a small edge (but then again who that’s left is really weak in 1v1? Yoonsun? Kyunghoon? Kyungran? … Dongmin?) – I think this is surely the most unpredictable and chaotic series since 1, if not of all.
    -Kyungran has never won anything without Sangmin around (Ok, Sangmin is rarely not around) Will she survive long now? Personally, I’m rooting for a Kyungran/Dongmin “scary people” alliance.

    -I wonder whether B-man’s words about the final prize are realistic or nominal only. It’s rare we see a game with the ‘collaborate to milk garnets’ tactic so explicit – I hope we get more of that.

  34. Alvin W

    Now thinking back… It is Season 3 related…

    I recall in episode 8 of Black Garnet (S3) – Investment and Donation, the poker player Yoo Hyun was fighting for last place against Jang Dong Min, the comedian, in order to avoid a death match between Yoo Hyun and Yeon Seung.

    Yoo Hyun led the Miser label race by one the whole time and Jang Ding Min consistently tried to persuade him to not come in last.

    However, IF Dong Min just played dirty and “stole” or “assaulted” another player (collaborate with Oh Hyun Min or something) deliberately, wouldn’t that have guaranteed him to come in last per the game rule?

    Although I highly doubt he would be so desperate or morally-low to use this strategy, but it is just a curious thought…

    1. S

      Anyone who did it would probably be ousted by society, and I don’t think any of them value $60k at the cost of a lifetime of shame. Also, that rule is probably harsher and on paper, possibly including criminal charges if violence was involved but they kept it simple for TV purposes to say “None of this Season 2 ID bs will happen”.

      1. Alvin W

        I do see this side of the argument, however, I am merely suggesting that because it is within the parameters of the game and I highly doubt that he will be charged of theft for a variety show (many instances are mostly for “entertainment purposes”, so I believe it is sort of “justified”, in the eyes of the entertainment industry).

        However, IF HE WAS to do it, he can use the interviewing shots to explain his actions. I would be quite mind-blown if he actually did it. And although it will most likely be really dirty, I would applaud him for doing so.

        This comment is merely trying to illustrate the technicality of employing such an extreme strategy; not trying to debating about the morality of these actions.

  35. Jason

    A surprise to see Sangmin lose his first deathmatch!

    Kyunghoon has certainly rocked things this week… although people will now appreciate the dopey attitude is an elaborate act after that DM, so he will need to adapt quickly in the next game or two.

    Not entirely sure why Sangmin kept giving Kyunghoon a chance, but there we go!

    A very interesting DM, Sangmin really up against the wall with no chips at all during the middle rounds. Impressive that he managed to engineer a last hurrah, just a shame it didn’t work out as planned!

    I think it will be a very different atmosphere in Week 4 with one of the big names gone – could the Dongmin/Hyunmin alliance start to assert its authority once more?

  36. Alvin W


    Viewership rating for Episode 8 is 1.76%, a pretty significant drop from last episode’s 2.34%.

    The season’s average rating (of 4 episodes) is 1.84% currently, compared to S1: 0.71%, S2: 1.30%, S: 1.41%.

  37. Ali B

    Anybody (else) try watching the raw show? If it’s a new MM it’s a bit incomprehensible (for me similar to Middle Race *with* subtitles), however without the distraction of subtitles it’s fun to concentrate on the players interactions with each other, facial expressions etc.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Interestingly I don’t although I’m usually happy to try and watch something non-English and try to figure it out, I figure the subs are coming so may as well wait for them.

      1. Ali B

        I was especially impatient this week! I’ll re-watch with subs of course, but concentrating entirely on expression, body language and tone of voice etc has enhanced the show for me. Might try watching the raw after the subs next week … although may not have the will-power to wait.

    2. Alvin W

      I always watch the raw episode first ( just because I can’t wait those extra 3 days) and I have limited Korean skills that is better-than-nothing.

      Episode 4’s Main Match is Seafood Shop. (A spin-off version of Fruit Shop S3E1).

      So there are 3 types of seafood, Eel, Squid, and Fish and a total of 4 rounds.

      The bidding process is the same as S3E1:

      1) lowest is $1000, highest is $5000, and in increments of $1000s
      2) the player that bids with the lowest amount wins the selling rights and earns money by
      (Bidding offer amount X number of players bidding)

      The differences are:

      3) each player only has 6 bidding tickets which allows them to bid. They can use it in any way, and can choose which seafood to bid on.
      (3 types of seafood X 4 rounds = a total of 12 bidding opportunities; however, a player can only bid in 6 at most)
      4) there are two powers: SECRET and CHECK.
      (Secret is to block the revelation of the scores and Check is to allow a player to check his/her points currently gained privately)


      I really really liked the Death Match, one of the most intense ones yet. The eliminated player really gave the winner a good run for the money.

      1. Ali B

        Ah, I knew I had seen a similar game but didn’t know which season/episode. Thanks, I will re-watch S3E1! It was the 6 tickets thing I couldn’t quite work out … or the strategies that then evolved of course. How have you learned some Korean?

  38. Brig Bother Post author

    Some of you are sailing a bit close to the wind re: spoilers, the subs rule is there for a reason, I will ban people if necessary.

  39. Brian Duddy

    (spoilers, duh)

    First off, what a terribly designed game. The teams constantly changing means there was no incentive to be loyal for even a single round. That meant that the 12×1 strategy was the only viable one, making in hardly surprising that three different teams came up with it.

    Hyunmin’s downfall was thinking that he was the only one clever enough to think of it, and thus getting greedy… a classic case of believing your own hype, and his “Does not compute” look when the results were revealed was terrific. It’s going to take a lot more than that to knock him out, though.

    1. Ronald

      Hyunmin underestimated the other players on several levels.

      By the way he split the rounds with Dongmin, it quickly became obvious that he was in the same old alliance.

      The other alliances didn’t get caught because they were less blatant about splitting up their cards – but Hyunmin, with the same strategy, should have known to look out for that.

      For me, they gave Hyunmin too much of a loser’s edit. I was unsurprised when he lost the Main Match; I was slightly surprised that he survived the episode.

  40. David

    A bit of an eh game, but the alliances and the strategy was great (I knew they weren’t going to give out a lot of garnets in this one)..

    If next weeks episode is as good as the preview though…

  41. Alvin W

    I agree that the game was meh…

    However, to be fair, you need literally EVERYONE to be on the same page for ALL FOUR ROUNDS to make everyone gain one garnet. It might work in a situation where everyone is new to this show and no one wants to paint a big target on their back ( I mean Season 3 Episode 1) , but this is 4 episodes into an all-veteran season. There is literally zero incentive to go for the utopian world since it is so difficult to reach. At least in last week’s episode, the players can ally for ONE round and get something out of it, but this game will require a trust for the entirety of the game to gain very little.

    Anyways, I was worried that this season would be a repeat of Season 3 with the DongMin-HyunMin Alliance dominating all the games. However, this episode put me at ease. I enjoyed the fact that there were actual counter-alliances and no one is just lying there, waiting to be steamrolled over.

  42. Alex McMillan

    Yeonseung outta nowhere! Very happy he survived when I was pretty sure he was out for half the episode, he’s now the last of my three initial picks and I’m really hoping he can go the distance, especially after today’s performance.

    1. Ali B

      He and Junsoek were flawless! Must have been pretty sweet for both; completely outplaying Hyunmin&Dongmin and Jinho. Really glad Junsoek got a second go at this – must have been very frustrating for him to go out ep1 when he clearly has an amazing aptitude for the game.

  43. Ronald

    Another incredible episode:

    Dongmin was so confident in his alliance that he gave away points to try and be Kingmaker as well. Wow.


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