Tuesday, 4 May 2010

BrokenTV’s Boardgame Bacchanal: Part Two

Our rampage through the contents of pages 731 to 739 from the Autumn/Winter 1985 Argos catalogue continues after a slight delay.

If you’re anything like us, then you’re probably still trying to pull off a fashionable haircut even though you’re at least half a decade too old for it. And more pertinently, you always relish a chance to show off your grasp of pre-1986 TV trivia. Well, today’s update in our four-part-unless-we-notice-any-more-at-a-car-boot-sale-in-which-case-it-could-go-on-a-bit-longer series could be just the thing for you.

 imageThat’s right, it’s a Quiz Game based on the 1980s’ second most popular TV listings magazine. With double Christmas issue-sized thanks (again) to Derek Williams of the Erant Splendens blog, Iconochromatic podcast and ResonanceFM’s One Life Left for sending in this Milton Bradley/Independent Television Publications triv-fest from 1985. INCLUDING:

image What piece of history did this woman make in 1979?

image Name Arfur and Terry’s favourite drinking club!

image Who does Wogan call ‘the poison dwarf’? And many more sample questions all contained on the front of the nice shiny silvery box. Nice grade of cardboard, too. +5 POINTS 

But, there MUST be rules. It’s not a proper board game unless there are lots of rules for people to adapt as they see fit. So, how do you win the game? We’ll come to that in more detail later, but here’s a quick preview, from the rules printed inside the lid of the box, as is only proper. Yes, leaflets with the instructions printed on them are more practical, as you can pass it between the players more easily, but scrabbling around the room to clumsily read from the inside of the box is somehow more fun. It just is. +6 POINTS

image Master score card? Your own score card? Spinners? All very interesting, but WHAT could possibly be in the box?


Lots and lots of question cards. (+5 POINTS) A complicated red plastic thing (+5 POINTS). A cloth.(+0 POINTS, it’s only a cloth) And… hang on… what are they?

imageThat’s right, FOUR (count ‘em!) TVTimes Quiz Game branded crayons. (+7 POINTS) Marvellous stuff. This looks like we’re in for a more professional offering than the Bread boardgame from Part One. See how the Q&A cards look positively baroque compared to the mostly plain cards from the Boswell-themed game. (+2 POINTS) No sign of a ‘spinner’ yet, though.


Ah, there we go, all tucked away beneath the plastic section of the box like when you get a box of chocolates and get a bit sad when you’ve eaten all the nice ones, only to discover a second tray of chocolates beneath the first. (+5 POINTS) Plus, a felt-tip pen (sadly not TVT-branded, –3 POINTS), four wipe-clear single player scorecards, and a ‘final round’ scoreboard. Impressive. (+4 POINTS)

image There’s even room to write in your name on the card for each game, lest anyone try to swap the cards around while you pop to the toilet. They’ve certainly thought this through. “No, I was green, look, my name is right there in the top corner. Nice try Nan, but come on, at least have a go at getting one sport question right.” +3 POINTS

So, how does it work? Well, each player takes it in turn to spin both of the spinners…

image With Spinner One landing on one of the seven categories – Soaps, Films, Variety, Drama, News, Sport or Comedy (with a ‘free choice’ option there too) – and the question number of the next card to be played, from one to four. If you get your question right, you can tick a space in your score card, and spin again with an aim to answering correctly once more, up to a maximum of three questions per turn. If you get it wrong, your turn is over.

Once all three boxes in a subject are ticked, your Channel Hopper board comes into play. “The what now?”

image This. Your Channel Hopper questions only come into play once you spin a category you’ve completed, at which point you’ll be given a question on TV and film-based general knowledge. Get seven of these correct, and you become the Big Winner.

This makes things a little more interesting. If you know absolutely toss-all about Soaps, Drama and Sport, you can still win, but if you have enough televisual wherewithal to complete all of your category sections, you’ll be much more likely to gallop to victory. +4 POINTS

And, that’s pretty much it for the mechanics of the game. All nicely set up, even if there isn’t really one big central Trivial Pursuit-style board that every can huddle around.  But what of the questions?


Ah, the question cards. The most important part of any trivia game. While Triv famously has two big boxes of question cards each the size of an average Vienetta, here you’ve got eight smaller piles of cards, split between genres, with an extra-big pack of cards dedicated to the Channel Hopper round. This is A Good Thing. (+3 POINTS) And excitingly, you also get what the instructions refer to as a ‘decoder’.

imageThe MB-branded Decoder, there. Wow. (+4 POINTS) This allows just one question per card to be read out, meaning fewer opportunities for the sneaky reading of likely future questions, just before you pop into the dining room to look up the answers in the Encyclopaedia Britannica  Hey, it’s 1985 remember, Wikipedia didn’t exist then. But, of course, that’s not all The Decoder does – note the complicated patterns on the backs of the cards? They ensure that there can be no sneaky peeking at the answers. Not unless you are The Holder Of The Decoder.

The two questions answered here are:

“Who starred in Upstairs, Downstairs and in American comedy series 9 to 5?”

“The star of Surprise, Surprise often goes On Safari. Who is he?”

Can you tell the answers from the back of the card?

image Admittedly, you sort of can if you squint a lot, but it’s much easier if you have The Decoder.

image In certain lighting conditions, anyway. It took ages to get that photo right. All quite fun, unless you’re colour blind, in which case we’d imagine it’d be a nightmare. –2 POINTS

So, with all this in mind, a pretty decent showing from The TVTimes Television Quiz Game. But, where does it stand in Board Game Division One? Here we go:



2. Bread: –11 Points


Wow, quite a gap there. It’ll certainly take a lot to overturn that lead, but can the next EXCITINGLY GENERAL ELECTION THEMED entrant to our rundown hope to challenge for the top honour? Tomorrow, as a tasty little precursor to Thursday’s LIVE ELECTION NIGHT BLOG, we will see.

But, for today, we’ll round things off with some choice questions from the game. See how well you can do. Remember, these are all from 1985.


1. Which song, recorded by Stephanie de Sykes, was a hit after being featured on Crossroad?

2. Name the two families featured in Soap.

3. Jack Carr has appeared as Tom Merrick in one soap and policeman Tony Cunliffe in another. Name one.

4. Which of the EastEnders runs the fruit and veg stall in Bridge Street?


5. What was the name of the dog in Patrick Cargill’s comedy series Father, Dear Father?

6. What do the letters M*A*S*H stand for in the title of the American comedy series?

7. BBC’s Roots, was based on Alex Haley’s best-selling novel. What was the ITV series about?

8. Who played a title role in the 1971 situation comedy Lollipop Loves Mr. Mole?


9. What was the name of the spaceship in Lost in Space?

10. Who, in Upstairs, Downstairs shot himself after being ruined by the Wall Street Crash?

11. What character did Jack Webb play in Dragnet?

12. The theme from which mid-Fifties adventure series was the first ITV signature tune to make the pop charts?


13. Name the dance group Arlene Phillips is best known for choreographing?

14. Name the television astrologer who released a record with the title No Matter What Sign You Are?

15. What was the name of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium theme tune?

16. The host of which game show also starred in Much and Brass?


17. The disappearance of what book started a police investigation in 1984?

18. Name two of the SDP’s ‘The Gang of Four’.

19. Which British politician is father-in-law to A Week in Politics presenter Peter Jay?

20. In which year and month did was the first live transmission of a House of Lords debate?


21. Which football expert ‘transferred’ from ITV to BBC in 1973?

22. Who crashed out of the Olympics when she collided with Britain’s Zola Budd?

23. Who was the first black winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year?

24. Which sport was specially created for television in 1966?


25. Which British actor-composer-writer-director had a cameo role in The Italian Job?

26. Which American actress was the butt of Groucho Marx’s jokes in the Marx Brothers movies?

27. Which British film actress is the mother of former Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley?

28. What do the films The Odessa File and The Dogs of War have in common?


29. Name the young character in Bird’s Eye commercials who had a girlfriend called Mary.

30. His voice announced the line-up and prizes on Celebrity Squares. Who is he?

31. Name one of the losing semi-finalists in the 1974 World Cup finals, played in West Germany.

32. Who is the actor behind the ‘sch… you know who’ ads for Schweppes drinks?

33. For which teabags does Roy Hudd extol the virtues of ‘Me little perforations’?

34. What was the subject of the film series The Boat, first shown on British TV in 1984?

35. Which comedian performed for 30 years under the name Billy Breen?




1 .:

Spike Nesmith said...

b-b-but there's *still* no picture of someone getting kicked up the arse on ANY of the cards!


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