Scott Hardie | August 28, 2018
Someone recently wrote to me with a suggestion for a new scoring system for Celebrity Goo Game. I'm more than happy to give that person public credit, but they wrote to me about it in private and might prefer anonymity, so I leave it up to them whether to identify themselves. Regardless, I'm grateful to them for the suggestion.

Personally, there are things that I like and dislike about the idea. But mostly I've been trying to puzzle out in my mind how it might work for us. I figure I'll toss it out for discussion and brainstorming; maybe some of you can suggest ways to make it workable.

The suggestion is to run Celebrity Goo Game like the Jeopardy! game show on TV. There would be a big blue board of categories or themes, with five goos in each column, and the goos would increase in difficulty and point value down the list. Once someone selected a goo in a column, we'd all play it and score points. There would be "daily doubles" where someone could gamble some of their earned points to jump ahead of the pack, and a "final Jeopardy" where everyone wagered points to decide a final winner. We tried a version of this at GooCon and it was terrific, but the live in-person game is quite different than the online game.

What I like about the idea: The concept is really easy to understand, and following along with what's happening should be simple. The scoring should be fairly easy for me to program. Themes can be fun. The wagering allows for sudden reversals of fortune; someone in the lead can drop to the rear and vice versa. Someone trailing badly can still have a shot at victory at the very end (albeit with slim odds).

What I don't like about it: I'd have to create an entire season's worth of goos in advance (ouch). The back-end system for creating goos and storing them in a pool for publication would have to undergo some changes. Scores can become static; someone can take an early lead and become impossible to catch, especially if they do well on a "daily double."

What I haven't figured out yet:

1) What would the schedule be? A new goo daily? We could play three boards with 30 goos each, which fits nicely into a 90-day season, leaving one day for "final Jeopardy" at the end. But not everybody can play the game daily; some people only visit the site once or twice each week. We shouldn't exclude them. I could make a new goo every 2-3 days instead, but I don't know that this would be as much fun. (And to be clear, seasons don't have to stay locked in this 91-day format; we can break that structure if necessary.)

2) Who would control the board and declare which goo to play next? It's critical because of the daily doubles; we can't just select the next goo at random. At the GooCon version, of all players who guessed a goo correctly, one would be chosen at random to control the board next. But the online game doesn't have us all sitting around a living room guessing simultaneously; guesses trickle in on a scattered basis over several days. If we said control goes to the first player who guesses a goo correctly, that would frequently be the same person every single day, which is no fair. If we said it's someone at random from all people who solved the goo on the day it was published, that disadvantages the players who cannot visit the site daily.

3) How would "final Jeopardy" work? What happens if it comes up during a slim window of time that not everyone can make? Is it one day? Three days? At what point does someone have too long to research? Players on TV only get 30 seconds after all. :-)

4) How would player-created goos fit into this? Some players create many goos; others create only a few. I could make a theme around each goo submitted by a player, but striking a fair balance between all players would not be easy; right now I can point to the randomizer and shrug if someone gets slightly more chances, but when I plan the entire season in advance, that's a different story. And what would happen to the player's score when one of their goos comes up and they can't play it? The person who proposed this format suggested just giving them a few free points when their goo comes up, but I wonder if there are other good ways to handle it.

I have no idea whether this system will ever happen, but I like the idea and I wonder if there are ways to make it work. What do you think?

Chris Lemler | August 29, 2018
I made the suggestion to Scott and I usually like to run a idea before Scott/myself mention it in public. I would like to hear people thoughts on this whole Jeopardy idea too. If you like the idea good if not that's okay also.

Chris Lemler | August 29, 2018
Scott, I was thinking maybe you can let the computer pick all the categories randomly. And for the players created goo's you could use them for the daily doubles then you don't have to make a theme around the created goo's. And for final Jeopardy you could give the players that get on to play everyday a minute to solve the goo and for the players that don't get on frequently 2 days before it gets closed down. Because players could be busy doing stuff with their family's and have to work evening shifts and are too tired to open it that night.

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