Friday, September 16, 2011

Game Show Board Games: The New Tic-Tac-Dough (70s version)

Last week, I featured the 1950's version of the Tic-Tac-Dough board game.  This week, I'm discussing the 1970's version, which like the original version, seems to have come out roughly around the time of the show's premiere (1978, in this case, although the copyright actually says 1977 for some reason). The game play of the new show was rather similar to the original version, although they changed pretty quickly from shuffling only after both contestants had been asked a question to shuffling after each question. Also, center-box questions on the show became routinely two-part questions, as opposed to merely "more difficult" than other questions (although like the original, extra time was allowed for the contestant to consider a response).

There's little point in denying that the 1970's board game itself is considerably cheaper than the 1950's version.  Instead of mechanical gears and a lever to shuffle the categories, the 1970's game settles for a mostly cardboard affair, using numbers for categories on a single rotating disk. This does, however, have the benefit of easily allowing for different categories in each game (I'm under the impression that one was supposed to order accessory kits to add new categories to the 1950's game, but I've never seen that these actually exist).

One oddity deserves mention that applies to both versions of the board game. The scorekeeper (a disk on this version; a pointer on the original) allows for rounds to be worth up to $1000.  Each box being worth $100 (or $200 for the center square). This is accurate enough to the daytime network versions of each show, but the 1978 network version of The New Tic-Tac-Dough didn't last very long, and the syndicated version (which lasted much longer) awarded $200 for each square ($300 for the center), which really isn't possible to do if you're limiting yourself to the board itself (of course, it's pretty easy to just grab a piece of paper and a pencil!).*

The other big difference in this version of the board game involves the Bonus game (a feature that the original 1950's show didn't have in the first place). Oddly enough, while the dollar amounts for the main game reflect the 1970's network version, the bonus game is instead taken from the syndicated version of that era. The game provides cards with the words "Bonus Game" on the back, and you are to lay these out on the table in a 3-by-3 grid. The contestant turns over one card at a time, which reveals either a dollar amount or a dragon. The contestant is allowed to add to their score the accumulated total of the dollar amounts revealed after each turn, or risk losing that amount to turn over another card. If the contestant reaches $1000, they win the Bonus game and receive a total of $2000 added to their score. If the dragon is revealed, all money from the Bonus game is lost. This is somewhat different than the show, where two of the dollar amounts are replaced by cards that say "TIC" and "TAC," which award no money, but which will automatically yield a victory if both are selected. This actually makes the home version considerably easier to win than the real thing. The real game would also add a prize package (worth quite a bit more than $1000, in my experience) in addition to the money accumulated (rather than a set $2000), so perhaps the added risk evens out in the long run.

*I should also point out here that the 1950's show had a nighttime version where the values were $300/$500.
I should point out here that the game actually gives you 12 cards, even though the instructions say you should only use 9. Basically, they give you 3 extra dragons for no apparent reason. The rules even make clear that there should only be one dragon among the 9.

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