|NBC Daytime, Monday July 1, 1974-Friday June 11, 1976|
Syndicated, September 8, 1975-September 19, 1976
|NBC Studio 2, Burbank, California|
High Rollers is a game show inspired by the board game Shut the Box where "Every decision is a gamble and every move could be your last".
2 Contestants competed (including A Returning Champion). The object is to remove the numbers 1 through 9 from a game board by rolling an oversized pair of dice. High Rollers is modeled on a traditional board game called Shut the Box.
In order to determine who gained control of the dice, the host asked a toss-up question. The answers to the questions are usually either multiple choice, true/false or "Yes" or "No". A contestant/The Champion who buzzed in with the correct answer or whose opponent/challenger answered incorrectly/wrong, He or She earned the chance to either roll the dice or pass and force the opponent to roll. The controlling contestant usually chose to roll only early in a game. All numbers are good on the first roll of the game. Passing to the opponent became more common as the game progressed with fewer good rolls left on the board. A contestant who made a bad roll (one which couldn't be made with the remaining numbers) lost the game. However, if the odds of making a bad roll are low, such as if the only bad roll were 3 or 11, the contestant who won control of the dice often chose to take the gamble and roll.
Contestants removed numbers from the board based on the value of the roll of the dice, either the number by itself or in combinations that totaled the value rolled. For example, if a 10 was rolled, the contestant could remove any available combination that added up to that number: 1-9, 2-8, 3-7, 4-6, 1-2-7, 1-3-6, 1-4-5, 2-3-5 or 1-2-3-4, providing that none of the numbers within the combination had already been removed.
Play continued until a contestant either removed the last remaining digits from the board and won or (more commonly) made a bad roll and lost. If the only remaining digit on the board is the number 1, a final toss-up question was asked and the contestant who answered the question correctly wins the game (since it's impossible to make a roll totaling 1 with 2 Dice). The winner of the game kept whatever prizes were in his or her bank or won a house minimum of $100. A contestant who won 2 Out of 3 Games Wins the match.
The original series featured a prize hidden under every digit on the gameboard, revealed when that digit is eliminated and added to the bank of the contestant who removed it. 2 Digits each contained one half of a large prize, usually a new car or boat. To bank the car, both "1/2 Car" cards had to be uncovered by the same contestant. If the contestants each revealed one of the two cards, the car is taken out of play.
During the last 7 Weekdays of the 1st NBC Daytime Portion (April 26-June 11, 1976), the main game is known as "Face Lifters"; the digits were arranged in a 3x3 grid and concealed a picture of a famous person. A contestant wins the game for correctly identifying the person in the picture. A contestant could take a guess after making a good roll. If a contestant made a bad roll, the opponent is allowed one guess for each remaining number in the picture; a successful guess won the game plus the prizes belonging to the numbers still on the board. If neither contestant guessed the identity correctly, Trebek gave clues until one contestant buzzed-in with the answer.
During the 1974–76 Edition of the show, The Co-Host Ruta Lee rolled the dice for the contestants. The contestants sat along the long side of the dice table opposite from Trebek.
A Syndicated Portion with almost identical rules ran weekly in 1975–76. Each episode featured the same 2 Contestants competing for the entire show. After the first few episodes the rules were changed so that, rather than requiring contestants to win a 2-Out-of-3 match, the winner of each game played the Big Numbers for $10,000 and the losing contestant returned for another game. The contestants played as many games as possible until time was called. If this happened during a game, the one who had removed more numbers won the final game and any prizes accumulated. Under the 2-Out-of-3 Game format used in the 1st few episodes, the contestant also had another chance at the Big Numbers. Like other weekly nighttime game shows at that time, this version had no returning champions.
The Big NumbersEdit
In the Bonus Game, called "The Big Numbers", the champion rolled the dice and attempted to remove the numbers 1–9 from the board with a large prize awarded for clearing the board. A bigger gameboard was used, except on the 1978–80 series, which used the same board as the main game. Insurance markers were awarded for doubles, giving the contestant the opportunity to roll again after a bad roll; this is the only time insurance markers were used during the 1974–76 version.
Contestants were awarded $100 for each number removed from the board. In the earliest episodes, contestants could stop and take this money after a good roll. A bad roll with no insurance markers or eliminating all numbers except for the 1, ended the game and the contestant lost the bonus money accumulated. The contestant Wins A Car for removing 8 Numbers and $10,000 ($5000 EARLY IN the run) for all 9. The rules soon changed so that the car bonus is removed, but a contestant who continued to roll didn't risk the accumulated money.
The 1978–80 version offered a prize of $5000 for eliminating All 9 Numbers. For a certain period the contestant also received a car in addition to $5000 for winning. The Martindale version offered a prize of $10,000, and used a pair of "golden dice" for this segment of the game.
The Big Numbers bonus round was also used on Las Vegas Gambit in 1981. The gameplay was unchanged (though the "Big Numbers" name isn't used) and even incorporated the same dice table and sound effects from the 1978–80 High Rollers. Las Vegas Gambit, which like High Rollers is produced by Heatter-Quigley is also coincidentally hosted by Wink Martindale.
Champions stayed on the show until they were defeated or until they won 5 Matches (seven on the 1978-80 version). On the 1987-88 version, winning five matches originally won a new car but was later dropped by the time a player finally retired undefeated, which led to more cars being awarded in some of the mini-games played during the main game.
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Main Article: High Rollers/International
E.S. Lowe/Milton Bradley (1975)