Eleven Up

Eleven Up logo

This is the third game show proposal on my site, but I actually created the game as a freshman at South Dakota State University. I wish to use Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3” as a theme song, but I am not sure I can get the proper clearances. Wink Martindale is a likely host for this show.


Premise: Two contestants, represented by contrasting colors (say, green and orange), compete to solve enigma-type puzzles leading to the names of famous people (actors, U.S. presidents, authors, etc.). Examples:
Example of a two-word puzzle Example of a three-word puzzle
My whole is an ACTRESS

My first: Vega of Spy Kids (5)
My second: He’s on the $10 bill (8)

Solution: Alexa Hamilton

My whole is a COMEDIAN

My first: The Prince of Wales (7)
My second: Riddle or Rockefeller (6)
My third: Monopoly host Michael (6)

Solution: Charles Nelson Reilly

Visual puzzles may also be used. For example, a flush toilet and assorted sweets would suggest John Candy, a film comedian of recent years.

The show gets its title from the arrangement of hexagons in the game board: four hexes on top, three in the middle and four on the bottom. Two-word puzzles are at hexes 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10; three-word puzzles are at hexes 1, 4, 6, 8 and 11.

Game board

The game is played in three distinct rounds:

  1. SCORE FIVE: Be the first player to claim any five hexagons on the board.
  2. THREE IN A ROW: Be the first player to claim three hexagons in a line, horizontally or diagonally.
  3. FOUR CORNERS: Change all four corner hexagons (#1, #4, #8 and #11) to your color and win a progressive cash jackpot.

Players alternate turns, starting with the champion or the winner of a backstage coin toss. On each turn, a player chooses one numbered hexagon and attempts to solve the puzzle associated with that hexagon. (Optional: The host may give the first letter of each word in the answer.)

When a player gives the correct solution, that hexagon changes to the player’s color, obscuring the number. When a wrong solution is given, the host reveals the correct solution and the hexagon remains available to both players. The loser of the first round gets the first turn in the second round, and the loser of the second round gets the first turn in the third round.

Scoring: Two-word puzzles are worth $30; three-word puzzles are worth $70. The contestant with more money after three rounds is the champion and advances to the bonus round.

Bonus Round: Of the 11 hexagons on the board, six are green with dollar signs and five are red with X’s. To win, the contestant must find three green hexagons before finding two red ones. The reward could be a cash bonus, a prize package or an automobile.

Comments: The puzzle format is unique. With the right host and a suitable bonus round, Eleven Up could be one of the most exciting game shows on television.

I don’t expect much of this game show, especially since some of my puzzles require specialized knowledge. (For example, how many people know that John Barrymore had a pet vulture named Maloney?) It could work just as a midseason replacement.


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