William Sydnor Jr. provided the screenshots below. The page
background is from the LaTiS
Centre at the University of Exeter.
This page is for the 1987-88 syndicated High Rollers
starring Wink Martindale.
For information on the NBC series with Alex Trebek, see Curt
The syndicated game show High Rollers was played similarly to the NBC format. This was the second of three game show collaborations between host Wink Martindale and producer Merrill Heatter in the 1980s; the first was Las Vegas Gambit on NBC, and the third was The Last Word in syndication. Two contestants answered general knowledge questions and rolled a pair of dice in hope of removing numbers from a game board. Martindale was assisted by models Crystal Owens and K.C. Winkler; Dean Goss was the announcer.
Each game had a returning champion and a new contestant, standing together at one end of a large dice table. After Goss described the three prizes available in the game (one of those prizes could be won in a special game), the figures 1 through 9 were distributed randomly among the three columns on the game board. The board always had at least one Hot Column, which could be cleared with one roll of the dice.
To start the game, Martindale asked a question with two or three choices. For example, “Which of these actresses was not one of the Little Rascals: Jean Darling, Jennifer Darling or Darla Jean Hood?” The first contestant to ring in was allowed to answer and gained control of the dice for a correct answer (in this case, Jennifer Darling) or lost control of the dice for a wrong answer. After rolling the dice, the player had to remove one or more numbers whose sum equaled the sum showing on the dice. Doubles gave the player an insurance marker, which had to be returned if an invalid number was rolled. When there were fewer than nine numbers on the board, the player in control had the option to pass the dice after giving a correct answer.
When all three numbers were removed from a column on the board, the prize was credited to the player who cleared the column. A player could win the game by either removing the last number from the board or having his/her opponent roll a bad number without an insurance marker.
In the Big Numbers bonus round, the contestant rolled gold-toned dice, hoping to remove all nine numbers from the board. The player won $100 for each number eliminated, and $10,000 for all nine. Some High Rollers contestants won $10,000 despite leaving the 1 for the second or a subsequent roll.
The High Rollers theme tune, “Bubble Gum” by Bob Israel, can be heard on the Varèse Sarabande CD The Best of TV Quiz & Game Show Themes. BigJon’s PCGames has a freeware game of High Rollers for Windows computers. Until someone creates a Java, iOS or Mac OS X implementation of High Rollers, the Joytube online game “Rollin’” suffices.
Send email to James H. Vipond