How much do you really know about the world around you? That’s the central question of virtually every trivia game in the world, from those that test your general knowledge to others on specific topics. Almost everyone occasionally tries to answer a question they pick up from somewhere: maybe it’s the sponsored question of the day during a sporting event, playing along with a game show on television, or competing in a bar trivia night with some friends.
One place where trivia hasn’t historically been well represented is in online gambling. But that has changed recently, as Gamevy has developed a couple of games that use your ability to answer questions as a part of the gameplay. It adds an element of skill into what would otherwise be games of luck: the more questions you answer correctly, the better you’ll do at the game in the long run, rewarding you for your knowledge in a way few online casino offerings have before.
One of the biggest challenges for including skill elements in a gambling game is balancing the various aspects of whatever product you are creating. Make the gameplay all about skill, and good players may have a big edge over the house; make the skill virtually irrelevant, and players will feel like they’re having no impact at all on the results.
That’s why you won’t find any pure trivia contests offers at Internet gambling sites. You can’t have players competing against each other for real money in an environment where it would be very easy to cheat. And a game against the house would have to make some difficult decisions: if even a perfect player was at a disadvantage, the game would be no fun, while if it was possible to beat the house just by being good at the skill elements, no casino would want to offer the game.
cThe solution to this problem that Gamevy implemented was to create hybrid games that only use the trivia as one element of play, rather than the main mechanic. Many of the results that you get in their games do ultimately come down to luck: there’s no way to impact the random number generator, and if you get a good or bad result, that’s entirely by chance. However, answering questions correctly at certain points will earn you a benefit or avoid a punishment, making it easier and more likely that you’ll come out a winner in the end.
The result are two games that, like just about anything else you’ll ever play at a casino, do have a house edge. But the size of that advantage is very dependent on how good you are at answering questions. Get almost all of them right, and these offer odds that are typical of a slot machine; struggle, and you’ll find that the house is taking a big chunk of your money in the long run.
As of this writing, there are two games from Gamevy that utilize a question and answer portion as part of determining whether you win. These two games take very different paths when it comes to how these trivia portions affect your final result, but in the end, both rely on your answers as a major factor in how well you’ll do over the long run.
First, there’s Gears of Fortune. In this game, you’ll be trying to match symbols that are randomly distributed and spun on the titular gear, with the lower-value wins simply requiring you to be lucky enough to hit the correct combinations before the game ends. Should you hit five “hazard” symbols first, you’ll lose immediately, losing everything.
In this case, the trivia comes into play if a spin results in a “key” symbol. When this happens, you’ll be given a question. Answer it correctly, and you’ll get a “cog” attached to one of the four larger jackpot prizes. Get the full set of three cogs for any of these jackpots, and it is yours to keep. Getting a question wrong doesn’t actively hurt you, but you’ll be sent back to the main game with no reward.
If you enjoy being put on a bit more pressure, then you might like The Heist. In this game, you’ll be tasked with finding your way into a vault that contains a prize. In order to get there, you’ll have to survive a path that contains ten steps, each of which comes with three choices: left, right, or center. You might safely move along, or you might trigger an alarm. In between those two results, you could be posed with a question: get it right, and you’re safe, while getting it wrong sets off one of the alarms. Five alarms, and you lose, so every wrong answer here can be very costly. This game is also notable for its bonus round, in which you can continue to press your luck for as long as you feel comfortable, potentially winning as much as £1 million – if you can avoid the alarms, any one of which will cost you everything you’ve built up so far.
You might be wondering about something pretty important at this point: just how hard is the trivia that you’ll be expected to answer? In both of these games, we would rate these questions as very light. If you’ve ever played in a typical bar or pub trivia game, you’ve answered questions that are, on average, much tougher than the ones you’ll face here. That’s not to say that they’re all simple for all people, but we imagine that most players will know most of the answers without any trouble.
The questions are asked from a pool of 15,000 potential queries, according to the rules pages provided for these games. In each case, there is one correct answer and three incorrect responses. However, you’ll only see the right answer and one wrong alternative (chosen at random) when you play. This means that you’ll have a 50/50 shot even if you take a total guess; as a result, the games only report return to player figures for 50% success rates and up, and even the worst quiz taker should be able to score much higher than this.
You may even be able to find the answers for many of the queries that stump you. You’ll have 20 seconds in order to select your answer. That’s more than enough time for a quick researcher to perform a Google search – a tactic that you might want to employ at key moments if you find yourself struggling to choose between your two options.
At a time when more and more gaming developers are looking for ways to bring in younger players by incorporating more skill-based elements into their products, it seems that Gamevy has hit on a unique solution that may appeal to some gamers. The use of trivia as a way to improve your chances – but not as the main driving gameplay element – is a smart move, as it allows these titles to still feel like the classic games of chance that will appeal to slots players, while also giving players a chance to truly feel like they’re making an impact on how each round plays out.
Are these games perfect? Of course not. While both The Heist and Gears of Fortune are tense and exciting, they can become frustrating for a number of reasons. They are a lot less fun when you start getting some tough questions right when you need a correct answer to guarantee a certain outcome, and even if you are a master of arcane knowledge, the house edges are rather large should you get 100% of the answers correct (and astoundingly low if you do badly at these portions of the games).
Still, the unique nature of these offerings have made them a fun diversion that we find ourselves going back to again and again. We doubt that anyone will make the Gamevy trivia games the centerpiece of their online gambling routine. However, for the occasional low-stakes play, these are an exciting addition to any casino’s lineup.