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Gears of Fortune Trivia Game

Whether you’re up for answering a few questions at a bar, play in competitive leagues, or have won cash on gameshows like Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire, just about everyone likes the occasional dose of trivia in their lives. We may not all be good at recalling facts about everything in the universe, but there’s definitely a thrill that comes with realizing you know the answer to a difficult answer that has stumped all of your friends and opponents.

Given the popularity of trivia in our everyday lives, it’s surprising that we haven’t seen more of it in the online gambling world, especially as developers have been trying to develop games that include skill components. One studio that has figured out a way to implement a question and answer format into a betting game is Gamevy, which has developed a couple of trivia games that give you the chance to improve your odds by answering general knowledge questions while you play. One of these games is Gears of Fortune, a thrilling and intense online game that offers you the shot to win some very sizable jackpots – if you can answer enough trivia questions to earn those prizes.

Spin the Gears

When you first load up Gears of Fortune, you’ll notice that the game uses a futuristic, metallic look. The greys and blues work with the dramatic music to create a surprising amount of atmosphere while you play: you won’t fool yourself into thinking you’re on a gameshow, but the dynamics do feel a lot like that, and the music in particular feels like it could be ported right into the final round of a televised quiz game and feel right at home.

To start the game, you’ll have to choose your bet size. The minimum bet offered is £1, while you can choose to play for up to £50 on each round. The size of your initial stake effects only one thing: the size of the prizes you can win in the game.

Once you’ve chosen your bet, you can hit the start button at the center of the gear in order to get the game started. The wheel will spin, eventually stopping on one of the 38 symbols around the wheel. There are 6 different types of symbols that could be stopped on while you play, each of which has a different effect.

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Gears of Fortune

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We should start by talking about the four “glyph” symbols, which are your basic prize winning stops on the wheel. There are four different examples, and for the sake of simplicity, we’ll talk about them by their colors here: there’s blue, purple, green, and yellow. In order to win the prize associated with each of these glyphs, you’ll need to hit all of a particular symbols before the game ends. Blue is the lowest value symbol, paying even money and having only two symbols that must be hit; meanwhile, yellow is the hardest to complete, with five symbols in total that must be hit in order to win. The payouts (and number of symbols) for each glyph are as follows:

  • Blue: 1-1 (2 Symbols)
  • Purple: 2-1 (3 Symbols)
  • Green: 4-1 (4 Symbols)
  • Yellow: 8-1 (5 Symbols)

However, completing these combinations won’t be easy. Also on the wheel are 12 Hazard locations, symbolized by a hazardous material sign. Hitting these doesn’t actually hurt you immediately, but collecting five will immediately end the game with no prize money awarded.

One thing to keep in mind is that each time a symbol is collected from the gear, it disappears from the layout. That means the potential options are constantly shrinking and the odds of the next selection are always changing. Hit a few good symbols early, and hazards become more likely; meanwhile, the one upside to getting some hazards early is the fact that there will be fewer left to spin later.

Trivia Time

If you’ve been counting along, you know that there are still 12 spaces on the gear that we haven’t yet discussed. These spots are all taken up by the key symbol, which is both your window into the trivia portion of the game and the only way to access the larger, jackpot style payouts that can be won with the right combination of skill and luck.

When you hit a key, you’ll be taken away from the main game screen and be presented with a trivia question. According to information provided by Gamevy, the questions you’ll answer here come from a pool of about 15,000. The question will be presented along with two potential answers: one correct, and one incorrect (apparently, the wrong answers are randomly chosen from three alternatives, though obviously the right answer is always given as one of the two options).

The questions vary tremendously in topic and difficulty, though in our experience, most of them are very easy to answer for those with a little general knowledge. For instance, you may be asked what sport Michael Phelps is known for, or whether the Great Barrier Reef is near France or Australia (Swimming and Australia, respectively, in case you were wondering). Some questions are harder, but those who are quick researchers may be able to look up answers they aren’t certain about: you’ll have 20 seconds to answer each question.

If you get a question wrong, there’s no punishment – other than the fact that there will be one less key symbol on the wheel, making it even harder to earn the biggest prizes. Get one right, and you’ll be randomly awarded one of 12 jackpot cogs: three each in bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The odds of receiving each of these cogs is weighted out of a pool of 1,000 that can be potentially chosen, and each individual cog is treated differently: in other words, Bronze 1 is a different cog than Bronze 2. One of the cogs in each set is also very rare, but which one that is will be randomized each time, so you can’t necessarily get very excited about your chances just because you hit Platinum 3 on your first trivia question.

The following are the odds of receiving each cog for a correct answer. Again, while we list three probabilities, the order of them is randomized, so there’s no way to know if the first, second, or third cog will be the hardest to find in any individual game.

  • Bronze: 21.7%, 21.7%, 0.3%
  • Silver: 15.0%, 15.0%, 0.2%
  • Gold: 11.7%, 7.6%, 0.1%
  • Platinum: 3.3%, 3.3%, 0.1%

Each of the cog sets is attached to a jackpot of different size. The payouts (based on your initial bet) for each are as follows:

  • Bronze: 25x
  • Silver: 50x
  • Gold: 100x
  • Platinum: 1,000x

There’s an obvious issue here: what happens if you are randomly awarded the same cog more than once during the game? Gears of Fortune handles this rather eloquently. If you are awarded a duplicate cog, you will instead be given a Bonus Booster. This increases the rewards that you’ll receive should you later win any of the jackpot amounts. Each time you get a booster, the jackpots increase by the following amounts:

  • Bronze: +5x
  • Silver: +5x
  • Gold: +10x
  • Platinum: +100x

Skill Makes a Difference

Because you get nothing for answering incorrectly, it should be immediately obvious that your level of skill in answering the trivia questions in Gears of Fortune has a major impact on your chances of winning a jackpot. After all, if you somehow never got a question right, you’d never win anything more than 8x your initial bet, which would obviously have a major impact on your returns.

Sure enough, the documentation for this game confirms that your ability to choose the right answers in the trivia portion has an enormous impact on your chances to win. What surprised us was just how low your returns can be if you’re not especially good at that part of the game.

First, a couple of obvious points. The developers were not going to give players a better than 100% return even if you could answer every single question correctly. Doing so would be a one-way ticket to losing a ton of money; smart players would make sure they were prepared to answer (or quickly research) everything thrown at them, getting an edge over the casino. Another fairly straightforward point is that the returns for getting fewer than 50% of your answers right are pretty unimportant. Those figures aren’t even included in the documentation: after all, even picking answers at random will let you get half of them right, so unless you are purposely answering incorrectly (tip: this is a bad strategy), in the long run, 50% is the worst you’ll do.

With that in mind, the following numbers were still a bit surprising. If you get 100% of your questions correct, you’ll still only get a return of about 84% (in other words, a house edge of 16%). That’s extremely high for a game in which skill is necessary just to get that optimum return. Answer 75% of the questions right, and your returns drop to 66%; only get half right, and the game returns 54%.

A Great Concept with One Disappointment

Gears of Fortune is an absolute blast to play. The concept is executed brilliantly, combining gameplay and atmosphere to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of a relatively simple concept. This is marred a bit by the game’s one big flaw, though: the fact that the return to player is so low compared to most casino games.

And despite that, we’ll still recommend that you at least play this game a few times at low stakes just to experience it. It’s rare that we play an online casino game that actually feels tense and dramatic, but Gears of Fortune absolutely pulls this off. It’s probably not a game you want to play regularly, but it’s definitely worth the occasional spin for a shot at the Platinum jackpot – as long as you have your brain ready to answer some trivia.

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