The first round consists of ten questions, the first being worth $10 and each one that follows being worth $10 more than the last. A contestant can buzz in at any point while the question is read. If a player gives a wrong answer, the other three players each receive the dollar value for that question. At the end of the round, the players are ranked according to their scores. If two players tie with the same amount of money, the person with the most correct answers is ranked above the others.
The second round consists of three one-on-one battles. To start, the fourth-ranked player faces off against the third-ranked person. The winner then goes against the second-place finisher from the last round, and whoever wins that match plays the first round's leader. The winner of each match wins the combined total of both players' scores. (i.e. if one contestant has $320 and another has $440, the winner receives $760.) The winner of the final match goes on to the bonus round.
For each match, the higher-ranked player chooses from a list of four categories (in the first match; after that, the next match is played with one of the three subjects that are left). Each category has 5 questions, ranging in value from 1 to 5 points. Players can buzz in at any point, but a wrong answer gives the points to that player's opponent. The person with the most points at the end of the match, or the first to score 8 points, wins.
The winning player now has to face up to three questions from the one category remaining from the second round. The first question that the player is asked will double his/her winnings if answered correctly. The second question is worth three times the contestant's original score. The final question is a 2-parter, and if the player answers both parts right, he/she wins 10 times what was won in the front game. After each right answer, the contestant can stop with the money he/she has won; a wrong answer loses all endgame winnings. A player continues playing for up to five days or until he/she has won over $50,000.
The one-on-one matches really interest me, as does the fact that each match is worth increasingly more money. Even if the person with the least amount of money wins each face-off, the eventual winner can still walk away with thousands of dollars.
I haven't come up with a better format for the first round, but in its current format it sounds like it'll go by really, really fast.
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