Front Game Rules
A total of three games, each with two players, are played on each show. In the first game, players buzz in and guess if a certain item is a bargain or not, depending on the price given by Tomarken (for instance, a $25 hourly rate for a Venice gondola ride, $1M for the rights to Ronald Reagan's life story, etc.) If correct, the player receives a point. If not, the point goes to his/her opponent. The first to reach 3 points wins the game and a bonus prize.
|In the second mini-game, called "Bargain Trap," five prizes are shown, each with a listed prize. Four prizes are bargains listed below their retail price, one is a "Bargain Trap" listed above the actual value. The two players go back and forth, picking prizes until all four bargains are selected or one player picks the Trap and loses the game. When only the Trap remains, both players write down the amount of markup they believe was added to the prize. The person who comes closest to the actual amount wins. Winners receive the prizes they selected during the game.|
|In the third mini-game, three prizes are shown, one at a time, to the players. Both players lock in what they think was the price of the item out of three choices, and receive a point if correct. After three rounds, the player with the most points wins the game and all three prizes shown (Tomarken also warned that if a player missed two in a row, that could put him/her out of the race). The prizes were from stores all over the country, and listed at closeout prices at their respective store.|
At the end of the show, the three winners of each game return to play in one final game to determine a grand champion. In this final round, a total of seven prizes are offered, each of them bargains to varying degrees. Each player selects 3 prizes that they think will save them the most money. Whoever winds up with the highest total savings wins the game, the 3 prizes they selected, and a bonus trip. The remaining players still leave with their stash from their previous games.
After each mini-game, a horn sounds, signifying the show's "Bargain Shopper" segment, which offered the home viewers various merchandise at "bargain" prices. At the end of the show, Tomarken would review the three items for those who cared.
On the surface, the game isn't too bad; it plays a lot like a B-squad version of The Price is Right. Peter Tomarken does a respectable job hosting the show, handling contestants that seem to be even more fluttery than Price's. The set is OK, the music is innocuous, and I must say that the bonus round was pretty clever. The thing that kills it for me, however, were those God-awful home shopper segments. I mean, it's bad enough that the prizes seemed awful low-caliber to begin with, but to compound the problem by trying to hawk even lower-quality junk at inflated prices to the gullible viewers? Pass the Pepto-Bismol, quick!