Gameplay::Pyramid (game show)


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Front game

The Pyramid's gameboards, both in the main game and in the Winner's Circle bonus round, featured six categories arranged in a pyramid, with three categories on the bottom row, two on the middle row, and one on the top. In the main game, a category's position on the board was not an indicator of its difficulty. In the Winner's Circle, categories became progressively more difficult the higher they were on the board.

The game featured two teams, each composed of a celebrity and a regular contestant. At the beginning of the game, the teams were shown six categories, whose titles gave vague clues to their possible meaning (for instance, "I'm All Wet" might pertain to things found in water). Once the category was chosen, its exact meaning was given (except in certain bonus situations where the meaning was not given and a cash/prize bonus won for completing all the clues). For up to 30 seconds, one player conveyed to the other clues to a series of items belonging to a category. One point was scored for each item correctly guessed. If a word was passed, the giver could not go back to that word, but if the receiver knew the word later on and guessed it, the team still earned a point (no sound effect was played, in order to avoid a distraction). On the Osmond version, a team that passed on any words could return to them if time permitted, but if a word was guessed correctly after it had been passed, it would not count until the word was returned to and correctly guessed then.

Originally, on the CBS version, there were eight possible items in a category. This was reduced to seven when the show moved to ABC, and reduced again to six (in 20 seconds) for the Osmond-hosted version. Subsequent pilots returned to the seven in 30 seconds format, which became the standard for the 2012 version. The short-lived Junior Partner Pyramid format kept the seven words, but increased the time limit to 35 seconds. Using any part of the answer in giving a clue resulting in the item being disqualified (best known for the cuckoo sound in all except the Osmond version, which used a burble sound). Originally, the celebrity gave the clues in both the first and third rounds, and the contestant in the second round. Eventually, the rules were changed so that teams were given the opportunity to choose which player would give the clues in the third round; this was reverted for the Osmond version. The teams alternated in the first two rounds, and the team with the lower score played first in the third round. Whoever had the higher score after three rounds advanced to the Winner's Circle. In the 1970s and 1980s versions, in the rare event that players were mathematically unable to at least tie their opponent before the opponent has had his or her last turn (or even rarer, before that point), the game ended and the remaining categories were left unplayed. However, the eliminated player returned on the next game.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Winner's Circle

The winner of the front game played "The Winner's Circle," whereby the goal was for the team to communicate six categories within 60 seconds, using only a list of words or phrases that fit the given category. One player was the clue-giver while the other had to guess what was being described. Successfully guessing all six categories won the contestant the top announced prize; otherwise, the contestant won cash depending on the amounts the correctly guessed categories were worth.<ref>Graham, Jefferson, "The Game Show Book", Abbeville Press, 1988, pg. 181-182. ISBN 0-89659-794-6</ref><ref>Schwartz, David; Ryan, Steve; and Wostbrock, Fred, "The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows" (third edition), Checkmark Press, 1999, pg. 220-221. ISBN 0-8160-3847-3.</ref> The bottom three categories were the easiest, the two on the middle level were more difficult and the category at the top was typically the most difficult.<ref>Fabe, Maxene, "TV Game Shows," Doubleday & Co., 1979, pg. 255-259. ISBN 9780385130523.</ref> Clue-givers could pass on a category and then return to it if time allowed.

Returning champions and winnings limits

On the 1970s daytime version, contestants were allowed to remain on the show until they were defeated or won the Winner's Circle. Under the $10,000 format, a player who won the Winner's Circle was allowed to keep all earlier winnings. Under the $20,000 format, the player's total was merely augmented to the amount won in the Winner's Circle. The syndicated versions featured no returning champions prior to 1985.

During the 1970s syndicated version, if a player won a bonus prize, then went on to win the $25,000 top prize, the value of the bonus (either the additional bonus cash, or the value of the car offered during the final season) was deducted from the champion's total, leaving them with exactly $25,000. This version did not feature returning champions. On all versions from 1982 onward, all front-game bonus winnings remained intact in the event of a $25,000 win.

On the $25,000 and $100,000 versions of the show, the same two contestants competed for both halves of the episode. A player who won one of the two games on the episode played the Winner's Circle for $10,000. A player who won both games played the second Winner's Circle for a total of $25,000 (thus earning for example, $750 in the first Winner's Circle means the second was worth an additional $24,250 to the player). On all versions from 1982–91, a player who won both games of an episode became the champion and returned on the next show. If each player won one game, the player with the higher total in the Winner's Circle became champion (winnings from the various front-game bonuses did not count). If the two players won equal amounts of money in the Winner's Circle (including $10,000 wins), both returned on the next show.

Contestants from 1982–91 were allowed to remain on the show until defeated, up to a maximum of five shows. Champions on the CBS version also retired after exceeding the network's winnings limit. This was originally $25,000, but was increased to $50,000 on October 22, 1984 (episode #0542) and to $75,000 on September 29, 1986 (episode #1041). Players were allowed to keep a maximum of $25,000 in excess of the limit. Pyramid and The Pyramid did not have returning champions.

On Pyramid, the goal was once again to try to win $25,000. However, this required a player to get to and win the Winner's Circle twice. If the player made a second trip without having won the first, he/she was given another chance at $10,000. If the player managed to win both, he/she won the $25,000 and automatically qualified for the $100,000 tournament.

On The Pyramid, each Winner's Circle was played for a base of $10,000. For each category that the player and celebrity swept, an additional $5,000 was added to the potential prize, with the maximum prize for a trip to the Winner's Circle being $25,000 for each contestant.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Pyramid (game show) sections
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