Age Cards: Game Show Theme

Published on Thursday, October 04, 2012 in , , , ,

LaMenta3's binary pillow photoIn the Age cards discussion in my previous post, I tried to spark ideas about creating your own original versions. If you haven't already seen it, I recently added a James Grime video to that post, about other approaches to the Age Cards using sets such as Fibonacci numbers and prime numbers.

Brian O'Neill recently e-mailed me his brilliantly conceived variation of the Age Cards. In my opinion, it makes the routine more deceptive, as well as engaging for the audience.

Brian's idea has several layers to it. First and foremost, he's given it the theme of a popular game show that involves choosing from numerous suitcases.

Thanks to this theme, there's now a reason that not all numbers are visible on the card. As you see below, it's designed as if some of the suitcases are open, with prize amounts showing, and others are closed, with their suitcase numbers displayed. The logic here is clear and consistent with the audience's expectation.

You can have someone think of any suitcase, numbered 1 through 26, and use the standard Age Cards procedure (noting the bottom-leftmost visible number on each card) to divine that number. Already, this is not a bad trick, but Brian has ingeniously added another level to his version.

You can also have someone think of any of the prize amounts shown on the last card, and divine the spectator's prize amount, as well! The method here is a little different.

When you have someone think of a prize amount, add the bottom-leftmost visible suitcase numbers of the cards on which they see their prize amount, just as you would for the suitcase-number version.

Once you have that number, however, the last image listing all the prize amounts becomes your secret key. You'll have a number from 1-24, and that will tell you where on the list to look for their prize amount. The amounts in the left column ($1 to $1,000) correspond to the number 1 through 12 (respectively, from top to bottom), and the amounts in the right column ($5,000 to $1,000,000) correspond to the numbers from 13 through 24 (again, respectively from top to bottom).

For example, if someone was secretly thinking of $300,000, they'd note that they see that amount on the 3rd card (lowest number showing: 4), and the 5th card (lowest number showing: 16). In this example, you'd add 16 + 4 to get 20. Since 20 is higher than 12, you'd look on the right side of the prize amount list (the easiest thing to do in this example is to count backwards from 24 starting at the bottom). Sure, enough, the 20th prize amount on the list is $300,000!

When performing this for two people at the same time, you'll want to prevent the confusion of calculating two separate totals at the same time, so have the first person think of a suitcase number, and go through asking them about the cards on which they see their number, then turn to the 2nd person and have them think of the prize amount. This way, you complete one total before starting another one. You still have to make sure and remember both totals, as well as to whom they apply.

Download each of the images below, and try it out for yourself. Thank you once again, Brian, for your creativity, and your willingness to share!

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