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"And now, a game of high stakes, where every decision is a gamble, and every move could be your last ...High Rollers!"—Opening spiel, as read by Kenny Williams (1974-76) and Dean Goss (1987-88).
The game was essentially a quiz-based version of "Shut The Box"; two contestants answered general knowledge questions and rolled a large pair of dice, hoping to remove numbers from a game board and accumulate prizes. In the 1974-76 run, each number had a prize behind it, including two halves of a car (Both must be claimed by the contestant or the car would be out of play). In the 1978-80 and 1987-88 runs, three numbers were in a column and had to be removed to claim the prize(s). To win the prizes credited to him/her, a player had to either A) remove the last of the nine numbers or B) force the other player to roll an invalid number. When a contestant rolled doubles, s/he got an insurance marker, which was returned for an Extra Turn if a bad number was rolled.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: Big Numbers, present in all versions, which worked similarly to the main game. Each removed number award $100 each, with a bonus awarded for getting all nine — $5,000 and a car (1978-80) or $10,000 (1974-76 and 1987-88). The car was removed due to the energy crisis, then returned as the sole grand prize for a period before being replaced by $5,000.
- In the first few weeks of the 1974-76 run, contestants could stop and take the money after a good roll. A bad roll with no insurance markers ended the game and lost the bonus money accumulated. The contestant won a car for removing eight numbers, and $10,000 for all nine. The rules soon changed so that the car bonus was removed, but a contestant who continued to roll did not risk the accumulated money.
- Complacent Gaming Syndrome: It didn't matter how many prizes you stack on the board — if there was any semi-realistic chance of a bad roll happening, the dice would almost always get passed to the other player, just to avoid the risk of knocking yourself out of the game and your opponent winning by default.
- Extra Turn: The Insurance Markers, awarded by rolling doubles and given back upon making a bad roll.
- The Announcer: Kenny Williams from 1974-80, Dean Goss on the Martindale version.
- Game Show Host: Alex Trebek hosted from 1974-80. Wink Martindale hosted the 1987-88 revival.
- Lovely Assistant: All versions had a model who did very little. Originally, they rolled the dice; from 1978 onward, the contestant rolled the dice, and the dice were brought back up to the contestants via the Junior G-Man Magic Carpet.
- Studio Audience
- Undesirable Prize: Did anyone really want an antique Chinese fishbowl? If it was worth $10,000 because it was stuffed with that much in cash like Temptation, then yes. But it wasn't.
Alex Trebek (on the June 20, 1980 Grand Finale): And when we return, and return we will...after this commercial break, we're gonna add something to it — fish!
- Whammy: Any bad roll.
- Downer Ending: Whenever a contestant plays the Big Numbers, and has a "1" left on the board, like this.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The 1986 Pilot had a dice-throwing monkey in "Duel Of The Dice", a minigame that didn't actually get used in the series (it involved rolling a higher total than a trained monkey did).
- Funny Afro/Porn Stache: Trebek, believe it or not.
- Grand Finale: The June 20, 1980 finale was...odd, with Alex being uncharacteristically offbeat — making faces to the camera and such Non Sequitur comments as "Many moon come, that's a niner", "Seven-ahhhh!", "Staying alive with The Bee Gees", etc. It was initially rumored that he was drunk, but this rumor has long since been disproven.
- One of his last lines on this version, to a model who stated she was not pregnant upon his asking:
Alex Trebek: You're not pregnant? I'm not, either.
- Luck-Based Mission: Dice tend to be like that. You can answer every question correctly, but still lose because of bad rolls screwing you over...or good rolls by your opponent.
- Minigame Game: The Martindale version, where every game had a column that represented a "special game".
- Obvious Rule Patch: The 1978-80 revival changed the main-game from each number having one prize attached to each column having up to five prizes attached.