Friday, 28 December 2007

Review - Strictly Come Duncing

Click here to purchase Strictly Come Duncing from Amazon.

Strictly Come Duncing is everything that its creators could hope for. It is entertaining but most importantly, it is interesting.

Having come two years since the last DVD a lot of lessons have been learnt. The previous QI game was complicated to play and left many players confused and frustrated. Strictly Come Duncing relies upon simplicity and straight forward interestingness to achieve a very entertaining result.

There are three striking changes in this game. Firstly there are the "Duncehalls", 9 different themes such as Ballroom and Latin (as Stephen makes clear in his introduction the names have no relevance upon the questions in the rounds) in which there are four 10 question rounds. In each round the player competes to answer the most questions correctly. Secondly, there is the option of a two-player quiz. And finally there is Alan Davies, with whom one competes in single-player. Alan did not feature in the first game.

These differences play to the strengths of this format. In the past game one could expect to spend an hour or two answering 50 questions where there could be some horribly frustrating 'dead ends'. The 10 question rounds in duncing can be sped through in quarter of an hour. This game is a very social activity, much like a modern board game. Even when playing by oneself Alan Davies (who was filmed answering the questions himself with no assistance) proves to be a fairly formidable opponent!

Duncing also exhibits some other good features. The questions and informative answers given by Stephen Fry are filmed as a single take for each round. There are no repetitive put-downs from Stephen for wrong answers. There's also a video of Alan as he intently watches Stephen. The credits are accompanied by out-takes, including Stephen's humiliation as he asks a question to which one of the answers is Twinings.

With 36 ten-question-rounds in total this DVD will certainly have the capacity to come out of the box more than a three or four times. Indeed like all of QI's best creations of late, it is best suited to dipping in and out of on a regular basis. Enlightenment should, after all be part of a stable diet. Say no to binge enlightenment!

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