TV – Game Show – ½ hour
The Zero Sum Game is a hybrid of a game show and a “fake reality” show.
The Zero Sum Game is the first game show on Television in a post-apocalyptic world.
The videos would be ostensibly be from closed-circuit TV from an underground city. The video pictures would have static and cuts in them. The picture would suddenly go to Black & White. You would hear the occasional sound of an explosion and the TV picture would jump and the contestants would duck down. There would be sirens in the background and muffled PA announcements. The four (4) contestants would each wear a different colored jumpsuit, which would indicate the ‘color’ they belonged to: miners (black), farmers (green), elite (purple), security (blue), fire (red), electrical (orange).
All the people would look thin and gaunt except for the contestants wearing purple (the elite). They would tend to be on the heavy side.
There would be cutaways to areas of the ‘city’ where groups of the various ‘colors’ were congregating to watch the show. Their work and/or home areas look very primitive and sparse.
Their enthusiasm when a member of their ‘color’ did well is unbounded. The Emcee announces the reason for their enthusiasm. All the members of the winners ‘color’ get an extra food ration that day.
This would be a real game show, in the sense, that the contestants were regular folks who had agreed to play a certain part. (As do the audience members on ‘Let’s Make a Deal’). But they are playing The Zero Sum Game for real and they do win real prizes.
The Emcee wears a white jump suit. The announcer is a disembodied voice, much like ‘Hal’ in ‘2001’.
The set would look patched together. Certain items wouldn’t match. Other items might stop working. But none of this seems to bother anyone. The level of technical prowess would be considered primitive.
The Zero Sum Game is a version of ‘Hearts’…
– Cards – A standard 52 deck of playing cards.
– The cards are valued as normal – Ace is the highest, 2 is the lowest.
– Each player is dealt 13 ‘cards’ electronically. The audience also sees their cards. At the end of the game, the player with the lowest score wins.
– Each Heart is worth 1 point and the Queen of Spades is worth 13 points. (For a total of 26 points per hand).
– The aim of each player is to get the least number of points in a hand…OR
– To get ALL the points. (Known as ‘Running the Deck’). If you Run the Deck, you have the option to deduct 26 points from your score OR to add 26 points to each of your opponents.
– After looking at his or her hand, each player chooses three cards and passes them face down to another player. All players must pass their own cards before looking at the cards received from an opponent.
– The passing rotation in a 4-player game is: (1st hand) to the player on your left, (2nd hand) to the player on your right, (3rd hand) to the player across the table, (4th hand) no passing. The rotation then repeats until the game ends.
– The player holding the 2 of clubs after the pass plays that card to start the first trick.
Each player must follow suit if possible. If a player has no cards in the suit led, a card of any other suit may be discarded. Exception: If a player has no clubs when the first trick is led, a heart or the Black Maria cannot be played.
The highest card of the suit led wins a trick. The winner of the trick keeps all cards won in a single stack in front of himself or herself, face down. The winner of a trick starts the next trick.
Hearts may not be led until a heart or the Black Maria has been played (this is called “breaking” hearts
The Black Maria can be led at any time.
There is no trump suit in Hearts.
Use a score sheet with a column for each player. At the end of each hand, count the number of hearts each player has taken, as well as the Black Maria. Hearts are 1 point each; the Black Maria is 13 points.
If one player has won all 13 hearts and the Black Maria (this is known as ‘Running the Deck’, that player can choose to subtract 26 points from his or her score, or to add 26 points to every other player’s score.
Hearts is generally played to 100 points. When one player reaches or passes the agreed-upon score, or the allotted time runs out, the game ends. The player with the lowest score wins.
In the case of ‘The Zero Sum Game’ the prize is extra food rations (on the show) BUT in reality the winning contestant gets a cash prize.