“The Genius: Rules of the Game” – An epic reality TV game show from Korea

Rules of the Game

This could be the one of the best reality TV game shows ever, but being broadcast on tvN, a cable channel in Korea, it means limited viewership and buzz when “The Genius: Rules of the Game” debuted in April this year.

If you like watching Japanese psychological thriller movies like “Liar Game” and “Kaiji”, this game show will appeal to you. It focuses on the psychology, intelligence and sociability of the players to manipulate the game in their favour. The interesting game design, lively interactions among the players, as well as superb editing and production setting got me hooked just minutes into the first episode.

Season 1 of “The Genius” : Rules of the Game


The season starts with 13 participants who is given a garnet each. The garnet is the in-game currency and more can be earned – and spent – during the course of the season. Each garnet is worth 1 million Korean won (~US$1000).

The season is played over 12 rounds or episodes, with one player being eliminated in each round. Every round comprises two segments: Main Match and Death Match. The Main Match will be played first to determine the winner(s). Main Match games may seem simple and straightforward at first, but the dynamic nature and rate at which alliances are formed – and broken – and strategies are changed during the games makes it nearly impossible to predict the final outcome. 

The eventual winners of the Main Match will each receive a token of life that gives them immunity from Death Match. If there is only one winner, he/she will get an extra token of life that can be given to another player. The worst performer or loser of Main Match automatically becomes the elimination candidate. He/she will choose another player without a token of life to play the Death Match with him/her.

The loser of the Death Match will be eliminated from the game, and his/her garnets given to the winner of the Death Match, who will return with the rest of the survivors to play in the next round. The last player standing at the end of the season will be crowned the winner. All the garnets possessed by the winner will be exchanged for real cash.

The players come from varied backgrounds: TV host, actor, singers, newscasters, professional gamer, poker player, pool player, web comic artist, university student, auctioneer and politician. Despite the lack of on-screen experience for most of the players, they were quick to settle down and adapt to the intense game environment. The secret alliances, betrayals, sabotages and the “self-vs-team” dilemma spice up the games tremendously and make for intriguing exchanges and unexpected results.
TG1 poster

You can now watch the English subbed episodes of The Genius, thanks to the neat work of Bumdidlyump.

* Updated Dec 2013:
A second season has been confirmed. You can read more about it in my post.

(all image credit: tvN)


8 thoughts on ““The Genius: Rules of the Game” – An epic reality TV game show from Korea

  1. Pingback: Season 4 of “The Genius” : Grand Final begins June 27th | The Elusive Sleuth

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  3. Pingback: Season 2 of “The Genius” : Rule Breaker starts Dec 2013 | The Elusive Sleuth

  4. Pingback: Season 2 of “The Genius” : Rule Breaker starts Dec 2013 | The Elusive Sleuth

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  6. Dear Jenny,

    You are invited to participate in a research study. The Institute of Policy Studies is conducting a baseline analysis of the Chinese blogosphere.

    While much has been discussed about English blogs, very little attention has been given to non-English blogs. As part of our study, we are conducting a survey to find out more about Chinese bloggers’ blogging practices, topics of interest and motivations for blogging.

    If you are interested to find out more about the survey, please contact me at sim.juiliang@nus.edu.sg and I will send you a link to the study.

    The survey will last 15-20 minutes. Your participation will be an invaluable contribution to the first study on the Chinese blogosphere.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thank you.

    Sim Jui Liang
    Research Assistant
    Institute of Policy Studies
    National University of Singapore


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