(The Board) Games People Play: #21, Sporting Triangles

“If you ever wondered how you get triangles from a cow you need…”

Friday 14 January 1983

Still buzzing from last night’s disco date with Tricia but I was brought back down to Earth at 11.21 am by my Maths teacher Mrs Powell. Before last night’s date, one thing I had forgotten about was a little maths test. I only got seven out of twenty which was the lowest mark in my set. I was kept behind for twenty minutes after the lesson. This meant I nearly missed my sitting in the canteen (but left the second and third years to fight over the cheese whirls).

Thanks to my roasting, I trying to think of the formula for working out the area of a triangle. It came to me on the 343 as it passed Egmont Street: 0.5 x Base x Height. How many slices of Dairylea would that be? For some odd reason I wondered why you didn’t see a board game with a triangular course. Perhaps my little sister Donna could do a similar board game based on three Mossley pubs (The Britannia, The Commercial, and the Friendship).

In 1987, a briefly popular rival to BBC One’s A Question of Sport spawned its own board game.

Sporting Triangles

Triangles were pretty big in 1980s board game circles. Wedges were used to determine a correct answer on Trivial Pursuit within your counter. An equilateral triangle inspired the game board of ITV’s Sporting Triangles. Hosted by Nick Owen, the quiz show’s conversion to board game was seamless. On television, four teams of two players rolled an electronic dice and filled in their triangle on the screen.

In the board game, two to four players (or two to four teams) would fill in their part of the Sporting Triangle. With little plastic triangles in their chosen colour (red, white, green or yellow). The first player to fill their part of the triangle with all twenty-one little triangles is the winner.

The board game has 3,000 questions and all players prior to starting agree a suitable time limit to answer each question. (I personally would have gone for 60 seconds, in line with Tameside Quiz League rules). Questions are colour coded in red, green, and yellow; if you land on a green square, you get a green question.

Post-Match Analysis

Neither Sporting Triangles the board game nor the television quiz show toppled A Question of Sport from our affections. Now presented by Sue Barker, A Question of Sport is approaching its fiftieth birthday. What passes as a sporting quiz show on ITV nowadays is Play To The Whistle, a bastard offspring of Sky One’s A League of Their Own (which in turn owes a debt to Nick Hancock’s They Think It’s All Over).

If you really want a sporting version of Trivial Pursuit, you are best finding the original board game. Then you can buy the Trivial Pursuit: Sports Edition expansion pack. Which is a bit of a dear do, compared with finding a copy of Sporting Triangles on eBay or on car boot sales.

S.V., 21 December 2017.

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