Suitcase Full of Cash

A&E has launched a fantasy-league sort of contest to go along with their re-running of the Sopranos. Players have an online board:

THE SETUP: Collect game pieces – in ads online and in the real world – and score points every time a new episode of The Sopranos premieres on A&E.

THE PAYOFF: The top scoring player wins a suitcase with $100,000 in cash, and everyone has a chance to win weekly prizes.

From their descriptions of the rules:

The Sopranos A&E Connection is an online interactive game…a scavenger hunt meets fantasy sports. Collect game pieces that represent characters, settings, and objects from the world of The Sopranos on A&E. Then, each Wednesday when a new episode of The Sopranos airs on A&E, you’ll earn points when the pieces in your collection appear in the show. The player who scores the most points at the end of Season 1 will win a suitcase with $100,000 in cash! Plus everyone has a chance to win weekly prizes just for signing up!

The way you place your pieces on the game board affects how many points you’ll score. Pieces that are next to each other (horizontally or vertically) will score more points if they appear on screen together. So if you arrange the Tony piece next to the Cigar piece, you’ll score double points (20 points for each piece) every time Tony and the Cigar appear on screen at the same time. If you arrange Tony, the Cigar and the Gold Chain game pieces next to each other and they appear together you’ll earn triple points (30 points for each piece). There are also x2 and x3 bonus boxes scattered on the game board. Each piece placed on these squares will earn double or triple points. Become an A&E Insider – for tips and tactics on how to play.

Like the concept of fantasy soaps, but with a cash payoff worth playing along for, this seems to focus on the dullest parts of the narrative, and is based entirely on luck and persistence rather than skill or actual engagement with the narrative. At least people can play in groups as well as alone, which adds a social layer it otherwise lacks. It’s an interesting effort to get people engaged socially and playfully around television narrative, which is perhaps even more important with a show that has aired already and is available on DVD. It looks from their point boards like they’ve got some viewers doing it.

Any readers checked it out? Anyone have any sense of how well it’s working for them?

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