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Countdown lets you play the classic Channel 4 quiz game using your PC as the presentation system for the letters rack, the numbers rack (including the ‘target’ number) and the conundrum rack and displays a 30-second timer whilst playing the classic Countdown timer theme. It also displays the player names and their scores. Entry of the scores has, of course , to be done via the keyboard as the game proceeds, although there is a check for a drawn game at the end.

The game plays the older, shorter version with only 3 letter rounds in each letter-number couplet giving a total of 13 rounds per game: 3 sets of 3 letter rounds and a number round, followed by the final conundrum. If the scores are level after the final conundrum a tie-break conundrum is triggered as in the televised game. For statistics, history and letter distributions visit the Countdown Page

Please note that you may need to use the “Compatibility Troubleshooter” for it to run successfully under Windows 10.


Game Settings

What it does

The ‘Ini’ File

Try out Countdown

The Velleman K8055

Countdown is also capable of using the Velleman board (details on the Quiz Master page) but only in the conundrum round as this is the only time that players compete against each other as welll as against the clock. If you don’t use the Velle-man then the backslash key (\) ‘buzzes in’ for player 1 and the forward slash (/) for player 2.

As well as settings within the game, there are also more ‘universal’ settings in an ini file which you are likely to keep the same once they are set to your liking. There is a single [Settings] section in the ini file with 3 individual settings beneath it:

The BigFont setting: This sets the point size of the main text for the player name, scores, and tiles in case they do not fit properly inside the scaled borders. The application was written to look best  on a ‘true HD’ screen (1920 x 1080) so if your screen has different pixel dimensions you may need to adjust the text size from its default setting of 80.

The NextConundrum setting: There are 85 conundrum-and-answer pairs in the Conundrums.txt file and this is the pointer to the line in the file of the next conundrum to be used. When the pointer gets to the last conundrum, it will automatically ‘wrap’ itself to point to line number 1. When acting as the Countdown host (by starting the clock, awarding the scores, etc.) you might want to check what the next couple of conundrums are in the file so that you can tell the conundrum guessers whether they are right or not! You can add your own conundrums to the list but the file MUST NOT contain anything other than 9-letter conundrum/solution pairs.

The Testing setting: This is a Y/N setting which when set to Y begins the game at the last letters round (round 9) followed by the final numbers round (round 3) and then the conundrum. Setting it to N causes the game to play the full 13 rounds as described above. I left what was originally my ‘testing facility’ accessible in case hosts might want to offer a quick practice run before playing a full game (or use it for practice themselves).

Before the game ‘proper’ begins, there is just a single set-up screen to fill in consisting of the names of the two players and a choice of ‘hostess’ settings. The hostess setting is just a bit of amusement for fans of the two different letter-pickers (and to wind up my better half who hates them both!). You need not have either one in the game and, should you decide to do without them part way through there is a ‘hot-key’ to switch them off. An included Numpad.jpg file shows all the numeric keypad key-mappings.