Steve Kidd's Quiz Pages


Fast-tracks are the method created by SpeedQuizzing to catapult teams to the top of the table.

A fast-track involves answering your questions via the keypad, as normal. If the top team(s) get it wrong or do not answer, whichever team answers correctly first gets rewarded. For a long time this reward has involved being promoted right to the top of the table. At the beginning of 2024 SpeedQuizzing introduced a lovely addition to their software, the fast-track wheel. I don't know what its official name is, but it 'feels' great with a super realistic response - kudos to the developers. Whoever was first is offered the wheel with the option of spin it or decline it on their keypads. Hosts can customise it, but the default wheel has six different slots that are:

3rd Place
2nd Place
1st Place

Now everybody in the quiz has a shot at going to the top at any stage where fast-tracks are turned on.

IMHO their use is nigh imperative in a pub quiz. The pub quiz per se is not some competitive championship (you get those), but we are talking about people who are out for a drink and like The Chase etc). I'm guessing that, as tea-time TV is absolutely dominated by quizzes, a lot of people like them, but not everybody is Kevin Ashman. The pub quiz is a way to get people in, keep them in, and encourage them to come back next week, and engagement is the key. That can be through witty banter, praise, camaraderie, music, yadda yadda yadda. Often teams will get left behind in a quiz, and, naturally, have a diminished interest in it – fair play to 'em. How can you maintain their investment?

Fast-tracks are it. I am going balls out and saying they are the simplest, fairest 'it' (handicapping can also be fair, but done well is complex, so unless you have two hours to spare every day it can be a blunt tool that may be manipulated by wily players, albeit an excellent tool used properly). Put fast-tracks in on the last round until five questions from the end and every single team in the pub is plugging away right to the closing scene, tempted by a fabulous carrot which WILL bring them back next week, because they know they will have a chance of winning, if not give them a win that would otherwise be unattainable, at least by fair means. Put fast-tracks in on the last round until five questions from the end and the best teams are not stymied, they are still favourites, but like football, if it's all square at 90 minutes who knows what a few minutes Fergie time will yield?

Here is an excellent film on fast-tracks by Alan Leach, the man at SpeedQuizzing.

I will list a few caveats here as, like with many things, discretion can fine tune the balance of their use.

The fast-track wheel might be modified to alter balance, for better or for worse, but as it stands I think it really does it's job.

A fast-track predicated only upon the top team being wrong is, in effect, a 'golden snitch', that method whereby it makes no difference at all how good or badly you have played, you just win it on one question, maybe even by complete chance.

A traditional fast-track without the wheel needs, IMHO, judicious deployment as a tempting addition for all, not a 'golden snitch' for an otherwise poor team. If, for example, the host has fast-tracks to the last question, there is a chance a team will luck out on a random guess on a letter despite not knowing the answer, even if they have only entered the quiz on the last question! If the host asks a multiple choice with four answers for the last question there is much higher chance that a team will drop lucky. If a host has employed evil mode (deductions for being wrong) that chance grows ever more likely. If the host compounds all these with a "what's in my pocket" question (e.g. A) 37 pence, B) 43 pence, C) 62 pence, or D) 89 and a half pence, a cigarette lighter and a receipt from Aldi) it is almost inevitable that the winner of that quiz will be undeserving. The top three teams leave the question alone (I mean the over-competitive spoil-sports would like to actually win), ergo not risk losing points. Meanwhilst everybody else in the pub with a brain cell just hits the keypad at random the moment it appears and bing! 10 chimpanzees would get a winner 75% of the time by throwing a lump of shit at the keypad. Even 20 students could realistically not fail! Now imagine: Ivor, Hugh, Janus and Dick decide to squander their student loans on over-expensive lager. Last question, one handset each.. ABCD and boom, a voucher that pays for the night. That scenario is not far fetched, I have seen it happen.

I respectfully suggest that fast-tracks employed to perhaps 5 questions from the end of a quiz (and not allowing late entries), gives any team a chance. The better teams will still be more likely to win, but that's not a done deal, and that's the way it should be in a pub quiz.