November 21, 2016

Day Free of Broker Apprentice 2016 opens with Team Valor quite literally sore with defeat, after Team Elite’s early retirement quite literally catapulted them to victory in last week’s brutal treasure hunt round.

But another day brings another challenge and there’s everything to play for as our six eager contestants go head to head once again as they struggle to devise a board or card game that will quite literally ‘embody insurance and risk’.

Before they can set about this daunting challenge, however, taskmaster Mike Rayne of Elvy Broker Insurance throws the cat quite literally among the pigeons by moving Katie over from Team Valor to Team Elite, with Frankie reassigned oppositewisewards. This is hard on Frankie, you might think, as the Team Elite name was her idea!

Ensconced in their respective meeting rooms over at Incisive Media’s Frog House HQ the two teams (Elite now comprising friendly giant Craig, glamorous Katie and the-other-one Jonathan, and Valor featuring suits-you Dean and international-man-of-mystery Shamone plus formerly Elite Frankie) get to work on dreaming up board or card games that will ‘promote the merits of the insurance sector’ to 10 and 11 year olds.

Valor quickly settle on a game that involves rolling dice and moving counters round squares on a board, a bit like Monopoly or snakes and ladders or something. Outlining his proposed game mechanics Jonathan explains: ‘You roll the dice and whoever’s got the highest has insurance and whoever doesn’t doesn’t have insurance. You haven’t got insurance therefore your house has burned down and you have to wait here while repairs are done or you find the money or whatever” Craig, as usual, is making notes.

Elite meanwhile come up with the innovative thought that their game – a card game as it turns out – should involve something which the passing hipster from Episode 2 pops up unexpectedly to describe as ‘an element of fun’. Essentially, Dean appears to have invented something like an insurance themed version of popular family guessing game Cranium.

They, like their rivals, now get to call on the expert design skills of expert design expert Nansi Nansi (somewhat fancy) who brings to the party not only her expert design skills but also the neat idea that the games should have names. Having knocked up a board and some cards, she very sensibly leaves the teams to do their own cutting out and laminating while she heads off the apply her expertise elsewhere.

With professional looking board games now complete, the teams head off to road test them at Violence Primary School in Dagenham, where, due to recent education cuts, pupils are now educated by owls. Introducing the teams and their games to a class of 10 and 11 years olds, Elvy’s Eros Jones explains that the pupils will be split into two groups and made to play each game for 20 minutes (young eyes glance up apprehensively at the clock on the classroom wall), regrouping at the end of the session to provide feedback on which game they liked the most.

Elite’s board game appears to have acquired a Despicable Me theme (let’s hope they’ve got this properly licensed from Universal Pictures) and involves players rolling dice to move around 40 consecutive squares arranged across a board divided arbitrarily into purple, yellow, green and blue quadrants, with the game name What’s the Risk? featured prominently in the middle. When players land on particular squares they must pick up and read cards outlining the insurance implications of the particular misadventures their arrival triggers. These primarily involve Gru (TM) or his Minions (TM) either stealing or damaging your property.

For example: “Gru has stolen your car keys. The peril is theft. The risk is leaving your keys lying around and Gru has taken them. This is an insurance in a building contents or motor policy.” The kids are clearly loving these mini card-based lectures and the chance to listen to a lot of insurance related words like ‘policy’, ‘Hazard’, ‘risk’ and ‘peril’ – all of which will probably come to mean something to them when they’re a bit older.

The kids are clearing having a whale of a time rolling dice and reading out the incomprehensible words on the cards. “Gru has stolen your bike!” How they laugh. “Oh, Gru!” says ten year old Tumise, “I thought you said brew!” Then: “Minions have smashed your windowscreen.” “That’s exactly what insurance is for,” Craig cuts in helpfully: “it helps you out in everything that you can do, day to day!”

But, if anything, the kids playing Valor’s Cranium like card game are having even more fun! The cards relate to different problems the players might encounter in the lives. Players take turns to mime or describe the their problems to the other players who have to guess what on earth they are on about as quickly as possible so someone else can have a go. Bankstone News is none too sure about this, but the name of the game might be “What could go wrong?”

A card comes up saying something like “It’s your birthday”. That might sound like good news in the abstract, but of course there’s a lot that can go wrong when it’s your birthday. Shamone (looking late-night sleazy-glamorous in black suit, black shirt and black bow tie) prompts: “So what can go wrong with Birthday?” “I really need to go to the toilet,” one boys ventures, “or I had too much food.” “You’ve got stomach ache,” a classmate diagnoses.

We see another card describing things that can go wrong at the THEATRE. Options listed on the reverse of the card include. 1. No popcorn 2. Tall people sitting in front of you 3. Injury on stage 4. [Paper cut, possibly] 5. [can’t read this one at all – fingers in the way – but looks like it might be some other kind of cut – or maybe it’s about being heckled and lectured from the stage by some jumped up minority person]. Whatever. The kids are clearly having fun miming, describing, throwing stools to the floor and shouting out their guesses.

Once each group has had a go at each game, the kids speak to camera passing their verdict. More or less everyone seems to think the Elite’s board game suffered from a deficit of fun/interactivity and a surplus of insurance, while Valor’s card game won fans because it was fun and “you had to act or describe what you’re doing.”

So it’s Cranium 1 : What’s-the-difference-between-a-risk-and-a-peril 0. Or as Eros Jones sums it up: both games were nigh on perfect but, sadly, somebody had to win. When he stands up in front of the class to sum up the exercise he begins: “The games lasted 20 minutes. What I saw was some great work,” the kids’ faces light up briefly before Eros continues, turning from the children to the contestants, “by you guys!” Disappointed of anticipated praise and encouragement, young smiles fade, young shoulders slump. Good thing Eros doesn’t work with children.

The winner, since there had to be one, is Team Valor. It could have been either, really. Or it could have been if Elite had only been quicker to learn key lesson from this week’s challenge: insurance knowledge is all well and good, but if you want to get ahead in the broking game, having fun should always come first.

craig

Click to watch Episode 3 in full


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