Because we'll have two new contestants each game, I got to thinking about how to determine what the main prize for any given game is. Cheryl suggested giving each of the panelists an envelope with a prize printed on a card inside. Panelists won't know what prize they're holding. The winner of each game gets to choose a panelist who hasn't yet been picked, and the winner gets the prize in that envelope.
In the 75 minutes we have, we should be able to play as many as six games, particularly as the "bonus round" will consist of the winner simply picking a panelist, and won't have the "Audience Match" segment. That's about 12 minutes per two-round game. There is a possibility that we might not give away all of the prizes, of course, but I can't necessarily fix that. I'll prepare enough questions for six games (6 games * 2 rounds per game * 2 questions per round = 24 questions, grouped as first or second round based on difficulty.)
I think the revised game mechanics are thus:
Two new contestants each game, drawn randomly from the bag of names held by the Announcer.
While the contestants take their seats and get set up, the Announcer reads the inter-game commercial.
Two rounds of two questions each. Panelists who match in round 1 do not play in round 2.
If contestants are tied after two rounds, wipe the score and play one tie-breaker round (need extra questions in reserve for this).
If contestants still tied after tie-breaker round, go to sudden-death "reverse match": Contestants fill in their responses to a simple match (example: "Video __________") and we ask each panelist to fill it. The first contestant who matches a panelist wins. If both contestants filled the blank with the same answer, play another tie-breaker. (I have lots of tie-breaker questions, and I've never had to do more than two rounds of sudden death.)
Winner picks a panelist who still has an envelope and gets the prize listed in that envelope. Loser gets a Lovely Parting Gift courtesy of Casa de Worldcon. Both contestants get copies of latest Emerald City.
Whew! I think that I could probably use at least one production assistant (besides Eric Larson doing announcing and probably Lisa Hayes running the sound) to help keep track of all of this. If any of you reading this will be at BayCon and aren't interested in playing, but would like to help keep things organized, let me know.