Friend or Foe? (game show)

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Friend or Foe?
Friend or Foe? (TV gameshow) titlecard.jpg
Presented byKennedy
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes105[1]
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Buccieri Entertainment
Game Show Network Originals
Original networkGSN
Original releaseJune 3, 2002 (2002-06-03) –
April 1, 2003 (2003-04-01)

Friend or Foe? is an American game show based on knowledge and trust which aired on Game Show Network. Three teams of two strangers attempted to persuade their partner into sharing their accumulated winnings rather than stealing it for themselves.

The show premiered June 3, 2002, and aired for two seasons totaling 105 episodes. It was hosted by Kennedy, except for the April Fool's Day 2003 episode (the final first-run episode), in which Mark L. Walberg hosted.

The show "re-debuted" in 2008, re-airing episodes from the series during that year.


At the start of the game, three of the six contestants secretly choose one of the other three contestants as their teammates. If two or more contestants choose the same contestant as a potential partner, the potential partner decides which team member he or she wants. A second round of voting is held if necessary until all three teams have been formed. Each team is then given a "trust fund." In season one, each team's fund began with $200.

The main game is played in two rounds. In each round, Kennedy asks a series of four multiple-choice questions, each with four answer choices. On each question, the teammates have 15 seconds to agree on an answer and simultaneously lock it in on separate keypads. Correct answers add $500 to the trust fund in round one, and $1,000 in round two; there is no penalty for incorrect answers or failing to respond in time. At the end of each round, the team with the lowest total is eliminated and must go to the "Trust Box" to determine the fate of their money. If there is a tie for low score, the team that took more time overall to lock in their answers for that round is eliminated.

The Trust Box presents the eliminated team with a variation of the prisoner's dilemma. Each contestant attempts to persuade the other to trust him or her, after which they secretly vote "friend" or "foe." If both vote "friend," they split the trust fund evenly. If one votes "friend" and the other "foe," the foe collects the entire trust fund and the friend receives nothing. If both vote "foe," neither contestant wins any money.

Bonus round[edit]

In the "Right or Wrong?" bonus round, the team has 60 seconds to answer a maximum of 10 questions, each of which has two answer choices. Each correct answer adds $500 to the trust fund, while each miss penalizes the team with a strike. The round ends immediately if the team earns three strikes. Answering all 10 questions correctly doubles the entire trust fund, for a potential maximum of $22,400. The team then advances to the Trust Box in the manner described above.

Season two changes[edit]

In season two, contestants were randomly assigned to teams instead of secretly selecting partners, and the teams were not spotted any money at the beginning of the game. As a result, the potential prize decreased to $22,000. If a team was eliminated without earning any money, they were given $200 to risk at the Trust Box.

See also[edit]

  • Shafted (British game show similar to Friend or Foe?)
  • Golden Balls (British game show that used the same payout structure as Friend or Foe?)
  • Take It All (American game show with the final round similar to Friend or Foe?)

Further reading[edit]

  • List, John A. (2006). "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma". Review of Economics and Statistics. 88 (3): 463–471. doi:10.1162/rest.88.3.463.
  • Oberholzer-Gee, Felix; Waldfogel, Joel; White, Matthew (2010). "Friend or Foe? Cooperation and Learning in High-Stakes Games". Review of Economics and Statistics. 92 (1): 179–187. doi:10.1162/rest.2009.10174.


  1. ^ Grego, Melissa (2002-08-11). "Gamer nets game's for more 'Foe,' 'Russian'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-12-12. GSN has ordered 65 more episodes each of “Friend” and “Roulette.” The initial pickup order for “Friend” was for 40 episodes, so the renewal reps a step up.