© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

A game about hot dogs became a Jeopardy! clue, and then a hit, for its St. Louis creators

Phill Wamser on the right, Jake Wamser on the left, wearing a moonshine-inspired outfit related to their upcoming card game, Shiner.
Phill Wamser
Phill Wamser on the right, Jake Wamser on the left, wearing a moonshine-inspired outfit related to their upcoming card game, Shiner.

On May 16, "Jeopardy!" host Mayim Bialik presented a clue to the contestants that stumped them all: “A recipe completion card game in which you build the perfect hot dog is called ‘Turn for’ this.”

The silence stretched for several seconds.

“It’s kind of cute,” Bialik continued. “Turn for … the Wurst.”

The answer may have eluded the contestants, but, in St. Louis, the brother-and-brother team of Phill and Jake Wamser, co-founders of Wam Wam Games and creators of the rummy-style card game Turn for the Wurst, knew their fortunes had taken a turn for the better.

“We're a big 'Jeopardy!' family,” Phill Wamser told St. Louis on the Air. After the episode aired, a relative sent Wamser a clip of the critical moment when Turn for the Wurst became a part of the hugely popular quiz show.

“At first I didn't believe it,” Wamser said. “I thought it was like a deep fake, an AI or something. I thought he had made up something fake.”

Wamser doesn’t know how Jeopardy! came to be aware of the game, which was released just last year — or who might have suggested it for inclusion in one of the questions.

“My guess is they're just constantly looking for more and more clues,” he added, “and they needed something to fill out a category of for ‘turns.’”

No matter the origin, Turn for the Wurst’s brief inclusion on the show led to a significant sales spike, and coverage in the Riverfront Times. Wamser credits Jeopardy! for the rush of customers that cleared out their Amazon stock and led the game to be sold out multiple times in St. Louis game stores.

“I'm still riding that high,” Wamser said. “I have memories of sitting at the foot of my parents’ bed at 4 p.m. on a Thursday watching Jeopardy! as a whole family. It's just cool to see that, and to have our tiny little game company featured on what is arguably one of the biggest games in the world was just wonderful.”

For the full conversation with Phill Wamser, and to learn about Wam Wam Games and its next project, Shiner, listen to the full St. Louis on the Air conversation on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

A game about hot dogs became a Jeopardy! clue, and then a hit, for its St. Louis creators

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Ulaa Kuziez is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

Stay Connected
Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."