We are FOCAL — the unofficial Countdown tournament circuit.
Join us at one of our events across the UK and Ireland in 2019!
Whether you’re a viewer of Channel 4’s Countdown, a board game champion, or just looking to try something new, you’ll meet new friends and learn new words at our fun and welcoming events.
There are no membership fees — you can come to as many events as you want, whenever you want. Details for every event are published on separate pages (see the menu bar at the top), and there’s usually a pub trip or group meal to look forward to afterwards.
Want to come along? Our next events are:
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th January 2019 – Lincoln
Saturday 23rd February 2019 – Edinburgh
Saturday 23rd March 2019 – Newcastle upon Tyne
Saturday 13th April – York
Saturday 11th May – London
Saturday 8th June – Cambridge (webpage to follow)
Details for how to sign up are set out on each page. And if you want an idea of what these gigs look like, you can read up on 2018’s events and league table stats on our blog!
Recent news – Birmingham Finals 2018
Jonathan Wynn is the FOCAL Countdown Champion for 2018!
After a hard fought Round Robin contest, when Jonathan spent most of the day 3rd in the table, some strong victories in the afternoon did enough to nudge him into 2nd place and qualify for the Grand Final against early favourite Tom Cappleman.
After a nervous start in the Grand Final, when both contenders missed a 9-letter word, Jonathan held steady and scored in every round, unscrambling the last conundrum in just a few seconds and notching up 71 points to Tom’s 48. Want to play along? See how many points you could score from these selections…
Congratulations to Jonathan from all of us at FOCAL on a well deserved trophy.
How does FOCAL work?
In 2018, our third year, we ran 14 events across the UK and Ireland.
Organisers run tournaments in their local areas throughout the year and, in exchange for the resources and support we provide to publicise and help deliver their events under the FOCAL banner, we take a cut of the admission fees. This pays for an End of Year Finals event in Birmingham, and ensures that FOCAL operates on a cost neutral basis.
Everyone who plays at one of our events scores FOCAL Points — the better you do, and the more people that attend, the more points you get. At the end of the year, the eight highest scorers are invited back for the Finals, acknowledging their commitment to our events and not just how well they can play the game. For more details, head to our FAQs page.
All of our events run at weekends, mostly on Saturdays, but each one offers something different — such as a Pointless-style quiz, a fun magazine, or a pool competition — and we pride ourselves on seeing such a range of formats and ideas.
We have 13 more events planned for 2019. For details, head to the Upcoming Events menu and take a look through the ones you’re interested in!
Is FOCAL endorsed by Countdown?
No — it’s run by a band of hardy volunteers, led by a chair and a treasurer who pull together our accounts. It is completely unofficial, not televised and not-for-profit. It is neither a business, nor a charity. Where we record a surplus, we endeavour to reinvest it, so that we can build upon our resources and spread the word about what we do. No copyright infringement is intended.
Any questions? Contact us!
We’re always happy to hear from you, whether you have questions on an event, want to sign up to your first one, or would even like to host your own event. We have equipment that we can supply and a wealth of experience to help you out with the organisation.
What are you waiting for? Find your nearest event, and sign up today!
Last updated: 11/11/18