Best Trivia Games

Look, cards on the table, mask off, I really like Trivial Pursuit. Okay? I know that’s not a popular opinion among gamers. I recognise that there’s an immediate hackle raising quality to such a statement. But I simply have to live my truth, and my truth is I love that little colourful general knowledge quiz and I always have. And it’s only PARTLY because of the cheese.

We had an edition at home in a beautiful dusty-green box that felt, to my child brain, as though it contained all the knowledge in the world. Add to that a board that looks a little bit like the wheel of a pirate ship and flash-bang-wallop what a picture.

I think as a species we just inherently like trivia. We like to know things. Perhaps it’s fun because it adds a bit of colour to the world. There’s a little serotonin release that comes when you realise you know something a tiny bit interesting about a particular topic. Whether it’s knowing who is the only person to win the EGOT twice (Robert Lopez) or which Tube station is the only one whose name uses none of the letters in the word ‘mackerel’ (St John’s Wood).

It’s also in our nature to be nosy, to unpack things, to want to know “Why?” While curiosity killed the cat, it gave the pub quiz team life. That’s why general knowledge makes up the bulk of our TV game shows, and why the trivia game will be a pillar of the board game industry, now and forever!

So in that spirit, here are some of the best games you can currently get your hands on!

Honourable Mention: You Know It!

We can’t write an article about trivia games without letting you know that our reigning Lord of the Board, the beloved Jon Gracey, has just launched a trivia game of his very own!

With elements of betting and social deduction, it’s a game about not what you know…but who knows what!

You answer the question and guess how many around the table got it right. Then you’ll bet on who among your number definitely knows the answer and who definitely doesn’t. So you can feel free to bluff overconfidence in your answer or bashful ignorance. It’s delicious fun.

We played the game on the channel, so have a gander here;

We’re dead proud of Jon, Viv and Matthew, the team behind the game. Their Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in three hours, which is incredible, but there’s still plenty of time to back it! So follow the link in the description of the video!

Smart10

I’ve written before about how much I love this little game. It’s a fun spin on the trivia game, giving everyone a chance to flex their thought muscles with its turn-based play.

Question cards are laid out in the form of a dial, with the question at the centre surrounded by various answers and prompts. So already we’re in multiple choice territory which takes some of the heat off, turning it into a fun guessing game.

You go around the circle and choose to take a stab at an answer. If you get it right, you get a point. You can bank your points if you’re going round the table and you reckon you’ve reached the outer limits of your expertise on this question. But get it wrong, and you lose them all.

The rounds can be so quickfire that you don’t feel mired in a swamp of a topic you have absolutely no idea about. We might start with Classical Music Composers but in no time we’ll be on Olympic Sports and then World Wonders and the rest. I just love it.

CDSK

Another fun twist on the test of useless knowledge strength, this game asks you to compete with yourself as much as everyone else.

The board is a pathway made up of coloured tiles. You’ll draw a card that corresponds with the tile you’ve landed on, and find yourself faced with a topic – let’s say “Authors.” You then have to decide how well you know that topic.

There are 10 questions of varying difficulty. You only have to answer one of them. If you decide you know a lot about authors, you might pick number 7. Get it right and you’ll move forward 7 spaces! If you get it wrong you leave it where it is.

But the joy – and in many ways the comedy gold – of CDSK is that you can almost always be guaranteed to move forward. This is because Question 1 on each of the cards is deliciously, coldly patronising.

“Oh no, I don’t think I know much about authors,” says Brenda. “I’ll pick number one.”

Okay, Brenda. Your question is: Who wrote the Diary of Anne Frank: Anne Frank or Frank Sinatra? I am not even kidding.

Wits & Wagers

Another old fave of the channel, Wits and Wagers is a modern classic that suits trivia lovers and loathers in equal measure – because you don’t need to know the answers to win!

Working from the same question, everybody takes a punt at what they think is the closest answer. So, for instance, “How long is a football pitch?” Everyone writes their answers, and then the game truly begins.

Everyone has chips that they can use to bet on whose answer is the closest to the correct answer, without going over. Classic Price is Right rules, really.

So if you know around the table that one of the players is a big football fan, you’ll probably want to pop a few bets on them. Sometimes the question won’t suit anyone around the table so you can sort of use the hive mind to try and divine which answer sounds about right and plonk a few chips on them.

But as the game goes on, you’re going to want to be far more discerning – not only with your answers but with your bets!

Mr Lister

A fun spin on the quiz format, with the challenge being to use your team’s collective brain to figure out a bunch of answers to a question.

You’ll play in opposing teams, and the quizmaster will ask a question from a card that’s illustrated with a different drink that you might buy in Mr Lister’s saloon. You’re asked something along the lines of “Most popular soft drinks brands”. There’s a list of correct answers on the question card. The teams have three turns to give an answer. If they’re correct, they hit. Get it wrong and you miss. Whoever has the most hits wins that card!

If there’s a tie, the teams go head to head in an Impossible Question round, with said question being related to the main question. Each team writes their answer and reveals it at the same time. Whoever’s closest wins that card, and the first team to five individual drinks cards is the winner!

It’s a simple game but has great theming and the group challenge makes it so that everyone gets to feel involved. When my friend Sammy plays this as quizmaster he tends to do his level best to put on a southern American accent. It is phenomenally bad, the type that starts funny, becomes grating, but then is committed to so furiously that it loops back around and becomes hilarious.