Lively and competitive while also fun and sociable, a trivia night is one of the best ways to enjoy spending time with a team of friends, family or colleagues.
For the uninitiated, there are many great reasons to join or form a team and find a trivia night venue. For one, you may be surprised at how much you actually know.
Trivia can be fun and hilarious, even if you don’t have a clue about the answers. The environment is always upbeat and friendly despite the fact that there are usually prizes up for grabs.
We have put together some trivia night tips and some commonly asked questions and answers.
Assembling a team for trivia night
If you’ve ever watched a good heist movie, you’ll know the importance of assembling a good crew. You need a variety of skill sets to stay at the top of the competition. If you have a team of science boffins, you’ll no doubt nail several categories, but you may find you fall short in sports or arts.
Your crack trivia night team should comprise of some great specialists and an all-rounder or two. Bill knows his sports, Sally is an art teacher and Jim knows his geography. Now you’re off to a good start. Find someone who works at the local paper or is obsessed with current affairs and the odds of a win will be even higher. It also doesn’t hurt to include a Baby Boomer who will be clued in on history and a millennial who can respond to pop culture questions with confidence (can you name all five members of One Direction?)
Of course, this is if winning is the most important thing for you. There is no shame in just getting together with some like-minded friends and having a crack. Sometimes it can be more fun if you know you don’t have a chance to win because you can relax and enjoy each others company. Often you’ll find the most boisterous team which cheers the loudest and seems to be having the most fun is sitting at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Pick a trivia night venue
In any decent sized town, there will be any number of trivia nights to choose from. Pay a little attention to the content they advertise. Trivia nights can vary from light and easy to very intense and extremely difficult.
Some trivia nights will even be along specific themes. For instance, The Westport Club will be hosting a Star Wars trivia night on the 4th of May.
It’s important that you be aware of the style of night that you are attending. For a casual team, look for a more laid back environment and avoid themes you have no knowledge of or you’ll get bored and frustrated.
Positive attitude matters
Whatever you do, make sure to stay positive. Players who are too competitive can sap any fun out of the night.
A team with a cranky, argumentative member defeats the whole purpose of the night. Plus, the more negative you get, the less likely you are to be able to remember facts that you have stored away in the back of your mind.
Stay positive and enjoy the company. If you know someone is wrong about an answer but they won’t bend, don’t get in an argument… just tell them they have to buy you a drink if it turns out you’re right.
How to win at trivia night
Watch and read the news and keep up to date with sport, current affairs and pop culture
Trivia hosts have a hard job. They have to come up with a range of questions, week after week, which are suitable for a diverse audience and challenging but not impossible to answer. For this reason, they spend time scouring local newspapers, magazines and sporting results.
At many trivia nights, there’s a good chance of a current affairs section. Spend a week or so before the trivia night keeping up with the news on the TV and radio.
Take note of which sports teams are sitting where on the ladder and who has won recent competitions and races. Make sure you note any political upheavals and names of those involved. You might even need to take notice of which basketballer is cheating on which Kardashian (this seems to happen on a regular basis).
If you’re serious about winning, watch the evening news and jot down notes for a week. Review them before you head to trivia night and wow your friends with your knowledge.
Similarly, think of what is going on at the moment. If your trivia night is happening around Oscar time, do some research into movies. During the sports finals, pay attention to AFL and rugby league.
Listen for hints
Keep your ears open. Trivia night hosts or MCs will often drop subtle hints. If you make sure to listen carefully to your host before rushing back to your team to answer, there may be a little help coming your way.
One trick quizmasters often use is to drown the question with superfluous information. Listen hard for the key points, e.g. “What famous American animator’s earliest characters included Oswald the lucky rabbit, Pegleg Pete and Clarabelle Cow?”
You may have no idea about these characters but how many famous American animators do you know? If you answered Walt Disney, you’d be correct. Most trivia nights aren’t designed to contain hideously obscure and unanswerable questions. The key point in the above question was “famous American animator” but now you have learned something as well.
Never leave an answer blank
Any question not answered is automatically wrong. Even if you have no idea, take a guess and put something down. Sure, you may have been way off the mark but at least you had a chance. Often if an answer just seems obvious it is correct. Like the Walt Disney example earlier, if you can only think of one person or answer, write it down. Odds are the answer is Walt Disney and not Ralph Bakshi, because, let’s face it, which one have you heard of?
If you can’t answer correctly, come up with something hilarious. Your quizmaster may give you points for making them chuckle.
Follow your gut
Like the stereotypical aging detective, you should rely on your gut. You’ll be amazed how often your first instincts are right.
Second guessing is a real hazard of the trivia night. If the answer comes straight to you, it’s probably correct. All too often, when the answers are read out, your first choice of answer that you decided to change at the last second will turn out to be the right one.
Focus on the fun factor
Above all, remember to have fun. Trivia night is not life or death! There is no point in arguing with your friends or getting upset.
If you win, that’s great but if you didn’t have a good time, what is the point, especially if your partner won’t speak to you for a week because of your competitive behaviour.
Odds are no one will want to come with you to the next trivia night if you take things too seriously. Have fun, have a laugh and even losing won’t matter.
Establish some team rules
If you’re worried your team might get a little argumentative, lay down the ground rules. The simplest and best is to stand by majority rule.
Establish from the outset that you will put things to the vote and that will be that. If someone is outvoted and turns out to be right they can dine out on that later, but they know the rules. A few simple guidelines like this will keep you on track and keep things light and fun.
You can look up anything on your phone these days but if everyone did so it would make a trivia night pretty uneventful.
Trivia hosts often hand out points penalties if they see you quickly Googling an answer. It is embarrassing and unfair so do the right thing.
Fun bits of trivia to keep up your sleeve
Some questions have a habit of coming around repeatedly. Take a look at some of the following and commit the answers to memory if you can:
- ‘Puggle’ is the name for both baby echidnas and baby platypuses.
- Incidentally, both account for the only remaining monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world.
- In Japan, they celebrate Christmas by eating KFC.
- Walt Disney’s first character was, in fact, Oscar the Lucky Rabbit.
- The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder (no kidding).
- Google was originally named Backrub.
- Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is the highest grossing movie of all time.
- Australia’s first prime minister was Edmund Barton (you knew that though didn’t you?)
- The most watched tv show in 2018 was The Big Bang Theory.
- America’s largest state is Alaska.
- Only female mosquitoes bite.
- The largest fish in the ocean is the whale shark.
- Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is currently the richest person in the world.
- The most popular non-alcoholic beverage in the world is coffee.
- The most Googled person in 2018 was Demi Lovato. In Australia and the UK, it was Meghan Markle.
- C3-P0 from Star Wars is fluent in over 6 million languages.
- Chewbacca’s homeworld is Kashyyyk.
- The only vowel not on the top line of a QWERTY keyboard is A.
- The most common blood type in humans is O.
- Sir Donald Bradman’s batting average was 99.96.
- Including the five basic ones, many scientists count up to 21 senses including ‘space’ and ‘balance’.
- The most expensive spice is saffron, followed by vanilla
- The sentient computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey was called HAL 9000. HAL stands for Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer.
- HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language
- Cross Counter won the 2018 Melbourne Cup race, followed by Marmelo and A Prince of Arran.
- Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and has the most moons at 67.
- SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
- Keeping up With The Kardashians produced ten spin-off shows.
- Kim Kardashian has three children, North, Saint and Chicago.
- The national animal of Canada is the beaver. Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
- The name of the spaceship in the 1977 film Alien was ‘The Nostromo’.
- J.K Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) is the world’s richest Author
Common trick questions
Some answers are too obvious and it can pay to be aware of when the quizmaster is trying to trick you.
- For example, the driest continent is Antarctica as there is very little liquid water. The driest inhabited continent is Australia.
- Beatles singer Paul McCartney’s middle name is Paul. His first name is James.
- McDonalds is the world’s largest distributor of toys.
- Lego produces the most tyres.
- The Hundred Years War lasted for 116 years
- The Black Box on a Commercial Airliner is usually red or orange so it can be easily found.
- There are 13 in a baker’s dozen.
- Pluto is not a planet.
- Darth Vader never said “Luke, I am your father”. He said “No, I am your father.”
- You can’t actually see the Great Wall of China from space.
- Banana trees are technically large herbs, and bananas themselves can be classified as berries.
- Prince wrote the song Nothing Compares 2 U, not Sinead O’Connor, who is most recognised for it
- The Bible never specifically mentions three wise men
Where to enjoy trivia
Trivia nights are available just about anywhere you go. Pub quizzes are common and popular in most towns but family-friendly alternatives usually occur from time to time as well. Often charity groups will hold trivia night as a fundraiser so keep your eyes open for advertised events. If you’re looking for trivia in the Port Macquarie area, you are in luck. The Westport Club holds weekly trivia events that are free to enter and family friendly. Cash prizes are offered for the winners. Head to https://www.thewestportclub.com.au/event/tuesday-trivia/2019-04-02/ and https://www.thewestportclub.com.au/event/saturday-night-trivia/2019-04-13/ to find out more.
Jimmy’s Bar and Lounge, where the events are held is a great place to visit at any time. Check out their website here https://www.thewestportclub.com.au/jimmys-bar-lounge/.
And while you’re at the Westport Club, why not enjoy a nice dinner at Aqua Restaurant before the quiz night? All the information you need can be found here https://www.thewestportclub.com.au/aqua/.