How to Write a Great Trivia Game

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You can’t host a great trivia night without a great set of questions.

You can’t host a great trivia night without a great set of questions in your trivia game. This post will discuss exactly how to come up with the right format, categories and questions. Read on!

Choose Game Format


Before you start writing the question for your trivia game, you first need to define the structure that they will live within. This can vary greatly between different trivia events and it is typically driven by how long you want the game to run. Here at TriviaHub Live our game format is 5 rounds with 10 questions each round, targeted to last about 90 minutes.

We have found this format to be very successful and is a good format that is applicable to many different types of venues and patrons. You may find that as you experiment writing games and asking your patrons what they prefer that a different number of rounds and questions is the right balance.

Choose Round Categories


After getting your format just right, the next step is to determine what the categories are going to be for each round. Categorizing your rounds gives patrons a way to get in the proper mindset and see a clear link between questions. Sometimes choosing categories can seem like a daunting task, but fear not, there are an infinite amount of categories out there just waiting for you!

For example, at TriviaHub Live we have 14 built-in triviacategories that will appear throughout our games, including: religion, food and drink, literature, history, technology, movies, the arts, sports, general, music, geography, science, television, vocabulary.

Typically, games will have two general rounds mixed in with other rounds of other categories. Here is just one example:

  • Round 1: Science

  • Round 2: General

  • Round 3: Movies

  • Round 4: History

  • Round 5: General

  • Round 6: Sports

You can also create trivia categories that are sub-categories of these, for example: 1930s Poets, 2015 Oscar Nominees, Baseball Hall of Famers, Video Games, Bluegrass Songs…let your creativity kick in, the possibilities are endless!

The Questions


Accuracy

After deciding on your round formats, the real fun starts with starting to write your individual questions. The first rule when writing trivia questions is to always ensure they are accurate. The last thing you want when hosting a trivia night is to have a patron question the accuracy of the answers you have to your questions.

We recommend checking your questions for accuracy across multiple sources, if necessary. It could also be helpful to maintain the links to where you found the source to your question answers so that you can reference it during a game if you need to.

There are many sources to look up question accuracy, including using Google, Wikipedia, and many more.

Writing the question

When writing your questions, it is of utmost importance to make sure they are the proper length and entertaining. Being too brief with a question is not entertaining and being too long-winded with a question makes it hard for patrons to answer.

Here is an example of a question that is too short:

  • Name Pierce Brosnan’s 1997 thriller.

Here is an example of a question that is too long and complicated:

  • One of Pierce Brosnan’s non-James Bond roles in the 1990s found him staring alongside renowned Terminator actress Linda Hamilton where he was trying to save the local community in this 1997 disaster thriller about a massive volcanic eruption in the Pacific Northwest that earned a repulsive rating of 24% on the Rotten Tomatoes review website.

Here is an example of that same question that is written appropriately:

  • Pierce Brosnan starred in this 1997 disaster thriller about a massive volcanic eruption in the Pacific Northwest.

Writing the proper question is critical to the success of your trivia night, so be sure to spend time crafting this art!

A good rule of thumb is to target your questions to be a bout 100 characters long, including spaces. Feel free to be creative to add interesting facts as part of the question that you ask to find the right balance between entertaining and educational.

Levels of Difficulty

An important part of writing a great questions is to ensure there is balance of difficulty across your game rounds. When writing questions, there should be some questions that are easy, some that are mid-level and some that are very difficult. If your games have too many easy questions, patrons will get bored, while if there are too many difficult questions, patrons will get frustrated.

As you continue to craft questions, you will start to understand which levels of questions fall into each of these levels.

Tie-Breakers


Some trivia nights will have very competitive teams and you may end all of your rounds with two or more teams tied with the same score. If this happens, you will want to ensure that you have a tie-breaker round ready with one to three questions that no one should know the answer to.

An example of a question like this could be:

  • What is the most common number of dimples in a regulation-sized golf ball?

TriviaHub Live Can Help


Creating a quality game that is accurate, entertaining, balanced and timed appropriately can take as long as 8 hours to put together. It can be a very fun activity to do, but with how busy life can get, and all other activities that are involved in creating the perfect trivia night, you may need to spend your precious hours in other places. If that is the case, don’t fret, TriviaHub Live is here to help!

When you subscribe to the TriviaHub Live platform, you will immediately have access to dozens of pre-built games that include everything noted above and more! We will also keep your game library fresh by giving you a new game every week.

If you want to learn more about the TriviaHub Live feature set, you can check it out here.