The 10 Best Trivia Games
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in September of 2015. My, how the winter nights will simply fly by when you gather your friends and family around one of these educational, challenging, and often hilarious trivia games. They are a great form of entertainment that doesn't involve staring at the TV or a smartphone, helping to keep the brains of both adults and kids sharp and active. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best trivia game on Amazon.
January 13, 2020:
While it can be difficult to pick the best trivia game for each and every group of people, we are fairly confident we have done a good job of including enough for variety that there will be something to suit every demographic. We also did our best to include games that cover a wide variety of topics so that every player will find it equally challenging. It is specifically because of that we decided to eliminate Cafe 6 Kwizniac, since many people found it didn't include enough variety in subject matter, even though it was intended to be a general knowledge game. Since we do understand that some of our readers may prefer a themed option, we also included Pictopia Disney Edition, which focuses on movies and theme park subject matter from this magical company.
Trivia Pursuit has been a popular game since it was first released in 1979, so it should be no surprise that it ranked very highly on our list. We have included the Trivial Pursuit Master Edition specifically because it has been updated to cover many 21st-century themes and it contains a massive 3,000 questions, so you should get a lot of games out of it before you begin to see some of the same cards. We also added Trivillennial by Drunk Stoned And Stupid for the millennials who want something that focuses on topics relevant to their life.
For those who find the traditional trivia gameplay boring, but still like the concept of answering random knowledge questions, we have University Games Smart Ass and Bananagrams Linkee, both of which allow players to shout answers out loud at any time. We also think Wits & Wagers Deluxe adds some interesting new elements to trivia, since it allows players to wager on how many correct answers they think themselves or others will get, and even bluff their way to winning.
If you have checked out all the options on this list and don't think any of them will be entertaining enough for you and your friends, you may be more interested in adult party games, many of which cover some very raunchy themes.
Benefits Of Trivia
Cognitive exercises are proven to help prevent diseases and decrease the chances of memory loss.
You might think that trivia is just one of those things you do when you’re at the bar with your friends or gathered around the dining room table with your family. It’s really more than that. Regular trivia actually has a lot of benefits.
The biggest takeaway is that it enhances your memory. When you memorize facts that you wouldn’t use otherwise, it improves your ability to recall things you need to know. While it might seem like pointless memorization of useless facts, you are actually working out your brain by activating its memory centers and connecting things you already know to new information.
Playing trivia also helps your brain perform under pressure. When you are given a question, a time limit, and competition, your frontal lobe is forced to activate and work with the given incentives. You learn to think quickly and recall things that would otherwise lie dormant in your memory. This type of brain exercise makes you more confident and calm in the midst of stressful situations.
While trivia might be work for your brain, it’s fun for you. It’s a great way to unwind, enjoy time with your friends and family, and reduce your stress levels. Too much stress on a regular basis negatively affects brain function. Finding an activity that simultaneously works out your brain and promotes relaxation is a win-win situation.
It might sound bizarre, but regular trivia can keep your mind young and agile. If you don’t exercise your body, you get soft and lose abilities. Failing to exercise your mind produces the same effect. Just like any other part of your body, regular exercise improves its overall health. Cognitive exercises are proven to help prevent diseases and decrease the chances of memory loss.
How To Host A Game Night With Trivia
Put together a great game night for you and your friends so you can flex those mind muscles. So, how do you throw a game night party that will have your friends eager to come back week after week?
If you are focusing on a trivia night, find items that reflect that.
First, keep it simple. Don’t pick so many games that your guests get overwhelmed, but throw in enough variety so that there is a little something for everyone. If you want, you can skip the game night theme altogether and make it a trivia night!
Second, serve appetizers that your guests can grab themselves. Don’t go out of your way and prepare a huge feast. That will transform your game night into a dinner party.
Third, set up a comfortable space to play and eat at the same time. You can gather around the dining room table, but a more comfortable option might be a large coffee table in the living room.
Finally, if you really want to go all out, you can create a theme. If you are focusing on a trivia night, find items that reflect that. Perhaps you could decorate with question marks or take it a step further and name the winner The Riddler. You can even hand out prizes if you’re serious about your fun.
A Brief History Of The Trivia Game
The word “trivia” seems to be derived from the Latin word “trivium” which means “triple way.” It was generally used indicate the spot where three roads or rivers met. This was later used to refer to a liberal arts education in medieval times. The "trivium" referred to logic, rhetoric, and grammar taught in universities. Students completed these subjects before moving onto arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry.
Logan Pearsall Smith published his book “Trivialities, bits of information of little consequence” in 1902. It was a compilation of short essays consisting of observation and average moments in life. The book became popular in 1918 and was followed by the book “More Trivia” in 1921.
Bars and restaurants often host weekly trivia nights and tournaments with teams participating for a wide range of prizes.
Quiz shows became popular in the 1950s. Viewers loved to play along and test their knowledge of basic facts while watching contestants compete for prizes. Unfortunately, it came to light in the late 1950s that the results were rigged by producers. This “Quiz Show Scandal” eliminated the quiz show from Prime Time TV for several decades.
College students in the 1960s began to create their own questions and answers games regarding the pop culture of their teen years. This was first called “Trivia” in a column published in the Columbia Daily Spectator in 1965. The column’s authors, Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky, soon began organizing their own trivia contests called Quiz Bowls. In 1966, they published the book “Trivia” that quickly earned its place on the New York Times bestseller list. They followed it up with several more books through the years.
In 1982, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott released their creation, Trivial Pursuit. This remains one of the most popular trivia games in existence today. It is estimated that one billion people across the world have played this game.
Because Trivial Pursuit was so popular, Merv Griffin decided to bring back a show that had attempted a start in the 1960s but had never quite gained traction. In 1984, Jeopardy reappeared with Alex Trebek as the host and offered cash prizes to contestants. It was wildly successful and like Trivial Pursuit has been one of the most successful quiz games of all time.
Trivia continues to be enjoyed in its many forms. Bars and restaurants often host weekly trivia nights and tournaments with teams participating for a wide range of prizes. Trivia board games, with Trivial Pursuit as their initial inspiration, have burst onto the scene providing even more trivia options for various interests and age groups.
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