Brainstorm Me a New Trivia Event for My Meetup Group
May 26, 2011 1:36 PM   Subscribe

My Meetup group has grown too large for our regular trivia night. Help me brainstorm ideas for a group of 10-15 people (sometimes more, sometimes less) to play trivia, drink beer, and socialize.

About 18 months ago, I posted my first events on a local Meetup, looking for trivia team members for a regular bar trivia event. Within a few months, I had a team of 4-8 players every week, whether it was posted on Meetup or not. The bar where we played was large and the event didn't limit our team size, so we played no matter how many people attended.

This has changed. Our trivia night was cancelled, and we have found a decent replacement game; however, the room is tiny and teams are limited to <9. At the same time, our group has grown. I now can get 10-12 without posting it on Meetup, so our team has to split up to play, which is not as much fun and I don't feel like I can post it to Meetup now.
The larger group also is harder on the newbies. The regulars can be inadvertently cliquish since they've been playing together for awhile. Generally, new people from Meetup tend to be introverted & socially anxious, so attending this group is already outside their comfort zone. It is important to connect with the new people, and for them to feel like this is a welcoming group. I'm trying to squash this cliquish behavior (the regulars were all from Meetup originally, so they really should be more empathetic, argh), but it is pervasive and it is exacerbated when we split the team up due to the size. The regulars all flock off to a separate team, and I usually head up the second team with the newbies. This does help me make that connection, but it is not as fun as when I get to play with my friends and we can all join in discussions together.

I want to post these trivia events to Meetup. I enjoy being a leader of this kind of group, and I think the trivia event lends itself to Meetup. (It's a casual atmosphere with alcohol; trivia is the focus, so you can talk to strangers but not have to come up with small talk; team playing is fun. It's perfect for the introverted geeks/nerds in our college town to meet each other.) However, this current game doesn't work for us, and there are no other established trivia nights in town that will work. So I need to brainstorm a new trivia activity for my Meetup group.

Please help me! Caveats:
- No board games or Trivial Pursuit. They take forever to play, and they are stilted and formal.
- I do have members who would love to write questions or MC a game. Maybe we could trade off?
- Bar environment: I'd like to be able to push tables together rather than reserve a back room.
- I don't want to split the group up too much. We could maybe do small teams, but I want there to be an emphasis on socializing as a group or as a team. I do not want people to pick teams, getting 'stuck' or only playing with people they already know.
- I really don't want to run my own official trivia night. I'd like to post a day/time/place on Meetup, have people show, and play trivia with people. I don't want to run something bigger than that.

We are in a midwestern college town. Group members are aged 23-45, mostly nerds and geeks (librarians, IT techs, grad students, etc.) Sometimes we have older attendees, but they don't seem to stick around (I tend to think it's because the trivia is often pop culture, not because of the newbie problem).

Please help me brainstorm!
posted by aabbbiee to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Were you at Harpo's? I miss it too...rumor has it that JC might start a trivia night at Shakespeare's but I moved away and no longer have the inside info.
posted by schyler523 at 1:44 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could continue to go to the place that requires small teams, but break up into groups by drawing straws or something so it would be a random assortment each time. You could also plan to meet up a half hour before trivia officially starts to spend some time hanging out/meeting noobs before breaking apart to play.
posted by phunniemee at 1:47 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dude(tte), find a club with a stage and run a game show. Charge people to watch.
posted by rhizome at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2011

Is there a Dr. Sketchy's near you?
posted by bq at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2011

Re: schyler523, I am That Team Over There. I agree, if JC started up again somewhere big like Harpo's, it would solve a lot of my problem.
(And I enjoy following your wife's craft exploits on FB, and miss her at Cafe Berlin.)
posted by aabbbiee at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Since I run a trivia night in a midwestern college town, I say break up into separate teams and antagonize each other all night long. Meet up long enough before hand to hang out together, and then again afterward to laugh at each other. That sounds incredibly fun to me.
posted by psylosyren at 2:07 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The bar trivia around here doesn't let you compete for prizes with more than five players, so our meetup group has to split up too. I think it is better, since more people get to participate. You just need to do a better job of splitting up the teams.
posted by smackfu at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2011

Smackfu, how do you split the teams up without seeming too Leader-y (if you know what I mean)? Literally draw straws?

Part of the problem is that the trivia room is so small that by the time we realize that we have a turnout that will require a second team, there aren't any tables left for the second team. I'm already getting to the bar 40 minutes early to save the table for the team as it is. Seriously.

I do like the idea of meeting up with new people beforehand- that would help.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:40 PM on May 26, 2011

Is there another veteran member you could recruit to be a sort of "team leader"? Then you could say, "All right, Veteran1, Veteran2, Newbie1, Newbie2, you're with me - the rest of you are with Veteran3." Heck, you could even pick teams like kids playing baseball.

Alternately, accept that you're effectively recruiting people for a new group, the original group (clique) having spun off. I mean, the older core clique may not want to do the "new thing" you come up with. They may just want to keep competing at trivia as a team.
posted by mskyle at 6:18 AM on May 27, 2011

Practically speaking, we get the biggest booth (which seats around 10) and as people arrive, they sit. Then if we end up with too many people, we split it up based on seating. It's not really ideal though.
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on May 27, 2011

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