What's the most fun / innovative trivia round you've played lately?
April 29, 2016 9:59 AM   Subscribe

TriviaFilter: I host an annual trivia night for my company and am looking for some fresh ideas for rounds/topics this year. What's the most fun / innovative / clever trivia round you've played lately?

Audio and visual rounds are par for the course. Here's a few of the past rounds that were well-liked:

* Guess the TV show from a 15 second clip of its theme song

* Question one has one answer, question two is two-part answer, question three is three-part ... all the way up to ten

* Hear a song, name the decade it was released

* Twitter battle: given 3-4 people/things on Twitter, rank them by followers

I like to sprinkle these novelty rounds in between standard trivia topics. Our typical trivia night consists of six rounds, with 10-15 teams of 4-6 people. I'd love to hear what kind of fun trivia rounds you've participated in recently. Thanks!
posted by bjork24 to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've occasionally played a bar trivia that always starts with a visual round consisting of pictures of Pop! Vinyl figurines and we're supposed to figure out who each figure represents. Some of them are easy, some are easy if you happen to watch whatever show, and some can be very difficult for anybody.
posted by cmoj at 10:09 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh god the funnest hardest one (at Big Quiz Thing) was a fast music round where they'd play literally a few seconds of three songs right in a row. The songs share one word of the title, write down that word. Played through twice, not again. Very challenging but also fun and a good leveler since it involved a few different skills.
posted by jessamyn at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2016

Audio clips of lines from movies, name the movie

Identify famous landmarks seen from space

Identify celebrities when they were young (If I was organising for a small company I'd consider having "co-workers when they were young" as a round!)

My absolute favourite kind of round is one that works like:

Q1 "What 1973 song begins with the lyric 'Some people call me a space cowboy'?" (The Joker)
Q2 "What is the name given to an athletic conference of eight private universities in the Northeastern US?" (IVY League)...
Q3 Which male actor has starred in fourteen movies with numbers in the title? (BRUCE Willis)
Q4 What character delivered the line "Greed is Good"? (GORDON Gecko)

... and then the tenth question is the link between all of the above answers (Batman)

I love those because the questions can be made quite hard but if you guess the link you can sometimes go back and retro-answer the earlier questions :)
posted by bimbam at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Speed round! At my local trivia night, it's usually one of the following:

An actor's selected filmography/a musician's selected singles released, historical events, or something that can easily be put into chronological order. The trivia host plays a 2-3 minute song, and by the end of the song, the completed answer sheet must be delivered to the host's hands. There is much running to the front during the last few seconds. The answer sheet has the 10 items to put into order already printed on it, so all the players have to do is write a number next to the title to expedite quickness.

Alternatively, we've also had to speed run a word search (with the added challenge of having one word on the list not be included in the search !!), and get that back within the time limit.

Visual rounds, with printed pictures of local restaurants, movie actors (name the film and/or the character), types of native fish, that we then had to identify are always fun.

I also like the music rounds where it's something like: Here are popular pop songs or showtunes covered by various glee clubs, country singers, in a foreign language, etc, now identify the original artist! Also lines of movie dialogue--can you identify the actor/character/movie is fun and sometimes a challenge.
posted by PearlRose at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2016

I think the last time I referenced this contest, I quipped that "you don't know it, but I'm kind of giving you the equivalent of a key to the Lost Library of Alexandria here."

For the past 50 years, Williams College has hosted a twice-a-year trivia contest, which started as a broadcast out of its radio station and is now on streaming web. Most of the contest is "questions asked over the air", but teams also have hourly "bonus rounds", which are either Audio bonuses, of the "guess the song from a sound bite" type, or are written quizzes of some sort. Some of the ones I've heard that were especially well received (full disclosure: I helped write one) are:

* Lit Slits, where you present teams with a piece of paper containing inch-wide partial copies of pages from books, and based on those copies, teams have to identify the book.

* "TV Initials", where we presented teams with only the first letters to each word in a TV show's theme song lyrics, and they had to identify the show (for instance, the theme to "Friends" was rendered thus: "S N O T Y L W G T B T W [C C C C C]").

* Identify the album based on a 1-inch-square image from the cover. There was another one once (I can't quite find it now) where someone took a bunch of album covers, and photoshopped out the name of the album and the picture of the artist, so you had to identify the album based on the background (so, say, all you saw of the album cover for Moby's Play would be that green wall, and that hand holding the light meter on the lower left).

* There's a couple interesting things in this bonus - one section devoted to "name the book from an image on its cover", another album-covers thing, and another devoted to "name the city based on an image of its manhole covers".

Poke around in there and you're sure to find some ideas. Click on each teams' name in the "contest archive" main page to be taken to the full list of questions/answers and bonus packages on file for each teams' contest; what you're looking for are the "hour boni" or something similar on each teams' page.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

Guess the number - Give a question where the answer is a large number that most people wouldn't know exactly, and the team with the closest number wins.

(One way for a team to get a decent answer on this one is to average everyone's guesses)
posted by ghostbikes at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2016

My friend who runs a trivia game does a couple of fun things.

-Put three celebrities in order youngest to oldest.
-Name the first four #1 songs by ____. (I got this correct for TLC once, which was... interesting.)
-Guess how many miles it would be to drive from ____ to ____.
-Which actor starred in the films ____, ____, and ____. (These are generally either fairly obscure films, or films where the actor in question had a minor role.
-Anagrams: what celebrity's name can be found by rearranging the letters in this phrase? (The all-time best is ORAL SEX, who is the lead singer off a metal band.)
posted by kevinbelt at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2016

I always loved Before & After, which (like the round on Wheel of Fortune) is a two-part question where the end of the first answer is the same sound or word as the beginning of the second answer. So the answer to first question is Easy E and the answer to the second question is E Pluribus Unum, so the full response is Easy E Pluribus Unum.

This would be followed with the epic five-parter Before & During & During & During & After. (And we did a 7-parter on a special occasion once.) This follows the same pattern. So the answers to the questions would be:
  1. Corn Palace
  2. Lacey Chabert
  3. Bert and Ernie
  4. Ernie Hudson
  5. Songs of Innocence and Experience
which is then written as Corn Palacey Chabert and Ernie Hudsongs of Innocence and Experience. I really enjoyed these since if you figured out a few of answers, you could usually guesstimate on the missing ones.

I also enjoyed the round where the quizmaster would read lines from a movie and we had to answer with the movie name and the actor saying the lines. Those were not always easy but I had a knack for them.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2016

I went to a trivia night once where there was a smelling-based round! They had several spice jars with the labels covered, and your team sent a representative up to guess the spices by smell. It was unusual and fun! Downsides were that it took a long time because all the representatives had to take turns smelling, and also they used kind of old spices so some of them didn't really smell like anything.
posted by aka burlap at 11:19 AM on April 29, 2016

I'm designing some trivia night rounds for our local fundraiser and the one visual category I've been working on this time is "Who's Missing"?

You present a picture of a famous group with one member blocked out.

You can ramp this up pretty quickly, starting with stuff like {Mount Rushmore - Roosevelt} or {The Beatles - Ringo Starr}, then move on to things like {Led Zeppelin - John Paul Jones} or {The Jackson 5 - Tito} and ending up with {Backstreet Boys - any of them} or {The Pac-Man Ghosts - Blinky}
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2016

Name a movie from a not-too-obvious still (Difficulty: all the movies are kind of from the same genre, like "war movies" or "space operas" or "movies with a closeup of Keanu Reeves")

Name the country that the famous landmark is in

Here's a weirdo cover version of a song. Name the original song and artist.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:21 PM on April 29, 2016

I dislike those "put people/things in order" rounds because if you mess one up, you've messed up a bunch more.

I went to Geek Bowl X this year, and one of the fun visual rounds was when they took a well-known image and photoshopped something out of it (or replaced it with something else), so you have to tell them what was removed.

There was also a fantastic audio round where they hired the world's only heavy metal mariachi band (Metalachi!) to play cover songs, and you had to guess what they were (I can't remember if they even had words or not). Now, not everyone can hire Metalachi, but you could still do wacky covers and have people do the name AND artist who made it famous.

Another fantastic thing they did was to hire kids to act out movies from 2006 (Talladega Nights, Idiocracy, Dreamgirls, etc.). You could scale it down by giving snippets of dialogue from movies, which I always enjoy in pub quiz.

I can tell you what NOT to do: a round based on smell. You do not want to know about the rest of that anecdote. No, no, no.
posted by St. Hubbins at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2016

A round I quite liked was guess the language being spoken. In my case it was people reading the same opening lines of the Bible. You could find another audiobook in several languages or perhaps find sample sentences from some sort of reference material - Wikipedia, language learning sites?
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2016

a couple of ideas from our local movie trivia night:

* Who can guess the fastest? Host starts by listing actors in a well known movie, BUT starts from the bottom of the cast list and goes upwards until a team makes a guess.
* movie clip is played, BUT audio is from one movie, and video from another. You have to guess both.
* N-degrees of separation: 2 actors have never acted in a movie together (or in a *really, really* obscure one), you have to link them together by their work in other movies with common actors. Example: Connect Laura Linney and Nicholas Cage. So, Laura Linney was in "The Truman Show" with Ed Harris, who was in "The Rock" with Nicholas Cage. The fewer connections it takes, the more points you get.
posted by alchemist at 1:15 AM on April 30, 2016

My favorite trivia dude does a round called "Chemical States," where he reads off elements from the periodic table and names of U.S. states, and the abbreviations spell a word. For example, "Chromium Iodine Maine" spells "Cr-I-ME — crime." The round usually had ~10 questions, and the spelled-out words were part of a theme. Guess the theme and get bonus points!
posted by Charity Garfein at 3:47 PM on April 30, 2016

I was at trivia a little ways back, if I'm remembering correctly, they had a round where you had to listen to music and identify the songs. The gimmick for this round was that they'd play two songs with the same name at the same time (overlapping the music) and you had to identify the name of the songs and both artists.

It doesn't sound like it'd be hard, but it really kinda was because of the way you'd try to focus on one song that you knew you knew, but the other would keep distracting you.
posted by cali59 at 2:12 PM on May 1, 2016

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