Playing Trivial Pursuit

How To Play Trivial PursuitTrivial Pursuit is a game that was created in 1979 by two members of the Canadian print media. These men, Scott Abbott and Chris Haney, are said to have created their own game to fill the time when they realized they had lost pieces from their Scrabble board.

These men would perfect their game for the next three years. By 1982, Trivial Pursuit was ready for the consumer market. Parker Brothers bought the marketing rights by this time, and their game hits the stores late that year.

By 1984, Trivial Pursuit was a pop culture phenomenon. The game allowed for single or team play, and proved quite popular at parties and holiday gatherings. Though many found the questions difficult to answer, team play not made the game slightly easier, but also made Trivial Pursuit a social event. Many other players relished the challenge of a smart trivia game.

Over the past twenty five years, Trivial Pursuit has remained a good seller. Parker Brothers has put out many editions, trying to market to specific niches of the gaming public. In an attempt to market to a wider audience, some later editions have not been as difficult as the earliest offerings.

The Genus Edition

The original Trivial Pursuit game is named The Genus Edition. It was named Genus because the questions are general in nature, over a wide range of broad topics.

As with all Trivial Pursuit games, the original had six categories. These categories were Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature and, finally, Sports & Leisure.

Trivial Pursuit Instructions - Trivial Pursuit Rules

This section is a quick recap of the Trival Pursuit instructions. The actual Trivial Pursuit rules for the variation that you're playing might differ somewhat, but even though these aren't the official Trivial Pursuit rules, they're accurate as far as we know.

The Question Cards

Each game box comes with thousands of different trivia cards. Each card has one question from each category listed above. Whenever a player lands on a color, the next card is drawn and the color-coded question is asked.

Certain genus edition categories seem a combination of two seemingly unrelated topics. The best example of this is Sports & Leisure. This was done to balance the game. Certain people may have vast knowledge of sports, so the category also includes questions about subjects such as cigars or wine. This also gives a person with little knowledge of sports a chance to answer these questions.

Taking One's Turn

When it is a player's turn, that player takes the die and rolls it. That player or team moves the respective playing piece a number of spaces equal to the number rolled. When a playing piece lands on a colored space, that player must answer a question from that category.

One must answer a question correctly to continue one's turn. This allows a player to continue one's turn, which allows that player to roll the die and proceed further. The more questions are answered on a turn, the greater the odds the player eventually will land on a pie space.

When a question is answered incorrectly, a player's turn is over. Order of play passes in a clockwise rotation.

The Game Board

The Trivial Pursuit board has a circular shape to it, like a piece of pie. Players begin in the middle of the board. These players can take one of six different paths out of the center of the board, which spread out like spokes on a wheel.

Each of these paths lead to a space marked with a color coded pie piece. When a player lands on this space, that player answers a question as if having landed on any other space. If the question is answered correctly, though, that player gets a piece of the pie corresponding with that color.

Around the perimeter of the game board, there is a large circular path. This connects each pie piece to one another in one great circle. After initially reaching this outside portion of the game board, players remain on this outer rim until having collected all six pieces of the pie.

Between each piece of pie, there are seven additional spaces. These spaces are different colors from the two pie spaces in which they are between. Also, there are two "roll again" spaces in between each pie piece.

Each space on the game board has a cultural image in it. These images are often of an event or person out of history or pop culture. Each edition has its own specific pictures, which are a large part of the artistic difference in each game set.

The Playing Pieces

Each player or team has a corresponding playing piece. This piece is a molded plastic circular "pie". Each has room to fit six pieces of molded plastic pie in it. This is the method used to keep score in Trivial Pursuit.

When someone correctly answers a question on a pie space, then that person gains a piece of the pie. A player must win one pie pieces of each color to proceed to the final phase of the game. Therefore, one playing piece must fill up before the endgame scenario starts.

Trivial Pursuit Strategy and Tips - Winning the Game

When one's playing piece is full, that player must return to the center of the board, where everyone started the game. To attempt to win the game, a player must land directly on the center of the board.

When this is accomplished, the player must answer one more question to win the game. Without looking at the questions, the opponent chooses a category from which the player must answer a question. Typically, the opponent tries to ask a question in that player's weakest category, which usually becomes evident throughout the course of the game.

If the player correctly answers the question, then the game is over.

Trivial Pursuit Strategy Tips

  1. Miss Kelly, my high school history teacher, always told us that we shouldn't change a test answer, because our first answer was usually correct. Apply this thinking to Trivial Pursuit too.
  2. The pie pieces are how you win the game, so you should always opt to land on a pie space if you can.
  3. If you can't land on a pie space, try to land on a roll again space.

The most obvious Trivial Pursuit strategy is to know lots of stuff. You can read books about trivia to expand your knowledge, for example.

Later Editions

There have been many editions of Trivial Pursuit. Though there have been Genus 2 and Genus 3 editions, most of the game have focused on a more specific subject. For example, one of the first new editions was the Baby Boomer Edition. This focused on pop culture enjoyed by that generation of kids born just after World War II, during the so-called "baby boom".

Like the Baby Boomer Edition, some games have focused on a certain age group, like the Young Players Edition. Others have focused on specific time periods, like the 1980s. Still other games have focused on specific topics like sports, television and the silver screen.

In recent years, franchises have begun to be featured in their own Trivial Pursuit editions. For example, a Star Wars edition was released just prior to the prequel movies. There was also a Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit Edition.

DVD Editions

The Parker Brothers people have introduced DVD videos into their game in certain editions. Most questions are answered as always, by reference to a card. On the pie spaces, however, a player must answer a color coded question from the accompanying DVD. The final question has its own category, called "For the Win".

The DVD questions have added another dimension to the game, as well. After a player or team has had 10 or more seconds to answer a question off the DVD, the question often goes into "All Play" mode. Other teams can steal the pie piece by answering the question correctly first. This is a departure from the standard turn-based original game.

Here's a list of currently available Trivial Pursuit editions: