Deemed “the biggest phenomenon in game history” by Time Magazine in 1984, Trivial Pursuit is a game where players have to continuously answer trivia questions relating to specific categories or topics in order to win.
Each player will be given a wheel-like game piece that they will use to move around the spaces of the board that also looks like a wheel with spokes when connected. Every time you move to an area using the dice, you would either have to answer a question from one of the cards or roll again, depending on what is indicated in the space. The spaces are presented in different colors, and each color corresponds to a certain category or theme in the game. For example, History is represented in yellow, while Science & Nature is green.
The simple game about trivia sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and with over dozens of special editions and variants that they put out almost every year, the sales of Trivial Pursuit wouldn’t even slow down in the near future.
On December 15, 1979, two friends were drinking beer and playing Scrabble somewhere in Montreal, Canada. The names of these people are Scott Abbott, who is working as a sports editor for The Canadian Press, and Chris Haney, who is hired as a photo editor by the Montreal Gazette.
When they found out that some pieces of their Scrabble game are missing, which prompted them to stop playing it, they decided that they should make their own board game right on the spot. The board game that they have conceptualized eventually became Trivial Pursuit.
Believing that their board game concept has potential to hit big in the market, they have created a company called Horn Abbot in 1979 with the help of business partners Ed Werner, a corporate lawyer, and John Haney, Chris Haney’s brother.
To raise money to finance the production of the board game, they have looked for investors who might be interested in funding Trivial Pursuit. They acquired 34 people to invest in the game, which allowed them to have about $75,000, which enabled them to produce at least 1,000 copies to sell in Canada in 1981.
Those 1,000 copies took $75 each to build, but they were only able to sell the game for $15 as $75 is too expensive for a new board game. However, the game slowly became famous when they began selling it outside Canada after being licensed to Selchow and Righter in 1982, as the company was able to sell more than 20,000 copies in North America in 1984.
In 1988, the Parker Brothers purchased the rights for Trivial Pursuit to Selchow and Righter, and that company eventually became a part of Hasbro, one of the biggest toy companies in the world that have also produced other popular board games like Monopoly and Cluedo.
Trivial Pursuit can be played by two to six players, and each of them can choose one game piece to move around the board. These playing pieces have holes in them that are shaped like slices of pie, and the goal of the game is that players would need to fill up all the gaps in their board piece by getting wedges that they can acquire by answering questions correctly in specific spaces where the pieces needed to fill the holes are shown.
After choosing a game piece, players would need to put them at the center of the wheel on the board called the “hub.” In this hub, players must roll a dice to know who should go first. The player who rolled the highest number on the dice will move first before the others.
To move on spaces, a player must roll the dice again to know how many moves he or she can do on the board. The player can move clockwise, counter-clockwise, or vertically. On the board, there are spaces that allow you to roll the dice again for an extra turn.
If the player landed on a colored space, then he or she must answer a question that belongs to a category represented by the color that was landed on. These questions are printed on the cards that are included in the game.
In the classic edition of Trivial Pursuit, the questions are divided into six categories. These categories are:
- Geography (blue)
- Entertainment (pink)
- History (yellow)
- Arts & Literature (purple, originally brown)
- Science & Nature (green)
- Sports & Leisure (orange)
If the player answered the question correctly, he or she has another chance of moving on the board. But if the player wasn’t able to answer it, then the next player will have a turn to move.
Players will be able to get the wedge pieces on the “category headquarters” space, which are located in each vertical line or spoke on the wheel. Each wedge represents the categories found in the board game.
After a player collects all six wedges, then he or she must return to the hub to answer the final question to win the game. The category for the last question will be chosen by the other players. The player must leave the hub space if he or she did not give the right answer to the final question.
If there is an instance where a player answers all the questions given to him or her correctly, which stops others from moving or taking a turn, another player has a chance to tie it if he or she also gave the right answers every time. To prevent this situation from happening, players can impose a rule where one must end his or her turn after collecting a wedge piece.
Popular Editions and Variants
Along with the Classic Edition and the Master Edition, which plays like the classic but with an added electronic timer, Trivial Pursuit has more than 30 different variants and special editions available in the market. Here are some of Trivial Pursuit’s most popular versions.
To celebrate Trivial Pursuit’s 40th anniversary in 2018, Hasbro released the Ruby Edition that includes all the classic pieces and cards of the game along with an extra “Ruby Deck” that has 200 cards with questions for players to answer to get the special Ruby game piece at the center of the board.
The Ruby Deck contains more than 1,000 questions that belong to the “Remember When?” category, which explores the events that happened in the year indicated on the card. The years shown on the cards are from 1979 (the year of Trivial Pursuit’s conception) to 2018.
Children may have a hard time playing Trivial Pursuit since most editions of the game cater to teenagers and adults. To make it easier for kids to play the game, Hasbro has released a Family Edition, which has two separate decks of question cards for children and adults.
Along with two different decks, the Family Edition also has a Showdown space where two players would have to battle for a single wedge.
For those who are fans of Harry Potter, the World of Harry Potter Ultimate Edition of Trivial Pursuit may be the way to properly test their knowledge on the famous franchise.
The classic categories found in Trivial Pursuit are replaced in this edition with these topics:
- Slytherin House, Death Eaters, and The Dark Arts
- Objects & Artifacts
- Animals, Magical Creatures, and Magical Beings
- Witches, Wizards, Ghost, and Muggles
- Hogwarts, Other Locations, and Transportation
- Spells, Potions, and Other Magic
The game pieces have figures that represent the four houses in Hogwarts, namely Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff.
Star Wars fans can now battle to see who is the most knowledgeable in all things Star Wars by playing the Trivial Pursuit Star Wars the Black Series Edition, which has more than 1,500 questions related to the different elements or events that are found in the franchise.
The categories for the questions in this edition are:
- The Cantina
- The Force
- Heroes, Villains, and Scoundrels
- The Saga
- A Galaxy Far, Far, Away
Like the Harry Potter variant, the game pieces in this edition also features iconic groups or factions in the franchise like the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire, and the First Order.
Trivial Pursuit is a fun game that tests players’ knowledge in pop culture and other fields. The game can also improve people’s memorization skills, as they would slowly be able to memorize the questions and answers in the board game if they continuously play it. Challenge your friends in a battle of wits by playing this classic board game.