Trivia games have been keeping families and friends entertained for hundreds of years. When the evening meal is tidied away, and the family is gathered in the parlour, there is nothing that brings a group closer together than realising that one of the party is a smart ass, another hates losing, and someone else is a massive cheat!
Thankfully, these types of games have moved on a lot over the years and now there is a trivia game to suit all groups. No longer are quiz games suited only to the sponges out there who seem to remember every piece of information they ever hear. They can be played with all ages and levels to equal enjoyment. And they don’t all need to be played in the parlour anymore! Let’s look at 10 of the best currently on the market.
Best For A Close Group Of Friends
Wits & Wagers has one very clever twist on the classic trivia mechanic. Instead of worrying about your answer being correct, in Wits & Wagers you are looking to guess who will get it right. All players are asked the same question at the same time, and you just need to think about which player in the group is most likely to get this one right.
Once every person or team has submitted their face down answer, the cards are flipped and arranged in order from lowest to highest. Players then must guess which answer is right, or closest to being right, without going over. Any person or team who gets their guess right will win points back based on their original bid.
The game can be taught in a few minutes and played in large groups very easily by making it a team game. The sort of questions that are asked means that it is rare to not be able to have at least an educated guess. The answers are always a number, and the main thing you need to aim for is not to go over the right answer. It's great fun, plays very quickly, and highly accessible.
Best For Those Who Like To Bluff
Snakesss challenges players in groups of four to eight to work out who is the snake of the group. At the start of each round, players are secretly assigned a role. Either as an ordinary human, the Mongoose of truth or the Snake. A multiple-choice question is then read out loud and everyone is asked to close their eyes. The Snakes will then in secret open their eyes to be shown the answer and see if there are any more snakes assigned that round. Players will then all open their eyes and debate the answer. The mongoose of truth is publicly identified, so everyone knows they are not a snake, and not lying. The humans are trying to figure out who is telling the truth, and what the answer is. The snakes(s) are trying to convince everyone that one of the two wrong answers is the right one.
Each player will then guess the answer, getting a point if they are correct. For each person who guesses incorrectly, the snakes get a point. Roles are then shuffled and randomly dealt out again before the next question is read out.
This game works very well with all groups because again, you don’t need to know the answer. You just need to try and figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. Some good trivia knowledge will of course help, but really this is about bluffing more than anything else. It can be harder for younger players to be the Snake, but otherwise, this works very well in all groups.
Best For Actual Trivia Fans
Linkee works well in any group size and can be played in teams or as individuals. A card is taken, and four simple questions are asked to the group. Players do not say their answers out loud, rather they try and think of what links the answers to the four questions. The first to work this out must shout “Linkee” and then give their answer to the group. If they are right, they can take the card which will have a letter on the back, either an L, I, N, K, or E. Once they have enough letters to spell the word Linkee they win.
The questions are all relatively simple, but finding the links is a real puzzle sometimes, but ultimately very satisfying when you get it. Less so when you get it a fraction too slow! But fun nonetheless. The game can be frustrating when you keep winning cards of the same letters, but you can trade. But really this game isn’t about winning, it’s more about the fun of playing, as many of these games are.
Best For Those Who Like To Feel The Pressure
Stay Cool is a high-pressure game that is played under timed conditions, but with a clever twist. There are two sets of questions, one on a red card, and the other on a blue card. Players will take it in turns to ask questions from each card or be the person trying to answer. The red card has fewer questions, all with short word answers that need to be spelt out using seven lettered dice. The blue card has more questions and needs to be answered verbally. The moment the player answering gets the answer right, either by saying it out loud or spelling the answer with the dice, then the next question on that card will be asked.
Players need to see how many questions they can get through in the time limit of two minutes. The questions are all fairly easy for most adults, but the time pressure and the fact that you are often trying to think of both answers in your head at the same time does often throw people. The multitasking between thinking and spelling is tough.
Once everyone has tried this, you will then go into round two, which is the same except for the way the game is timed. The person answering the questions now oversees their own time. The sand timer in the game runs for 30 seconds, and you must say the word “timer” before it runs out for it to be flipped for another round of 30 seconds. You are allowed to flip it three times for a total of two minutes if you manage it correctly. If you ever let it run out, your turn is over.
If you think this is hard, in the final round the same thing happens, but the question master must use the box lid to obscure the view of the timer for the person answering, and they must now guess when to say “timer.” It is so stressful, but hilarious fun to play and watch others try.
Best For When You Don’t Have A Table
Colour Brain is such a simple game. Players will all have a hand of colour cards, all the same, one of each main colour. Someone will then ask a question such as the main two colours of Paddington Bear, or the three colours in the Irish flag. All players must then pick which colour cards to hold up. That’s it!
Colour Brain is so simple, but it works so well. Especially in a more relaxed environment, chilling on the sofa, or relaxed in the garden. You don’t need to all be around a table. There is no board, no scoring really needed, nothing to write down or pieces to move.
But there is something so fun and rewarding about trying to think of the answer by staring at coloured cards, rather than staring into space and racking your brains. When you can’t quite think if the most common colour in countries' national flags is red or white and are staring at both the red and white cards trying to force your brain to give you the answer, it’s a lot of fun! It feels less stressful and frustrating somehow. Even though I am still often wrong!
Best For Fans Of Nostalgic Gaming
Trivial Pursuit is a game that speaks for itself. I am sure most of you have played it and maybe even own an old copy. Has the new version changed much? Not really. But of course, there is now a version for pretty much every popular movie, TV show or subject you can imagine!
The game works when you know the answers and have a good base knowledge of whichever version you are playing. But does perhaps fall down if this is not the case. I have always been a fan of the family version, where you can ask a different difficulty of the question depending on who is answering for this reason. It opens the game up to more people, where the inherent fault of this game is of course it favours people with good trivia knowledge. But not all groups want to avoid that challenge, and this may still be one of the best for a classic trivia challenge if that’s what you are after.
And the joy of putting little cheese wedges into your coloured playing piece, well, that is eternal.
Best For Groups That Want A Debate
What Came First has a very simple concept. Two ‘things’ are listed. You need to decide what came first. The Statue of Liberty or The Eiffel Tower. Which was built first? Can you remember?
It’s so simple to teach, set up, and play, and can be adapted to work for various group sizes and environments. But the real joy from this game for me comes from the group discussions it often elicits. I enjoy listening in to teams of people debate what they think may be the right answer. Encouraging this interaction is what makes the game. It can be hilarious, entertaining, and even, on the very rare occasion, actually quite enlightening!
Best For Movie Fans
Blockbuster is a brilliant party game with movie trivia included. If you like popular films, this game will be a blast for you. The concept is very simple. Players will split into two teams and compete to win the most points based on their film knowledge. Each round starts with one person from each team facing off against a player from the other team in a challenge to see who can name the most unique films from an open genre. Films with a dog in, for example.
Players will take it in turns until one player runs out of ideas, time, or repeats a previously mentioned title. The winning team will then get the first pick of six films to pick three from. They need to get the rest of their team to guess the right film by using three different techniques. One film needs to be acted out, or at least one scene anyway! Another you need to use just one word, and the final film needs to be guessed from a quote. The quote doesn’t need to be word-for-word from the movie, just a good attempt. “Ah! This giant shark is eating me,!” Is close enough for Jaws, for example. Although, I hope, you could do better around questioning your boat choices.
The other team will then have to do the same to their team, but with the movies, the first team chose not to pick. But if the first team got through all three of their films within the time limit, they can then try to steal one of the other team's three movies, so it may be the second team only has one or two left.
The game is a riot and works very well when the players have at least a basic knowledge of popular films. But can be tough when people don’t know what the films are or haven’t seen them. There aren’t any obscure ones, but obviously, not everyone loves films.
Best For Fans Of Board Games
Half Truth is made by two huge names in the board game industry. Richard Garfield and Ian O’Toole. Alongside 74-time Jeopardy winner Ken Jennings. A recipe for success, surely?
Yes, yes it is! Half Truth is a real winner. Half Truth has 500 questions in the box. Each question card will have a category with three correct and three incorrect answers. Players need to try and figure out which answers are right and place bets on these three answers.
Some questions may throw you, especially if your popular culture is not up to scratch, but most will be generic enough to give most players the chance to at least have an educated guess. But you can always try and use a process of elimination, removing the ones you know are right or wrong. The questions are often easier than you first think with this technique. Hopefully, on most occasions, you will be able to rule at least one out. As such, this isn’t necessarily about knowing the answer, it’s more, as Tom Vassel describes, about “almost knowing.”
The components are lovely, and it feels more like a board game is being played than anything else on this list. There is a real ‘event feel’ to Half Truth. It feels polished both in the questions and also how it looks and feels too. Highly recommended.
Best For People With Quick Minds
Anomia is all about seeing things fast and thinking quickly. Players will flip cards from a central pile and place it in front of them. The cards show a category and one symbol. You are looking for a match from the symbol on your recently flipped card with any of the other player's face up card. If you find a match, you will then go into a one versus one mini-game with that player, trying to think of the person, place, or thing that matches the subject of the card in front of your opponent before they can do the same to the thing on your card. The player who does this first will get to take the card from the losing player and place it into their winning pile.
This will then reveal another card and symbol (if the loser had more than one card at this point in the game), which could trigger a cascading effect where the losing player of this face off, now seeing a match with another player's card around the table.
All players, therefore, need to be constantly alert and aware of what is going on around the table. Even when it is not your go; and won’t be your go for a few turns, it still could become your go very soon! It’s a fast, fun, frantic experience, that doesn’t work for everyone. But those who like it, seem to absolutely love it.
Editors note: This post was originally published on 24/11/2022. Updated on 23/02/2023 to improve the information available.