This One’s A Classic
It’s strange you know. Being asked to review a game like Trivial Pursuit. Whereas a lot of the games we write about are 21st century productions and may not be more than a couple of years old, this one’s actually older than me and I’m regrettably close to 40. In fact, even if you’re reading this you’ve probably played the game and have formed your own opinions about it! All that said, everyone has a first game and maybe you haven’t played before and are wondering if this is worth your time.
After all, there are lots of trivia-type games out there so why should you go for this one? In fact, should you go for this one? Maybe you’ve heard other gamers act a bit sniffy when they talk about this, perhaps in the same way they talk about Monopoly or Cluedo. If that’s you, stick around and let’s find out what the fuss is about.
Pick A Subject
So then, you’ve got the board out and it’s a weird multicoloured wheel. You’ve got a whole load of question cards and some little plastic cheese wheels with spaces for different coloured wedges. So far, so good. The play is simple. You roll the die, you answer a question that matches the colour of the square you’re on and if you get it right you keep going. If you answer a question correctly on one of the wedge spaces then you get a wedge of that colour. Once you have all of the different colour wedges you go back to the middle and answer one more question to win the game. Simple? Absolutely.
I’ve just taught you all the important rules in four lines and there’s really no more depth to the gameplay than that. The only strategy is really to work out how to use die rolls to maximise your turn and make use of the “Roll again” spaces. Of course, the real trick in any trivia game is the trivia itself and if you don’t have a pretty varied general knowledge or at least a very strong knowledge in one specific aspect then you aren’t going to have a great time. Questions are very varied and difficulty swings pretty wildly across the topics. Of course if you know the answer then any question is easy but some seem significantly more obscure than others.
Arguably this is one of two big flaws with Trivial Pursuit. The other is a thing I mentioned earlier. If you get a question right you get to keep playing. That might sound like a good idea, but if one team is on a roll then their opponents could be waiting a very long time to play again, especially when there’s talking time to take into account. If you’ve just spent 15 minutes waiting for your turn and then you get one of the really tough questions that immediately hands back play, it can be incredibly frustrating. Especially if the other team gets a string of easy ones! It’s not a fatal flaw, but when you look at games like Linkee which has everyone trying to answer every question and in which missing an answer or two doesn’t knock you out of the game for stretches, it’s definitely a missed opportunity.
And The Answer Is…
So is Trivial Pursuit worth your time? Well maybe it’s because I’ve grown up playing it but I really do love this game. It’s not something I would recommend playing as individuals, but when you have a couple of teams, maybe of three or more each, the game really starts to come into its own as you realise that what this is effectively is a glorified pub quiz. It causes all the same angst and arguments as you’d expect at the pub, but this time in the comfort of your own home. And that’s a good thing, mostly.
When your uncle is calling out answers whether or not the questions are for his team, your aunt is getting cross because she has no idea if he’s right anyway (he’s always certain, even if he’s certainly wrong) and everyone else is trying to remember if this particular actress was in Dallas or Dynasty (we had the 80s questions when I was growing up) the whole thing starts to sing.
I actually think that having slightly outdated questions that you learn the answers to overtime is part of the fun, but there are of course modern questions available in the new boxes that make things a little easier for you. Don’t worry though, if you keep the box long enough, your kids or grandkids will be learning outdated answers from the 2020s box soon enough! So that’s a yes. Buy Trivial Pursuit. Buy Linkee or another trivia game too, there’s space for more than one game like this in your collection!