Get Trivial – and Get Social!

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There’s nothing trivial about trivia. Experts say playing trivia games exercises your brain, sharpens memory, improves learning habits–and is tons of fun! Trivia is also a great way to make social connections. In cafes, bars, living rooms, community centers and online, teaming up for trivia games means meeting new people and spending quality time with family and friends.

Some Trivial History

The emergence of trivia as a wildly popular pastime can be traced to a 1965 article in The Columbia Spectator, Columbia University’s school newspaper. As quoted in the New York Times the article’s author, Edwin Goodgold, said– “Trivia is a game which is played by countless young adults who, on the one hand, realize that they have misspent their youth and on the other hand, do not want to let go of it.” Goodgold “raised the profile of trivia contests from a college parlor game to a global phenomenon.”

Can you meet others?

New York City journalist Roger Hitts has hosted more than 1,000 trivia contests at more than 25 venues in his 25 years as a trivia “master.” Hitts says,  “We have fun lively crowds at the trivia nights I host, and the over-60 crowd is well-represented. It makes a fun evening out, and I’ve seen so many people form warm, wonderful friendships who didn’t know each other before they attended a trivia night! One of my favorite teams of regulars who attend all my trivia events is a team of five ladies, all over 70, who just love to mix it up with the young and older alike.”

Where to Find Trivia

Trivia is indeed for everyone, and there are countless opportunities to play in person and online.

Online Trivia

TriviaHub describes itself as “your go-to partner for hosting engaging and interactive trivia experiences for your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person group event.”

In 2022 Netflix launched Trivia Quest, an interactive trivia series with varying levels of difficulty.

Board Game Trivia

The board game Trivial Pursuit has sold over 100 million copies since it was launched in the 1980s, and now offers a Baby Boomer edition. Boom Again is a trivia board game designed for older adults about 50s, 60s and ’70s pop culture and music.

In-Person Trivia Games 

NYC Trivia League hosts teams seven nights per week in over 75 bars across the city. Sporle Events hosts trivia games in pubs throughout the country and sponsors a league with cash tours and prizes. King Trivia offers more than 75 weekly shows in cities across California cities as well as Seattle, Denver and Dallas. Team Trivia provides hosted live events in cities across the nation, and America’s Pub Quiz allows teams of up to 20 players in eight states to compete for cash prizes. National Trivia Leagues, sponsored by Challenge Entertainment, organizes league play in bars and restaurants nationwide.

Trivia Apps

There are plenty of trivia apps like Trivia Star, Trivia Royale, Trivia Crack and Popcorn Trivia. Many of the apps are free from the Apple App Store, but you may want to pay a small price, usually less than $5, to avoid annoying pop up ads.

A Trivia Game Near You?

The great thing is that some leagues allow you to search by zip code for a game near you, like the well-known Geeks Who Drink.  Or you can check out this list of the top pub games in the US.

A word of advice about in-person trivia games. “It doesn’t hurt to check with your local pubs and restaurants about their trivia nights and how they operate,” advises Hitts. “Most establishments do fun, general trivia, but I’ve walked into contests where the host announces, “Tonight will be 70 questions about Star Trek!”

Trivia Etiquette

A few general rules about pub trivia games:

  • No shouting out the answers to questions
  • No using your phone (or Google) for assistance
  • Quiz night is free, but you are expected to buy drinks and/or food from the bar
  • The quiz master has the final say (he or she is always right!)

So are you ready to test your knowledge of food, fashion, sports, movies, history, geography, music, literature, TV, science, nature and much, much more? Get Trivial—and get social!

Your Turn

Are you a trivia fan?  A regular at a game near you?  have you made friends? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Since moving to New York City 10 years ago, David Biederman has worked in the nonprofit sector, and currently serves as Communications Specialist for OATS (Older Adults Technology Services). A longtime journalist, David most recently worked for the Journal of Commerce and other publications in the B2B sector.

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