How to Hold a Trivia Night

By Ashley Jean ; Updated April 12, 2017
Have some snacks and drinks ready for your trivia night.

Hosting a trivia night is simple and inexpensive, whether you are trying to encourage team building, raise money for your favorite cause, or just have a fun night with friends. While game formats and topics can vary greatly, the fundamental idea of a trivia night is an event where people are divided into groups to compete against each other to get the most correct answers to designated trivia questions. Because hosting a trivia night requires minimal equipment, they can be hosted anywhere that will fit the attendees, whether in a restaurant or bar, or in your own living room.

Develop an outline or format for your trivia game. There are endless options when designing your own trivia game. Common trivia games will have about four rounds with ten or so questions in each round. To decide how many rounds or questions you want your game to include, figure out how long you want the game to last. If you only have an hour to complete the whole game, you will want to structure it with less rounds or questions.

Establish rules for game play. Because trivia questions are typically open ended, it is important to specify the rules for acceptable answers ahead of time. For example, if the answer to a trivia question is a person’s name, will just the last name be accepted or does the team need to know the full name? You should develop rules associated to the actual game play as well. These can include the time given to answer the questions, the types of technology not permitted, and how score is kept.

Select the questions. Before actually writing each question, you should decide whether you want your trivia game to be specific to one topic, such as sports or movies, or a compilation of many topics. In addition to writing the number of questions specified by your format, you should also set aside some tiebreaker and bonus questions.

Write instruction guidelines for each table or group. Even if you plan on announcing your game instructions and rules, it is always helpful to have some guidelines at each table during the game to serve as reminders for the players. For games with more rules and specifications for acceptable answers, the necessity and benefit of written guidelines is greater.

Collect your inventory. At minimum, most trivial games require a pen and paper for each table and something to keep time. Other common objects may include a bell or whistle to signal the end of the allotted answering time, a scoreboard, and prizes for the winners.

Invite your attendees and play. With the game rules established and the inventory assembled, all that is left is to play and have fun.

About the Author

Ashley Jean began writing professionally in 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English as well as a Master of Business Administration. In addition to her writing, Ashley Jean has held numerous positions for both public and private companies within software, healthcare, communications and higher education.