Mastering Pub Trivia

I think my favorite new thing since moving to DC is team trivia at the neighborhood bars. It’s a popular yet simple game. Of course, that’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy game.

(from gmahender on Flickr)

To be good at trivia, you don’t have to be “smart” the way that we often think of people as smart. You have to be a generalist. You need to possess an up-to-date knowledge on an incredibly broad range of topics. A NASA scientist may be a complete genius when it comes to aerospace engineering. A tax lawyer probably knows every detail of the tax code. These people are both incredibly smart, but might be terrible at trivia.

Inevitably, trivia games will have questions about literature or celebrities or sports, and if you can’t answer these questions, you can’t expect to do well.

Thus, the key to succeeding at team trivia is putting together a team with people who can perform well in certain categories. A team of specialists might be able to do very well, so long as they've got all of the topics covered.