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Top 10 Trivia Games


When Trivial Pursuit burst onto the scene in the 1980s, it seemed like an entire genre of games was born. But, in my view at least, Trivial Pursuit is not the best trivia game today. Here are my picks for the best.

1. Wits & Wagers

Wits & Wagers
Image courtesy of North Star Games
For 3 to 21 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Dominic Crapuchettes, published by North Star Games.
If you've stopped playing trivia games because there's someone in your group who always wins, consider giving Wits & Wagers a try. Every question can be answered numerically (e.g. "In dollars, how much was each extra paid to run across the beach and scream in the movie Jaws?"), and players all answer secretly. Those answers are then sorted onto the casino-style board, and players bet on which one they think is correct. This is an exceptionally fun and clever trivia game.

2. Smarty Party

For 3 to 8 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Pitt Crandlemire and Aaron Weissblum, published by R&R Games.
Smarty Party is a wonderful trivia game, a new experience for experienced trivia game players that also appeals to those whose brains aren't packed with minutiae. one player reads and others answer questions with multiple answers. For example, players may name U.S. states bordering the Mississippi River. Or John Grisham and Tom Clancy novels made into films. Each time a player gives an incorrect answer, he takes a penalty chip.

3. Scene It?

For 2 to 20 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Craig Kinzer and Dave Long, published by Screenlife / Mattel.
In Scene It?, there are eight question categories. Three of them require the included DVD, including watching a movie clip and then answering a related question, and identifying a movie from a single frame in which the actors' faces have been removed. There are 10 other question styles on the DVD. The other five categories are player's choice (wild), buzz cards that allow special actions, and three low-tech (non-DVD) trivia questions. Scene It? is a fun, dynamic game.

4. Trivial Pursuit

For 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Chris Haney and Scott Abbot, published by Horn Abbot / Parker Brothers.
Trivial Pursuit is the mother of all trivia games. It sparked a slew of imitators and itself has been released in a wide variety of editions, the latest of which is the 20th Anniversary Edition (the most recent Genus edition is Genus 6). Although few people seemed to agree with me, I very much enjoy the now out-of-print In Pursuit as well. However, I do recommend that you avoid the Trivial Pursuit DVD Pop Culture Game. In the DVD game genre, Scene It? is far superior.

5. Fauna

For 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Friedemann Friese, published by Huch & Friends.

6. Facts in Five

For 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Richard Onanien, published by 3M / Avalon Hill / University Games.

7. Stage II

For 2 or more players, ages 12 and up. Designer not credited, published by Milton Bradley.

8. Outburst

For 4 to 20 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Briah Hersch, published by Parker Brothers.

9. You Must Be An Idiot!

You Must Be an Idiot!
Photo © Erik Arneson
For 3 to 6 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Stephen Glenn, published by R&R Games.

10. Dibs

For 3 to 12 players, ages 12 and up. Designer not credited, published by Tolany LLC.
Dibs is a nice change of pace among trivia games, providing a new experience for fans of the genre. Each trivia question in Dibs has five or more answers, and players use their "dibs cards" to bid for the right to answer. A low bid means you get to answer first -- but it also means you earn fewer points for your answer.

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