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“Making Proper and Full Use of Bonus Questions – Random Bonus Points”

“Making Proper and Full Use of Bonus Questions – Random Bonus Points”


“If you are looking for something a little less formal than joker and wipeout rounds, then think about how to include random bonus points”


Welcome back to the blog and I hope you have had an enjoyable weekend. We currently have baking hot weather here, not good for trivia nights when people prefer to sit outside in beer gardens, bit nevertheless I am back, holed up in my office ready to give you more hints, tips and ideas for improving your trivia hosting. If you follow my habits then Monday and Tuesday may well be your main writing day (in that case what are you doing reading this….get that trivia wrote!)…but in all seriousness if you are stuck with your head in your hands looking for a way to jazz up your quiz then this may be a good post to help.


If you have been following the blog over the past few weeks you will indeed have noticed that we have been looking at ways to use bonus rounds and how you can get away from the simple format and introduce rounds into your quiz that add variety. Its worth repeating the key issues here which essentially revolves around the fact that the reason you should be doing this is two fold –

  1. It adds variety to the trivia night and makes sure your players don’t get bored, helps attract and keep players and more importantly makes your night more fun and diverse from the extensive competition.
  2. On a different note, the other big reasons as we have shown for adding in a bonus round or adding bonus points is to try and even the whole competition element of it up. It you go back a few posts you will notice that I went into some detail about joker rounds and wipeout rounds and how they can be used to ensure one team doesn’t just run away with it.


The issues we discussed previously are more related to how you can make a formal round to change things up and have some sort of set format so players known whats coming. What we are going to look at here is how to mix up the rounds with a more random element. Obviously, nothing in a quiz is totally random and you need to not only give the whole issue thought and planning but you need to really consider if it will work at your trivia shows.


There are two ways to introduced random quizzing in a more formalized way. The first way we have already discussed in a previous post but I will quickly go over it again. As you are giving the answer sheets out what you do is have a bag with numbers in (1-40 if you are doing a 40 question quiz etc). One of the team members puts their hand in your bag and draws out three numbers. These are then worth 3 points. So if the player gets 4,7 and 22 then if they get those questions right it’s a possible 9 points! Each team will have different numbers and it thus comes down to a little bit of luck, still relying though on skill, meaning that the quiz because a little more even and can throw up some strange results. The other way some places like to this round on a similar theme is if they have three random numbers draw on stage but every team faces the same three bonus questions…so one week it might be 4,13 and 22 the next it might be 7, 14 and 23….it is random because you are not controlling the outcome and for example the three questions it falls on may be the strongest or weakest area of a team (for example they may all be sport) and that’s going to really affect things.


The one obvious way to make things a little more random, is to have no structure at all with your bonus questions. When you are writing your questions just look for opportunities….look for little additions you can add to your questions. For example “Which nation will host the 2016 Olympic Games?” can easily be turned into…”And for 3 bonus points name the last three European cities to host the event”. See how easy it can be done. Throw in the odd list round, the odd “nearest the pin bonus questions” and it just keeps people in their toes. In a quiz, nothing can beat variety and the more you can keep people on their toes the better. It is just a simple case of making sure you keep on your guard when composing the questions and keep thinking outside the box. As we have said in a previous post there is nothing wrong with adding in things such as joker rounds and such like but a truly random quiz, as long as its fair will work wonders. When I say fair, what I mean of course, is keeping the actual bonus questions you ask varied in subject….don’t just do sports bonuses because that is what you like to read about, or just stick to one area. Get it varied!


All in all then this is just another little element of a very large pie to start thinking about when you are considering how, if and when to use bonus questions. If you rely on the same format week after week then you are setting yourself up for a fall long term.  Consider using wireless buzzers with your trivia shows.  This adds a new element to bonus questions when players have to ‘buzz in’ and earn the extra bonus points.  Additionally, the way I always think about it is it is much easier and more fun writing a random quiz than the same format week after week.


That is all for today then folks and I hope you have somewhat enjoyed this post and it is better if you read this one as part of the wider series of making full and effective use of bonus questions to the benefit of your quiz, your business and your players. Stay tuned throughout the week for a wide series of posts!

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