Top Selling Products

Table Teams at a Trivia Night

Table Teams at a Trivia Night

“Organizing and setting teams for your trivia event – A Guide”


Today we are going to look at an issue that still from time to time causes me problems and concerns at the trivia events I host and that is the team quizzes. Now, chances are, most of you will run events where the players are in teams. This is what bars love, charity nights adore and in general if you are speaking to someone about a trivia night then they mean those trivia nights where you compete in teams. There are a few issues to think about when discussing this, those being –


  • How to decide the teams
  • Limits on team sizes
  • How to make team-play engaging and fun


These are the two main issues to concern ourselves with here so let us begin.


Table Teams at a Trivia Night – How to Decide Teams

I know what you are thinking…….

If you are one of the many trivia hosts who runs  team based trivia in pubs and bars then this option will be taken away from you. You simply cannot go around splitting teams up. Some of the ideas I am going to present to you today will work only in some situations but very few of them will work in a bar situation (although have a quick read of the limiting the team size section). People want to come to a bar to play trivia and talk to their friends. They don’t want to be split up and made to sit in silence with strangers. Even if one team has 6 players and another has 3 you cannot really go around dividing teams into groups (but as I said more about that in the next section).


You only really need to think about dividing the teams in certain situations. I always do this at charity nights and have a random draw so people end up with strangers, force the social interaction and get a much better atmosphere. Only for maybe a round or 2 if the trivia is an aside.


Indeed the random draw method can work in other forms. When doing a team building trivia day I always make sure the teams are mixed and varied as if people make their own they will just stick in their normal work groups. The whole point of making trivia part of any team building day is to get people to work together and communicate with perhaps people they usually would not so this needs to happen. You can use the ABCD method, which is a random drawing of lots or assign table numbers based on department, age, sex etc. So rather than have all the office staff sit in one team and all the warehouse staff in the other mix it up so that you are encouraging everyone to work together.



Using a deck of cards to make teams.  The card system is easy by the way….If you want 7 teams of 4 people each team use Ace, 2 , 3 , 4, 5, 6  and 7. Get a player to pick each time and that’s the team they go in. It is also fun to have people form poker hands, like a flush, straight or other poker hand.  People find other people with the proper playing card and come together to make the poker hand.  That’s it!  Like magic you have teams formed.  The problem with ABCD is that if you are mixing it up every time people could get confused.


The best time I have seen any sort of effective system to select teams in more social situations is trivia nights, wedding trivia, and some bar trivia where the host has done things like pitted the guys against the girls or the youngster against the oldies. This takes minor skill and planning, setting and organization and unless you know the audience well and have a rough idea of who is going to turn up on any given night then you might find yourself with an imbalance or a disaster.


Generally the “in pub” and social trivia people have to allowed to set their own teams and play with friends. For them that is the whole point of the night and if you start saying that they can’t be with the friends they arrived with or start making one player sit out because you want an exact number of player per team they will just simply find a trivia night elsewhere that does!


Table Teams at a Trivia Night – To Limit or Not to Limit?

Ah the age old question of whether it is appropriate to limit team sizes. In every discussion, every online forum I see and every facebook group post I notice these days this issue tends to surface and nobody has a clear answer….well I do.


If it is a social quiz then you cannot really limit the size of the team. Yes it can get annoying for players if one team wins only because it has a huge team….I know myself, a local trivia night I attend the winners have 12 players compare to everyone else’s 2-3. You simply cannot go around telling people they cannot play or to sit out. Imagine 6 people turn up, a group of friends to play trivia, and you tell them they have to lose a person? What are they going to do…leave the bar of course. And remember above all else your main aim and ambition is to keep as many people in the bar for as long as possible. There is nothing wrong with actively encouraging people to split into two teams (I for one always ensure I try and make say a team of 8 play as two teams of 4) and make it sound like a competition between the two “who really is the brains of this team”? etc etc

Here is another scenario that comes up from time to time.  Say you have 10 teams of 6-8 people and there is a husband/wife team of 2 and they only want to play by themselves instead of join another team.  In all fairness, give them a start of points.  I can’t say how many points to start the team with, but if each question is worth 1 point, perhaps give them a start of 10 points.  If each question is worth 10 points, then give them a starting score of 100 points.  If you are using Trivia Board Pro 4 Jeopardy tool, where the points vary then make a reasonable determination in that regard, but make sure the audience knows what is going on and why.  That way there are no surprises.


Team sizes should only be limited where the trivia aim is not purely social. Competitive events, team building games and charity nights yes… and pub trivia probably not.


So as you have seen there are a lot of issues to consider when deciding on team size selection. Selection alone may cause you sleepless nights  but following the rules and ideas above should be a good start but always keep in mind the aims of your trivia night and the enjoyment of the audience and you will be fine!



Leave a Reply