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The Magic of Mobile Trivia Games

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The Magic of Mobile Trivia Games

In 2015, the trivia world is very different to what it was even just 15 years ago. Trivia hosts could once rely on having just a microphone, a pen and paper and a bunch of players and that was all that was needed for a successful trivia night. Now however times have changed. On the one hand trivia has become big business with hundreds if not thousands of companies competing for business, each trying to innovate and evolve to make their product better than yours. On the other hand your players have changed. Mobile phones are an evil part of the trivia world and have become a pain in the side of not only trivia hosts, but honest trivia players who see their brain-power-fueled efforts thwarted by a cheat with Google. But, to twist things even more, many companies and trivia hosts have started embracing this by actually using the mobile phone as a buzzer/answering device to discourage cheating and encourage players. There is certainly a magic to using buzzers and phones and embracing mobile technology rather than it being your nemesis and here we are going to look at this magic in more detail.


The first thing to consider is the impression it gives. If you are advertising and delivering a high quality trivia game based on technology it is going to have multi appeal. The bar owner is going to like it as it is something fresh and different and he will be thinking of the $$$$$ it could generate if it takes off. Your customers will be keen on the novelty and might want to “try something new” so as long as you then make it an enjoyable and fun trivia night they will flock back and spread the word. And above all else it gives you that unique selling point to get customers into the venue. If there are 4 local trivia bars one night and you’re the only one spreading this new form of quizzing then you are going to stand out and people who perhaps don’t want to sit with a pen and paper in hand are going to rejoice at this new novel idea.


Secondly, it is a much more interactive way to play trivia and this instant impact and the speed everything can run will be impressive. With the right software and the right sort of trivia, you can create truly pulsating trivia nights and add features that aren’t possible in the normal trivia environment.


Just think for a moment about these possibilities….instant feedback, no marking for you, players are much more involved and interactive with each other. They see straight away if they are right. No possible in a pen and paper trivia night. They can also see progress. I run a system where I have a large 70” TV behind me that has a constantly updated leaderboard on it and shows unique stats such as “Table 1 were the only team to answer question 4” “Table 4 were the quickest that time”. All adds to the fun. Seeing the scores update in real time is something players will love and it speeds the whole process up.  QuizMaster is a great tool for simple scoring on a fantastic visually appealing leaderboard.  There are many other scoreboard software options that exist for different formats.

You can also be much more inventive with questions. Add questions in where players have to guess a year but only the 4 closest teams get points. Add a round where the team which answer first get a bonus point….the options are endless. Trivia becomes something else played in this way.

A TV shows once aired called Cash Cab.  If you analyze this show and the content you will see that certain elements game together to make this an exciting show concept.  The questions were not overly complicated, the atmosphere was relaxed, there was a great reward to win, the banter and comedy tasteful.  The concept that made this show so successful is one you can consider for how you proceed with your trivia shows.

There is a slight downside though and that is where your trivia mastership and experience will need to come in….the nature of the mobile trivia buzzer style systems is restrictive. You cannot ask for long answers and answers need to ideally multiple choice or numbers. It gets too complicated if you ask for names and places and words and it then becomes a spelling and typing test. Yes, if the question is about spelling do it….but your trivia needs to adapt to the technology to make sure players aren’t annoyed that one typed letter wrong means 0 points.


Consider also the technology. Have at LEAST 3 tests runs with a lot of people if you can. Do it at the end of your normal trivia, set up dummy pads before the venue opens. With a reliance on technology you need to make sure its going to flow as if players attend a mobile trivia quiz once and it fails because of bad signals, poor software or lack of battery life etc then they will never return.


In saying that, mobile trivia may be the way forward however it is formatted and embrace it whilst its new before it becomes too late!

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