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The Pros and Cons of Establishing Game Rules

Game Rules

The Pros and Cons of Establishing Game Rules

To run successfully, any event, no matter what it may be, that involves large gathering of people needs to have grounds rules. Whether that be rules to how the game is played, rules regarding conduct or just general rules to ensure the process runs smoothly, there has to be some structure in place. The Trivia host has the difficult task when it comes to establishing such rules. At the end of the day, the players you have in front of you are paying customers, adults and are there to have fun. You don’t want them feeling like there at military boot camp and cannot blink without your permission. But on the other hand you need to establish game rules to ensure they have a fun night. Without rules a trivia night will turn into chaos and your players will not want to return. Here are a few key pros and cons of establishing such rules.



First and foremost establishing rules means you have some sort of control. These need to be issued straight away but as a trivia host you don’t want to bombard your players with complicated rules. Just simply get the main ones issued straight away. No mobile phones, anyone suspected of cheating will be disqualified etc etc. That’s what is needed first and foremost.  Establishing rules from the off will let players know that you are serious about running a fun trivia night and ensure that they know you are in charge. You also need to get in the vital rule about mobile cheats early as then if an issue emerges, you can tell the offending players “I told you not to”.


Establishing game rules over team sizes is another tricky subject. The obvious positive is that it means you can create a fair quiz and smaller teams will enjoy it more. There is nothing worse in a trivia game that having just one or two team mates and being utterly demolished by a team of 12. Play it by ear and see if you can split it up. It will mean more teams, added competition and more fun for all and at the end of the day it will be the best trivia players that win, not just the ones with the biggest teams.


The massive plus here though in terms of establishing game rules is to make things run correctly. At the end of the day the trivia host is the head of a competition and to make the competition fair and run smoothly you need to establish rules. This could be anything from the time to hand sheets in, what is acceptable as answer (Surnames or both names). This can be done cleverly and you can mentioned rules about specific questions as you go. The more rules you give the more players will know what they are doing, give fewer rules and they may feel a little lost.


If you establish too many rules too quickly the players will think you are running a military training exercise and they will lose interest. This is not your aim! Your aim is to keep them in the bar so you need to be careful. You want to create a friendly atmosphere and make sure everyone feels relaxed, can enjoy the trivia and doesn’t feel under your watchful gaze throughout the 2 hours of the event. One of the big no-nos and one key way in which rule setting can become a negative, is if you over do it. You are not a teacher, you are not their leader…just casually inform them of the ground rules so they know what is what.


Team size rules can be a tricky rule to establish. After all, you are probably facing a group of friends you want to play together. Who are you to tell a group of 8 people they have to divide and plays as two teams? It could spoil their night? They may walk out and not return and it may cause unnecessary duress. You have to weight it up…will splitting up the team of 12 really benefit your quiz or will it cause unnecessary conflict? The last thing you want is to annoy your customers so be very delicate and careful about how you treat them in this particular instance.


In essence, establishing rules to your trivia night is vital to its success. As mentioned, you need to use your trivia experience and common sense to ensure that the rules enhance the trivia night and not deter from it and that you straddle the fine balance between a fun experience and an over regimented one. You may make mistakes as a trivia host but in time, and learning from experience, you will learn to make use of rules.

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