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Tie Breakers and how to solve them – The Trivia Night Guide


Tie Breakers and how to solve them– The Trivia Night Guide

Every trivia host will have, at some point, come across the situation where two teams have tied for a placing, or indeed the lead! You know what it is like, tis been a gruelling evening and the standards have been high, two teams have been neck and neck and as the final scores are calculated its clear that two teams and tied for the lead. You cannot declare a draw so what is the best way to solve tie-breakers in a trivia event? Here are a few ideas to help you solved those Trivia night tie breakers. Good luck!


Closest to the pin…

The most common, tried and tested method of sorting out the difference between teams is a question that involves the players guessing a number, date or amount. Anything numerical. It has to be a finely pitched questions were teams have a chance of making a “reasonable” guess. Don’t make the question TOO obscure or pure guesswork. The nearest team wins first place and its as simple as that. This is also a good device to use if there are ties for other positions as well as it means everyone can get involved and you do one tiebreak to settle everybody rather than repeated methods down the order.


Populations are always good for this type of questions for exampled. What is the population of Finland? Etc….closest wins. No one is going to know that for sure and it requires an intelligent guess. Perfect!


Get them up!

Get each team to nominate their finest trivia brain to step forward onto the mic. A question is issued….the first player to get it right wins. Use buzzers if you can or raised hands, or if you have the time alternate so each player gets a different questions and the first to fail looses!


5 question shoot out

Depending on the time, and seriousness of the trivia night you are indeed hosting, you may want to have a bonus round of super tough questions to split the best teams. Issue each team with a sheet of paper, read out 5 tiebreaker questions and there you have it….the team with the highest wins. You need to be very careful not to make the questions too hard as both teams will score zero and you will end up with the exact same situation as before! Make a few easy, a few guessable and you won’t have any problems getting a split.


Other methods


If you need a quicker solution, albeit with a more random non-trivia element try some different challenges –


Rock Paper Scissors! Got a dart board? Have three players throw a dart and the highest score wins. Draw cards and the highest wins? Anything you can think of. In my experience you really really have to judge the nature of the crowd here as if it is a serious trivia crowd who care about the questions then they won’t like the random and on-trivia based nature of the end. If it’s a more fun crowd, you are there for the laughs rather the knowledge then it may go down well.


Either way, any trivia host needs to be prepared and needs to have the possibility of a tiebreak covered. This will be the lasting impressions of the need and the worst thing you can do is to run a great trivia night only for the end to be ruined by a bad, unfair or ill-thought out tiebreaker. It will only end in dissatisfied customers!

One Response to Tie Breakers and how to solve them – The Trivia Night Guide

  1. […] People get the wrong impression when I say “physical challenge”. I am not talking about a joust, a fight to the death or a sprint round the bar but there are all sorts of simple challenges that I would use. Pool tables….first to pot the black. Dart boards….highest 2 dart score. Buy a set of bowling pins….most score. I have even some people use Wii games to get the tiebreaker settled.  Be sure to read my article Tie Breakers and how to solve them- The Trivia Night Guide. […]

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