November 19, 2013 by Kevin M. Duvall
Throughout the weeks we’ve been running this blog, the gentlemen of Morgantown Man Cave have covered a number of ways area men can test their fortitude against one another—intramural sports, video games, and even musical performances (if people do indeed want hold amateur singing contests via friendly open mics).
Now, I bring a new category of contest into the fold: knowledge.
Well, knowledge of academic and pop culture information, anyway.
Team Trivia West Virginia offers (as its name suggests) trivia contests almost every day in Morgantown.
The rules of Team Trivia are simple. A group of people sign up as a team (there is no limit on the number of players; even one person can play on his or her own) and answer trivia questions asked by the host.
When a question is asked, the teams have the duration of one song to write down and turn in their answer to the host. There are six rounds with three questions each, plus a halftime question and a more difficult final question.
In each round, the teams place a certain number of points on each answer (one, three, or five in the first three rounds; two, four, or six in the last three). The halftime question is worth up to eight points (usually, there are four parts to a question worth two points each).
On the final question, teams must wager from zero to 15 points a la Jeopardy! This question is the only one on which teams lose points for answering incorrectly, so games can be won and lost in the final round.
In addition to the right to proclaim oneself as a trivia juggernaut, the games offer prizes for the teams finishing in the top three, ranging from free appetizers or pitchers of beer to gift certificates for the establishment where the game is being played.
A variety of restaurants and bars have trivia downtown, near the Evansdale campus, in Sabraton, and in other areas of town. The map below shows Morgantown’s Team Trivia locations.
As in any game, Team Trivia has strategies teams can adopt to increase their chances of winning (beyond simply knowing everything).
The Ontarian stresses balancing one’s team with people who know different things but not including too many people, as to prevent too many disagreements over what answer should be submitted.
Trivia Hall of Fame suggests keeping up with news, as current (or recent) events are sometimes used for questions; so all those hours watching 24-news might pay off.
In discussing Jeopardy! Cracked cited a study finding that contestants tended to be most successful by knowing a little about a lot. For example, a category like “The PGA Tour” does not require contestants to have extensive knowledge of professional golf, but rather, it only requires them to be familiar with the handful of golfers who were famous among wider audiences.
Although this strategy will not win a Team Trivia match on its own (as evidence by all the brutally difficult baseball questions asked), it is important to keep in mind when making a guess. If your team does not know many golfers, Tiger Woods is a better guess than Webb Simpson.
Of course, you could always just put down Backstreet Boys.
Another angle to consider when choosing a game is the amount of competition. A team could increase its chances of winning by choosing a game that usually has lower attendance, but might prefer the competitiveness of a game with many teams.
The games with generally high attendance often give larger prizes (the popular Thursday night Gibbie’s game, for example, gives $60 in gift certificates to the winning team).
When trivia is not being used for bar supremacy, it is being used for charity supremacy by organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia, with its annual Ultimate Trivia Challenge Fundraiser.
Whatever the reason, Team Trivia is a great way to have fun with your friends and crush your enemies.