Test your brain power with Team Trivia


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.

Team Trivia West Virginia's official logo. Image from its website.

Team Trivia West Virginia’s official logo. Image from its website.

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.


5 thoughts on “Test your brain power with Team Trivia

  1. samanthacart says:

    I was really excited to read your post, because I am a huge fan of team trivia. Not only is it an alternative form of entertainment in Morgantown that some people may not know about it, but it also has economic implications (it encourages us to eat at several different Morgantown restaurants) as well as the occasional charitable angle. My friends and I have played several times, and we really enjoy the atmosphere. While I am not a very competitive person, my friend John plays on Monday nights at Applebee’s, and his team is always there to win. I think your links, as well as the Google map and the video, helped make this an easy, fun read that I really enjoyed. Great job!

    • kevinmduvall says:

      Thanks, Samantha. The economic angle is a really good point. All but one of Morgantown’s trivia locations are locally based (Boston Beanery is a small franchise, but it started in Morgantown and most of them are in West Virginia), so the boost in business each week is a little boost to the local economy. Trivia is good for hosting restaurants too. Gibbie’s (where my teammates and I usually play) gives out a total of $105 in gift certificates every Thursday, but with all the teams that play (there are usually 15-20), the bar makes way more than that. The hosting sites have to pay the Team Trivia organization too, but they must still come out ahead, because some of these places have had trivia nights for years.

  2. ryanfadus says:

    Very well written article. It contains a lot of useful information for people who want to go out and try team trivia. I’ve never participated in it myself, but after reading some of my friends and I might want to go out and give it a try. Good use of visuals with the map and videos. The map provided important information while the videos provided entertainment. That is an important part to posts, making them informative and entertaining. Good job.

  3. I really enjoyed your post because I learned something I don’t think I would have without reading this. I love trivia, although I’m not very good. Team Trivia sounds like a great time and something I could see myself doing on a rainy day. I’m going to have to try this out one day and the free appetizers and beer sounds like a plan. Great job Kevin.

  4. rachelwvu says:

    As always, you executed your post well! I like how you made it more than just “places in Morgantown that host trivia night. You gave me tips to be good at trivia, told me about location- specific prizes, and where to go to participate in trivia. Trivia is really fun! Combine it with a few drinks and things can get interesting really quick! I’ve played it at 4th & Goal. They gave my group free Bud Light backpacks for coming in LAST place…seemed like winning to me!

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