Guidelines for Running a Trivia Night

Congratulations, you won!  Now the punishment begins.

These are some guidelines for Trivia Hosts at Callahan’s.  None of these are hard and fast “rules” that we will enforce upon you, but we have overseen enough of these events that we have found some “Best Practices” for your consideration.

1) When choosing your topic and your questions, take a minute to consider your audience. We’re a diverse group, and everybody wants to feel like they have a chance to at least earn a couple points.  If you pick something that is really difficult or obscure, you might only get a couple people to show up.  Try for a topic that most people are likely to know *something* about, and choose a mix of Easy and Moderate questions with a couple “Hard” ones thrown in.  Also, check to see if a topic has been used before.  You don’t have to use a topic at all, either!  Some of the best and most exciting times have come from “Grab Bag” nights!

2) We recommend 20 questions, though not necessarily 20 points.  You can have multi-point questions.  For multi-point questions, usually questions with more than one answer (like “Name the seven dwarves!”), we recommend that you preface it with “One answer per line.”  We have some awfully fast typers, and this prevents one person from getting all seven points at a go.  Be careful with these: sorting out who gets a point can be tricky!

3) Pay attention to the pacing: people can get lost and confused if you go too fast.  Announce clearly that you are about to ask the next question: “Next Question:” works fine.  If someone else is handling the score, communicate with them clearly.  Have an IM window open to them so nothing gets lost in the clutter.

4) Ties happen far more often than you might expect.  4-way ties have happened before!  Have a Tie-Breaker.  We recommend that the Tie-Breaker be something like “Multiple Choice” or “Whoever comes closest”.  The idea here is: somebody *has* to get that point.  We’ve seen Hosts floundering at the end when a Tie-Breaker went to “No Point”, and it gets kinda awkward.

5) Make sure you know the Rules of Trivia Night.  There is a copy at the end.  If you are having a problem with someone who won’t follow the Rules, privately ask the Bartender or a Senior Patron for assistance.  We can warn or–regretfully–banish at need.  A warning is usually more than sufficient.

6) Do your best to be fair and accurate, but don’t obsess over it: as the rules state, you are the final arbiter on who gets a point.  Do try to avoid questions where the answer could be in dispute.   If you *really* want to include that question, note in the question that the answer is disputed, and award a point for either answer!

7) As we state in the rules: this is for FUN.  We aren’t going to yell at you if you aren’t able to come up with the questions in time, or if you get sick, or if an RL emergency comes up. We keep emergency questions for just such happenings, and we aren’t afraid to use them. 🙂  You’re a volunteer, you’re not getting paid for this game we are playing.  Just give us warning if you can, and we’ll be happy to work with you. If you can’t give warning, that’s life.

8) If in doubt, you can ask the House for a ruling (OK, who answered first?).

9) Remember that this is supposed to be fun for everyone, including you!

%d bloggers like this: