So you want to organize a little online get-together with a bunch of people because it’s 2020 and we all know what that means. But all this virtual communication can be a bit awkward, and planning activities to play over Zoom or Hangouts can be overwhelming. What are you supposed to do when your friends have been reduced to distant faces in a big grid? Well, have you thought about making your next digital shindig a trivia party? Let’s break down how you can host your very own trivia night.
Further Reading: What to Expect at Trivia Night
1. Plan Your Trivia Party
The first step in hosting your own virtual trivia night is to figure out the logistics. On what day and at what time will you hold your event? Who do you want to invite? Will your guests use Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, or something else to meet up? You want to make sure people know what to expect.
Invite friends, family, and coworkers via text or email. You can even send out an online invite, or create a Facebook event if you want to make it more official. Trivia should be fun and accessible to all, so encourage as much participation as possible. Plus, trivia nights work best when you have a solid-sized group of people.
As far as the technology, you’ll want to pick what is most familiar to you. You’ll be running the show, and don’t want to be figuring things out as you go along (definite party foul). Whether it’s Zoom, Discord, Skype, Hangouts, or Teams, no matter how you choose to get into an online lobby, make sure you know what you’re doing. No harm in playing around with the technology beforehand either.
Further Reading: I Downloaded Zoom for Virtual Trivia. Now What?
2. Finding Trivia Questions and Content
When you’ve figured out the nuts and bolts of your actual party, you can start thinking about the trivia game itself. What questions will you use? What will the game format be? How do players win? Teams or no teams? Etc.
This can all be a little daunting, and that’s okay. Remember that shows like Jeopardy! hire writers to come up with the questions. But do know you aren’t quite on your own when it comes to content for your trivia night.
Choose How to Play
One of the first things you’ll need to consider when planning your trivia event is what format to use. This part will be entirely up to you, but if you need a good starting point, 2 trivia rounds with 10 questions each definitely works. You can keep things simple by giving players 1 point per correct answer. But by all means, if you want to get fancy and add bonus points, final rounds, different kinds of point wagers, or other things to spice up your game, do it!
Since you’ll be playing virtually, writing answers on a sheet of paper and turning them into a host won’t exactly work. But there are plenty of ways you can get around this. Maybe players record their answers on a sheet of paper, and send them via chat at the end of each round? Or maybe everyone writes answers on a scrap of paper or whiteboard, revealing them in front of their camera on a cue from the host? Again, this is entirely up to you.
If you plan on having your guests form teams, note that programs like Zoom allow for breakout groups. You can read questions, and then your friends can go off to their groups to discuss. If you go this route, remember to let your teams pick a fun name at the start!
Tips For Finding Trivia Questions
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing your trivia questions is to know your audience. If you have a diverse group of people, make sure you have a nice variety of topics. And remember that people like to be right–tough questions are fine but aren’t fun if no one knows the answer.
The sources of trivia questions are endless. They can be facts you pull from an app, online, a book, or the news. They can be questions you heard on TV game shows. Maybe pull out some old board games and see what you can find? Or you can make up your own questions. Just try to find a variety of topics, and avoid the obscure.
If you need a little more direction, the Sporcle website is a great resource for finding trivia questions. With literally thousands of quizzes on just about every subject imaginable, you can certainly take questions from the site and tweak them to your own needs. We recommend this fun playlist of quizzes: Are You Smarter Than a College Student?
Further Reading: What Makes a Good Question?
Using An App Like Sporcle Party
Sporcle Party is an iOS and Android app that allows players to create their own personal trivia game. One person runs the show as host, and everyone else joins in on the fun. And the best part is that you can play together over long distances using your favorite video conferencing program. Sporcle Party also allows you to create your own customizable trivia game packs to share with everyone. Launch the app and create a quiz on any subject, or with any questions you want.
The nice thing about using an app like Sporcle Party is the content and game format is already made for you. You just have to get people to download the app and host your own trivia party.
3. Time To Host Trivia Night!
When trivia night finally comes you can pull out your snacks, crack open a beverage, and log into your online call medium of choice. Don’t start right away. Let everyone join and catch up a bit before diving into the trivia game. Do make sure you’re prepared with your questions and answers. If you’re using Sporcle Party, the start of the event is a nice time to remind people to download the app (it’s quick and easy).
Once the guests have all arrived and you’ve allowed some time for online mingling, you can start the event! If you’re playing the role of trivia night host, remember to take your time going through questions and to speak clearly. This is especially crucial for online communications.
But the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Social interaction has been tough in 2020. Embrace the time spent with ones you care about, and try not to let people take the game too seriously. You’ll be amazed at the bonding and camaraderie that can grow from a friendly game of trivia!
Psst! If you’re nervous about running your own trivia party, we’ve got some tips for hosting here!