Wisconsin 2013 – Trivia Games Are No Longer a Thing?

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Did you know trivia games aren’t cool anymore? That’s what the guy at the game store told us.

My friend was having some school friends over for a game night while I was visiting. He wanted to play Trivial Pursuit, but didn’t own it. He said he had attempted to procure it recently with no success. It’s one of the most common games, it shouldn’t be hard to find. We headed to ToysRUs.


All ToysRUs had was Trivial Pursuit Party edition. Party? That sounds like watered down Trivial Pursuit, which it was, and we had no interest in that. Trivial Pursuit is a ruthless game where you don’t just want to win, but the goal is to demoralize your opponent while you beat them. Is that just me? Anyway, there was very little else to choose from related to trivia in the board game isle of ToysRUs.

Same deal at Target, just a whole lot fewer games.

I found a game store in Madison so we headed over there. I’ve been to game stores before, I like them a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything, but I always come close. Game store employees are more helpful than any employee at any other store. If you know what you are looking for, they will help you find it and anything similar. If you don’t know what you are looking for, they will ask you twenty questions to find something you might like. If you don’t want any help, they’ll leave you be, and may just head to the back of the store (they are very trusting as well). This one also had a game room in the back and on the back wall were some framed game boards, which is an idea I like very much for future room decorating.

When we first got to the store, we said we were just browsing and after a few minutes of not seeing Trivial Pursuit, we asked for help. This is when we were informed that trivia games weren’t popular anymore. The guy at the store said that the only people who like them are the one person who is good at trivia and always wins. My friend said he was that person.

I guess I can see the point of the trivia games going away. You need a group of people and game combination that makes everything fair. The game has a limited shelf life. I’ve played my parents Trivial Pursuit before, the answer to every question was Reagan (oh, the 80s …).

We wound not getting a trivia game. There weren’t a lot of choices. There was a geek focused trivia game, but like I said about having the right group, I am the only one who would have enjoyed that.

The guy talked my friend into a game he said his family loved. It’s called Say Anything. Here’s how it works: Each round, someone picks a card with a few questions on it (the person picking rotates each round). That person can pick any question they like. It’s not trivia, very open ended questions. Each of the other players then writes down an answer to the question and displays it for everyone to see. The person who asked the question secretly chooses one of them. That person can choose an answer for whatever reason they like: their favorite, what they think will be a favorite of the group, or just a random selection. Each of the other players have two chips to bid on which answer(s) they think was selected. Points are awarded as follows: 1 point to the author of the selected answer, 1 point to the owner of each chip placed on that answer (so if someone had their answer picked and had bid both their chips on their own answer, they’d get 3 points in the round), the person asking the question also gets points for every chip bid on the answer they selected, up to 3. That last bit is key to the game, the questioner has an incentive to pick the answer that will be most popular with the group.

What’s great about the game is that it’s completely open ended. So any combination of people could really play together. You have the choice about how to answer: serious, funny, completely unrelated to anything going on at the time. The visibility of the answers adds to the fun. After the first person lays down their answer the other players may not have even started writing yet. At that point you may decide to go in a different direction from that answer, or attempt to top it. I think a time limit could be useful, but we played somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 rounds and never really had an issue with time.

It was a little difficult for me, only knowing my friend, and having met the others just prior to starting the game. It puts you at a bit of a disadvantage because the others sometimes know what to say to assure their answer will be picked. That may have kept me from winning, but I didn’t lose completely. I finished 2nd to last or tied for last in each of the three games. Even finishing last, the game is still a blast. Who says you have to win? Me, except when I don’t.

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