Trivial Pursuit Rules

The Official Rules to Trivial Pursuit.

Trivial Pursuit Instruction

The rules of Trivial Pursuit are straightforward board game rules. There's very little to do outside of moving your game piece around and collect tokens. The only sticky part of the rules comes at the end of the game, where there's a proper procedure for attempting to outright win.

The cool thing about Trivial Pursuit is that it has become a party game, with lots of house rules and rule variations that different groups of players use to make the game more interesting. We'll take a look at some house rules and other variations.

Official Trivial Pursuit Rules

Take a look at the official Trivial Pursuit rules in a PDF format, provided free of charge by a board game website. These rules come from 1994 when the game was still owned by Parker Brothers, but not much has changed since then. The categories in '94 had already changed over to include a Wild Card and to create the Arts & Entertainment category, though this rule book is technically for the Genus III master game. We're now at Genus VI, but the rules of gameplay are the same.

There are other Trivial Pursuit rule books available online. Here's the rule book for Trivial Pursuit Junior which is pretty much the same game with different categories and easier questions.

This is the rule book for the 80s version of Trivial Pursuit which came out in 1989. Jumped the gun a little bit didn't they?

Another rule book, this one for a computer game version of Trivial Pursuit released in 1990.

Trivial Pursuit Year in Review was supposed to be published once a year with updated questions about the previous year, but it didn't last long. Here's the rule book for Trivial Pursuit Year in Review for 1992.

Trivial Pursuit House Rules

Every popular game goes through thousands of iterations of "house rules." These are rules put in place by fans of the game to alter the gameplay, make the game more interesting, make the game a little harder or a little easier, or just make an otherwise monotonous game a little different every time you play. Monopoly, famously, has more house rules than you can shake a stick at. Trivial Pursuit, at one point the most popular board game in the country, has plenty of house rules you can add to make the game a little more interesting.

Trivial Pursuit Bluffing

This variant combines standard Trivial Pursuit gaming with other bluffing games like Balderdash, where players try to convince other players that they know the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. Here's the basic house rules for a bluffing version of Trivial Pursuit:

Every correct answer to a Trivial Pursuit question earns the answerer one point. The game ends when a player reaches ten points.

In this version of the game, the game tokens aren't used at all, just the game pieces to determine which question gets read.

You don't have to answer questions from certain colors--any correct answer earns the answerer a point.

A player reads the question on the card and announces their answer. NO ONE LOOKS at the printed answer at this point. Once the player answers a question, each of the other players announce if they 'believe' or 'doubt' that answer. If all players "believe" the answer, it is counted as correct, whether or not it is the printed answer on back of the card.

If another player 'doubts' the answer, they look at the card and announce the right answer. If the doubter is wrong, he loses a point. If the doubter is right, he gains a point and all other players lose a point.

In this version, it is common for people's scores to go negative.

If the answer is correct (or is "believed" by all other players), the answerer gets one point and a new turn.

This style of play lets people head toward colors of questions that they prefer, and it also adds an element of strategy. Trying to come up with a clever answer or an answer that "seems" right is just as important as being a trivia buff.

Trivial Pursuit + Jeopardy

In this house rules variation of Trivial Pursuit, you ignore the game board altogether. Each player or team of players starts with an equal number of poker chips. A large number of chips are also placed "in the pot."

The first player reads a question, and anyone can speak up if they know the answer. This is where the game becomes "Jeopardy"-style. If that person is correct, they take a chip from the pot. If they are wrong, they add a chip to the pot from their own hand.

Most people play to a predetermined amount of chips, because once there are two people left, there's only one question reader and one player answering.

Other House Rules

To help end the game quicker (a game of Trivial Pursuit can take hours if played by the official rules) people have come up with rule variations for "short to medium length" games.

One common variation changes the way the game ends. Rather than waiting on a lucky roll of the die to land in the center spoke and have your final question asked, many home games of Trivial Pursuit pose the "final question" to the player immediately after he wins his sixth pie piece. If he gets the question wrong, he tries again on his next turn. This shortens the end of the game by fifteen to twenty minutes.

Another common way of shortening a game of Trivial Pursuit is to reduce the number of pie pieces a player has to earn before heading for their final question. Some people cut out the Wild Card pie piece, or use the Wild Card pie piece as the final question itself.

Altering the official rules of Trivial Pursuit is the best way to keep the game fresh and exciting. Sometimes, changing the rules is necessary when you want to play a shorter game or when you have younger players who may not be able to keep up with the adults. Whatever your reason, there's nothing wrong with instituting some house rules along with the official Trivial Pursuit rules and regulations.

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