Trivial Pursuit Alternatives

Other trivia games to consider besides Trivial Pursuit.

Where to Play Trivia Games and Trivial Pursuit Alternatives

Complaints about the quality of the two or three most recent Genus editions of Trivial Pursuit have led many people away from playing what used to be America's favorite board game. Trivia nuts and die-hard Trivial Pursuit fans stick with Genus I or the tough-as-nails Silver Screen edition, but people who don't happen to own an old Genus I or II edition of the game tend to feel like the new editions are just, well, "too easy." Some have described the question in these new game as "trivial trivia."

If you're not interested in the dumbed down Trivial Pursuit of the past few decades, consider some of these other trivia games. Trivia games like these alternatives to Trivial Pursuit are board gamer-tested and approved, and while none of them are in any way really like Trivial Pursuit, as a lover of trivia games you'll no doubt enjoy the heck out of them.

Wits & Wagers

I like to think of Wits & Wagers as a more competitive and (actually) more fun version of Trivial Pursuit. The emphasis in Wits & Wagers is on your ability to bluff, to guess a right answer, and to take advantage of good odds.

In Wits & Wagers, each player writes down a guess to a trivia question, like "How many feet wide is an NFL football field?" The players then place their bets face-up on the board. You can bet on any one's guess, your own or your opponents. The answer that is closest to the right answer wins an amount based on the odds on the game board.

Wits & Wagers combines trivia with wagering and friendly competition, and is a much more active game than old-fashioned Trivial Pursuit. This game won all kinds of awards when it came out four years go. With three ways to win--making good guesses, playing the odds, or by knowing the interests of your friends and taking advantage of it, the game's ending is less clear cut and the game takes about half as long as Trivial Pursuit. You can play Wits & Wagers with up to 20 people at a time, but the game's creators recommend no more than 12 for ideal game play.

Bezzerwizzer

Marketed in some circles as an improved version of Trivial Pursuit, Bezzerwizzer is a "race" trivia game, and like Trivial Pursuit, it's played on a circular game board. That's pretty much where the similarities stop.

For starters, Bezzerwizzer's trivia questions are easy, especially for people used to Trivial Pursuit's tough Genus I and II editions. Bezzerwizzer is more of a party game than Trivial Pursuit, and during game play, the game's players are given some choice in what categories of questions they answer. There are twenty categories to choose from, instead of Trivial Pursuit's six, and questions are assigned different point values.

It takes some time to master the ins and outs of Bezzerwizzer--the game rules are slightly complex especially in comparison to Trivial Pursuit--but this party game is perfect for small groups who want an alternative to Trivial Pursuit.

Wit's End

There are four basic categories of "questions" in Wit's End, though not all of them are questions. Wit's End asks you to solve brain-teasers, riddles, and of course trivia on your way to victory.

The four categories: Teasers, Odd 1 Out, Wild Card, and Sequence each ask you to do a different thing, either answer a question, solve a riddle, put things in order, or hold on to your hats and expect the unexpected. This is a much longer trivia game than the others on this list, with a lengthy game board that takes most people at least an hour to complete.

If you like Trivial Pursuit but want a slightly tougher set of questions and challenges along with your trivia, Wit's End if you ideal party game. There's even a way to bump your opponents back along the game board when they get the answer right, similar to the classic board game "Sorry!"

Time's Up

A three-round guessing game with a far more limited scope of trivia than Trivial Pursuit (unless you buy one of the expansion sets), Time's Up is best played with teams of two or more people. Each round of the game is made up of three individual rounds where you try to help the other players guess a group of celebrities. This game won a Mensa award in 2000, and is not as simplistic or as easy as it sounds.

Guinness Game of Records

A guessing game based on the popular Guinness Book of World Records, this is a trivia game that doesn't punish players for not knowing the exact answer. For instance, "How big was the largest macaroni in the world?" The correct answer, 2,240 feet, isn't the kind of thing that most people have in their memory banks.

What's more important in the Guinness Game of Records is to get closer to the actual answer than anyone else in the game. The person who guesses closest moves ahead three spaces, second-best moves two spaces, and everyone else moves one space. If someone should accidentally guess the answer exactly right, they move a total of 5 spaces.

The game is simple--whoever gets to the 39th space on the board first wins. When a question is asked, there are two rounds of guessing--the first round of guesses are shown to everyone, then everyone guesses again, with the second guess being a binding one. The first round of guesses is where the strategy comes in--if you know the approximate answer, you can throw off your opponents by writing down something out of the ordinary to throw them off the trail.

The Guinness Game of Records isn't much like Trivial Pursuit, outside of trivia questions and a board, but it is a good alternative to every one's favorite trivia game. A full round of this game takes about an hour, and there's no "down time" since everyone participates in every question.

There's no shame in admitting that you're ready for a break from your Trivia Pursuit game. You can always go back to the trivia game we grew up with after you try out some Trivial Pursuit alternatives. Any one of these games will make a great addition to your family's game night, and all are easy to find online or in retail toy stores. Happy gaming.