How to Play Trivial Pursuit

Playing Trivial Pursuit is for everyone!

How to Play Trivial Pursuit - A Tutorial

Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit is one of the great party games, not because it involves lots of yelling, bluffing, or outlandish behavior, but because playing the game itself is very simple. While playing a round of Trivial Pursuit, you and your friends can drink beers, watch a movie, eat a nice dinner, or do anything else you can think of. The game is "hands-off", requiring a single die, a game board, and a few tokens and trivia cards. What you do while you play the game is up to your imagination.

Playing Trivial Pursuit Basics

The Trivial Pursuit board is like a giant wheel. There's a center hub, some spokes, and a larger outer wheel. The point of the game is to move your playing piece around the wheel collecting tokens for answering questions correctly. You move around the board by rolling a die. Set the board up, select your playing pieces, and break out the question and answer cards. You're all ready to play Trivial Pursuit.

Start by placing the player pieces for each player (or each team--Trivial Pursuit works equally well as a team game) on the center hub on the game board to start the game. Determine who goes first by rolling the die--highest number goes first. In the case of a tie, roll again. Whoever is chosen to roll first starts with the die.

To move around the board, a player rolls the die to see how many spaces their playing piece can move. The cool thing about Trivial Pursuit is that you can move in any direction and turn any way you like when you come to a crossroads on the board. One rule on moving--you are not allowed to move backwards during a move--you can elect to go backwards directionally, but not "two steps forward, two steps back." Once you move in a direction, you have to continue in that direction.

Depending on what space you land on, you'll have to answer a question or "roll again." Some versions of Trivial Pursuit do not have "roll again" spaces--any version before Genus III will be without "roll again" options. The color of the space you land on determines the category of question you have to answer. Once a player lands on a question space, another player draws a question card and asks the question for the category you landed on.

If the player (or team) gets the answer right, their turn continues. Right answers give you the right to roll the die and move again, either trying to answer another question or land on a "roll again" space. A player or team's turn ends when they get an answer wrong. Play moves clockwise, so when a player or team gets an answer wrong, the player or team to their left gets their turn. Remember that more than one player piece can be on the same space at the same time.

Notice that there are "category headquarters" at the end of each spoke of the game board's wheel. When you answer a question correctly from the category headquarters, you collect a colored scoring wedge (sometimes called a "pie piece") to go into your player piece. The goal of the game is to collect all six pie pieces. But game play's not quite over yet.

When a player's piece is full of tokens, they then have to land on the center hub of the game board wheel with an exact roll of the die. That means if you are four spaces away from the hub, you'd have to roll a four to land in the center hub. If you're four spaces away and you roll a five, you have to wait until your next turn to try and roll a four again.

Once a player with all six pie pieces lands in the center hub, the other players choose what category question he'll have to answer. If that player answers that question correct, the game is over and he's the winner. If he doesn't answer it correctly, he'll have to try again on his next turn.

If a player chooses to land on the hub before they complete all six other categories, the question asked at the center hub is a wild card, and that player can choose any category and get a token. This becomes very important strategically, especially if you're particularly far away from a particular category's headquarters and want to speed your way to a win.

Once you earn a token, any future landing you make on that token's headquarters doesn't reward another pie piece--you still have to answer that category question correctly to continue your turn.

In the rare case that a player wins the game on their first turn (common in team play or with trivia experts), every other player in the game gets a chance to play. The goal then is to move through the game getting all questions right and "winning" as well.

Some versions of Trivial Pursuit (The Know-It-All Edition, for one) don't use a game board at all. Play continues with dice and score sheets, but without a game board. Be sure to follow all instructions for other versions of Trivial Pursuit.

Trivial Pursuit Tips & Tricks

Always go with your first instinct when you are unsure of the answer. First though=best thought.

If you can't land on a category headquarters, try to land on a "roll again" space.

Often, the questions in Trivial Pursuit are worded in a way that suggests or leads to the answer. Think hard before you answer. Often, there's a clue in the question. One famous example: "Where are Dungarees made?" The answer is that Dungarees are made in Dungarees, India.

If you're going to study, read up on trivia from the 1980s. The game was invented then, and if you're using an older Genus Edition, you'll be more likely to learn answers this way. Another easy study category is "Geography", since there's only so many things to study in that field.