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How to Win at Trivial Pursuit (Trivia Games): 17 Tips, Tactics & Strategies

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

The world loves a trivia game. While trivia nights and game shows are popular outlets for our trivia mania, nothing trumps Trivial Pursuit. The board game is a global phenomenon, having sold hundreds of million copies since its creation in 1982. 

We’ve accrued many tips, tactics, and strategies to help you win Trivial Pursuit, ranging from knowing the categories, learning in-game techniques to doing some extracurricular studying. 

While the game is fun and satisfying, it can be frustrating. Winning takes time and knowledge. What’s the best way to dominate your opponents?

1. Know the Categories 

Trivial Pursuit players land on colored spaces. Each color corresponds with a general knowledge category. Familiarity with each color’s corresponding questions helps determine your movements in the game. The categories in the classic, Genus edition are:

  • Blue: Geography
  • Pink: Entertainment
  • Yellow: History
  • Brown: Art & Literature
  • Green: Science & Nature
  • Orange: Sports & Leisure 

2. Focus on Your Strengths

Shoot for categories you know. If you’re a sports fan, land on orange as often as you can. While the objective of the game is to earn a pie wedge in each color, the more correct answers you provide, the more turns you get. Sticking to categories you’re confident in increases your opportunity of landing on the pie wedge spots you need. 

3. Play on a Team

Trivial Pursuit allows for both individual and team play. Even those wildly confident in their own knowledge set benefit from additional input. Additionally, teammates cover any blind spots in your trivia. Teammates may help you talk out a solution or notice something in a question you missed. 

4. Choose Your Team Wisely

Trivial Pursuit has six different question categories. Curate your team of varied players. You know your own strengths; make sure you know your teammates. If you’re great at geography, look for teammates who excel in science. Above all else, fill in your weak spots. 

Teams can range from two to six players. Choose your teammates carefully to ensure a knowledgeable voice in every category.

5. Focus on the Important Words

Trivial Pursuit often pads their questions to distract you from the answer. Ignore superfluous information and focus on the question asked. Focus on years, locations, and proper nouns. The actual question is often more straightforward than the presentation. 

Trivia questions prioritize familiarity–they want to throw you off, but they also want you to be familiar with whatever the answer is, be it a person, place, or thing. By distilling the question to its basic premise, you can narrow down potential solutions and posit a reasonable guess.

For example, if the question is about an Austrian musician, you can ignore any included information about family or education. Ask yourself how many Austrian musicians you–and the general populace–know, and derive an answer. 

6. Listen for Puns or Plays on Words

Question writers like to hide clues in the questions. Often these hints take the form of puns or wordplay. While this tip may seem antithetical to the previous one, it doesn’t need to be. 

You don’t need to focus on extraneous information; just listen for unusual or awkward phrasing. 

Often, whimsical adjectives that don’t otherwise match the tone of the category or questions function as concealed clues. 

7. Set Time Limits

Sometimes the best way to win is to hobble the other teams. Yes, a time limit impacts you as well, but a ticking clock adds an element of stress and urgency to gameplay. This can cause teams to panic and rush, not necessarily talking an answer out to its logical end. 

A reasonable time limit for each question keeps gameplay moving forward and creates subtle psychological warfare. 

8. Choose Your Edition

Hundreds of versions of the game have been released since Trivial Pursuit burst into the scene in 1982. These range from new editions of the classic game, updated to include contemporary knowledge, to niche interests.

Pick a version of Trivial Pursuit that caters to your knowledge. Love music? Try the Classic Rock Edition. Does your family love Disney? There’s a Trivial Pursuit for that. Zeroing in on a version of the game that caters to your expertise gives you a strong advantage and increases your odds of winning. 

9. Watch Game Shows

There’s no reason why prepping for Trivial Pursuit can’t be fun. The best way to win the game is simply to know an abundance of trivia. Pad out your knowledge by watching shows like:

  • Jeopardy
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire
  • Master Minds
  • Cash Cab

10. Ignore Your Opponents

Peripheral noise can distract you from finding the correct answer. Opposing teams may set out to divert your attention, but even their casual patter may ruin your concentration. Drown out background distractions and focus only on the questions and your teammates.

11. Trust Your Instincts

It’s a cliche, but your gut instinct is often correct. If an answer immediately pops into your mind, trust it. Literature supports the accuracy of gut reactions; our subconsciousness stores more knowledge than we could ever actively realize we know. Trivial Pursuit questions trigger the places in our memory that know the answers, causing the solutions to rush to our heads. 

12. Move Towards the Pie

Players win Trivial Pursuit by earning a piece of pie in each color. You gain pie by landing on designated spots for each category. Answer the question correctly, and you get a bit of pie in that subject.

While you may be tempted to only hop on colors, you know, you need each pie color to win. Don’t simply bounce between safe categories if it doesn’t help you get a complete pie. Always move towards pie spots.

13. When in Doubt, Roll Again

Every Trivial Pursuit game has twelve designated “Roll Again” spots. The more rolls you get, the better your odds of landing on a pie spot. If you have to choose between a category you’re insecure in or the chance to roll again, always take the roll. 

Extra rolls increase the chances of landing on or near a pie piece you need to complete your token. 

14. Study

Knowledge is your greatest weapon, so study up! Read newspapers, listen to podcasts, and watch the news. Competitive players should take advantage of every learning opportunity. Know the categories ahead of time, and research as much general knowledge on the subject as possible. 

15. Go to Trivia Night

Whether you attend as a participant or observer, local trivia nights prepare you to dominate at everyone’s favorite board game. Trivia nights cover an array of categories and familiarize you with the questioning format.

You’ll hear the questions and answers to an assortment of questions. These events will expose you to general trivia you might never consider reading about on your own. Take advantage of these opportunities and apply the internalized knowledge to your own game night. 

16. Use the Internet (Before the Game!)

The internet is an invaluable resource. While you can use it to study and research, you can also use it to discover the answers to the most challenging Trivial Pursuit questions. 

While it may be ethically dubious, several websites are dedicated to the most challenging Trivial Pursuit questions. It’s not cheating; you still need to learn the answers these sites provide. Knowing these answers will give you an edge, provided they come up in the game. 

17. Visit the Library

Believe it or not, there are several books written about playing Trivial Pursuit. Books such as How to Win at Trivial Pursuit: And Other Knowledge Games by Robert J. Heller provide tips and insight on how to triumph in the game. 

Other books include sample quizzes and lists of questions and answers. Even the most competitive Trivial Pursuit player probably doesn’t want to spend money on winning, so check out your local library for these books. 

Key Takeaways

Knowledge is your greatest tool for winning Trivial Pursuit. There are a variety of ways to attain a broad trivia base without feeling like you’re doing homework. Additionally, you can curate your gameplay to maximize your advantages. Utilize these tips and prepare your victory dance.

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.