Forgive me if this blog feels like brain spew. I’m finishing up my Masters, so my head’s going a little crazy.
I’ve been hosting IHB trivia for a about a year now. There’s a lot to deal with. People showing up too late for a table. Trying to squeeze more people into space than the fire code probably allows. Drunken players. People in the bar talking loudly and “helping” teams. Remembering to make sure all the raffle tickets make it into the bucket. Did I bring all the equipment and paperwork? Did I remember to buy more raffle tickets? It’s not as easy as it comes off to put on. But the most difficult thing is writing the questions each week, which would make sense but not for the reasons you probably think.
I try to make Round 1 the easiest. Sometimes, it backfires. Questions that I think are easy end up not being so. I question whether or not I made the round too easy and then it ends up not being. So, it’s hard to gauge until people are actually trying to answer them. I did the categories so that nobody felt left out of the round. There’s a little something for everyone in that round.
Most people have a hard time with Round 2 and I can understand that. I admittedly am a music nerd. That’s where I shine and I also like to get real creative with that round. On April 19th, I did a round of instrumentals. I knew it would be harder since there are no voices but I also tried to pick songs that most everyone (again in my mind) would have heard a few times. It was fun seeing who got what answers and some teams’ fun guesses.
Round 3 is difficult to write unless I know the subject matter. First off, you all pick some weird categories. I don’t know where this comes from and yes, I understand sometimes it’s to mess with me as revenge. That comes with the territory I know. A fun Wednesday night turns real dark or serious some weeks. But it does level the playing field at times. Sometimes, I try to compensate for tough categories with a lighter picture round. That’s how I find it most weeks. Also, to make up for a difficult second round as well.
With the new format, Round 3 sets up the Genius Round quite well I think. Round 3 can cool off a hot team or maybe spark a team to glory. Then, there’s a change to make or break with 25 points on the table. I try to sprinkle the subjects around in the Genius Round. I need to filter more difficult movie questions in. History questions always make it because they’re the easiest to find. Sometimes after writing the first three rounds, it’s hard to make that push to find mind-numbingly hard questions to finish strong with. But the point is to give you some satisfaction when you nail one of the Genius Round questions. Give yourself a pat on the back and another sip of beer for a job well done.
The most difficult part is the wide range of people who come to trivia night in Ellensburg. We’ve got people that just want a fun night out, people who compete week after week, and everyone in between. We’ve got people who have written books, professors from various departments at CWU, college students, and more. So, it’s hard to dictate the level at which to operate on. What I try to do is just make it fun. Make it fun for not only the crowd but also enjoyable for myself, to look back and say, “wow this round went over great” or “wow, people did way worse on these questions than I thought they would.” As Ricky Nelson, once said, “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself.”
In the end, the takeaway here is to have fun, drink some beers, and maybe learn some things. Maybe something you didn’t think was lodged in your brain spills out. Maybe you learn about a topic you knew nothing about before the evening started. While winning is fun and exciting, the experience should be fun too. That’s, at least, my goal in how I create each night. Please feel free to send any Trivia Night feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope to see you for our summer session kickoff at Cornerstone Pie on May 10th!