Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Trivial Pursuit: No Knowledge is Useless Knowledge

Is any knowledge useless knowledge? Is there anything that we will learn that has absolutely no value to us? I do not believe so. Trivial facts may not be useful in a purely utilitarian way, but they can be an indicator that the person who knows these facts has both their eyes and ears open to the world around them. The more you know, the better able you are to learn new things in the future. Even if this ‘useless’ knowledge can’t be used in any practical sense, it all still adds up to building a foundation of knowledge and wisdom which is valuable beyond practical uses.
So why am I going into all this in a review of Trivial Pursuit? Because Trivial Pursuit is often criticized as rewarding people who contain lots of facts and knowledge which is in no way useful in the real world. But Trivial Pursuit champions, do not despair! I’m here to tell you that your reward is not granted unjustly, for indeed no knowledge is useless knowledge. Each factoid and snippet of information is a tiny piece in the puzzle of the world around us.
Trivial Pursuit was released in 1981 and almost instantly popularized the trivia genre. These days Trivial Pursuit comes in all shapes and sizes with all of its different editions, but at its core it is the premier trivia game which challenges us and makes us feel smart no matter how “useless” the knowledge may seem.

Gameplay

Three’s not much to the gameplay of trivial pursuit, but its enough to be distinctive and to keep the trivia questions rolling. Players must fill their pie tokens with six wedges of different colours, each colour representing a different category. Player’s must land the the special pie spaces in order to win this wedge, but all around the track there are spaces of the different colours as well. Answering questions on these spaces allows you to keep rolling.
Strategy in the gameplay only really exists in the “roll again” spaces and using those to your advantage to give yourself the best chance of landing on a wedge space. That’s not much strategy at all, but this game isn’t about the strategy, its about the trivia. Any more complex of a strategy would only muddy the purpose of the game.
Trivial Pursuit can be unbalanced depending on who you are playing, but that’s just way it goes. However, there is a requirement in the game which states that a player with all their wedges must return to the center starting place and answer a question piked from the category of the other player’s choosing. This gives the other players one last dash for hope to catch up and steal the game from behind.

Components

Trivial Pursuit’s components are very unique and well-recognized. The pie-shaped player pieces allow players to very easily see whose in the lead and who needs which colour wedges. Just don’t stick the wedges into the pie the wrong way, because they are a pain to get out if they’re stuck! The shape of the board is also very distinctive, taking the shape of a wheel with spokes as players can move around the edge or take shortcuts through the center. The coloured pieces are mapped out and distributed quite evenly as well.
The trivia cards are simple; one question per colour with the corresponding answers on the back.  The problem of card exhaustion does exist, but there are so many versions of Pursuit out now that that can be almost negated.  The categories include people and places, entertainment, history, science and nature, art and literature, and sports and leisure. A very good bisection of trivial knowledge while remaining interesting to many people. Just watch that you put the cards back into the box the right way!

Conclusion

Trivial Pursuit is a great trivia game, both classy and challenging. I have many, many memories of playing Trivial Pursuit with my extended family. It is one of those games which can really sink into your memories and feel authentic and nostalgic. And once I was old enough to play with the adults it was like joining a special club, one which I was finally smart enough and aware enough to be a part of.
Therefore Trivial Pursuit should not be lambasted for encouraging stupid, useless facts. Its should be encouraged to support an eagerness to learn about our world; whether its about history, people and places, arts and literature, science and nature, or sports and leisure. Trivial pursuit is the ultimate game of trivia and deserves more recognition.

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One Response to “Trivial Pursuit: No Knowledge is Useless Knowledge”

  1. Absolutely love Trivial Pursuit. I remember my aunts and uncles would sometimes just pull some cards and ask us kids some questions to keep us entertained for a while. No board, no score, just the reward of surprising our elders. I still remember them wondering how on Earth a seven-year-old would know what brand of beer E.T. drank in the movie. Fun times.


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