Dave Herbert sent a message to me after finding The Game Aisle via my Global Toy News interview (see HERE) and asked if I’d like to try a copy of his “fast paced trivia game for smart AND stupid people!” Well I thought, I don’t think I have many games on the site for stupid people – so I had to try this one out.
While I couldn’t find any stupid people to test it for me, I did use some relatively smart ones (truthfully, they’d kill me if I said otherwise…so yes, they’re smart, very smart) and everybody really enjoyed it. But before I get to the game review, I asked Dave to tell me a little more about his and his brother Joe’s experience inventing Triviathon. He wrote me a novel. So I’ve pared it down quite a bit but think I still captured the essence of their story. Enjoy!
“Joe is a HUGE board game fan and owns multiple hundreds of games… he has an entire wall full of games in his TV room. He’s invented a few smaller games just for fun but just over 10 years ago he came to me and said he wanted to invent a “real” board game and actually attempt to bring it to market. So, we started thinking about what kind of game we should invent.
We were very familiar with Trivial Pursuit and LOVE the game… but also know that it has a lot of weaknesses that make certain people not like it. So we started making a list of what was great about Trivial Pursuit and what were it’s weaknesses. [click list at right to enlarge] Basically what we thought was great about Trivial Pursuit is that it has very interesting and diverse trivia questions that are well written. At the same time we came up with a LONG list of “weaknesses” such as you HAVE to be smart to do well in the game (giving smarter folks an advantage).
Neither of us have ever invented anything before, we’ve never brought anything to market before, nor have we been involved with any product based business. But we’re good at research and dove into the project head first gathering as much info as we could about other games that were invented, etc. We came across Mary Couzin’s group Discover Games and became members. She had TONS of great information on her website and through it found a game consultant, Richard Gottlieb, who was a tremendous help to us.
By pure coincidence we entered and won the 2009 Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest [their commercial entry is below] which concluded 2 weeks before Toy Fair giving us a lot of media attention and momentum heading into the launch of Triviathon. You can’t buy that kind of timing!“
Triviathon really is a different kind of trivia game – it doesn’t have the traditional question/answer format. Instead each card has four answers and you select whichever one you think will allow you to advance your mover the furthest forward. I’ve made up an example for you: The top of the card would say, “How many spaces do you want to move?” You must select from the following:
A. The number of games the Herbert brothers marketed before Triviathon.
B. The number New York Toy Fairs Triviathon has been at.
C. The ranking number of the Herbert brother’s Super Bowl Doritos Ad.
D. The number of pages in Dave’s email “novel” was when I printed it out.
You guess A, B, C, or D based on which statement you think has the highest corresponding numerical value because that’s how many spaces you will advance your mover. So for my terribly written question, the answers are: A. 0 B. 2 C. 1 D. 3 Obviously some answers you knew – others you might guess. But that’s the fun of the game. Mentally you can cross off the ones you think are low – or you can take a slow and steady approach and go with which one you KNOW is a 2 because you have no idea what answer is going to be a 3. There are a lot of ways for both smart players to be strategic and stupid people to…well, let’s just say even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.
Triviathon also includes questions where the answer is a color and based on your answer selection, your mover will advance to a particular colored space on the board. So if the red space is three away from you and the yellow is right in front of you, you’re looking for the statement about something red.
This is definitely a different sort of trivia game and I really enjoyed it. There’s a whole character segment of the game that can be added it to make it play more like an adult social game, but I’m not going to go into that since I’ve already blown my word limit. But it gives you more of a reason to buy a copy of the game and try it out with a bunch of your smart – and stupid – friends. Just don’t specify which category they fall into.
$15-25 at Amazon, Fat Brain Toys, Funagain Games and many others
**Note that Triviathon just got licensed by United States Playing Card Company and will be apart of the Bicycle brand soon
2 to 12 players
~20-45 minutes (depending on group size)
Ages 8 and up