What makes a good quiz question ?

How good something is depends on the criteria used to judge it, but when it comes to quiz questions there are some general attributes that most of us can agree are a plus.

A good quiz question is appropriate for the quiz participants in terms of it’s difficulty, cultural context and timeliness.

The issue of question difficulty is an interesting one, if a question is answered correctly by 50% of participants does that qualify it as an easy or difficult question ?

A good quiz question facilitates discussion within the competing teams.

A quiz night is a social event and people want to enjoy each others company as well as the quiz itself.

One way to make sure a question encourages group discussion is to ask a question with a number of possible answers.

By this I don’t mean a multiple choice question but rather a question that naturally gives rise to a number of alternative answers. The competing teams will enumerate the possibilities and try and close in on the correct one.

More talk of what makes a good quiz question coming soon.


Table Game : No licking of the lips!

We have Melissa Fairhall to thank for this fun table game idea.

One each table is placed a plate upon which sits a jam doughnut.  A note instructs each team not to eat their doughnut but to wait for instructions.

A Jam doughnut

A Jam doughnut

The MC announces that a doughnut challenge shall begin. Each table must select a member to take up the challenge of eating their doughnut without licking their lips. Each table must also select an inspector to go to the next table and supervise the other table’s effort. If they note a lick of the lips the offending team is out of the competition.

All tables that manage to eat their doughnut without licking their lips are entitled to a points bonus for the quiz or a special prize.

This game is sure to be a lot of fun!


Fundraising Idea – Buy an Envelope

Recently Rachael let me know about a great idea that can help you raise more funds at your Quiz or Trivia Night.

Asking local businesses to make small donations is a lot easier than asking them to sponsor or donate large prizes.

Why not ask a number of local businesses to donate gift vouchers or items in the 20-25 range (dollars or pounds, pick your poison) and then sell these donations off at the Quiz night for a flat $10 price.

You can place the items in envelopes and stick them to a board. People can purchase an envelope from the mystery board for 10 dollars/pounds and be guaranteed a 20-25 dollar/pound item will be inside.

Envelopes with a Question Mark

The mystery board envelopes


Which is heaviest… ?

This game is simple and can be run as a novelty game or as a round in your quiz night.

Simply hold up two objects and teams have to say which is heavier. If you are running it as a novelty game you can get everyone to stand up and indicate which item they think is heavier by placing their hands on their heads or their hips. Once everyone have made a choice announce which object is heavier and get everyone who was wrong to sit down.

If you are running this game as a normal round in your quiz simply hold up the two items, get each team to note down on their answer sheets which they think is heavier, then move on to the next pair of items.

A book Vs a Clock, Which is heavier

A book Vs a Clock, Which is heavier

Note : You actually need specific instances of the objects you are comparing. Obviously it’s not going to work if you simply ask which is heavier, a book or a clock. You need a particular clock and a particular book that people can see and size up.

A cup of tea or an IPhone, which is heavier ?

A cup of tea or an IPhone, which is heavier ?

At the end of this game you could throw out the old joke “Which is heavier, a kilogram/Pound of lead or a kilogram/Pound of feathers ?”  :)


Novelty Game – Pick a Corner

Quiz nights are a lot of writing, a lot of teams huddled over tables.

It’s great idea to throw in a few games that will get people out of their seats and moving around.

The “Pick a Corner” game is really simple.

Ask everyone to stand up, if you have a large number of participants you can ask each team to pick a single representative to stand up.

Pick a corner Quiz Night Game

Pick a corner Quiz Night Game

Ask a series of multiple choice questions, each with 4 possible answers. Assign a corner of the room for each possible answer and ask the game participants to go and stand in the corner that matches their chosen answer.

Once everyone has moved to a corner announce the correct answer, everyone who was not standing in the corner associated with the correct answer must sit down, everyone who got the question correct can participate in the next question.

Continue asking questions until there is only a single person left. They are the winner and either receive a special prize or earn bonus points for their team.

You may end up with a few people remaining in the game who continually go to the same corner, in this case announce that the first person to a corner may claim it, and everyone else must chose a different corner.


What is a quiz night table game ?

We’ve provided a number of quiz night table game examples on this blog but recently someone contacted us asking for some clarification as to what a table game was. So with apologies to old hands who need no such clarification…

A quiz night table game is a game / series of questions / puzzle that can be left on the table of each participating team for them to work on at their own pace.

The primary difference between a table game and a normal round of questions is that all the participating teams must work through a round of questions together.

The MC (Mic Controller / announcer) reads out the questions for a round and each team must write down their answers and then hand in their answer sheet for that round once it is complete.

A table game on the other hand can be left on the tables at the beginning of the night and teams may work on them at their convenience up until the point they are to be collected (perhaps at the halfway break).

The easiest way to understand what a table game is is to look at some examples :

A Quiz Night Table Game : Name the Logo/Flag

A Quiz Night Table Game : Name the African Countries

A Quiz Night Table Game : 1920s Slang


Ideas for small quiz prizes

Quiz nights can be super duper fun and if your running one for a good cause you can raise some funds at the same time.

As chronicled in this blog you can make your quiz night more enjoyable by adding table games  and novelty events. Often these side games will earn the winning team a small prize.

If your quiz is a fundraiser for a good cause don’t be shy about asking local businesses to sponsor the night by providing a couple of prizes.

Here are a few ideas for small quiz prizes.

Quiz Prizes from Amazon.com

If you haven’t left your prize purchasing to the last minute (hey you’re busy, we understand), Amazon is a great place to browse for small quiz prizes. Here are a couple of examples.

The Mathematical Quiz Clock – For around $30 this clock is perfect as a prize for a math based round or table game. You could also aware it as a special prize for the team that did best in the Science and Technology quiz round.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FVRUFQ?ie=UTF8&tag=custome09-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001FVRUFQ”>MATH pop QUIZ Clock NOVELTY Mathematical Equation NEW</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=custome09-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001FVRUFQ” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Amazon Math Quiz Clock Link

Joke Prize – For the team than did best in the ’1980s’ round – A VHS video!

Amazon The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride Link[VHS]

Gifts for the whole team

Some side games can be individual based but often the whole team will submit a single answer and so it makes sense to look at gifts for the whole team. Bottles of wine or other alcohol may be appropriate. Even a board game can work well.

A voucher for a dog or cat portrait

This can be a great prize because there will be at least one person in every team with a beloved pet. And a pet portrait is something that many people would get enjoyment from but would not go and purchase themselves. It’s the kind of thing that will make someone smile as they drive home from the quiz night.

There are many great artists that offer animal portraits, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for you to find one in your area.

A guitar or piano lesson!

You may be able to find musical teachers in your area who would be willing to donate a free lesson. From their perspective they are possibly gaining a new regular client. From the quiz participant’s perspective going along and trying out a musical instrument is an experience they will remember. It would only take a few minutes to search for some local teachers and give them a call to see if they would donate a lesson to your quiz night.

Movie Ticket Vouchers!

Getting some vouchers from your local cinema / movie theater is bound to be an appreciated prize.

There are of course lots of ideas for prizes that are specific to your location or your cause or your quiz context. If you have seen any interesting or funny quiz prizes please leave a comment and let us know!


A Quiz Night Table Game : Draw a Superhero

This table game requires a little more creativity from the quiz participants than usual.

They must draw a picture of a Super Hero. In this case “Super Mega Toaster Flying Man”.  The team with the drawing that the judges decide is the most entertaining will win a special prize and some bonus quiz points.

  • You can make the name of the super hero relevant to your audience. (If your quiz is a School fundraiser you could make it “Super Teacher Whiteboard Man!”)
  • If you ask teams to hand in their efforts early enough you can lay them out during the 10 minute halfway break and let everyone come and check out what the other teams have drawn.
  • If you have the time to organise it you could even let people vote with a show of hands on which drawing them think is best.

Download the game as a Word Document  :  Quiz-Ideas-Table-Game-Draw-Super-Hero

Fundraising Quiz Night Table Game - Draw a Super Hero

Fundraising Quiz Night Table Game - Draw a Super Hero


A Quiz Night Table Game : Name the Logo/Flag

Quiz-Table-Game-LogosDownload this Quiz Night Table Game as a Word File : Quiz-Table-Game-Logos

This is a simple table game you can use in your quiz night. The teams simply have to identify the organisation or country associated with the given logos / flags.

To make this game more fun include some local organisations that people will recognize.


1 – Yahoo

2 – British airways

3 – Chevron

4 – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

5 – FIFA

6 – Ghana

7 – Malaysia

8 – Manchester United

9 – The World Bank


11- Unknown, points given for funny suggestions

12 – Shell

13 – Android

14 – Argentina

15 – Adobe

16 – Microsoft windows

17 – Miami dolphins


Quiz Night Fun : Decorate the Answer Sheets

Usually there is a person or two at each table who isn’t totally engaged in listening to questions and discussing answers at any given time. It’s a good idea to have some tasks they can fill up their spare moments with.

For example you can announce at the beginning of the evening that there is a prize for the best decorated answer sheet. Any people not actively involved writing down answers can take some time out to scribble down some drawings.

Or perhaps you could distribute an extra blank piece of paper to each team table and announce that at the end of the night there will be a prize for the best drawing of Elvis / The Earth / The Mona Lisa etc.

Of course you will need to look through all of the attempts and come up with a winner which will mean a little more work for you.  You could quickly scan the pictures, select the top three and then take them around the room and ask everyone to vote with a show of hands which one they prefer.