At POW! Trivia we pride ourselves on having a pretty decent grasp on the trivia scene within about a 50-mile radius of the Newburgh/Beacon area.  That means that if there’s a trivia night going on anywhere in the region, we know the venue, the start time, the host, the format, and quite possibly the team(s) we’d need to beat in order to win there.  So image our surprise when we uncovered a previously unknown, yet decently long running, trivia night taking place at Copperfield’s in Montgomery that we had never heard of.

In our defense, it only takes place once a month (and doesn’t take place at all during the summer months).  It’s also not advertised in any real way- it doesn’t need it, since it’s a small space and it’s already consistently being filled by Copperfield’s regulars.  Nevertheless, we kind of fell down on the job here, and we feel awful about it.

Everything about trivia at Copperfield’s is unique- there’s a 4 person maximum on teams, which is very small.  A limit of 6 is standard, 5 is rare, and 4 is unheard of.  There’s also a $15 buy in per person for the night, so $60 per team- which effectively makes this the high rollers room of trivia nights.  Most trivia nights are free, though some charge a token amount- generally $10 for an entire team- just to offset the cost of any gift cards or merchandise given away as prizes.

But you definitely get your money’s worth for that buy in- there are 10 rounds of 10 questions each for a nice round total of 100 questions on the evening- at least double the amount of questions at a typical trivia night.  I remember being slightly concerned when I saw 100 questions’ worth of answer sheets that we’d be playing trivia into the wee hours of the morning, but the host does an excellent job of moving things along- we were finished about 2 hours after we started.

The questions themselves were impressive for an independent venue: a nice mix of challenging and accessible, and of timely and classic.  Generally organized into sets of 5, with a different theme for each set, every question is worth one point except for the very last set of 5, which is usually a set of riddles worth 2 points each.

The best part of this trivia night though is the “Playoff” feature, which is incredibly unique and unlike anything else I’ve seen in the Hudson Valley trivia scene.  After 100 questions, the top 3 teams (provided they’re all within 4 points of each other) move on to a “playoff” round.  The theme of that round is always the same: spelling.  A terrifying concept, am I right?  The host goes around the table giving each person on the team a word they need to spell, completely on their own and without any help from team members.  You can earn up to 4 points for your team if everyone spells their word right, but the round ends as soon as someone gets a word wrong.  The teams in second and third place go first, and have to try to “catch up” to the team in first- if they do, the first place team needs to spell enough words correctly to save their win, but if they don’t the first place team claims victory without any spelling bee dramatics.  I’m a decent speller, but honestly I get chills just thinking about this.  Oh, the pressure.

We’ve been to Copperfield’s twice and have yet to win, or even to make the playoff round.  That’s kind of a big deal for us- we don’t win every single time we play, but top 3 is usually pretty much a given.  So this particular venue has kind of become our kryptonite in a way.  Is Copperfield’s out to avenge the fact that their trivia was able to go undiscovered by us for so long?  Will POW! Trivia finally break through the glass ceiling and take home the victory?  Will everyone come to their senses and realize $60 is a ridiculous amount to have to pay just to play trivia?  Tune in next time to find out!

Overall: 8/10

Questions: 8/10– The overall level of difficulty feels exactly right, as does the ratio of the really challenging questions to more accessible ones.  My one complaint is that the themes of the rounds can get a bit too narrow, even for a small set of five questions.  Madonna was one, Ireland was another- when you need to come up with 20 different category themes, a few are bound to be on the super-specific side.

Structure:  8/10– Extra special bonus points for a playoff/tiebreaking round that doesn’t suck.  Seriously, that’s like the unicorn of the trivia universe.  Not too big of a fan of randomly weighting the last five questions of the game twice as much as the 95 previous questions, though, especially when the theme is riddles.  There’s too much at stake at that point in terms of making or not making the playoff round to mess around like that.

Host:  9/10– Yay for a host that writes his own questions!  And knows his audience!  And magically makes his way through 100 questions in less time than it takes most hosts to make it through half that many!

Venue: 8/10– Copperfield’s itself is a super cozy restaurant with great bar food.  The waffle fries are awesome- highly recommend.  Only real negative is the $15 buy in per person, which seems unnecessarily pricey.  But hey, even with the buy in the trivia nights are standing room only, so more power to them if they can eke out a little extra profit.