I vividly remember where I was when I was invited to join our Stir Crazy competition team at the World Tavern National Championship in Atlantic City in May of 2016. I was walking down 57th Street in Manhattan when I got the text. My first thought was “OMG I’m going to the trivia national championship!” and my second thought was “Wait, there’s actually a trivia national championship?”. Yes, in fact, there is. And it’s run by World Tavern Trivia. One of the larger trivia companies in the mid-Atlantic region, all venues that host a World Tavern Trivia night have the opportunity to qualify teams to make an appearance at said National Championship. Once your team qualifies, you register to attend, and just like that your trivia team has its chance to earn fame, glory, and incredible wealth. Or at least a chance to walk away with a nice little cash prize and bragging rights for the next 12 months.
As a format, World Tavern is pretty straightforward. 6 rounds of 10 questions, effectively worth 1 point each (they have this maddening habit of making questions worth 10 points each in the official scoring, but I’d like to start an official campaign to end that. Keep it simple. Conserve zeroes.). But to add a little extra excitement, teams have the option to double one round of their choice in rounds 4 through 6. This doesn’t sound like a huge wrinkle, but when the stakes are high (like during the national championship!) this becomes a painstakingly hard decision to make. If you’re sure on 8 of the 10 questions in round 5 do you double that one? Or take your chances in round 6 in the hopes of being sure on 9 or 10? But what if you end up only getting 7 questions right in round 6? Decisions, decisions…
World Tavern trivia hasn’t fully infiltrated the Hudson Valley region yet, with only two locations in the area- both in Rockland county- currently participating. It’s got a much bigger footprint in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But at POW! Trivia we’re rooting hard for it to plant more roots here- it’s high time that the greater Putnam-Orange-Westchester trivia scene got to join in on the National Championship fun.
Questions: 7/10– diverse and challenging, the questions are well thought out and well worded…for the most part. More than one question was thrown out at nationals for being too ambiguous.
Structure: 9/10– 60 questions is a good length, and the double option is a nice twist that introduces a surprising amount of strategy. The scoring really should be on a one point/question, rather than a ten point/question, basis though.
Hosts: 6/10– Like any of the larger trivia companies, hosts are hired as entertainers and not as real trivia MCs. That results in issues like mispronunciations and an inability to coherently respond to challenges.
Venues: O’Malleys (Mondays), Peppermill South (Tuesdays)