Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Double, double toil and trouble

I have been pondering the essence of the pub quiz. More specifically - wondering if there’s any room in Beijing for another one (Shuangjing upstarts Grinders and The Brick have recently added their own offerings in this category to the long-established ones at Lush, The Bookworm, Paddy O’Shea's, Texas Tim’s – and there are a few others as well). And, if there is, how could one differentiate it from the rest of this packed field?

The big problem with these events is balancing the difficulty of questions: you can’t humiliate the know-nothings by asking too many ‘hard’ questions, or bore the super-nerds by asking too many easy ones.

And so it came to me – what about A DOUBLE QUIZ: two sets of questions side by side, one hard, one easy; and separate prizes for each quiz? Too much bother????

Ah, I’m an ideas man, you know.


The British Cowboy said...

I always liked the Union quiz I did with Roger. Given the audience it was a tough one, but also had a second 10 question insanely tough written section called the Accumulator. A quid to enter, and it all went into a pot that rolled over until someone got all 10 right.

Froog said...

Additional difficulties here, BC, of a very international crowd, and a much wider age spread. You have to try to avoid too much of a focus on particular countries or eras. With those Union quizzes, most of the participants were, at least very roughly, our sort of age, and the vast majority of them were Brits (or were becoming 'naturalised' after some years of study there), so it was perfectly OK to ask questions about the pop music and TV we'd all grown up with in the 70s and 80s. It's a lot harder to balance out the questions for such a diverse bunch of competitors here.

The British Cowboy said...

I was talking more of the format of a second quiz...

Froog said...

Well, yes, and Roger's main quizzes were hard, the supplementary quiz at the end fucking impossible - even for an audience of considerably above-average intelligence and learning.

We're dealing with a much lower average level of competitor here, for the most part. But there are a handful of really earnest trivia nerds. Very difficult to cater for both.

What most of the quizmasters here do, I think, is to include a lot more guessers - questions where no-one is likely to know the answer, but you can have a bit of fun choosing from a limited number of possible answers. Last week I enecountered, for example, "Which was the only State not to enforce Prohibition?