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The standard rules for Trivial Pursuit say that in order to win, the player must collect all six wedges from the special category spaces, then proceed to the center and answer a final question in a category selected by the other players.

In my experience, however (and especially if more than 3 players/teams are participating) it takes way to long for the game to end with a winner this way.

Are there any other set of "universally accepted" (or not) rules for Trivial Pursuit to ensure shorter games? I've seen (for example) proceeding to the center with less that 6 wedges, or specifying an ending time (with a "penalty shootout" if there is a tie) but none of them seem all that satisfactory.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I have no idea if any of these are "universally accepted", as I haven't consulted with the rest of the universe, but I have seen a few variations on ending the game.

  1. A large number of people I've played with don't like getting back to the center for the final question, because you're basically holding out for a lucky roll to get back to the middle. Instead, once you have your sixth pie wedge, you immediately are asked the final question; if you don't answer correctly, on successive turns you get another final question, no moving required.

  2. If we want a shorter game, we've altered the number of pieces required to win, anywhere from 4-6. It's been pretty satisfactory for us.

If you want to make things a little more interesting to prevent people from avoiding their least-favorite category, we'll sometimes randomly select one of the six color wedges from a pile -- you must have this piece in your collection to win.

I'm not a fan of a time limit, because slower players can make the game end prematurely by (intentionally or not) dragging out the clock.

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Free rolls for colors you've already earned wedges for

One variant I've considered several times but never had the opportunity to try is letting someone roll again when they land on a space that matches the color of a wedge they've already won. It would definitely speed up the game but I've been worried about two downsides: first, there would be a lot of rolling near the end of the game, which could get boring to watch; second, it would give a big advantage to anyone who was in the lead.

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Another idea is to get rid of the board altogether and just try to answer a question of every category correctly.

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Another set of rules I have seen is to count three correct answers (with no more than one wrong in the sequence) on the same color as counting for a pie piece.

So, you could answer correctly blue, pink, green, blue; incorrectly blue; correctly orange, blue and get the blue piece.

Requires a bit of accounting overhead, however.


Another alternative is to set a number of total correct and total per category correct - perhaps 30 total, and at least 4 in each category.

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One thing that we've tried with some success in my family is this:

  1. As soon as any team gets its sixth wedge, the regular part of the game ends and the final round begins
  2. In the final round, draw one card randomly and each team writes down its answers to the six questions on the card. When everyone is done, add the number of correct answers in the final round to the number of wedges acquired during the regular game. A perfect score is 12; whoever has the most points out of 12 wins.

This way, you completely eliminate the mechanic of waiting for a lucky roll to land exactly on the middle spot, give teams that are behind a little bit of hope (but still a significant disadvantage), and prevent the game state from dragging on unchanged for any length of time.

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Another possibility is to eliminate the element of chance.

Each player can move up to the number of empty spots (6 at game start) in any direction. Each time you got a piece this reduces the movement. If the movement is 0 you have won.

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The great book New Rules for Classic Games by R. Wayne Schmittberger has some suggestions for different ways to play Trivial Pursuit. I think the best one is to add challenges. If you think another player has answered incorrectly, you challenge them and give your own answer. If you're right, you get a pie for the category you answered. Already have that pie? choose your colour. If you already have six pies, he suggests removing a pie from the opponent, but I think you might rather call that a winning condition. If your challenge is incorrect, he suggests losing a pie, but that will slow down the game. I suggest you just skip your next turn.

Another option you might like is to play without the board. One suggestion in the book is called Going Out. Each player takes a stack of cards, maybe 24 high. On your turn, choose a category to start with, read the question aloud and answer it. Flip the card to check and discard it. If you were correct, answer the next category of the next card. If you were incorrect, it's the next player's turn. First player to discard their last card wins. If you want to be extra fair, give remaining players one more turn until you get back to the first player. You may need to have some kind of trivia shoot out to break ties.

There are a bunch more options in the book, including Trivia Tic-Tac-Toe. It looks like it's out of print, but the Amazon page includes the "look inside" feature, and I just searched for "Trivial Pursuit" to find all these rules. I had to sign in first, your mileage may vary.

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My family started with the house rule of allowing kids to earn pie pieces anytime they answered a question. There was no need to be on the special category spaces.

Later on, that turned into a general use house rule if a shorter game was needed. Or, most commonly, after playing for a while we'd declare "everything counts" just to finish up the game quicker.

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A Trivial videogame does just that, and when you finish collecting your wedges you have to answer a question for each category. –  Lohoris Nov 2 '10 at 23:41

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