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“Figureoutable”: The Hallmark of Great Trivia Questions

At any Big Quiz Thing trivia event, the professional quizmaster throws around the neologism “figureoutable” (both verbally and as a nifty sound effect). It’s a funny word, and a nice bit of branding for the quality trivia content that we pride ourselves on. We strive to provide a good time for all kinds of clients and audiences—trivia nerds or otherwise, game winners or game runners-up (there are no losers at Big Quiz Thing events, we insist). Thus, the concept of “figureoutability”: Crafting trivia questions and games that are more about playing the game, putting the pieces together, and puzzling things out than simply mentally excavating an obscure morsel of information. It makes for a more fun game—and a better vehicle for corporate team-building dynamics.

Take our go-to example for a bad trivia question: “What’s the capital of a random country you’ve barely heard?” Not only is that a brutally difficult question (we know, it’s not a real question, work with us here), but—and apologies to any citizens of random countries—the correct answer for most people is “I don’t care.”

Meanwhile, one of our favorite figureoutable questions is displayed at right. Hardly anyone would know this answer cold, though it’s not an especially difficult question—it’s simply a matter of giving the concept a little thought and—whaddaya know?—there’s the answer. (Though “squash” is a pretty good guess.)

For most people, coming up with an answer like that is a more entertaining process than tackling an either-you-know-it-or-you-don’t query; and discussing what it possibly could be is way better for fostering teamwork and group dynamics. The figureoutable concept is perhaps even more prominent in our multimedia puzzles, where visual and audio clues assist the player in the answering process, and give them multiple ways of approaching a question.

A great example is our legendary audio puzzle “Three Degrees of Music” (three audio clips played back-to-back, the artists’ names are phonetically linked). A visual representation of one example is at left: Let’s say you know that the second of the three clips is James Taylor. You can use that to help you figure out that the first is Rick James, and the third is Taylor Swift (i.e., “Rick James Taylor Swift”). Multiple points of entry, multiple chances for success, multiple opportunities for fun and teamwork.

Now, not every BQT question is figureoutable exactly (though we always try to keep them entertaining), and a connoisseur of obscure knowledge always has the competitive advantage. But to our minds, figureoutability is what separates bad trivia from good, and ensures the maximum amount of brainy, productive fun. Contact us to learn how we can bring figureoutable action to your custom event.

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