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“Figureoutable”: The Hallmark Of Great Trivia Questions

At any Big Quiz Thing event, the 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). 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 teambuilding dynamics. map of Burundi with question marks near the capital

Take our go-to example for a bad trivia question: “What’s the capital of Burundi?”

map of Burundi with several question marks by the missing capital name

Not only is that a brutally difficult question but—and apologies to any Burundians reading this—the correct answer for most Americans is “I don’t care.” 

Meanwhile, one of my favorite figureoutable questions is, “Which racket game gets its popular name from the sound the ball makes when you hit it?” 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, what do you know, there’s the answer. (Though “squash” is a pretty good guess.) 

Coming up with that is more entertaining than tackling an either-you-know-it-or-you-don’t query; and discussing what it possibly could be has 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 Musical Separation” (three audio clips played back-to-back, the artists’ names are phonetically linked).

three degrees of musical separation team building game

You know the second of three clips is James Taylor? 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 fun.

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