“There was a very concerted call and an effort within the trivia community to make sure that you’re not just asking questions about white America and white Americana,” Ms. Yu said.
Newcomers to trivia, even those with decent general knowledge and a trove of weirder info lodged somewhere in the hippocampus, may find quiz questions difficult. “To be completely honest, a lot of the pub trivia I played online is too hard,” said Bill Patschak, a founder of the new site BPtrivia. But, as with any new skill, players improve through practice, learning not only facts but the types of questions asked, and the way writers might frame them.
“Everyone is an expert in something,” Ms. Yu said reassuringly. “And they do know more than they think they do.” And if thinking too hard about health crises or fraught transfers of power has you down, it can be relaxing to spend 10 minutes or a couple of hours immersing yourself in material that doesn’t matter at all.
“It’s testing knowledge, but it’s not testing anything important,” Shayne Busfield, a founder of the exclusive quiz site Learned League said.
Here are some ways to play bar trivia from home, with or without pants. Just bring your brain, and your own booze.
Bar trivia without the bar
Many major trivia companies, like King Trivia, Geeks Who Drink, Brainstormer Trivia! and the Big Quiz Thing, have all migrated some of their live events online. While O’Brien’s weekly quizzes are invite-only, its monthly Frankenquizes, found via the pub’s Facebook and Twitter pages, are open to all. There are two rounds of 15 questions each, plus two handouts (now Google docs) that players work on in snatched minutes between rounds.
If you can assemble a dedicated squad, remotely, try Online Quiz League USA, which Mr. Bahnaman co-founded and described as a bowling league for the brain. Each week, your four-person team plays another via Zoom, Skype or Messenger. The season finishes with a cup tournament, when teams play for trophies and bragging rights.