I spent last night prepping up a quiz I’m doing this coming weekend. I spent most of my evening bulking up a quiz I did a while back for a different group, swapping out the odd question and adding in a couple of bonus ones.

I’m basing my quiz vaguely in the style of the game Say Anything. Half the questions are multiple choice with teams able to choose a 2 point answer and a 1 point answer (they can be the same). The idea is that I can be sneaky with some of my questions and teams still have a 40% chance of getting points. The other half of the quiz, are bonus questions generally about an answer from the main question.

I enjoy both writing and doing quizzes. The sci-fi group I go to in London has a quiz most meetings and members take turns writing them. One facet I like is that teams are generally random, so you end up grouped with different people every quiz. Sometimes my team does well, other times not so well. The idea is to have fun and not take things too seriously.

The worst thing that can happen in a quiz is for me to sit there like a mute muppet not having a clue. There is nothing wrong with the odd silly answer, but if you get to the stage where all of the answers are silly then something isn’t right.

It is all about balance. It’s probably best for a quiz to be a little too easy rather than the other way around. You’ll be surprised how often you’re wrong when you think to yourself that something is too obvious. You really should get to know your audience beforehand, so you can find out what could work.

When it comes to difficulty, I like to make it progressive. Start with something straight forward to get everyone settled and then turn it up as you move along. I do like to end a quiz on a high though, with something really easy. I once ended a quiz with everyone singing the end theme to Red Dwarf. That was worth the price of admission.

One of the things I like to do when writing a quiz is to try something different. Occasionally, it doesn’t quite work. I once did a general knowledge round about sci-fi generals, which was more like corporal punishment. My beatbox theme round on the other hand was hilarious. Mainly as beatbox is not something I’m good at.

And that brings me to probably the most important thing about writing a quiz. Remember to have fun yourself. You don’t need to be OTT, but if you are having fun doing the quiz then your audience will feed off that. If it can become a positive loop then all the better.

Just remember one last thing, as quizmaster you aren’t there be smarter than everyone else. Your job is to engage with the victims, sorry players, and give them the opportunity to enjoy themselves.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to print off my answer sheets.

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