Trivial Pursuit is a game that graces the shelf of many a family, finding its way onto the coffee table whenever one family member thinks they’re smarter than everyone else. It always had a place in our house growing up, although that was an old Master System 2 version of the classic family board game, not the physical game; the joy of the physical version wasn’t something I’d get to experience until later in life. The version of Trivial Pursuit that we had the opportunity to look at for this review, is the “Master Edition” and, as you can probably guess, the major difference between this Master Edition and any other version is that it’s bloody hard.
The box contains the board, a dice, plenty of coloured wedges, a selection of player pieces and the questions. As well as these expected pieces, there’s also an electronic timer device which – once you’ve stuck in a couple of AAA batteries, which don’t come with the game – works on the same principle as the clock in Countdown, giving the players answering the question an audible point of tension as they can hear the time slipping away but are still unable to answer the question.
The questions were a pleasant surprise too, purely because there are 3,000 different questions as standard, all separated into categories that make up the different wedge colours. You would have to play a hell of a lot of games of Trivial Pursuit to get through all of the questions, and seeing as most people will only get the game out from time to time – to prove a point, usually – I can’t see any player ever needing more questions than are provided.
For those of you who may never have played a game of Trivial Pursuit before, the rules are simple: the winner is the person who fills their player piece with a single wedge of each colour, gets to the centre of the board, and answers one final question. In the standard version of the game, which can be quite time consuming, each player is only able to gain a wedge when they’re on the designated wedge spaces; any other time they’re given a question based on the colour of the space they landed on (pink for entertainment, green for science and nature, etc) or if they happen to answer the question correctly, they take another turn. Answer it incorrectly and the play moves to the person on the left.
There is a shorter version of the game detailed in the instructions however, for those players who may not have the hours it can take to get through one of the standard games – especially if nobody is answering the questions correctly – and this involves giving the player the designated colour of wedge if they get their question right at any time, not just if they’re on the wedge space. This considerably speeds the game up while keeping the rest of the rules essentially the same, and seeing as the fun part of Trivial Pursuit is answering questions, I can certainly see this shorter play style being the most popular amongst gamers.
VERDICT: For families that find games based on general knowledge more appealing than focused games, there’s nothing better out there than Trivial Pursuit, and this Master Edition will give people who think their general knowledge is rather good a run for their money. The gameplay elements are classic and haven’t been changed all that much in the years since I last played it on the Master System 2 all those years ago, and the addition of the timer/countdown element adds a tension that is almost palpable. If you’re looking for a general knowledge board game to take up that space on the shelf, and you don’t already own a version if Trivial Pursuit, then the Master Edition will test you in ways you didn’t even think possible.