What the heck is Williams Trivia?
Trivia is a glorious and time-honored Williams tradition dating back to 1966. Once in January and once in May, all Williams students—and anyone else who wants to, for that matter—are invited to stay up way too late for a night of music, goofy acting, and things-you-know-but-can't-quite-remember. It's the final exam for everything you never learned at Williams College.
We are Too Early for Flapjacks, the team who won the last regular contest. That is the prize for winning trivia: more trivia. If you win this contest, you have the privilege and requirement of running the next one.
What you'll need:
- As many friends, entrymates, strangers, or messy mix of all three as you can gather, representing as wide a variety of tastes as possible. There is no limit on team size. There have been Trivia teams with more than 80 people, and many with just one person.
- This contest we will all be on Zoom, and each team will have its own breakout room and chat room. So your team members can be anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.
- Snacks. Under no circumstances should snacks be omitted.
- Reference books. Courage. An inner (or outer) Nerd and/or Geek. A will to survive.
In the week before the contest:
- Pick a dope team name. Any name will do, but the best team names are answers to trivia questions.*
- Before 10:00PM on May 14th (10:00PM is like the latest, sign up as soon as you can), go to www.williamstrivia.com and register your team.
- Set your team picture to be either a photo of your team or something evocative of your team's name. (Worth one point!)
- Make sure everyone knows the team password.
Just before 10:00:
- Find the link to the audio stream, and open that. That's how you'll hear questions. (Make sure your computer runs it without issue.)
- Also click on the link to your team's chat room in the upper-left corner of the homepage.
- Click on the link to the Zoom meeting. Then click on Breakout Rooms, and join your team's breakout room.
What will happen:
- At 10:00PM, we will read a question over the air, and then play a song. You have the duration of the song to tell us the answer to the question. You get one point for answering the question correctly, and one point for naming the song and artist. You may use the internet to answer the question, but may not use search engines or song-identifying apps for determining the song/artist.
- There are two ways to get us the answer: by typing it in the chat room, which one of us will be monitoring, or by shouting it out to one of us in your Zoom room. We plan to make the rounds of all the Zoom rooms, but you may have to be a little patient.
- You may ask your host for hints, and your host will usually answer yes-or-no questions about the answer. Usually. If you're nice. You get as many guesses as your host will put up with, but when the song runs out, that's it.
- Now lather, rinse, and repeat. Those are the "on-air" questions, and they will continue all night.
But wait, there's more!
- Every hour, we will post an Hour Bonus on the website. It will contain a set of questions on a particular topic, like "Dogs" or "A Song of Ice and Fire" or "Dance Crazes." You have a full hour to answer them in your team's Google Doc answer sheet. You have a choice of using the internet or not. If you forsake your search engine of choice (also known as "going commando"), your bonus will be worth more points and you will gain our love and respect.
- And even more! There will be two Super Boni, released at 10:00PM and 2:00AM. (In Williams Trivia, the plural of "bonus" is "boni." It just is.) You have 4 hours for each of these and they are completed in their corresponding Google Doc.
- There's also the dreaded Ultra Bonus: a series of clues spread out over the whole night. You have to tell us what they mean. The sooner you do, the more points you get. You can guess as many times as you want, so keep 'em coming.
- We will also have seven Action Trivias, which will require you to act out a scene, dance, or draw, film it, and send us a link to the movie. Points for style. (Videos uploaded to a Google Drive are perfect for sharing, as are YouTube uploads and other services like Streamable. Images can also be uploaded to places like Google Drive or to Imgur.)
Be sure to read the official contest rules for all the nuts and bolts.
Almost all the trivia from the past 107 contests is online in the Trivia archive at wso.williams.edu/orgs/trivia. If you want to see what questions and boni are like, go there.
The Trivia mailing list is where you can hear scathing reviews of the contest afterward, and also post your own postmortem (highly recommend, the trivia community is great). To join, go to wso.williams.edu/mailman/listinfo/trivia_wso.williams.edu.
So start forming your team and planning your snacks as soon as possible. Send any questions you have to me at mconger [ at ] umich [ dot ] edu. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom and laughing with/at you in action boni on Friday, May 14th!
*Click here to see the origins of the names of all past winning Trivia teams. The reason the best Trivia team names are answers to trivia questions is that the answer to the first question in the contest is, by tradition, the name of the host team. So you've got that going for you.