HQ Trivia requires a player to answer 12 general knowledge questions correctly to win a share of the prize pool—which is actual cash—with any other players that can also complete the same task. This prize pool—which in recent games has commonly been around $5,000—is certainly worth the effort to try to win. To that end, the company has given a couple of lifelines to players in-game in the form of extra lives and “erasers.”
Extra lives are basically exactly what you expect. The first time that a player gets a question wrong in a game they automatically progress to the next round as long as they have an extra life available and loaded on their account. These can either be purchased in-store or earned through friends’ signing up for the app and using your own private referral code.
Outside of the slightly backwards interface where you have to deny an extra life being used if you don’t want it as opposed to simply selecting that you do want to use one—which can sometimes lead to lives feel like they are being wasted—this is a pretty simple system without a great deal of controversy.
“Erasers,” on the other hand? Well, there is plenty of controversy regarding them.
What Are HQ Trivia Erasers?
In principle, HQ Trivia Erasers are almost as simple as the extra lives. In HQ Trivia, every one of the 12 questions has three multiple choice answers. The eraser is used to scrub one of those answers from the board. This means that in simple math terms if you did not know the answer, then a player’s chance of being correct increases from 33% to 50% when the eraser is played. In truth, the percentage chance should be higher if the player has any idea of the answer and the wrong answer removed is one of the two answers that the player thought possible.
The eraser is triggered by manually tapping the icon—perhaps unsurprisingly, the icon is an eraser—on the bottom right corner of the game screen. If the eraser icon is blue, it means that a player has one available to use. The concept is certainly simple enough to grasp, and an eraser makes the game easier/more approachable while keeping more and more players in play until the later rounds of the game and thus in with a chance of making it to the final and winning some money.
To that end, it is important to note that the answer to the oft-asked question of “can you use the eraser on level 12?” is no—this would literally be the company giving away free money to every level 11 winner after all—and that only one eraser can be used per game.
How to Earn/Get an Eraser on HQ Trivia?
There are two basic ways to earn erasers on the HQ Trivia app. The first—and probably most simple—is just to buy erasers from the in-app store. To do this, a player hits the shop icon on the bottom part of their screen—it is the second item from the left on the HQ Trivia home page—and scrolls down past the extra lives and VIP Prize Entry Ticket bundles to get down to where the erasers can be found.
There are currently three different eraser bundles in the store, and they are purchased using the in-game coin currency to make a purchase. Coins can be either earned through playing the Daily Challenge—in a limited number —or they can be bought using real-world cash through credit cards or PayPal. The coin breakdown for the erasers is as follows:
1 Eraser = 100 coins
3 Erasers = 250 coins
5 Erasers = 400 coins
The cost of coins themselves varies: 500 coins cost $4.99 while buying 15,000 coins costs $64.99, so if you buy the very lowest amount of coins and erasers one-by-one, then the value is $1. Buying in bulk is clearly the best way to go here if a player wants to have erasers on hand for the best value.
The other way to earn erasers is by logging on. A player will receive one eraser every time that two or more nearby players join the game. This is a simple method of HQ Trivia getting people to play the game in groups and, specifically, to make sure that players are always recommending the game to their friends and family. This increases their numbers in terms of players and downloads while they give away something useful, but not all that valuable to them in the long run.
Are Erasers Fixed/Rigged?
The question that has seen Reddit and Twitter users up in arms about the power-up eraser is whether or not erasers are fixed or rigged?
There are multiple parts to this question and the theory behind it that can become clouded with conjecture in our social media-driven world. What seems fairly certain is that the answer to be removed by an eraser is set before the question is asked instead of being randomly selected at the time the eraser is used.
This only makes sense for HQ Trivia to do in order to cover their own backs during a game. That is because if the eraser was truly random then in theory a group as small as 22 people—either in person or via group chat—could work out every single answer up to the final question if the 50/50 shot of the eraser wiped out the right answers for that group.
For example. The first question sees Player A use his eraser for the top answer to disappear. Player B—who is sitting next to player A—uses his eraser and the bottom answer disappears. The answer, therefore, has to be the one in the middle. Continuing this with Players C and D in the next round, Players E and F in the next, and so on, means the game can be gamed (for lack of a better term) if true randomness actually existed. This is why the answer disappearing has to be the same for any players using an eraser on a question.
The bigger source of debate is if the answer removed is rigged to always be the most obvious choice. Say the question is, “Which of these is not a European Capital city?” The top answer is Oslo. The middle answer is Barcelona. The bottom answer is Potato. Most general knowledge players may not know European capitals, but they will at least know that Oslo and Barcelona are cities, while Potato is not. In a “fair” game, the answer removed—the same answer for everyone remember—would be the tricky one (Barcelona) on about 50% of the questions and the obvious one (potato) also on around 50% of the questions.
According to many threads on Reddit and Twitter, this is just not the case with HQ Trivia. These users opine that the obvious answer (potato in the example) gets removed over 90% of the time, essentially making erasers useless as it removes the answer no player would pick in the first place.
This gets less clear later in the game as the questions in the final rounds are designed to be more difficult with the difference between the obvious and the less obvious answers greatly decreasing. Other users disagree, noting that half of the answers are Googled by the plyers any way and that often the brain looks for patterns that aren’t there in situations like this.
The answer—as with most things in life—is likely somewhere between the two extremes. The 50:50 lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was always completely pointless in later rounds as it eliminated the obvious and the same is likely true here much of the time. Erasers are good to have if you can earn them, but as you can only use one a game—and with the giant caveat that it cannot be on the final question—they likely aren’t worth spending real-world money on unless you are a serious HQ Trivia player.