If you were to ask 100 people in the USA to name a trivia board game, then Trivial Pursuit—with a nod to both Cranium and Wits & Wagers—would likely be the most popular answer. Trivial Pursuit has won over many hearts in its 40 plus years of existence.
Created in Montreal, Canada in 1979 by a couple of newspaper editors who had lost enough Scrabble tiles to make the game unplayable, Trivial Pursuit has gone on to sell over 100 million copies in more than 25 countries and in over 15 languages. Most of its editions over the years have been successful, with some significantly more so than others.It is without argument the most important trivia-based board game ever created.
The genius (get it?) of Trivial Pursuit is its simplicity and easy ruleset. Anyone can understand how to play the game within a couple of minutes of sitting down at the table and having the concepts of Trivial Pursuit themes and Trivial Pursuit topics explained to them. Collecting the six different colored wedges in your playing piece—or pieces of cheese/cake/pizza depending on the group you play with—makes for a visually fulfilling task, especially when you are down to just one—let’s say the Trivial Pursuit yellow wedge—to complete your player piece and move to the end game. If you’re a seasoned player, you will find that most editions follow similar gameplay.
Of course, the categories have been tweaked in some editions. Each thematic edition presents its own categories that are specific to the theme of the game. Thus in the Harry Potter Edition, for example, green stands for Slytherin House, Death Eaters & The Dark Arts; yellow is for Objects & Artifacts; orange is for Animals, Magical Creatures & Magical Beings; pink is for Wizards, Witches, Ghosts & Muggles; blue is for Hogwarts, Other Locations & Transportation; and purple is for Spells, Potions & Other Magic.
Since there have been over 100 versions and editions of the game printed when all the different languages and themes are taken into account. Providing Trivial Pursuit sample questions for all those versions would be an almost impossible task given just how niche and localized some of the editions are, so we have picked some of the most popular versions of the game here to look at the types of questions you will be busting out on your next game night if Trivial Pursuit is on the agenda.
If you’re looking to find out the categories that are in the latest edition of the game, please see our corresponding article. Likewise, if you’re looking for the different sets of rules for various editions, you will find that here. Now, let’s have a look at some of the other games! Hopefully, this article will answer your questions about Trivial Pursuit and its categories in different games.
Trivial Pursuit Colors
One of the basic tenets for a game of Trivial Pursuit is that there are six colors of wedges and those colors each align to a different category of trivia. These categories change through the various editions—pink, for example, aligns with Albums & Singles in Trivial Pursuit: The Beatles Collector’s Edition, while it is player characters in Trivial Pursuit World of Warcraft Edition—but keeping the colors generally standardized has been a theme of the game from the original printing of the first Genus edition back in 1981.
To that end, there have only ever been seven colors of wedges used in the entire history of a franchise that will reach the 40-year mark in 2021. Even then, five of those seven colors have found their way into every single version of the game, with the other two colors trading spots over time. The five main colors—we can call them the “colors of domination”—are blue, pink, yellow, orange, and green. You pick up any copy of Trivial Pursuit—in the US editions at least—and those five colors will represent a category of some sort.
The two outlying colors are brown and purple. The 1981 version of the game had Art & Literature represented with brown as the piece of cheese awarded for a correct answer. Brown stayed in the game all the way through until the Junior – Fourth Edition released in 1996, which saw it drop out to be replaced by the more modern feeling purple. The two colors have traded on and off since then—sometimes being replaced and put back in within the same year in various editions—but purple has been the constant choice since the Trivial Pursuit 25th Silver Anniversary Edition that was released in 2008.
The bottom line is that whatever your personal (nerd) topic of interest—and no matter the colors that represent the categories—Trivial Pursuit is an ideal game to play with family and friends. To give you an idea of what you will be looking at in the various popular editions, here are some sample questions and answers from the most recent version of each game:
Trivial Pursuit Classic Edition (Genus Edition) Categories
These are the categories found in the standard version of Trivial Pursuit (2016 release):
BLUE – GEOGRAPHY
Which district in central Tokyo is particularly famous for its electronics?
PINK – ENTERTAINMENT
Which two actors, who play Sherlock Homes on TV starred on the London stage together in 2013 in a production of Frankenstein?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller
YELLOW – HISTORY
Historically, parts from which animal were used to stiffen corsets?
PURPLE – ART & LITERATURE
Which M.D. lived in the idyllic village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, far from the World War I trenches where the author first imagined him?
GREEN – SCIENCE & NATURE
An NSA surveillance program unnervingly shares a name with which nefarious computer network in the sci-fi classic Terminator?
ORANGE – SPORTS & LEISURE
Which professional wrestler was known as the 8th Wonder of the World?
Andre the Giant
Trivial Pursuit Junior Categories
This is the same style of game as the regular adult edition but it is aimed at children. The box says it is for ages 8 to adult and the sweet spot feels in that 7-12 range in terms of question difficulty.
BLUE – EVERY DAY
What newspaper features “All the news that’s fit to print”?
The New York Times
PURPLE – FUN
What food gives Popeye strength?
What metric unit weights just over two pounds?
YELLOW – STORIES & SONGS
What famous poem was written by Clement Clark Moore?
The Night before Christmas
PINK – NATURE
What huge African animal is born underwater and swims before it walks?
GREEN – GAMES
What brand of toy cars are manufactured by Lesney in England?
Trivial Pursuit World of Harry Potter Ultimate Edition Categories
This is the catch-all for the licensed brands under the Trivial Pursuit banner. IPs from Disney to The Rolling Stones to Power Rangers have had their own full games, with many others – such as Doctor Who, Rick and Morty, and The World of Dinosaurs—getting bite-sized question packs. The ability to stay relevant with these types of genre-specific games is part of why Trivial Pursuit thrives 40 years after its launch.
For this example, let’s use Harry Potter.
GREEN – SLYTHERIN HOUSE, DEATH EATERS & THE DARK ARTS
What does Draco Malfoy use to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts?
A pair of Vanishing Cabinets
YELLOW – OBJECTS AND ARTIFACTS
What items does Albus Dumbledore bequeath to Harry?
The Golden Snitch he caught at his first match and the sword of Gryffindor
ORANGE – ANIMALS, MAGICAL CREATURES and MAGICAL BEINGS
Professor Moody turns Draco Malfoy into what type of animal?
PINK – WIZARDS, WITCHES, GHOSTS, and MUGGLES
According to Griphook, who put the fake sword of Gryffindor inside Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault?
BLUE – HOGWARTS, OTHER LOCATIONS, and TRANSPORTATION
Where is the Triwizard Tournament hosted during Harry’s fourth year?
PURPLE – SPELLS, POTIONS and OTHER MAGIC
Which spell does Hermione use to unchain the Gringotts dragon: a) Relashio b) Alohomora; c) Bombarda?
Trivial Pursuit Greatest Hits Categories
This is an appealing style of game if you’re obsessed with (or stopped paying attention to pop culture after…) a certain decade. It has three decks of 600 themed cards, with each deck representing pop culture in the ’80s/’90s/2000s respectively. The result is a game that can be enjoyed by any pop culture nut of the past 40 years or so. Categories are in the 80/90/2000 format.
BLUE – TELEVISION/VIEWING/TELEVISION
What sitcom aired episodes titled Green-Eyed Dick, Post Nasal Dick and Dick is from Mars, Sally is from Venus?
3rd Rock from the Sun
PINK – WILD CARD/OOPS/FADS
Which nation’s residents were the first to dance the conga?
YELLOW – HEADLINES/IMPORTANT/BUZZ
What Fortune 500 company was named for a Herman Melville character?
PURPLE – MUSIC/TRENDS/MUSIC
What nickname did Clash guitarist John Mellor earn, for the way he played the ukulele as a London street Busker?
GREEN – MOVIES/HANGIN’/MOVIES
What S-word did Kevin Kline’s character hate being called in A Fish Called Wanda?
ORANGE – SPORTS & LEISURE/WIRED/SPORTS & GAMES
What three members of the Caray family have broadcast major league baseball games?
Harry Caray, Skip Caray. Chip Caray
Trivial Pursuit Family Edition Categories
This is the version of the game for people that want to play with kids and adults at the same time. The hook is that there are two sets of question cards—something unique to this edition of the game—with blue cards that are designed for adults, and yellow cards created with kids in mind. The division of questions facilitates easier gameplay for children and adults. If you’ve ever wanted to play a game of trivia with your children, but worried about them not knowing any of the answers, this is the best solution. You get to answer questions that are more up your alley, while your kids get their own questions that suit their level of knowledge. Play with children from the age of eight. If you have younger children, you can introduce them to other editions of Trivial Pursuit that are tailor-made for the youngest players.
BLUE – GEOGRAPHY
Adult – The name of what South American city translates into English as “January River”?
Rio de Janeiro
Children – What is a bratwurst – German sausage, German mountain or German cathedral?
PINK – ENTERTAINMENT
Adult – Which actress won a Teen Choice Award for her role in Date Night?
Children – What kind of animal are Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash?
My Little Pony’s
YELLOW – HISTORY
Adult – Sukamo was the first president of which Asian country? – Malaysia, Indonesia or Cambodia?
Children – Which of these features describes an Ankylosaurus – two spikes on its head, a club tail, or chicken sized?
A club tail
PURPLE – ART & LITERATURE
Adult – Which French artist is known for his paintings and sculptures of ballet dancers? – Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse or Edgar Degas?
Children – What popular children’s book character lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City?
GREEN – SCIENCE & NATURE
Adult – Earthquakes occur on the moon. True or false?
Children – Emus have feathers but can’t fly. True or false?
ORANGE – SPORTS & LEISURE
Adult – Who is the only major league to hit a walk-off, inside-the-park grand slam – Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente or Joe DiMaggio?
Children – What fruit is dried to make raisins?
These same categories can also be found in Trivial Pursuit Master Edition, the successor of the original Trivial Pursuit Genus. That means it is another classic edition of Trivial Pursuit that is suitable for adult players. The categories target general knowledge and follow the classic Trivial Pursuit Genus format. The Master Edition comes with a timer, which changes the gameplay slightly. Players are advised to start the timer as soon as the question is read out loud. This addition speeds up the game significantly. Players cannot spend longer than a few seconds on a question, so they’re forced to hurry up. It also makes the game more difficult. If you’re used to having your thinking time, you have to rewire your brain a little bit. Of course, you can play without a timer too. If that’s the format you prefer, the game becomes even closer to Genus.
Baby Boomer Trivial Pursuit Categories
This card set came out in 1983 and targeted the generation of baby boomers with questions from the ’50s and early ’60s. The game was used as an expansion set for Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition, or the original Trivial Pursuit game.
Trivial Pursuit doesn’t play when it comes to board games! The questions in this edition are very difficult, especially if you are not exactly a baby boomer. Even if you are, you will have a hard time answering some of the more obscure questions, which only makes it more fun. If you’re not a baby boomer, you can challenge your parents to a friendly game of trivia. They will probably enjoy it more than you, but you can’t turn down a challenge!
Here are the categories from Baby Boomer Trivial Pursuit:
BLUE – TELEVISION
What is the origin of the expression “Cowabunga!” – the war cry of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
It was the greeting exchanged by Buffalo Bob Smith and Chief Thunderthud on the “Howdy Doody” TV show in the 1950s
PINK – STAGE & SCREEN
Which Hollywood filmmaker produced a string of films in the 1950s and 1960s using animals as actors in a drama?
YELLOW – NIGHTLY NEWS
What so-called “war” spawned the dueling slogans “Better Dead Than RED” and “Better Red Than Dead” in the 1950’s?
The Cold War
BROWN – PUBLISHING
What is the name of Dennis the Menace’s dog in the Hank Ketchum comics?
GREEN – LIVES & TIMES
What quiz show champ of the 1950s received 500 marriage proposals and helped increase sales of Geritol by 40 percent?
Charles Van Doren
RED – R.P.M.
Who had a US number one hit with “Rag Mop” in 1950?
Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition Categories
In 2002, Trivial Pursuit celebrated 20 years on the market with a brand new edition of the game, which included questions from the last two decades (1982-2002). Some players that have reviewed the game on Amazon found many of the questions too obscure to even enjoy. This game should appeal to die-hard trivia fans whose knowledge spans far beyond classic trivia. It is absolutely necessary for you to have lived through the 20 years of Trivial Pursuit to have a good chance of answering all the questions correctly. Being alive in these two decades will give you just the right amount of trivia knowledge to conquer the game.
If you think you’re a real trivia whiz, give this game a try! It might wow you with unique questions from the ’80s and ’90s.
The game has the following categories:
BLUE – GLOBAL VIEW
If the terms ‘Red Death’ and ‘Black Death’ refer to plague, what does ‘White Death’ or ‘White Plague’ refer to?
Tuberculosis, just as deadly The World Health Organization declared TB a global health emergency in 1993, and the Stop TB Partnership proposed a Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis which aims to save 14 million lives between 2006 and 2015
RED – THE WRITTEN WORD
Which novel by Michael Ondaatjee was adapted into a 1990s Oscar winning film?
The English Patient
YELLOW – SOUND & SCREEN
Five gold rings — What is the name of Gandalf’s horse in The Lord of the Rings?
BROWN – INNOVATIONS
Which ‘rodent’ first appeared on desk tops in January 1983?
GREEN – NEWS
WHAT NEWSPAPER, LAUNCHED IN 1982, WAS DUBBED THE MCPAPER BECAUSE IT PROVIDED ITS READERS WITH “MCNUGGETS” OF NEWS?
ORANGE – GAME TIME
Who won the 2004 British Open Golf championship?
Trivial Pursuit continues to surprise us with new editions every year. I hope that your questions have been answered and you have a better understanding of Trivial Pursuit and its categories! Remember that each game is different and the categories won’t always follow the standard format. As you can see from the sample questions above, Trivial Pursuit is an ideal game for both general trivia buffs and for those who have their knowledge in a more niche area. There is no group of people that wouldn’t enjoy one of the many versions of Trivial Pursuit, so find a copy and bring it out at your next game night—or maybe even just take the questions to a bar or restaurant some time to test your friends and see what they know. Trivial Pursuit is a game for all audiences and all settings and it deserves to be in the collection of any board game fan or lover of trivia.
If you have any more questions about Trivial Pursuit, please leave them below!
Kevin C Ward says
I have 2 sets of cards from the family edition but am having trouble deciphering the category names. Can you help?
Set 1 Blue. PP, Pink GT, Yellow Y, Brown AC, Green CW, Orange GL
Set 2 Blue. P, Pink GT, Yellow Y, Brown AC, Green CW, Orange GL
I’ve just found the rules card for the game:
People & Places
Art & Culture
Games & Leisure
Colin Howell says
This is what I have been able to discover:
PP People and Places
GT Good Times
Y (In my version this is a Greek Gamma, not a Y) Science and technology
AC Arts and Culture
CW Natural World – not sure why the C, perhaps someone else can help?
GL Games and Leisure
Thanks Colin, this is really helpful!
Helen Preston says
Hi, I have just picked up a Millenium Edition from a charity shop however some of the instructions appear to be missing and I don’t recognise the categories at all and can’t find them on Google anywhere! Can anyone help please
Blue – NT
Pink – TF
Yellow – VI
Brown – M
Green – MS
Orange – SC