Home » Curriculum Vitae » CURRICULUM VITAE: Quizardry




Teams participate in a pub trivia game with six rounds. Each round features four trivia questions. Teams have a category sheet listing the categories for each question. The questions are fairly easy but the announced answers, while always falling within the corresponding categories, are clearly wrong. Teams must discover four wordplay transformations that convert an actual answer to the “correct” answer within the trivia game.

Quizardry was an event written the 2017 MIT Mystery Hunt. That year’s Hunt, called Monsters et Manus, featured a fantasy-genre roll-playing theme. The events were inspired by the six character attributes in Dungeons & Dragons, with Quizardry representing both Intelligence and Wisdom. I had been brainstorming swapped-initials pairs, e.g. U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler, during my trip to Ireland. That led to the the basic idea of trivia with wordplay transformations. Many members of the Setec Astronomy Hunt team, especially Jeff Roberts, helped with game development, editing, and play-testing. The event was presented as the Saturday night event during the Hunt. I read questions, Matt McGann deejayed the think music, and Nancy Taubenslag facilitated the players. In practice, several teams completed the Hunt puzzles and metas long before Saturday night, but needed event participation points to be eligible for the final runaround. This means that I and several of my teammates ran single-team versions of Quizardry starting in the wee hours of Saturday and continuing through Saturday afternoon. This question produced the biggest audience laugh during the Saturday night event: What 1989 Oscar winner for Best Original Song, sung by a crab named Sebastian in the animated feature film The Little Mermaid, is ironically part of the official soundtrack for the Disney Cruise Line? (We hope it doesn’t describe the final destination of their cruise ships.)

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