How To Set Up A Virtual Pub Quiz, According To A Former Quiz Master

by Aoife Hanna
Arno Images/Getty

During these trying times there are plenty of activities you might be missing, especially those which you regularly share with friends and family and had taken for granted before. But the great thing about it being 2020 is that we can all get a bit more creative with our communication and truly harness the power of technology. One great way to bring your friends together and keep up morale a virtual pub quiz, and setting one up is far less demanding than you might think.

The humble pub quiz is a British institution and the backbone of every great boozer. I should know – I used to host them. But transferring all that to the virtual world is a whole new challenge even for (former) pros like myself.

The internet has proven to be an utter blessing ever since the COVID-19 crisis led to lockdown in the UK and across the globe. Video meeting apps have us covered for work, fitness, and keeping in touch with friends and family and here's how they can help you host a high successful pub quiz. Let's just hope everyone stocked up on booze.

Step One: Choose Your App

Oh my days WHAT would we do without the likes of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Houseparty, and Whatsapp? Any of the above could work for a pub quiz but, in my opinion, Zoom is your best option, simply because of the number of people you can have on one video call.

Google Hangouts allows up to 150 people in a chat, but limits its video calls to only 25 people per call. Houseparty's limit is eight and Whatsapp calls only allow four people are a time.

On Zoom, you can have up to 100 participants join you in meetings. However, there's a catch – if you are using the free app, you will have a time limit of 40 minutes before you need to set up another call. If you want unlimited time, you'll need to pay £11.99 a month.

Step Two: Invite Participants

It may seem a bit silly with people's schedules being freer than ever, but making things official with an invite (via a group message or Google Cal event) will make all the difference.

Odds are you have multiple Whatsapp groups in action already but, if that is your app of choice, I'd set up a separate quiz one. This way you can unify all of your friends old and new and they can get involved. Yes, a pub quiz where phone use is encouraged. The sky really is falling.

Step Three: Decide Teams

It's always good to enforce a max number per team. Some of the households dialling into the quiz might be solo isolators, some might be in larger groups. Those who are in individual households might want to team up with other solo dwellers and, in that case, they should be allowed message each other to confer during the quiz.


Step Four: Write The Quiz

Sounds a lot easier than it actually is but hey-ho, you have a lot of free time so why not make this one a corker? Provide for 90 minutes of entertainment because – and trust me on this – any longer than that and it all gets a bit stale. So your best bet is to do six rounds max. Try to create questions that take into account all the different interests and age groups involved in the quiz. And I'm sure it goes without saying, but nobody wants to discuss COVID-19 right now, so maybe leave those questions out for now.

Step Five: Get Creative

Creative rounds are always a giggle so why not get your teams to make tinfoil hats or to draw something? Another big hit is a round on capital cities or maybe even a spelling bee. Each team nominates a member to represent them and the rest is up to fate.

Step Six: Marking

There are a few options here. You could ask people to photography their quiz sheet and send it into you. Or, alternatively, people could mark their own. Of course, that comes with its risks but, really, if people are sad enough to cheat on a virtual pub quiz that's just for fun then good luck to them.

Step Seven: Enjoy Yourself!

It's easy to get a bit stressed or lost in organising an event like this but remember to have fun and pat yourself on the back. You've helped cheer a lot of people up.