If you've dreamed of appearing on a trivia game show like Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the app HQ Trivia is giving you that experience on your phone. Although you won't appear on TV, all you need to play HQ Trivia is an iPhone. (Time noted an Android release is planned.) But if the thought of joining a live trivia game on your phone sounds daunting, this how-to guide will prove that while the trivia might be challenging, the act of playing HQ Trivia is relatively simple. At least it's far simpler than auditioning for Jeopardy or even organizing a game of Trivial Pursuit among your friends. Plus, unlike Trivial Pursuit, you have a chance to win an actual cash prize at the end, so let the trivia games begin.
As TechCrunch reported, HQ Trivia was created by two of the founders of Vine, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll. And while Vine is now defunct, HQ Trivia has brought in more than 100,000 participants with the app's Twitter account saying there were nearly a quarter million players on Nov. 26. You can become one of these live game players by downloading the HQ Trivia app on your iPhone. Once you open the app, you'll be prompted to provide your phone number and create a username to play.
The trivia is presented live — think Facebook Live — and hosted by a real-life person. As The Daily Beast reported (much to the chagrin of creator Yusupov), Scott Rogowsky is the most popular host, but there are also others. And since the trivia is live, the game occurs at scheduled times. You can play HQ Trivia every day at 9 p.m. ET and additionally at 3 p.m. ET on weekdays. If you open the app after the game has started, you'll be able to watch but not play.
Each game consists of 12 general trivia questions with three multiple choice answers. You have a total of 10 seconds to answer each question and it counts down when there are only three seconds left. Because of the fast-paced nature of HQ Trivia, cheating by way of Google is difficult. And once you get a question wrong, you're eliminated from the game. Yet, you can get back into the game if you have an "extra life," which you can acquire by inviting friends to play. Lifehacker noted that to earn extra lives "just open the app when there's no live game in progress and hit the Invite button in the bottom left corner — or just ask your friends to sign up for the app with your username."
The correct answers are revealed by the host after each question and there's an ongoing chat throughout the game that you can choose to hide. To see a full game in action before you embark on one yourself, check out the video below.
Trivia junkies will get a thrill from the live game no matter what, but the most exciting part is that there is a cash prize when the game is complete. If you manage to answer the 12 questions correctly, you split the pot with the other competitors who also got all the answers right. Since it doesn't cost anything to play, Variety reported that the money is provided by the app's developer, Intermedia Labs. The amount of money offered varies per game, but it was a whopping $8,000 on Nov. 26.
Variety reported that as Nov. 21, the most a single player had won was $536. And if you're wondering how you receive the money, HQ Trivia pays winning contestants through PayPal once they win more than $20. If everyone is eliminated and no one wins a game, the cash gets rolled over to the next game. Based on a screenshot shared by Reddit, via Business Insider, if you win, you get a notification about the amount you have won and are prompted to share the news with your friends.
So if you have 15 minutes to spare and an iPhone, then you can play HQ Trivia too — and potentially win far more than bragging rights. And while you shouldn't stop your in-person game nights, HQ Trivia sure seems more painless than a three-hour game of Trivial Pursuit with your frustrated friends and no cash prize at the end.