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Quiz Meisters are breaking the mould of traditional pub trivia

“Our trivia really is a mix of traditional questions, like ‘name the nine countries that border Germany’, which will satisfy those people who love those types of questions, but not everyone is that way inclined."

Who’s going to win the race? Will it be Ducky Howser MD? Maybe it'll be the more equine Quack Caviar? Or will James Van Der Beak take out first place honours of the Duck Derby? The competitors are mini rubber ducks, the size of a duckling who all “look like their names” and are being propelled down the Darebin Creek by the current, while a hundred people cheer on the winner.

“It’s one of our cult games at the moment,” says Pete Curry, one of the founders of Quiz Meisters Trivia. The Duck Derby is a pre-recorded segment, which they play at the end of the night, with each team choosing a duck to back. Filmed segments such as this one, animations and other audio-visual clips are all part of the multi-media experience at a Quiz Meisters Trivia night.

Curry started Quiz Meisters along with Steffan van Lint back when they were in university, and he had been hosting a trivia night for another company. “We used to get lots of people to our shows, including friends, however a lot of our mates who came along couldn’t really answer a lot of the questions, a lot of them were suited for Baby Boomers,” Curry recalls.

“So he and I decided to create a show that our friends could go and see and we thought the best way to do it was to put things on the screen. So we think we were the first in the world to create audio-visual trivia. Essentially what we wanted was to create a show where it wasn’t just about Q&A,” Curry, who after hosting thousands of shows across his career has now retired to work behind the scenes, says.

Quiz Meisters have over 60 individually produced games that they rotate through, such as ‘Porn Star or My Little Pony’, where players have to decide if the name given is one of a kids toy or an actual porn star; ‘Can They Eat It’, which involves teams predicting how the person on the screen goes in an eating competition and ‘Name These Films’, where “three films are re-enacted by three of Melbourne’s worst actors.”

To keep trivia purists satisfied, they also have the standard questions as well, which require both book-knowledge and life experience. “Our trivia really is a mix of traditional questions, like ‘name the nine countries that border Germany’, which will satisfy those people who love those types of questions, but not everyone is that way inclined,” Curry explains.

“What we like to do is celebrate life and nostalgia in each quiz, so for instance, we play a game called The ALDI Game, where we put up three ALDI products and you have to name the original product or the product they are trying to emulate. So you don’t read that in a book, you learn about that by walking into ALDI and doing your everyday shopping, so we like to quiz people about everyday things.”

With hosts often being actors or stand up comedians hosting trivia nights to hone their time on the mic, the result is an interactive, entertaining show that feels “like a TV game show experience,” Curry says. “It’s like a combination of three game shows: Spicks and Specks, Talkin’ About Your Generation and Have You Been Paying Attention?

Since starting Quiz Meisters in Melbourne in 2004, the brand has grown to be a national one, presenting weekly trivia nights in dozens of venues in every state. In Victoria, there’s almost forty shows happening each week, spreading across outer-suburban areas like Diamond Creek, Ringwood and Frankston, with dozens held at inner-city pubs like The Empress, The Swan, The Dick Whittington Tavern and Welcome to Thornbury, plus venues right in the CBD, such as Campari House and The Mint.

A creative team of Gen Y writers and videographers based in their Collingwood headquarters keeps things topical. “We want the content to be relevant and in order to do that it needs to be produced week by week and that’s something we’ve managed to do,” Curry says.

“We’ve had teams that have played for over 12 years but we also have kids straight out of high school loving it as well, so we really feel like we’ve got the 18 – 40 age group. We’ve really got the balance between traditional trivia and things that are happening today.”

Find out more about where Quiz Meisters are hosting trivia near you, by heading to their website.