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HQ Trivia

HQ Trivia

If you are staring into your phone every day at noon and 6 PM Pacific Time, chances are you know about HQ Trivia.  HQ Trivia is an app that is giving away real money, twice a day, for answering 12 trivia questions.  Started by the founders of Vine, the trivia game has no ads, no secondary games, and no in app purchases.  It is just trivia, and everyone is hooked.  There is something about joining the club with thousands of other people at the exact same time that makes you feel connected and crazy competitive.

How it Works

HQ Trivia is an app that you download and play.  Simple.  I was invited to the game by my mom (of course, she is always more hip than me), so when I joined she was given a free life.  When a game starts, you receive an alert on your phone.  Currently, the prize is $2,000 and occurs twice a week on weekdays, once a day on weekends, and every once and a while there is a special game.  I played on New Year’s Eve and the prize was $18,000!

When you open the app for a game, you are immediately sucked in.  Everybody waiting for it to start is chatting.  A lot of chatting.  Once the game is set, it closes and no one else can join.  A 2 minute timer begins the countdown to the game, and then your host of the night appears.  People are obsessed with the hosts of the game, especially Scott Rogowsky. This guy went on vacation and there were droves of people in the comments asking “Where’s Scott?”

After a quick introduction (although it feels like it takes forever) the game begins, and it goes fast.  Twelve questions, and one wrong answer means elimination.  You can see how many people get each question right and wrong, and they drop like flies.  Everyone who makes it to the end splits the prize money.  Simple.  Addictive. Brilliant.

Venture capitalists donate the prize money for the game.  I’m sure they have a plan – venture capitalists aren’t typically donating money for fun.  There are some interesting articles that discuss the money and the future of this app.  For now it means that you get to play a game ad free for a chance to win some cash.

Our Experience

Jessica:  I feel so late to this game!  I wished I had started sooner, but I did start before they hit 1 million users so I guess that is something.  Because the prize pot is split by everyone who answers all twelve questions correctly, the more people playing means a smaller prize.   I love trivia games.  Mark and I record Jeopardy daily on our DVR, and just recently we started a team at our local bar’s trivia night.  HQ Trivia is another way to get my fix.

Sarah: Jessica told me about this HQ Trivia, so I had to check it out. The game is supposed to start about 6 PM, but it really starts about 10 minutes later. My anticipation is building & I want to play the damn game! When it finally starts, I get the first 3 questions correct, then I don’t answer the fourth question quick enough. Lesson learned – I need to give this game my full attention.

Jessica:  You have to be ready!  I think that is part of the addiction to the game.  You wait all day to play, and if you look away once you can lose everything.  It’s like pre DVR television – you miss it and you cannot get it back.  Also, there is something kind of brain-washy type of feeling having someone address you through your phone.  Like, one day HQ Trivia is going to run the world through this app because they hypnotized everyone.

Sarah: I now try to play at least once a day. It’s fun! Some of the questions are easy & some are pretty tough. Like, what the heck is an epaulet? I’m pretty competitive & I pride myself on being a wealth of useless knowledge, so this game is right up my alley.

The worst!

Jessica:  Not to brag or anything, but I know what an epaulet is.  Come on Sarah!  The questions start off easy and get more difficult as the game goes on.  I have learned a couple of new things the hard way, like how there are more Walgreens in this world than Walmarts.  That question still haunts me.

Sarah: The hosts rotate through, but the two I have seen the most are Sarah and Scott.  Even Jimmy Kimmel hosted the other night!  This game is on fire.

The Future of Trivia HQ

As great as it is there are still a couple of problems with the game.  One is that it lags, and sometimes completely freezes up.  This is agony when you are ready to play and worried that you are missing the game.  Serious FOMO.  Also, I wonder how sustainable the game is.  Will it last in the future?  Will each quiz end up being sponsored so money can be made?

Also, I would also like to see a feature where you can follow your friends.  I know a few people who play, but there is no way to see how we stack up with each other, and we certainly cannot chat together in the app. I think that HQ Trivia will definitely need to evolve for its survival, but I am enjoying it now.

The Verdict

We are Really Into HQ Trivia.  We can’t stop.  This craze will surely keep surging and it will be interesting to watch its evolution.  Eventually they will monetize the app, right?  For now, the prizes and the number of players are growing.  If you want to join, let Sarah and I know because we would LOVE to get your free lives! Seriously.  We will take them.  We want to win.


I am a Texan living in California with my husband Mark, my best pup Ziggy, and our two cats Marilyn and Goldie. I love reading, cooking, binge-watching great tv shows and staying up too late talking to my friends.

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