When Nick Fury put together The Avengers, it was with the single-minded goal of saving the planet by bringing together a tight-knit group of talented high achievers with different yet complementary skill sets.
The same approach should also be applied when putting together a quiz team.
As the modern quiz shakes off the shackles of the traditional 10-questions-in-10-rounds approach, by introducing things such as sculpting, music and visual rounds, so too must the modern quiz team adapt to the challenges facing their collective store of general knowledge and talent.
Assembling a quiz team requires ingenuity, cunning, diplomacy. An understanding of what each person will bring to the knowledge pool, along with the ability to grasp the fact that the table of teachers in the corner will probably win anyway.
If you’re thinking of heading to one of the many quiz nights in the UAE, here’s what you need to know.
Every team needs its Captain America
You can argue all you want about who is the real leader of The Avengers: Iron Man or Captain America, but we all know it was Cap.
And just as the superheroes needed their strong and steady leader, so too does a quiz team.
The leader will be the one who not only writes the team name at the top of each page, but also holds the pen throughout.
When it comes to answering the questions in hushed, whispered tones, the quiz team is a democracy. But when it comes to writing down those answers, the pen is not a talking stick to be passed around, but rather the tool of a benign dictatorship, and the leader is the conduit through which all the table’s knowledge flows.
You really do need someone with sports knowledge
Every quiz includes between five and 10 sports questions.
The sports fan should be a tactically selected member of the quiz team member and they must have wide-ranging knowledge, but only about football, tennis, golf, cricket or rugby – because no other sports exist in relation to a quiz night.
There are no netball, basketball, gymnastics, hockey, swimming or volleyball questions. There may occasionally be a boxing-related question, but the answer will always be Muhammad Ali.
Embrace the ‘I’m terrible at quizzes’ people
You know the type. As soon as the quiz night is mentioned they will announce (humbly, apologetically or even proudly) that they are useless at quizzes and know nothing about general knowledge. “I’d just hold you all back,” they say while listing examples of their cultural philistinism.
Their self-professed uselessness is a lie though, even if they don’t mean it intentionally. Everyone has a head full of useless pop culture facts buzzing about in their brains, and the “I’m useless at quizzes” person is no exception.
Guaranteed they will know the answer to the most random question that has everyone else stumped and they'll be mighty chuffed to do so.
It’s worth noting however, that the “I’m useless at quizzes” person only has one correct answer in them per quiz. Allow them their moment of glory, then tactfully murmur, “Hmm, I’m not sure about that” for all their other answers.
A creative type is a must
More often than not there will be a round involving some sort of clay or Play-Doh to be modelled around a theme. Something like: reimagine the Burj Khalifa as if it had been designed by Jeff Koons.
Sculpting is part and parcel of many modern quiz nights and while I'm not suggesting you seek out an actual sculptor to join the team (unless you know one, then great), you’ll definitely need a couple of creative types to visualise and then execute the modelling round.
The team name
The quiz team name is the chance to express your collective group personality and let the quiz master and other teams know exactly who you are and what your intentions are for the evening.
Are you there to take things seriously and win at all costs? Then try Taking Care of Quizness or The Spanish In-quiz-ition.
Do you know you don’t stand a chance of winning, so may as well inject a little fun into proceedings? How about Joey Triviani, Trivia Newton-John or John Triviaolta.
Do you want to lull other teams into a false sense of security about your quiz night skills? Then Agatha Quiztie, Sherlock Homies, Quizney Princesses or Quizzards of Oz will do the trick.
Or, do you merely want to mess with the quiz master every time they have to read out your name? Try one of these: And In First Place; My Favourite Team; or Please Evacuate the Venue.