How to host a virtual pub quiz in lockdown: ideas for questions and topics

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Megan Murray
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Hosting a virtual pub quiz for your friends and family, but feeling stuck for quiz questions, round ideas, topics and activities? Don’t worry, our ultimate guide has got you covered. 

Since it was announced that a second nationwide lockdown is running from 5 November until 2 December, virtual pub quizzes are making a comeback. 

With thousands of people’s celebrations cancelled, Google searches for virtual pub quiz questions, topics and ideas are on the rise as we all scramble for another way to mark occasions. 

They’re great for friends trying to organise birthdays in quarantine (the best ones include a dress code and BYOB) and workplaces using them for team building. But the teensy, weensy problem with putting yourself forward to host the next virtual pub quiz is that, well, it’s actually a lot of work.

From coming up with questions, getting creative with different rounds, including a few activities in there – it’s not as straightforward as you’d think. 

That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to hosting your own virtual pub quiz to help you get it right. See below for advice on designing your quiz, selecting questions and having as much as fun humanly possible in your living room.

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Pick a video app

There are several video apps being favoured right now but Zoom seems to be the easiest-to-use of the lot of them. Plus, on Zoom you can host up to 100 participants at once – and if you’ve got more pals than that then, well, you can probably just lean out your window and shout.

Setting up a Zoom account is easy: fill in your details and sign up for free. The only drawback here is that your meetings will cut off after 40 minutes on a basic plan. So, either host one half of the quiz and take a 10 minute break for bathrooms and beverages and re-start the meeting, or upgrade, but it will cost you £11.99 a month.

Create a quiz email address

To ensure fair’s fair, set up a new email address for the quiz so that everyone can send in their answers at the end of every round. 

This will mean that you can confidently announce the winner at the end, and be sure people aren’t generously self-marking. We recommend using Gmail and keeping the address simple as participants will need to email you continuously throughout the game. Ask them to put their team name in the subject line every time and to always submit guesses before you reveal the answers. 

Send out your invites, and make them jazzy

It’s the weekend people! Let’s have some fun, shall we? When messaging your friends to tell them the details of your virtual pub quiz you’ll need to include details such as the video app being used and the start time. But, from personal experience we would recommend getting them in the party mood by popping some tongue-in-cheek requirements in your invite, too. 

Here’s some ideas of how you might want to gear people up for the quiz:

  • Suggest everyone wear fancy dress. You could try a theme like 90s fashion or theming by country.
  • If partners or house mates are getting involved, ask everyone to coordinate their outfits. 
  • Offer points for the most impressive headwear.
  • Go for glitter or face painting and ask everyone to show it off at the beginning.
  • Ask everyone to make a certain drink for the beginning of the quiz, so you can all say… “Cheers!”
  • Tell players they must have a team name and ask them to create a crafty sign to show it off.
Virtual pub quiz tips and ideas.

Design your quiz

Obviously how you design your quiz is entirely up to you, but here are some tips that you might find helpful:

  • We recommend doing five rounds, estimating that each round will take about 10-15 minutes between explaining the questions, repeating anything unclear, giving players time to think about their answers and email in their guesses, before revealing the correct answers.
  • Five questions per round is a good number if you’re unsure.
  • Allow for a break after the third round – cameras on or off is up to you – to give everyone a chance to use the bathroom or get some more drinks.
  • If you want to give your quiz some real pizzazz, we recommend creating a layout using Microsoft Powerpoint and using a new slide for each round. This gives you the opportunity to include video or picture rounds and you can share your screen so everyone can see…
  • …equally you can stick to an authentic pub quiz style and just read out the questions while on camera. 

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Pick your quiz questions

Now this takes a bit of creativity, but if you’re short on ideas, here’s some inspiration for you:

  • Photo round: set up a Whatsapp group for everyone on the call. Shout out to participants to do certain things and get a photo of it (for example, take a picture with socks on your hands). The first to post it in the group wins the round.
  • Maps: many famous books have maps within them. Pick out five and ask players to guess where they’re from. Need some help? Try Dracula, The Hobbit or Winnie the Pooh to get you started. 
  • Catchphrase: arrange images next to each other or act them out on video. For example, take a house plant and (if you have a flat mate or partner) ask someone to video you making punching movements next to it. This would be ‘to beat around the bush’. Or, hold a shower above your head and say great things about yourself and this would be ‘showering with praise’. You get the idea.
  • What connects these images: pick four things which have a theme in common and ask your players to guess what it is. For example, pick four celebrities who have all also written a children’s book.
  • Who am I: read out a description for a variety of well-known people throughout history without saying who they are and leave your players to guess the person’s full name.
  • Anagrams: choose five words along the same theme and scramble the letters. This one’s best done if you’re using a visual aid like Powerpoint so people can see the letters.
  • Guess the song: play the first five seconds (or however long you think is appropriate) of a song through the speaker of your laptop, using your phone (so that everyone on the quiz can hear), and ask them to guess the name of the song and the artist.
  • General knowledge: five questions of good ol’ general knowledge, from when the Eiffel Tower was built to the longest word in the dictionary. 
  • Change a common phrase: pick a phrase that everyone will likely know, like ‘raining cats and dogs’. Now change it using similar words – like pouring felines and canines – and see if they can guess the original. 
  • Guess the link: ask three to five questions all with the same answer, for example: ‘what colour was the only Mrs in Cludo’ and ‘what street did the cast of Neighbours live on’ etc. The answer for all is white. 

General knowledge question ideas

General knowledge is a staple of any pub quiz. If you’re struggling with questions, though, these should help you out.

  • What and where is the tallest building in the world? Burj Khalifa in Dubai (828 meters divided across 163 floors).
  • Who has the most followers on Instagram? Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Which country produces the most coffee in the world? Brazil.
  • Which country first gave women the vote and bonus point for the year? New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in, but not to stand for, parliamentary elections in 1893.
  • What is the collective name for a group of unicorns? A blessing, as in, “there’s a blessing of unicorns.”
  • What item’s thickness is measured in denier? Tights.
  • In which year was Joan of Arc burned at the stake? 1431.

Tell your friends!

Now all there’s left to do is pick a day, a time and tell your friends! Give them the meeting ID once you’ve set up the video call and you’re ready!

If you’re an avid Stylist fan, you’ll know it’s not always possible to find an issue of our magazine. Often they’re gone before you head into work (they disappear fast!), or you live in a part of the UK where you can’t get your hands on a copy. Add to this the fact that millions of us are not commuting right now, and we wanted to ensure you don’t miss out on the magazine any longer.

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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