Trivia Scoring Guide

Williams Trivia Scoring Guide


Here is the standard template of scoring values for a Williams Trivia contest.

Running teams have always been free to amend and improvise, but should not do so capriciously. Many scoring changes have been announced or discussed first on the Trivia listserver.

Bonus Types and Recommended Maximum Scores

The usual schedule for a Trivia Contest is the following:

Bonus Type Schedule Notes
On-Airs One question per song ID Song and Artist for one point. Answer question for another (possibly 2) point(s)
Hour Boni Every hour, on the hour, due in an hour (i.e. 1st is released at 10:00 PM, and due at 11:00 PM) See below for scoring.
Super Boni Every four hours, on the hour, due in 4 hours (i.e. 1st is released at 10:00 PM, and due at 2:00 a.m.) See below for scoring.
Ultra Bonus Reveal 3 more clues every hour, on the hour. See below for scoring. The sooner the team guesses the topic, the higher their score.
Actions Every hour, on the half hour, due in an hour (i.e. 1st is released at 10:30 PM, performance is due at 11:30 PM) See below for scoring.
2:00 a.m. Challenge Reveal for the 2:00 a.m. break. See below for scoring.

On-Airs (Single Songs and Trivia Questions)

On-air songs-- 1 point apiece. This means title and artist.

On-air questions-- 1 point apiece.

"Three-point plays"-- Occasionally there are two-part trivia questions, or questions with multiple answers (i.e. name all seven Dwarves). In such a case, 1 point might be awarded to teams naming any 4 of the dwarves, with an additional 2nd point for naming all seven.


Boni are now typically scored on a two-tier scale. One scale offers the possibility of more points for teams that do not use the internet to research answers; other resources (books, phone calls to experts, etc.) are still encouraged. Teams indicate which scoring option they have elected to submit the bonus under. If the running team elects to use this sliding scale, this decision should be clearly communicated on bonus submission sheets.

A common scoring breakdown:

Hour Bonuses-- 10 points for teams using the internet; 15 points without.

Super Bonuses-- 25 points for teams using the internet; 40 points without. A 20/25 scale may have been used in May 2005.

Ultra Bonus-- Scored on a downward sliding scale; worth less and less as the night continues and more clues are revealed. Point values have varied greatly from contest to contest; the highest possible score has been as low as 10 and as high as 35 points at one time or another.

Other Scoring Opportunities

Action Trivia-- 6 points apiece, after having long stood at 5. In theory, 3 points are awarded based on demonstration of trivia knowledge, and 3 are awarded based on creativity, enthusiasm, props, costumes, nudity, etc., but in practice, the scoring of these tends to be very flexible and allow a lot of leeway for the main scoring criterion simply to be "how much did this entertain the running team?" A 7 was awarded to Dan Bahls for one performance in May 2004 before being reduced to a 6 by Dave Letzler '06 in an attempt to avoid a messy precedent.

2:00 AM challenge-- Point values vary depending on circumstance. The top score has typically been in the 3-point range. (Many recent contests have not included a 2:00 AM challenge at all.)