If you’re not a fan of TP (Trivial Pursuit), then you may want to stop reading now. Unless you want to continue because you’re a masochist, or wish to point and laugh.
TPDC (Trivial Pursuit: Digital Choice) replaces TP’s boxes of question cards with a digital handheld device to which you download questions. The package also includes the board, dice, game pieces, a USB-Cable (mini-USB at the device end) and a PC application- no Mac support it seems.
It comes with 600 questions, in the usual six categories, preloaded; and you can download a lot more through the PC application, for free. Of course, this requires an internet connection.
Questions are divided up into blocks of ‘Mini-Categories’. You begin with the Master Category (the usual six categories), then a Sub Category, then finally the Mini-Category, which is the actual block of questions. There seem to be about 50 questions per Mini-Category.
The device looks and feels quite “cheap and cheerful”. On the other hand it’s lasted through many games, and been dragged out camping and to the beach while being tossed around and generally abused. So feel can be deceptive. It has 10 buttons: six are for the question categories, while the other four (top, bottom, top left shoulder and top right shoulder) help navigate and make selections.
When you first switch the unit on, the words Trivial Pursuit judder across the backlit, rather ugly, black and white LCD screen.You can then choose either “Instant Play” or “Choose & Play”. “Instant Play” randomly picks a Mini-Category for each of the colours for you, while Choose & Play lets you choose the Mini-Categories yourself. You can then decide to play with a Time limit for each question, or not.
The interface, barring the coloured category buttons isn’t amazingly intuitive, with only on screen arrows to hint at which buttons can be used. As a general rule the left shoulder button is ‘Back’ and the top button is ‘accept choices’ or ‘forward’. While not intuitive, you do learn them after a while.
Having played a lot of games with the unit, I can say that I’m a great fan of it. I currently have 4,600 questions loaded into it, with a wide range of Sub and Mini Categories. The best part is that I can load only those Mini Categories that suit my friends and me. There’s no point in asking most of us Sports questions, as we just don’t follow sports. On the other hand, stuff to do with fashion, or the ‘Supernatural’ fascinates at least one of us, so those go in.
If you’re near a PC you can also remove the old questions and download new sets. It takes a while to get repeats, however, so there’s plenty of scope for interesting games for a long time.
I have to say, the PC application while very pretty, is somewhat clunky to use – and not amazingly obvious to use when it comes to ‘shopping’ for more questions. I’ve also found that it’s not worth trying to run it, even just for downloading questions from the internet, unless you have the device plugged in. Once you work it out, though, it “does the job”, and really it’s not something you’re likely to do often.
So, if you’re a fan of Trivial Pursuit, I can’t see how you wouldn’t want this – assuming prerequisites like money and friends are available.
And for those pointing and laughing – at least we’re all having fun.