Just like my (not-so) riveting title to this post, these book trivia cards will have you scratching your head. Put together by Ridley’s Games, each of these affordable stacks of cards focuses on one genre of book, asking trivia questions that devotees should be able to get but will stump those not in the know, mixing easy questions with some really obscure trivia. (Check out the Ridley’s Games store for plenty of other trivia games, too.)
I got to try out the Fantasy, Classic, and Crime, Thriller, and Mystery Book Trivia decks. Each one includes 80 trivia cards wrapped in a box shaped and styled like a fancy book. Inside each box, there is some matching art as well. The games do not come with any rules, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.
The Classic deck focused on, well, the Classics, all the books we read—or were supposed to read—in school. (The Scarlet Letter, anyone?) The Fantasy deck covered a decent cross-section of content, from the obvious (Lord of the Rings) to the not-so-obvious (War for the Oaks). The Crime, Thriller, and Mystery deck was similar, from Sherlock Holmes to An English Murder, which I can only guess at being obscure because I’ve never heard of it.
Each trivia question has just two answers on the card. To make it more challenging, most questions can just be asked without providing the answer options, but for questions you need to guess at, sometimes you can reason it out from the choices given. My 18-year-old son seemed to figure out that if he’d never heard of the book and one of the answers was a well-known author, the correct answer was usually the other author. You can also put forth a decent guess if you’re familiar enough with the genre to guess, or you might know a bit about the author or book by reputation, or just from general cultural knowledge. Still, there are many that you’re just outright guessing. TL;DR: We didn’t find the fact that there were only two answers to guess from terribly limiting.
In all three of these sets, there were plenty of questions I didn’t know the answer to and plenty of book titles and authors I’d never heard of. I’m no expert in any of the genres we tried, but there was a decent mix of books I had heard of before and books I hadn’t. My aforementioned son thought it was “a grab bag of reading recommendations,” which is a great way to look at it. New authors and books to discover!
Tip: Do shuffle each deck thoroughly before your first playthrough, as we found that sometimes the first half of the deck was all answer A, and the second half was answer B. And, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily these cards shuffled; they were a delight to bridge.
Because there are only 80 questions per deck, there isn’t a whole lot of replayability here, but at only $6 per deck, that’s okay. You can save these for road trips, or keep playing until you get one wrong, read the book, and then resume play. I found the Crime, Thriller, and Mystery deck to be the hardest of the three, but that’s probably because I’ve read very little of the genre.
The Ridley’s Games Book Trivia decks retail for $6 and would make great stocking stuffers, gifts, or a “just because” sentiment for your favorite book lover. I wouldn’t pay more than the retail price for them, but there was enough there that made it worth it. All in all, it was great fun to play the games with my family, and I was surprised at what everyone knew and didn’t know. Give it a go.
Note: I received samples for review purposes.