Trivial Pursuit On the Go: The Pocket Player Set.

When I started doing this blog, I wanted to specifically cover goofy stuff about video games. That’s still the case, but I do dabble in other subjects from time to time. We’ll still be talking about games, board games to be exact. Well, the closest thing to a board game, anyway.

Remember Trivial Pursuit? Yeah, that board game where you’re given ridiculously hard trivia questions about history stuff and maybe a question or two on something you actually know? Considered a game of strong intellect, it has moved past its original goal of being a challenging trivia game to having special editions based on various TV shows and movies. Ever wanted a Rolling Stones Trivial Pursuit? There you go.

Back in the 80s, before Hasbro acquired Trivial Pursuit and made a bunch of spinoffs based on Lord of the Rings and Saturday Night Live, there weren’t as many spinoffs of the game. Most of them were based off subject matter like the roaring ’20s, movies, Disney, and even several kids editions.

You might have seen these and many others at your local thrift store, as Trivial Pursuit seems to be a common thrift store dumping ground, next to other board games like bad licensed TV show games, unfinished puzzles and an incomplete copy of 1970s-era Monopoly with unknown stains on it. But what I saw at a recent thrift store visit was something I hadn’t seen before, and I couldn’t resist snatching it up.

That little game piece looks like a handheld communicator from Star Trek.

It’s a travel version of Trivial Pursuit. This is the Trivial Pursuit “Pocket Player Set”: Boob Tube edition. I believe this is the only attempt by Selchow & Righter — the original Trivial Pursuit publishers — to actually make a travel version, because I had never seen anything like this before or since.

This has more pink than I expected from a TV-centric edition of this game…

For those unaware of Trivial Pursuit, the goal is to correctly answer questions in six categories — which differed depending on the version you played — and get to the center of the board to win. You’d roll a die to land on a space and get asked a question. If you got the question right, you got a tiny pie piece that corresponded to the category you landed on.

Since making a small board would be a bad idea, the Pocket Player set foregoes the board entirely. Instead, you use a spinner on your game piece to determine one of the six colors you choose from — there are no specific categories in this version — and you’d still ask questions as normal with the goal to get all six categories filled in first. There are considerably fewer questions in this version separated between two decks of cards, and they’re all based on TV content up to the time of the game’s release.

This isn’t the first time they attempted a boardless Trivial Pursuit — there was a “Game Show” version released in 1993 loosely based on the short lived game show, and used a colored die to determine the category. But this didn’t seem like a lucrative approach and never tried the idea again.

The appeal of Trivial Pursuit is to get up to six of your buddies huddled in front of a board as they try to answer something about Napoleon Bonaparte that they have no freakin’ clue about. The Pocket Player set lacks that, and makes it a goofy novelty, yet an interesting collector’s item.

Along with the TV-centric edition, there was another edition released called “TP’s People.” The box advertises additional mini-packs, but I have no idea if these were ever sold anywhere. Since the category colors haven’t changed, you could probably use questions from a different edition of the game and still play it with the spinners. Try playing this with the Baby Boomer edition just to piss off your friends!

I would only recommend hunting this down if you’re a fan of the series, or you’re like me and like strange editions of board games. Otherwise you would be better off playing Trivial Pursuit on your smartphone of choice instead. It’s still one of the more interesting things I’ve found at thrift stores lately, and I’ve been finding some really interesting stuff.

I don’t write about this stuff often, but I figure it would be interesting to somebody in this case. Maybe I’ll put this in a non-games related category or something…

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B.J. Brown

B.J. Brown is the creator and sole writer on You Found a Secret Area. Casually writing since 2010, Fascinated by dumb things like game shows, music, and of course, video games. Also on Twitter. You can support their work on Ko-Fi or Patreon.

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1 Response

  1. karla eakin says:

    Is this version worth anything nowadays? Since no one carries it?

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