Today in 1979, two guys in Canada dreamed up one of the most popular board games of all time: Trivial Pursuit.

They were Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, who worked for newspapers in Montreal, and while playing a game of Scrabble, they started talking about how what the world could really use is a good trivia game.

News people tend to pick up lots of interesting facts as they do their work, and so they decided they could probably make a game of their own.

It took about two years of work, a lot of it writing questions and finding financial backers.

But they eventually designed a game where players had to move around a game board answering trivia questions and collecting those little pie pieces.

The game launched in 1981, and while it wasn’t an runaway success at first, it was true that the people who bought early copies started spreading the word about it.

Haney and Abbott licensed their game to Selchow and Righter, best known for making Scrabble, and by 1984, Trivial Pursuit was a genuine craze.

People were buying tens of millions of copies a year.

And nobody was sitting down on a cold day in Montreal wondering why there wasn’t a good trivia game out there to play.


Today is said to be the birthday of Emperor Nero.

Sure, the legends say he fiddled while Rome burned, but he might have been a cool guy to have dinner with.

Archeologists have discovered that his palace dining room had a special floor that rotated while he and others ate.

A two thousand year old revolving restaurant!

The High School Dropout Who Co-Created Trivial Pursuit (Today I Found Out)

Nero’s Rotating Dining Room (CNRS News)

Our Patreon backers are probably great Trivial Pursuit players, because they are smart

Photo by Manuel J. Prieto via Flickr/Creative Commons