Recap of 2018 & The State of 2019

January 04, 2019

 T his past year of 2018 was truly a new beginning for Trivia Club. We wrote in the prior Recap & State Of that it felt like the end of book one, and in our first post-Cardinal year of the Greatest Game Show in Toronto it felt very much like an all new era for Trivia Club. We experimented with the size and scope of Trivia Club and shifted away from certain projects while also partnering with more people then every before for more special events then ever before. Speaking of partnerships, our relationship with one specific location grew in what could be a very exciting direction, for years to come.

In 2018 we held 145 live events across four different locations hosted by Russel Harder plus special events at additional locations. That new all-time high for events in a year also includes 19 events hosted by new hosts to Trivia Club across two licensed locations. With no location hosting more then 50 events for the first time in four years, this meant more locations enjoyed more Trivia Club then ever. The flagship at The Rec Room Roundhouse saw 47 events, including our inaugural Red Carpet Oscar Trivia event which had us enjoy both trivia and a viewing party! The Black Label location of Hitch held 28 events over the year including a string of weekly events, and our fifth annual Hitchens Cup. Our Friendly Neighborhood location of Farside held 21 events over our first full calendar year their, and we also debuted at The Ace in the spring of 2018 and eventually held 18 events at what would become a wonderfully cozy lo-fi late night experience in a return to Roncesvalles.

This year Trivia Club also began Licensing the game you know and love to select hosts and locations, with Anthony C. of Lt. Dance hosting three Trivia Club events at Gin Mill, and Trivia Club coming to The Rec Room Masonville in London, Ontario and holding 16 events hosted by Christopher H. by the end of the year! In special and private events, we held the follow-up to the Canadian Opera Company’s Opera Trivia event which this past year took place in the Four Seasons Centre! We also tested the Ballet knowledge of the National Ballet of Canada’s Turnout donors with some Barre Trivia! Fundraiser partnerships included teaming up with Youth Without Shelter for an event at The Rec Room Roundhouse and celebrating the Echo Women’s Choir! We also teamed with Black Lab Brewing to help introduce Rover to the neighborhood! In total Trivia Club hosted 12 special events in 2018, making it our busiest year by far for fundraisers, parties, team building, and other special events!

 January  was a busy month to start a busy year of Trivia Club, with the Cunning Stunts winning the year’s first Golden VHS on the second day of the year at The Rec Room! The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes would continue The Good Winter on the east end of Toronto with the first Golden VHS of the year at Hitch and Farside on the 8th and 17th of January, respectively! January would also see us host our first trivia event with the National Ballet of Canada!

 February  saw a few notable achievements, with the Fighting Mongooses becoming the latest members of the Five Timers Club with their Golden VHS win at Hitch on February 26th! What's Opera, Doc? would see us bring Opera Trivia for the Canadian Opera Company's Opera Insights program to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 15th! Following up their Golden VHS win at The Rec Room to begin the year the Cunning Stunts became the first Active Triple Crown Champs and the first team to win at SIX different Trivia Club locations with a win on February 7th at Farside! Two weeks later on February 21st the M. Night Shaym-Aliens would join them as Active Triple Crown Champs with the teams 25th Golden VHS Championship that would also see them score 244 points on the night, the second highest score all-time at Trivia Club that would also prove to be the High Score of 2018!

 March  would have both notable Golden VHS Champs, Extra Curricular wins, and the debut of our fourth active location in 2018 where-in Trivia Club would return to Roncesvalles! We saw are first event at The Ace in Roncesvalles, with Chillasaurus alumni going by the name Thursday Morning’s Regret outlasting both their friends and The Unusual Suspects among other notable competition to win the debut Golden VHS at our new lo-fi late night location on March 14th! Earlier in the month on March 4th we would hold a Red Carpet Oscar Trivia Club spectacular! Former Golden VHS Champs and Saturday Night Live Fantasy League alumni Rob, Sarah, and Matt would make up most of the night’s VHS champs Three Holo-Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 2049! Rob M. would win more then just the VHS, as he would take home the sixth annual Oscar Confidence Pool on the night, beating Mark P. of the Cunning Stunts on points even if the repeat reigning winner of the Pool had made more correct picks! One of the first milestone location numbers that we passed in 2018 was the twenty-fifth event at The Rec Room Roundhouse! The March 20th Golden VHS Champs were I Look Like Vince Vaughn! Speaking of fun numbers, Trivia Club helped Sean of the M. Night Shaym-Aliens celebrate his 30th Birthday on March 25th at Hitch! Happy Birthday Sean! Congrats on your Golden VHS win against your family and friends! The Simple Minds would win their first Golden VHS at the second event at The Ace on March 28th! The Simple Minds would quickly establish themselves as the team to beat on the west end, at least through the summer!

 April  proved that even though we no longer had Cardinal Rule, we could still celebrate the anniversary of Trivia Club with an even wider spreading Grand Championship Grand Prix to see who would hold the sixth annual Golden VCR! The Fighting Mongooses would set the pace early with an April 9th Golden VHS win to begin the GCGP for 2018! Other notable GCGP would be the Cunning Stunts two days later on April 11th at The Ace which saw Mark P. join the small group of solo winners! The Cunning Stunts further pushed for a repeat Golden VCR victory with a win at Farside on April 18th! Both teams would miss the April 24th leg of the GCGP at The Rec Room Roundhouse which was won by folks from trivia website Factinate! A day before that Lt. Dance would become the fifth Century Team of Trivia Club, making their 100th appearance on April 23rd at Hitch! This was a week after winning the 100th edition of Trivia Club at Hitch on April 16th, a win that also made Lt. Dance a Triple Crown winning team! Finally for the GCGP Finale at Hitch on April 30th, the Fighting Mongooses would go from Trivial Award winning New Comers of the Year for 2017 to the Golden VCR Grand Champions in 2018!

 May  would prove to have less of a post-Grand Prix hangover then past years, while the weekly run of events that began at Hitch last September would come to an end and return to a Twice Monthly schedule that our Black Label debuted with in 2013. Team Name, one of several legacy teams from Cardinal Rule that understandably had a quiet 2018, would win their twenty-fifth Golden VHS on May 1st at The Rec Room becoming the latest team to join the Five x Five Timers Club, before following it up with their twenty-sixth win overall on May 22nd! One day later on May 23rd, Anthony Couto of Lt. Dance would become the first person to host a Licensed Location of Trivia Club with the first of three events at Gin Mill! The M. Night Shaym-Aliens would take part, but Drug Ford would win the debut Golden VHS for a Licensed Location! Shelby, along with a mix of other Shaym-Alien alumni, would be more successful on both May 2nd and May 16th at Farside, winning consecutive Golden VHS tapes in May! Of course on May 14th at Hitch, the Fighting Mongooses not only won their ninth Golden VHS but also notched the high score at our Black Label location for 2018 becoming just the twelfth team to score 200 points! A huge Extra Curricular moment for Trivia Club was the finale of our fifth season of Saturday Night Live Fantasy League coinciding with the 43rd season of SNL, which saw Rob. M and The Party Andersons win his first Phil Hartman Trophy!

 June  was a big month for the M. Night Shaym-Ali-Ace, as Shelby would lead a third consecutive team to a Golden VHS victory at Farside to notch her own personal threepeat at Trivia Club on June 6th! Returning competitors to Farside, Andy Winners Czar would win their first Golden VHS at Farside on June 20th after a few attempts, to at least give the Shaym-Alien Reign a rest for a week or two! After joining the Five Timers Club earlier in the year, the Fighting Mongooses would join the Ten Timers Club on June 25th at Hitch with a solo win! The Simple Minds would have their threepeat attempt broken up by a returning Last Place Team, now known as 2 Fast 2 Curious, who would score 204 good for a new high score mark at The Ace on June 27th, a new personal best for the team, and an early passing of the torch for house team of The Ace back to our west-side regulars The Team Formerly Known As Last Place Team!

 July  began with Suck It Trebek winning their first Golden VHS at The Rec Room on July 3rd before going on to become the house team at The Rec Room Roundhouse for 2018. OZMA would also win his first Golden VHS after a couple attempts at Farside on the independently-minded July 4th! Trivia Club helped Youth Without Shelter run a fundraiser at The Rec Room on July 8th for our first Sunday night Trivia Club! Sunday Night Trivia Club was won by Intergalactic (semi-redundent) Space Cats, Meow!! Two days later Really Makes U Think won their first Golden VHS at The Rec Room on July 10th! The Simple Minds would join the Five Timers Club with their FIFTH Golden VHS at The Ace on July 11th! July 13th saw SPARTACUS alumni Michelle Cabral start a three show winning streak on Jeopardy! to become the first Golden VHS winner (to our knowledge) to also win on Jeopardy! Her four-episode cash winnings total $48,693! The Shaym-Aliens said goodbye to Mary with a Golden VHS win as the M. White Sha-Mary-ens on July 18th! This event at Farside was also Trivia Club’s 600th event overall! One week later Trivial Knowledge won the tenth edition of Trivia Club at The Ace and in doing so joined the Five Timers Club!

 August  had the Fighting Mongooses become the tenth Triple Crown Champs and third Active Triple Crown Champs with consecutive Wednesday wins at Farside on August 1st and then at The Ace on August 8th. After a run of events as both a team member of The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes and Wookiee of the Year, likeable underdog The Sinking Ship became the latest solo Champion at Hitch with a win on August 13th! Smartly Pretty, also known as Electric Bastard alumni Matt & Pat, returned to Hitch and found a new home base in a win on August 27th! This would be the first calendar month since our run at The Ace began that The Simple Minds would not win at least one Golden VHS, after Les Quizerables scored 190.5 points to win the VHS on August 22nd! Conversely it would also be the last event at The Ace in 2018 that 2 Fast 2 Curious or at least one member of the team, would be defeated.

 September  actually began with some notable Extra Curricular excitement, as Peter M. of PETE! won the sixth annual Summer Movie Wager, his first win after competing in all six, against an especially tough field bolstered by Avengers: Infinity War! The first anniversary night of Trivia Club at The Rec Room saw the location’s first TIE BREAKER! The September 4th event was also the first tie-breaker that was decided with a first to answer anagram, as that just happened to be the unchosen Pardo category on the night! David Bowie’s Corporate Whores became the fourth Active Triple Crown Champs with a win on September 5th at Farside. Biscuits! won the Golden VHS on September 19th at Farside, marking the return of SPARTACUS captain John M. to Trivia Club! We’ve been burying the lead with September as it had not one but TWO GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS celebrating both our Black Label location’s FIFTH anniversary and the first anniversary of the Big Stage in The Roundhouse! The Rec Room Trivia Royale (not to be confused with our traditional question number ten) was competed over across September 18th and 25th, and Not Turner would combine their points over those two nights to walk away with the first Grand Championship at The Rec Room before ever having won a Golden VHS! As if September wasn’t a big enough month for Trivia Club already, we debuted our first Licensed Location with The Rec Room, as Christopher H. debuted as the host of Trivia Club at The Rec Room Masonville in London, Ontario! At Hitch the fifth annual Hitchens Cup saw The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes return from a summer away to up end the Fighting Mongooses and also defeat Matt & Pat! Two weeks later however, it was Matt & Pat, or Smartly Pretty, going by the name of Fatty’s Big Chance who would win their first Grand Championship at Hitch as the fifth Hitchens Cup Champions!

 October  saw Suck It Trebek win their third Golden VHS at The Rec Room Roundhouse for our FIFTIETH event at the location which took place on October 2nd! Following up their Hitchens Cup victory Smartly Pretty, as The Mangy Stevedores, won at Hitch on October 15th to join the Five Timers Club as a duo! The next day Not Turner, the new Trivia Royalty at The Rec Room, would win their first Golden VHS on October 16th! A potential conventional threepeat for 2 Fast 2 Curious was broken up when the team members themselves were their own only competition on October 24th at The Ace! With the threepeat on pause, Sam as Palpatine Was Right! won the second solo Golden VHS in the history of The Ace! Finally on October 29th, the Frightening Mongooses won the Halloween edition of Trivia Club at Hitch.

 November  had its own gilded celebration for one year of Trivia Club at Our Friendly Neighborhood ‘side! For the first time since Shelby had joined the M. Night Shaym-Aliens, the M. Night Shaym-Aliens won a Golden VHS without their M. Night Sham-Ali-Ace on November 7th! It could not have come at a better time either, as the Shaym-Aliens took the first of the two part Grand Championship at Farside! Biscuits won their second Golden VHS on November 21st, but the Shaym-Aliens held back both Biscuits and the Cunning Stunts, to win the inaugural Gilded Skull as Uncle Rubberknee’s Head of Class! On November 8th we were pleased to team up with the Echo Women’s Choir for a night of Trivia in the Tranzac Tiki Room! November 14th saw 2 Fast 2 Curious win an unconventional THREEPEAT at The Ace! Wookiee of the Year, or Makin’ Wookiee became the latest team to join the Ten Timers Club with a Golden VHS victory on November 26th! A day later, on November 27th at The Rec Room Roundhouse, One Man Army + would win their second Golden VHS of the month, having debuted with a first and gold on November 11th!

 December  ended 2018 with a memorable month of Trivia Club, and started with nothing short of Smartly Pretty as I’m Sorry About Venom notching the 2018 high score for The Rec Room on December 4th! After an unsuccessful debut during the anniversary month in November the DDTs returned not with moustaches (surprise) but as the EDDTs with moustaches to win their first Golden VHS at Farside on December 5th! A busy opening week to the final month of 2018 continued with Rover presenting Trivia Club and Trivia Club presenting Rover to the fine folks at Black Lab Brewing on December 6th! This Dog-themed night of Trivia Club was won by Instagram celeb-puppies, including Horton McSnorton! Finishing off the week we celebrated the holidays with archaeologists from ASI at El Loco Local, proving that this is a very fun job. Even with an unconventional break in the middle, 2 Fast 2 Curious became the first FOURPEAT Golden VHS Champs at The Ace with a win on December 12th to end the year on the west end as winners from September to December! With wins by One Man Army + and Not Turner to finish the year at The Rec Room it truly felt like The Roundhouse, known for its first time winners, had started to establish a fun mix of regular competitors to compete alongside Suck It Trebek and Really Makes U Think, with a mix of familiar Trivia Club teams from other locations as well! The Festive Mongooses notched another holiday Golden VHS to end the year at Hitch on December 10th! Before a break for the holidays, Christopher H. hosted his sixteenth and final event at The Rec Room Masonville, having seen a selection of wonderful teams compete in London, Ontario, including two-time winners Artillery, two-time winners Quiz In My Pants, two-time winners Full House, and four-time winners Quizzitch Captains! Kwik-E-Smarts figured out the Finale question thanks to television they watched with dad growing up, and beat Smartly Pretty and Biscuits to win the last Golden VHS of 2018 as unheralded but ultimately successful first time competitors!

 The State of Trivia Club in 2019 
Thank you for taking a trip through just some of the highlights of Trivia Club for 2018 with us, and as always apologies if anything was missed! Now that we’ve looked back at the year past and recapped some of our major events, what is the State of Trivia Club in 2019? As always with this State of Trivia Club, I’ll be switching from the “we” of Trivia Club in the year prior, to the “I” of Russel, as I talk about what I’m excited about for this upcoming year of Trivia Club. At least in terms of what I can tell you, as of the first week of January!

Starting things off I want to thank everyone who supported Trivia Club on Patreon and enjoyed the Pause + Play podcast across its first fifty-seven episodes. Because a new episode hasn’t been posted since March of 2018 both have been inactive, but don’t think they have been forgotten. As you can tell by the recap, it has been an especially busy year for me in terms of live events so sadly the Podcast Network has gone into hibernation. The moment I find time for it however, the Trivia Club Network including Pause + Play will be able to return and your support on Patreon will as always be deeply appreciated!

I believe my intention to collaborate more in 2018 was very successful however, as not only did I host more special events last year then ever before, and partner with some truly unexpected people and organisations, but Trivia Club was also able to License Locations. For the first time (aside from a guest host spot or two from Matthew Smith or Mark Piggott), I wasn’t hosting Trivia Club! It was thrilling to first dip my toe into licensing with an excited new host and noted alumni of the game for Trivia Club at Gin Mill in Anthony Couto, before taking things a step further and expanding on my partnership with The Rec Room. Seeing Christopher Hachey do such a wonderful job as host of Trivia Club Masonville in London, Ontario in 2018 was thrilling. It is the beginning of giving participants the chance to compete at Trivia Club at The Rec Room and seeing how you might compare against other people across Ontario and maybe even Canada. I’m already saying too much, but I will say… watch for more news concerning our partnership with The Rec Room in the new year!

Back to specifics I can talk about, on January 25th I’ll be partnering with the National Ballet of Canada once again for Barre Trivia to test the NBoC’s Turnout donors on their ballet knowledge! PUBLIC special events include Trivia Club’s return to Black Lab Brewing on Thursday, February 7th presented by Healthy Pets! This night of trivia for the on-line Toronto-based veterinary consultants will coincide with a rebroadcast of their episode of Dragon’s Den on CBC!

WEEKLY Tuesday events return to The Rec Room Roundhouse on January 8th, while we are back to TWICE MONTHLY Wednesday events every second and fourth week at The Ace starting January 9th! We return to Hitch with TWICE MONTHLY Monday events every second and fourth week of the month starting January 14th! TWICE MONTHLY Wednesday events every first and third week of the month return to Farside beginning on January 16th! Yes, I’ve messed around with my calendar a bit, but only for January. And of course if you are in London, Ontario, you can play Trivia Club at The Rec Room Masonville with new host Kevin Avarm, who began his duties as the new WEEKLY Wednesday quiz master on January 2nd!

Now every year I like to choose a keyword, a single word as a mission statement. It works as a broad concept to keep as a mantra in the back of my head to push the year forward and remind me of the kind of stuff that I’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. Think of it as a resolution but with minimal strings attached. For Trivia Club’s first year that keyword was “CREATION”, the reason for which goes without saying, while in our second year it was “EXPANSION”, as Trivia Club found its way to four different locations including our Monday night Black Label location. Still, in our third year we needed to think about “STABILITY”. As Trivia Club did indeed stabilise after expansion, in our fourth year we wanted to concentrate on the “LOYALTY” that made it happen, celebrating participants on, while also beginning the Trivial Awards. In my fifth year working on Trivia Club, I made the keyword public for the first time with my intention for “MOBILITY”, which also meant ushering in new regular locations , and the Pause + Play podcast! For year six in 2018, as I’ve already talked about, my mind was on “COLLABORATION”, and though I originally intended that collaboration to be more person to person, I was pleasantly surprised with the steps Trivia Club took as a business. Whether it’s working alongside international corporations, or licensing Trivia Club across Ontario with The Rec Room!

This leads us directly to the state of Trivia Club in 2019:


Each year of Trivia Club we’ve been able to build on the year before, after we began at Cardinal Rule, we expanded out to the likes of Hitch, and other locations. After that expansion it was important to stabilise this community of locations so that people participating come out, week-in and week-out and expect that same great game show. Because of the stability and reliability of those live events, we were able to reward and celebrate your loyalty both in person and through this website. Trivia Club became a more mobile concept because of what was possible with the website, and new live events, and because of those ever-expanding events, we were able to work with and collaborate alongside more people than ever before.

This is why connection is so important to me in 2019, because as Toronto’s Great Game Show becomes Ontario’s Greatest Game Show becomes… the Greatest Game Show in Canada… it’s more important then ever that Trivia Club feels like the same group of like-minded pop culture fans that it has always been. As much as I enjoy giving Trivia Club a polished look and feel of a well-made game show, I never want to lose that DIY nature of a black sharpie on golden spray-paint either.

In addition to the regular monthly and annual scoreboards that allow you to see how you stack up against the rest of Trivia Club’s competing teams on that week, month, and year, I will also be sharing more questions from the prior week on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! On Facebook I will also look to create groups for our different locations so you have a place to interact with Trivia Club that isn’t simply our page or the event pages for those locations!

Finally, I will be writing a new bi-weekly newsletter called Q+A for Trivia Club, a project that I’ve been toying with for a while. Not only will it be a recap for recent events and a calendar for upcoming events for those who aren’t on social media or have stepped away from social media a bit, but it will also have a mix of trivia, it will share interesting new music, and will also give insight on recent Golden VHS tapes!

The third annual Trivial Awards for 2018 will take place on January 28th, 2019 at Hitch! If you aren’t able to make that night we may also have additional awards handed out at our other locations too.

Speaking of awards, keep an eye out for news on the Oscar Viewing Party returning to The Rec Room for 2019! Not only that but feel free to jump into the Oscar Confidence Pool for our seventh annual Oscar Pool as well!

In March we will see the inaugural Grand Championship in celebration of one year of Trivia Club at The Ace! We look forward to celebrating our anniversary at our lo-fi late night trivia spot on the west side of Toronto!

The Grand Championship Grand Prix will return in April, with the Grand Prix once again taking place across our four locations, with the Finale location still to be decided!

The sixth season of the Saturday Night Live Fantasy League will conclude in May, so keep an eye out on this very website to see how it continues from episode to episode! With the Kate McKinnon Rule in full effect it has been a tighter knit field then usual!

The seventh annual Summer Movie Wager will take place beginning at the end of April and concluding in September, and you are invited as always to take part!

In September we will see not one but TWO different Grand Championship competitions with the sixth annual Christopher Hitchens Cup at Hitch, the only drinkable trophy awarded through Trivia Club! We will also see the only playable trophy awarded or the second annual Trivia Royale at The Rec Room!

We will have a few milestone live events in Toronto for Trivia Club as well, with the 100th edition of Trivia Club at The Rec Room, the 25th edition of Trivia Club at Farside, and 25th edition of Trivia Club at The Ace, as well! We will also see the 666th edition of Trivia Club all-time, and 700th edition of Trivia Club all-time as well!

Naturally, if you’ve read these 4,500 plus words dear reader then you should most certainly think about staying connected to Trivia Club! Sign-up for the Q+A newsletter, keep an eye out for more exciting news throughout the year as well, and of course if you have an idea or would like to work with Trivia Club… we’ve got space for you! Whether it is a podcast for the network, an eye for design on Trivia Club merch (we really should get our own pens already, hey), an idea or op-ed that would fit nicely into the .CA, or of course a feature for the upcoming newsletter! Don’t be surprised if we come your way for ideas either!

That’s what we know about 2018… and that’s what we’ll learn along the way in 2019!

- Russel Harder

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