Move over Trivia Crack, there’s a new red-hot quiz app taking over. Fortunately, this one ain’t for the kiddos (unless they’re over 17). Get ready for your next brain-flexing, quick-thinking obsession. This might be the first time your kids ask, “what are YOU doing on that phone so much?”

HQ Trivia, brainchild of Vine founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, is part app and part live, interactive game show. Everyday at 9 p.m. EST, and weekdays at 3 p.m. EST, users can tune into the game show via the free iOS or Android app and compete for cash prizes. Yes, real Ben Franklins my friends, not just some online gold coins. 

HQ Trivia is not a game show simulation. There will be no fake, pixelated hosts or robotic voice-overs throwing questions at you. Real life Scott Rogowsky (the main host) or occasionally Sarah Pribis and Sharon Carpenter (who sometimes step in, much to the dismay of HQties everywhere), will guide you through the 12-question, multiple-choice game on your screen. You’ll see him, and you’ll hear him talking to you in real time (so make sure you have your volume up to get the full experience). Think of it as you just walked on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?,” except this is HQ Trivia, you won’t be on TV, but you can wear whatever you want (I’ll be in my kitty jammies during the night show, y’all).

You’ll feel like you’re in the same room as Scott!

Questions cover a wide range of general topics, such as pop culture, geography, sports, and entertainment. And forget trying to use Siri or Alexa for help on these Qs: players only have 10 seconds to answer. TRUST ME: That is not enough time to Google the answer. 

Contestants can expect to see questions like this.

Once players lock in their choices, Rogowsky will reveal the correct answer, but of course he may be suspenseful and beat around the bush and use confusing language before actual clueing us in the right answer. Game show hosts, amiright? It’s all part of the fun. You can even see how many people chose each response (which can either make you feel super confident, or like a total fool, depending on how things go). If you are correct, you move on to the next question. YASSS. If you’re wrong, you are eliminated, but you have the opportunity to continue watching the show. Don’t be a sore loser, continue watching!

As of Sunday night, the app pulled in more than 1 million contestants during HQ’s 9 p.m. EST session, as they offered up a $10,000 prize to be divvied up. Typically, the prize will be around $2,000 per show, which is then divided among the winners. While the game starts off with thousands of players, usually about 60-100 winners split the prize, according to Newsweek.

While on-air game shows are allotted a set amount of time, HQ varies in length. You can expect to play each game for about 15 to 30 minutes. Sometimes the host will start asking questions right away, and other times there is a bit of a lull, as HQ waits for more contestants to tune in. Good battery life, strong wifi connection, and being in a place where you can intensely stare at your phone without being bothered are optimal HQ Trivia playing conditions. As this is a very popular app, you may experience some freezing — you may even have a connection that lags so much you’ll get kicked out of the game. I’m sorry friends —may the odds ever be in your favor!

During the game, there is a chat feature where you can write a friendly “hello”  (or talk smack) to everyone playing. It’s like a group chat with all the thousands of people playing—meaning it’s entirely overwhelming and the comments scroll faster than your brain can handle. Luckily, a quick swipe hides all the comments away, though they can be quite entertaining at times. While people can get kicked out of the chat for inappropriate comments, it’s a clear free-for-all, so be sure to keep HQ to the 17+ crowd. 

If you beast at this game, you may even see your name on the leader board (spoiler alert: I won’t be there).

The question on everyone’s mind: How does this free-to-play app make money? Some speculate the possibility of sponsored content in the future, or maybe even the ability for players to purchase additional lives throughout the game. While all that remains to be seen, for now HQ seems focused on getting as many players in on the game as possible. Pro tip: If you text your referral code to your friends and they sign up, you score a free life. This means you can get a question wrong but not face elimination!

HQ provides the challenge of trivia, the allure of free cash, and the excitement of playing a live game with more than a million people all over the country. Not to mention the fun and campiness brought to all HQties by Scott Rogowsky.

See ya’ll at 3 and 9 p.m. now until forever. I’ll be live through question 5, at best. 

About the author

Kelly Corbett

Kelly Corbett

Kelly is an editorial assistant at Adventure Publishing Group. When she's not writing/playing/thinking about toys, she's probably spilling coffee on herself, laughing at her own jokes, or doing something awkward somewhere. As a quirky redhead, she one time tricked her friends into thinking she was the new face of Wendy's fast-food franchise as a prank. She's not, but a chili lover can dream right? You can follow her on Twitter @kcorbzz.