In my last update from two weeks ago I talked about pets and holidays, stressing the importance, for those of us lucky to be able to carry on working from home, of planning to take time off “as normal”.

Leading by example and, with the kids “free” during the Easter break, I took last week as vacation and set off for the nearest virtual destination:

The “Sofahamas”

The Sofahamas are an interesting place: everyone seems to be going there right now but the only people you see are your family and, occasionally and from a safe distance, your neighbours.

Contrary to what the name seems to imply, in the Sofahamas you can enjoy an active holiday, care of the creative response of so many gyms, trainers and smart apps.

The problem with the “app world” is that, by and large, it is aimed at the individual. Even multi-player versions are mostly a solitary endeavour, with the exception of the scoreboard or a virtual character by your side.

So, after having taken my fill of personal activities (singing and reading mainly) I redirected my free time towards the communal.

Zooming challenges

These days, communal essentially means Zoom or such like. However, most will agree that the “family Zoom call” can be a weird experience, consisting primarily on saying “Hi, there!”, waving your hands at the late joiner, pulling funny faces and getting a little frustrated at the inability of holding a proper conversation with three generations suddenly online.

What you need is a moderator with a plan, a topic or an activity where everyone can take their turn in participating without the others getting bored.

I, like many others, found the “pub quiz” a perfectly suitable format. A very British leisure activity, it involves a QuizMaster running through a few rounds of questions for an audience of 25-to-100 punters split into teams.

The DIY “Virtual Quiz Night”

Not unlike any organised activity, this does require some upfront investment by the moderator.

In time, mainly, to find and structure the questions from the many available online resources and in choosing a viable toolset.

After three successful runs with groups of family and friends across Europe, here are a few tips for wannabe moderators:

  • 5 rounds of 10 questions will take 60-80 minutes: that’s more than enough
  • The music round is always a favourite and deserves a special effort
  • Zoom works perfectly and it’s easy to share a screen with media files (whether music or pics or videos so long as you have prep’d all the URLs), keeping in mind that when questions are read out everyone else should be on mute (you can easily “mute/unmute all” if you are running the call)…
  • …this means that individual teams must communicate among themselves using an alternative channel (e.g.: whatsapp, messenger) to discuss the answers during each round
  • Team Leaders are key: you’ll need to set 5′ aside with each before the call to agree how they should submit their answers for later scoring (or self-score at the end of each round) and warn them about setting up comms with their team
  • warm-up “Marathon round” before the call works really well in getting everyone in the mood: you send a sheet full of questions (or logos/pictures of people to guess) to each of the teams a couple of hours before the quiz starts, for submission at the start.


Amidst all the fun, I even managed to squeeze some pseudo-work: when it came to choosing the toolset to structure the questions, links to music/video files and scoring criteria, I had an ace up my sleeve: our own data management platform,!

Using LiveDataset, I was able to configure an environment to store not only multiple, segregated “master sheets” containing Q&A text and links for different Quiz events but also data structures for team leaders to submit answers that would allow real-time scoring.

And now that I am back at work …it’s time for a company Quiz Night!

If you’d like to use LiveDataset to organise a Quiz Night, just ping me – and if you have stories on other “social” games that have worked for your team in the virtual world, please share!