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Things From Another World
Puzzle Master
Common Knowledge
Common Knowledge
by Frodang Inc. (1983)
Player Count
2 to 8

Player Ages

Playing Time
1 hour
  • Trivia
  • Designers
  • Norman Golledge
  • Mechanisms
  • Dice Rolling
  • Rating: 3.5/10 from 2 users


    Common Knowledge is a Trivial Pursuit-like game, involving the rolling of dice and the answering of questions (categories: Academy, Amusement, Games, General, Dictionary, Spelling, True/False). A correctly answered question earns players cash. Players can also choose to make each question multiple choice(guess), lessening the monetary reward for a correct answer. The cash is used to buy sets of books (printed on cards) upon landing on certain spots on the board which, when put together, form a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    Questions tend to be more difficult than your run-of-the-mill trivia game. For example: L.Dombrowski of East Germany won the 1980 Olympic Long Jump with 8.54 metres. How many metres did Ya Uudmae of the U.S.S.R. jump to win the triple jump (within 2 metres)? But questions like this are to 'weight' the game's balance and are easier if the multiple choice option has been used. In any event to guess within two metres is not that difficult.

    However, the game is extremely user-friendly:lots of choices from $20 for answering the question as is, to $10 for selecting one of 3 multiple choice answers; this feature enables children to play by making guesses if need be, which is why the game has been so popular. Children also like the use of play money as well as the multiple choice (guess) option. In addition, players can move around the board in any direction, as long as they don't backtrack. Another feature which makes the game versatile is that it gives a the choice of categories; here non-trivia types can choose spelling, dictionary or true-false, for instance. The game can be set to be short and quick or longer, by changing the objective from saving all the encyclopedia volumes to saving just one or two, or by the setting of a time limit.

    Contrary to reviews, the game was not made....for Encyclopedia Brittanica: After inventing the game Norman Golledge approached the Britannica as a marketing strategy. He was the first person to secure the use of their name in such a way; he was allowed to incorporate the Britannica into the finished game and use the phrase 'Encyclopedia Britannica a source of Common Knowledge". Britannica also bought and sold 5000 games. The CEO of Atari was set to have his company make an electronic version of the game but was ousted when Atari was spun off or bought.

    Golledge had 25,000 games made up and sold them out, making it a best-seller in Canada. He sold an option for film rights to Atlantis films, later Alliance Atlantis,who were on the verge of producing a television games show, when they won an Academy Award and were inundated with offers from Hollywood for drama films.

    Currently: June 2015; Norman Golledge is considering an updated board game version as well as an electronic or computer version. His Cardboard Game series which was sought after by the trivial pursuit inventors is also under similar consideration. The game at the time was in final testing by Parker Brother's who decided that year to go with more electronic games. Golledge sold a baseball game to McDonald's in the 1980's which created a record then with over a million copies going through the Treat of the Week program in two days. Golledge is also working on a new game: he is an artist and a writer.

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