By Catrina Satterwhite
The hit game Urban Trivia has become one of the nation’s best trivia games. It began as a live, hosted game across the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. They wanted to provide a new, fun, and unique approach to the urban social scene. Their live game has now expanded into a home version that families can enjoy. The Urban Trivia team consists of Marcus Chappell, Brandon Romas [aka Stanley Newcomer], Darren Anderson, and Jason DeWitt. I had the pleasure of chatting with Stanley Newcomer about how things began and how they have developed.
DW: How did you and your team begin Urban Trivia?
SN: Back in like 2017 we were doing parties out in Arlington and Dallas and my partners there which were more like DJs, photographers, and promoters, they were just like man I want to do something different so we did karaoke, we did speed dating, we did vision board parties and then we did urban trivia. We started in Arlington at Hot Box [and that place isn’t even open anymore], but we started there in 2017. It was really good but we weren’t doing it often, maybe once a quarter. We weren’t doing it a lot at all, but just trying to diversify our events by doing something different. Then they brought me in to host it so then we moved it to Dallas and finally cracked into Dallas and then during the pandemic everything shut down so we started doing it on Zoom. We wanted to give people something to do while they were at home, something family-friendly that the kids can play and everybody can play, and then once the pandemic started to lighten up and everything, we just wanted to be able to continue to bring people together. We were just seeing how bringing families together brings people together. You would see groups of people on the camera like they are having a whole little party. So I had to go back to work and I was sitting there at work and I was like we should make this a card game and so I reached out to my partners and we just put it together so that was like September 2020 and we launched like December of 2020 so we are coming up on our birthday.
DW: What was the process of creating the home version of the game like?
SN: Once we launched when you’re selling to your friends and family and it’s something new, everybody’s going to buy. Also it’s the holiday season and people want to support. I told my partner after this, we are going to really see if this is something sustainable because I come from music all my life so selling a mixed tape, it gets treacherous sometimes. You gotta get people to give you money who have never heard of you. If we can sell to strangers we got it. So we started doing vendor events and things like that and I was like if we can just get this thing on Amazon I think it’ll go. We were finally able to crack that. It was such a headache in the beginning. They were just so tedious on every single thing like do you want the bar code here or there. It was a lot of things that you’d never thought of. Once it got on Amazon, it just took off.
DW: How did you and your team of partners meet?
SN: We actually all met working at Sprint. So, cultivate those work relationships.
DW: How do you come up with the questions for the game?
SN: Literally just watching tv, listening to people talk, being observant of every single thing. Even before this, I grew up quoting movies and I’m also a thesaurus when it comes to music so I analyze lyrics like “what song did they sample when they made this? That’s just me anyway so this was like a perfect marriage for me.
DW: Yes, because everything is relatable to us when we do the same things and that’s what makes it so fun. It’s like oh you do that too? Me too.
SN: Exactly. And you just start finding out that so many people are so much alike and then you can also find out the differences like whether you eat salt or sugar and butter in your grits. You just find the differences between people and even the sub-cultures within our culture. For example, our DJ, who’s from the Midwest, they eat spaghetti as a side dish like with fish or chicken. Also, there are differences between the generations.
DW: For the record, do you eat your grits with salt or sugar?
SN: Both actually. If you make them good, I won’t have to add any sugar to them(laughs)
DW: Do the questions age well? For example, if I bought the game six years ago, would the questions still be relevant today?
SN: Some things you just can’t avoid. Some things are very classic like the tv show Martin. It still comes on every night and some of these shows are rebooted so they are still relevant. Also, some of these questions we want to immortalize some of these things. We don’t want you to forget. Even if you play it 20 years down the line, you’ll remember.
DW: How did you form relationships with the venue owners to hold the events?
SN: Man, it’s really just shooting your shot honestly. We started at Cafe 214 in Addison because it was popular. A lot of people were going. We would go on an off day. Don’t go on a Friday when it’s packed and they have something to do. Go on a Wednesday or Tuesday night and see if you can meet a manager or an owner or you can partner with a promoter that has an end there. Once the pandemic lifted we held events there. They opened their doors to us. Our game was very popular during the pandemic but after the pandemic people had things to do. Our first one was really good and after that, I was like I don’t know, there are only 10 people in here. But they stuck with us the whole time(Cafe 214). They were able to help us build our foundation.
DW: How do you decide what city you’ll hold your events in?
SN: Where people book us. We have our personal list. We definitely want to hit areas like Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, D.C., Cincinnati, New York, and Chicago, but then we’ve found out that areas like Minnesota and Phoenix want this type of entertainment too. I wouldn’t have thought to go to those places until we’ve been reached out to about holding an event there.
DW: How often do you hold the events?
DW: Where do you see Urban Trivia in five years?
SN: More editions. We’re going to have different expansion packs. Our next one is probably going to be a Growing up Black edition. Then, a tv show for sure. We’ve been reached out to a few times, but nothing has yet materialized but I want to do that. As far as our live show goes, just putting a tour together. I want to do arenas. Then of course expanding out and having other games under this umbrella just expanding out this Black game space because it’s so wide open. There is a new game every day, but we are more diverse than just games or just questions.
Be sure to check out Urban Trivia Live for New Year’s Eve at the Hyatt Regency Frisco!