Q. Which best-selling board game was devised by two Canadian journalists over a game of Scrabble?

A. Trivial Pursuit.

On December 15, 1979, Canadian journalists Chris Haney and Scott Abbott were playing the ever-popular word game when, forced to give up because of a handful of missing letters, they talked about inventing their own board game instead.

Before long, the pair were sketching ideas for a game based around answering general knowledge questions, and the spoked playing board and six now-familiar categories were down on paper within the hour.

Confident that the game would be a commercial success, Haney left his job as a photojournalist and moved to Spain to compile the 6,000 questions required; sports writer Abbott, meanwhile, set about trying to raise the $75,000 needed to put the game – then called Six Thousand Questions – into production.

Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, inventors of Trivial Pursuit

Eventually they secured enough funds to produce 1,100 copies, but while the games retailed at $15 each, the first batch cost $75 apiece to make. Faced with huge losses, their luck was to change during the 1982 New York Toy Fair, when a TV chat show host picked up a copy of the game and read questions to his guests, prompting a surge in interest and sales.

[Read more: January 19, 1955 - Red letter day as hit US board game Scrabble arrives in the UK]

The game took off and in 1984, 20 million copies of Trivial Pursuit were sold in the US alone. The rest, as they say, is history. And entertainment, sport & leisure, art & literature, science & nature and geography.