Axed and Answered

“This is my effort to broker global peace between jocks and nerds,” jokes Akari Roudebush, guest relations coordinator at Pine & Iron Axe Throwing. She’s talking about Trivi-Axe, a monthly trivia/axe-throwing event series she’s spearheading, which is now leading the downtown business’s charge into experiences that expand on the ‘normal’ format of launching a blade at a target between sips and bites.

Last Thursday offered the first taste. About a dozen teams, mostly four people apiece, had their own lanes walled in thick plywood with chain link windows. Each trivia question was capped by a toss of the axe, ending either in the satisfying shunk of metal sinking into wood or the disappointing clatter of a misfire. It quickly became apparent that only a few contestants were strong axe throwers. The rest of us simply prayed our trivia skills would carry us. I, for one, only landed an axe between rounds, while practicing, but the primal rush of adrenaline and joy at making an axe stick in a wall must have been even greater for those who managed to score some points from it.

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Roudebush and Pine & Iron co-owner Joshua Kroscen are likewise excited to be trying something new in the cavernous climes at 770 Chapel Street, where the business opened shortly before the pandemic. “Pine & Iron is all about bringing people together to do something different, fun and challenging,” Kroscen says. “So this type of event fits very well with that mission.”

The four rounds (plus a one-turn wager round) last Thursday had their own themes ranging from science to pop culture, unified by a super-theme of summer. Each round had five questions and five throws, the former scaling up in difficulty, the latter never quite getting any easier. Luckily for most, answering questions correctly was more important than getting axes to stick, with the trivia weighted more heavily in the scoring.

Still, as co-owner Matthew Hock puts it, “The ideal team is a group of trivia buff lumberjacks!” While a few throwers stood out from the crowd, the majority mostly tried, over and over, to figure out what they were doing wrong. Our own team, dubbed “Let Me Axe You a Question” and rounded out by Daily Nutmeg’s editor, Dan Mims, as well as our plus-ones, connected on just two throws that counted throughout the entire competition. And yet, by the last question-and-throw, when teams could wager as many points as they had thus far earned, we found ourselves, miraculously, in second place.

The key to holding that position was the equivalent of a $0 wager in Final Jeopardy!. Knowing we were all but certain to miss the final throw that would determine whether we won or lost points, we decided to bet nothing, which nonetheless earned us something: a giggling chorus of “Cowards!” from nearby competitors. In the end, we lost to a trio of axe-throwing prodigies calling themselves Charlie’s Angels, whose prize was a $40 gift card to… Pine & Iron.

As if they need the extra practice.

Trivi-Axe at Pine & Iron Axe Throwing
770 Chapel St, New Haven (map)
Next event: Thurs 8/25 at 7:30pm
Website | Next Trivi-Axe

Written by Allison Hadley. Photographed by Dan Mims.

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