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The Great Pizza Debate: Pineapple or NEVER Pineapple?

Should Pineapple be on Pizza

I was first introduced to the landmark debate regarding pineapple on pizza through lists of the most controversial questions ever to be posted on social media.

I was putting together a list of questions for our game Mixed Company (check out the Kickstarter if you aren’t already familiar!) and it was very early in the process. I needed questions that were going to get people talking, any questions at that point, so I could see what would work and what wouldn’t.

In the top five or ten questions on every list I came across was one variation or other on the age old question “Should pineapple be allowed to be served on pizza?” At the time, I thought this was a ridiculous question. What possible discussion could be generated by such a mundane question? And how could this be one of the most controversial questions on the internet?

You’re probably already way ahead of me if you’re reading this. You’ve likely been exposed to numerous variations on the debate through different media channels from memes to threads to heated debates in comments. I was much more naive at the time, and thought that if nothing else it would be a filler question. I was ever ever so wrong.

A survey has found that 24 percent of Americans believe that pineapple is one of the worst toppings you can put on a pizza. A survey of me, sitting here in front of my computer in comfy pants, has found that 100 percent of those people are wrong, because pineapple on pizza is amazing. - Allison Shoemaker

In our gameplay of over one hundred game sessions, this has been by far one of the most popular and hotly debated questions of the entire game. Throughout playtesting, we’ve gone through a small mountain of question cards as we weed through to see which ones have the best response from people playing. Which ones never get selected. Which ones when selected have no real discussion potential. And I was as surprised as anyone to find that this question rose to the top to be one of our top 10 most popular questions as well.

To give you a little background on how questions are selected in Mixed Company, we’ve got some illustrations here to help out so you can see just how a question gets to even be on the table, much less one of the most hotly debated topics in Mixed Company.

First, the person who’s organizing the game decides which questions are going to fit your group to create the question deck before they are ever passed out. They can be a mix of different styles of questions – thoughtful or debate oriented. And they may have different content ratings – All Ages, 16 +, or NSFW.

For example, question #M00012 (“Should pineapple be allowed to be served on pizza?”) is a “Talk” or debate style question. This means that it’s worded in such a way that the participants are going to take a side on one end or the other. It’s about personal opinion, but you’re going to decide what side of the argument you fall on as you discuss this at the table. It’s also All Ages, which are our most popular questions, so it’s great in nearly every game because even younger players are bound to have an opinion and get involved. What that in mind, it’s not a surprise to me that it ended up in most of the question sets to start with.

Make your own question card deck

Next, each player is dealt three question cards and picks their favorite to put face up on the table for everyone to review. Out of the All Ages question cards (we had over 100 at one point running in the deck) you may or may not ever see a specific question come up in your hand. But what I saw over and over was when this question was dealt out in any combination of cards, it would generally make it on the table. Reviewing the discarded cards, from time to time it wouldn’t make it out. But more often than not it was one of the six questions selected for voting.

Choose a Question

This is where it got really interesting to me. When the question was put out on the table, people laugh a little but in most cases when it was there… it would be the one selected to talk about! Out of six highly engaging questions, whether players were voting to choose one question or three questions, it would almost always make it into the final round to be a topic that we would discuss in the game.

Vote for Questions

Check out our Mixed Company Mondays series to see how to play if you want more examples!

So why do people get so passionate about it? In my observations (completely unscientifically), I think there are a couple of important factors. One, everyone has an opinion on this one. You like pineapple, or you don’t. You like cooked fruit, or you don’t. You like sweet stuff mixed with your savory stuff, or you don’t. And finally, you like it on your pizza, or you don’t. Most people have tried it. Even our 10-year-old players had an opportunity at a party or dinner to give it a whirl and form an opinion.

Secondly, it’s EASY to tell someone how you feel about pineapple on pizza. Discussing politics or religion or theoretical scientific theories get a little more dicey. But your opinion on pineapple on a pizza? Easy to express. You like it because… you don’t like it because… or you just flat out say yes or no and wait to see what everyone else says. You don’t have to worry that you won’t be able to make your case, because it’s all about YOUR experience and your preference.

And finally, nobody’s going to get upset with you. Not really. Some people may get pretty excitable about it. But at the end of the day, you’re not actually going to lose any friends over your pizza topping preference. (Or if you do… there’s some hard thinking to do there. But that’s for a different discussion.) So it’s safe. You can get passionate, you can state how you feel. You can get as far down that path as you want without worry of really offending someone or what they’re going to think about you in the morning. And there’s a freedom in that that is not really available in a lot of other topics at the moment.

So, it turns out, I was proven wrong. It is in fact one of the most hotly debated topics of the modern age and I am really glad that it is. Because it’s made for some exciting games around my game table, and a lot of fun for people who just want to have a good time getting into debate.

If you want to know my opinion… check out our play through videos. I’m sure it’s going to be one of the topics that come up. And if you watch, you’ll get to hear some more of my unscientific polling from the games of Mixed Company that it’s come up in.

So now, if you want to have your own pineapple debate, make sure to check out the Mixed Company Kickstarter so you can get your own set of Mixed Company to have engaging conversations with all the great questions we’ve been checking out for over a year!

All images, artwork, content, and game materials are Copyright ©2018-2023 Mixed Company Games