NHBB & 60 Second rounds

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NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:56 pm

Okay, so it's become increasingly clear that many top teams don't like 60 second rounds, so here's what I'm thinking as a solution for this year, and for going forward. For this year, at A set tournaments and Nationals, we could easily substitute a Worksheet round for the 60's. That would work along the following lines. There would still be 3 categories, each with 8 questions. Each team would still pick one, but now both teams would get all 8 questions. Teams could collaborate among themselves to come up with the answers. We could then give that a shot this year and see how it goes, and then next year look to either scrap the fourth quarter and go to a "three period" model or stick with the idea of a worksheet round.
Now, I will say this bearing the following in mind: I am not willing to scrap this altogether just yet at B and C set tournaments, since I am not yet at all certain that a majority of teams at those tournaments would want this switch. I will endeavor to find this out though, by polling teams at B and C set tournaments and asking them what they want. Many, if not most of those teams, don't know of or use the forums, so just because the forum consensus may be one thing here, there may also be some selection bias at work that I'll want to investigate more before coming to a final conclusion.
Beyond that, we are planning on beta testing the A set and Nationals category rounds to maintain parity of difficulty. Of course, if both teams are hearing the same questions, this doesn't matter much within a round, but it is important for when point totals start to determine playoff seedings and the like.
Anyway, I hope this goes to show that I'm responding to teams' concerns here and am willing to change the format around if it seems like that would be what teams prefer. I want NHBB to be every bit as legitimate and desired a National title as NSC and HSNCT, and if this change would help further that goal, then I'm all for it. But I want to hear people's thoughts on the matter first. Beyond that, I'm going to start a thread in the theory section about the relative amount of points on tossups/bonuses, since I think that's a discussion worth having too.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby dtaylor4 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:30 pm

From my experience with the NHB lightning rounds (so far, I've only done B tournaments), they either need to be more consistent top to bottom or they have to go. I obviously can't go into details, but there were huge swings within individual rounds.

As to worksheets, I think they would do nothing for the difficulty problem, and create more, such as handwriting interpretation.

Illinois has seen two different tournaments use the three-period format (the old Richards tournament, and the Masonic State Series) and it hasn't gone over well. If changes are coming, it should be moving more towards simply TUs and bonuses.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Matthew Jackson » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:52 pm

Is there any problem with eliminating the 60-second timer but otherwise keeping everything the same? (This would effectively give each team an eight-part, related-subject directed round.) That seems like the simplest, most efficient change to eliminate the problems with the format as it stands, without significantly altering the format on which teams qualify for this year's Nationals. Or are there other problems besides answering speed?

On the whole, I'm with Donald in that I'm for future format changes which move towards more regularity and more tossups of similar length and bonuses of similar structure, rather than differentiation between quarters. But those changes are definitely way too big to implement midway through this year, and should go into consideration before the 2012-13 competition opens.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:01 pm

Thanks for your comments. Donald, your point is one that I'm addressing separately, on consistent difficulty. That's honestly more an issue for HSAPQ, though.
Beyond that, I am not at all in favor of going over to 20/20. I know it's the standard format, but I think it's repetitive, doesn't make late game comebacks very possible, and most importantly leads itself to blowouts since a worksheet / 60 second round at least gives a team getting spanked one part of the game where they're almost guaranteed some points.
Coaches, players? Please chime in.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Kouign Amann » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:14 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:doesn't make late game comebacks very possible

Comebacks are possible in any format, including 20/20, which provides the most equitable way comebacks to proceed. In 20/20, you can no longer come back if the fraction of the game remaining is less than the fraction of the game that you've screwed up. Of course, stacking most of the available points into the last quarter of a game makes comebacks inordinately possible. Your complaint here sounds like you want to create a game show-like atmosphere by messing with fairness to create artificial excitement. If a team has totally screwed up a fraction of the game greater than the fraction remaining, they shouldn't have a chance anymore. Using a wacky format ensures that teams can make comebacks incommensurate with the severity of their screw-up, which hardly seems fair.

Dreaded sports analogy: no one complains that not making shots worth 5 points in the fourth quarter makes basketball unfair.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Strange Fascination » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:15 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Thanks for your comments. Donald, your point is one that I'm addressing separately, on consistent difficulty. That's honestly more an issue for HSAPQ, though.
Beyond that, I am not at all in favor of going over to 20/20. I know it's the standard format, but I think it's repetitive, doesn't make late game comebacks very possible, and most importantly leads itself to blowouts since a worksheet / 60 second round at least gives a team getting spanked one part of the game where they're almost guaranteed some points.
Coaches, players? Please chime in.


I'm with you on keeping away from 20/20. It's bad enough to see new teams go up against buzzsaws and get totally trashed, but in 20/20 they'd be completely silent and non-participating, which is particularly damming when one of your major goals is reaching out to new teams.

I like the suggestion of removing the timer if that's an issue, if the issue is just the Dormans and the St. Anselm's (how do you pluralize that?) of the world, you could consider eliminating it altogether for the playoffs of nationals only.

But I'm with Matt on not doing anything until next year, especially if you're doing something with regional sets because that means different teams get different experiences
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:49 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:doesn't make late game comebacks very possible

Comebacks are possible in any format, including 20/20, which provides the most equitable way comebacks to proceed. In 20/20, you can no longer come back if the fraction of the game remaining is less than the fraction of the game that you've screwed up. Of course, stacking most of the available points into the last quarter of a game makes comebacks inordinately possible. Your complaint here sounds like you want to create a game show-like atmosphere by messing with fairness to create artificial excitement. If a team has totally screwed up a fraction of the game greater than the fraction remaining, they shouldn't have a chance anymore. Using a wacky format ensures that teams can make comebacks incommensurate with the severity of their screw-up, which hardly seems fair.

Dreaded sports analogy: no one complains that not making shots worth 5 points in the fourth quarter makes basketball unfair.


Sure, this makes sense. Though don't overstate the extremeness of NHBB here - even with 240 points available in the fourth quarter (and superpowers of 30 points each are proving very rare indeed), that's still only 34% of the points in the game. But at least, to use another basketball analogy, it gives teams a bit more of a chance (I think the better analogy is fouling to force your opponent to the free throw line). Buzzing early in the 4th quarter tossups may be a low percentage play, but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt. I don't think this is inconsistent with good quizbowl, it's just a different way to play.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby dtaylor4 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:40 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Sure, this makes sense. Though don't overstate the extremeness of NHBB here - even with 240 points available in the fourth quarter (and superpowers of 30 points each are proving very rare indeed), that's still only 34% of the points in the game. But at least, to use another basketball analogy, it gives teams a bit more of a chance (I think the better analogy is fouling to force your opponent to the free throw line). Buzzing early in the 4th quarter tossups may be a low percentage play, but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt. I don't think this is inconsistent with good quizbowl, it's just a different way to play.


Actually, it is.

Tossups in the first quarter are worth 10. Period.
Tossups in the second quarter are worth 10, and a non-rebounding shot at another 10.
Tossups in the fourth quarter are worth up to 30.

Having certain tossups worth more or less than others is unfair.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Kouign Amann » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:13 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt.

My whole point is that you're doing this artificially and non-competively, and you should stop. Sure, this could make NHBB more funn for new teams, but NHBB isn't just some sort of recreational thing with no goals beyond enjoyment, right? As long as important games between top teams (which may soon involve thousands of dollars in scholarships, as you hope) can be swung simply by where a question appears in a packet, you aren't going to be seen as a legitimate third national. You'll be seen as a fun diversion, which is how you're currently presenting yourself.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:52 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Sure, this makes sense. Though don't overstate the extremeness of NHBB here - even with 240 points available in the fourth quarter (and superpowers of 30 points each are proving very rare indeed), that's still only 34% of the points in the game. But at least, to use another basketball analogy, it gives teams a bit more of a chance (I think the better analogy is fouling to force your opponent to the free throw line). Buzzing early in the 4th quarter tossups may be a low percentage play, but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt. I don't think this is inconsistent with good quizbowl, it's just a different way to play.


Actually, it is.

Tossups in the first quarter are worth 10. Period.
Tossups in the second quarter are worth 10, and a non-rebounding shot at another 10.
Tossups in the fourth quarter are worth up to 30.

Having certain tossups worth more or less than others is unfair.


No it's not. I fail to see why having one quarter with power is unfair, even superpower. Jeopardy may be unfair for all sorts of reasons, but having double jeopardy clues worth double first round clues isn't one of them. Again, don't overlook that getting a superpower is proving to be extremely rare, so if we look at actual points scored, more are scored in the second quarter than the fourth. And you omitted the third quarter which is worth up to 200 points.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:01 am

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt.

My whole point is that you're doing this artificially and non-competively, and you should stop. Sure, this could make NHBB more funn for new teams, but NHBB isn't just some sort of recreational thing with no goals beyond enjoyment, right? As long as important games between top teams (which may soon involve thousands of dollars in scholarships, as you hope) can be swung simply by where a question appears in a packet, you aren't going to be seen as a legitimate third national. You'll be seen as a fun diversion, which is how you're currently presenting yourself.


Um, this seems a little harsh. First, there's more to it than just where a question appears in the packet. The fourth quarter questions are longer and contain the hardest material. So, if someone is getting 30 points, that's rewarding deep knowledge. And at some level here, I'm trying to balance different prerogatives. I know there aren't going to be lots of people if anyone leaping to my defense hear, but I maintain that variety in format, allowing teams to answer at least some questions in each round no matter what, and keeping games closer, longer are all helpful in bringing new teams into the mix. Due to our schedule which makes rebracketing impossible (at least as it currently stands, and I see no easy way to change it without significantly lengthening what are already pretty long tournaments), and my need to appeal to more than just the top 100 teams in order to stay in business, these are particularly important for NHBB.
But, I'll grant you this - if the top 40 or so teams in the country would actively prefer a different format for playoffs at Nationals, I'm open to that. If a clear majority wanted 20/20, I'd be fine with it there, since they be the ones playing it.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby dtaylor4 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:04 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Sure, this makes sense. Though don't overstate the extremeness of NHBB here - even with 240 points available in the fourth quarter (and superpowers of 30 points each are proving very rare indeed), that's still only 34% of the points in the game. But at least, to use another basketball analogy, it gives teams a bit more of a chance (I think the better analogy is fouling to force your opponent to the free throw line). Buzzing early in the 4th quarter tossups may be a low percentage play, but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt. I don't think this is inconsistent with good quizbowl, it's just a different way to play.


Actually, it is.

Tossups in the first quarter are worth 10. Period.
Tossups in the second quarter are worth 10, and a non-rebounding shot at another 10.
Tossups in the fourth quarter are worth up to 30.

Having certain tossups worth more or less than others is unfair.


No it's not. I fail to see why having one quarter with power is unfair, even superpower. Jeopardy may be unfair for all sorts of reasons, but having double jeopardy clues worth double first round clues isn't one of them. Again, don't overlook that getting a superpower is proving to be extremely rare, so if we look at actual points scored, more are scored in the second quarter than the fourth. And you omitted the third quarter which is worth up to 200 points.


I omitted it because I was looking at strictly tossups. I'll grant that the tossups in the fourth quarter are usually longer, but given that the TUs in the first and second are roughly of equal length, and that those in the second are worth more than the first, this falls under Aidan's point that a tossup's value is determined by where it falls in the packet, which is inherently unfair.

As to bringing new teams in the mix, I agree with trying to do that, but somewhere the line must be drawn in terms of things that make the game unfair.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Strange Fascination » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:23 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Sure, this makes sense. Though don't overstate the extremeness of NHBB here - even with 240 points available in the fourth quarter (and superpowers of 30 points each are proving very rare indeed), that's still only 34% of the points in the game. But at least, to use another basketball analogy, it gives teams a bit more of a chance (I think the better analogy is fouling to force your opponent to the free throw line). Buzzing early in the 4th quarter tossups may be a low percentage play, but it keeps more teams longer in the hunt. I don't think this is inconsistent with good quizbowl, it's just a different way to play.


Actually, it is.

Tossups in the first quarter are worth 10. Period.
Tossups in the second quarter are worth 10, and a non-rebounding shot at another 10.
Tossups in the fourth quarter are worth up to 30.

Having certain tossups worth more or less than others is unfair.


No it's not. I fail to see why having one quarter with power is unfair, even superpower. Jeopardy may be unfair for all sorts of reasons, but having double jeopardy clues worth double first round clues isn't one of them. Again, don't overlook that getting a superpower is proving to be extremely rare, so if we look at actual points scored, more are scored in the second quarter than the fourth. And you omitted the third quarter which is worth up to 200 points.


I think the point that Donald and Aidan are making (which I don't really agree with) is that if a War of 1812 tossup in the superpower round is worth more than a War of Austrian Succession tossup in the first round, rewarding people who know more about the War of 1812. The issue with that argument is that theoretically all subject matter is well-distributed, so any sort of slighting would be over very specific things. There may not be a Austrian Succession TU in the power round, but there will be European history.

My two cents is that the status quo should remain for regionals and that nationals could be given a better look.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:27 am

Okay, here's what we're doing. At NHBB TX State Championships (now at LASA on Feb. 25) we'll test out the worksheet approach, but otherwise A sets will run as 60s. We're going to use four quarters for all this year's matches. Based on general consensus (coaches and players, still comment please), we'll figure out whether we do all worksheets, all 60 second rounds, or 60 second rounds in prelims and worksheets in playoffs at Nationals.
After this year is done, we'll revisit this looking ahead.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Kouign Amann » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:27 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:And at some level here, I'm trying to balance different prerogatives

The problem is that this balance is detrimental to and unneccessary at a national tournament. There's no need to cater to bad teams there. Use whatever wacky format you want at local tournaments to draw in the new teams, but shouldn't you try to make nationals as fair as possible, espcially considering what may be at stake? HSAPQ might find it easier to write 20/20 as well, and don't you want the best possible set for nationals?
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby The Predictable Consequences » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:35 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:And at some level here, I'm trying to balance different prerogatives

The problem is that this balance is detrimental to and unneccessary at a national tournament. There's no need to cater to bad teams there. Use whatever wacky format you want at local tournaments to draw in the new teams, but shouldn't you try to make nationals as fair as possible, espcially considering what may be at stake? HSAPQ might find it easier to write 20/20 as well, and don't you want the best possible set for nationals?


Surprisingly enough, I agree with Aidan here. It's easy enough for a Nationals-quality team to qualify for NHBB Nationals, and the current regional format does makes it more interesting for teams not used to 20/20. However, it is imperative that national tournaments be as fair as possible, and four-quarter does not do that. Also, running Nationals on 20/20 would help talented teams that were introduced to quizbowl by NHBB adjust to the format for all-subject quizbowl.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby List of Fighting Spirit characters » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:02 am

I'm thirding Aidan here. There's this persistent myth that there's a vast gulf between what is desired by the "top teams" and what the new teams on the block are clamoring for. When you use buzzwords (so to speak) like "variety" and "appeal," you are obfuscating the point. In a discussion of the degree of fairness to which these arbitrary formats are subject, you're forgetting a very important fundamental point here: these teams are presumably interested enough in history to come listen to decent (and not overly long) pyramidal tossups be read about it. The "fun" aspect of it comes from the very fact that history is being read at all. There is less of a case for this in a specialized competition like history bowl than in quiz bowl, where some specious arguments can be made about sitting through tossups that are not directly applicable to one's area of study. It all reduces to the simple fact that teams want to have their knowledge of history tested against that of other teams, and I highly doubt that format will be a make-or-break factor for new teams when enjoyment should be derived from the nature of the competition itself. We're already treating a not insignificant amount of pop culture as "history"; let's not make it more game show-y than it needs to be.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:09 am

Going to 20/20 is not going to happen for this year. At Nationals, though, we'll be careful to survey all teams who are there, and figure out the best route forward. If there's a strong preference for it among the top teams, then I'll consider it for 2012-2013 at Nationals or perhaps the National playoffs.
Beyond that, Ankit, you have your hunch, I have mine. I think any further speculation by any of us is probably counterproductive right now. I will say, though, that having spoken with a bunch of coaches and players about it, there's clearly a non-insignificant fraction of teams out there that like variety in formats. Also, you haven't seen our sets this year, of course, but the amount of trash (aka pop culture history) is considerably less than a standard NAQT round. And for that matter, there is a difference between trash and pop culture history. Our trash questions are far more likely to be on something actually historically significant. Nearly all of the recent history is "legitimate" history.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby The Predictable Consequences » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:23 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, you haven't seen our sets this year, of course, but the amount of trash (aka pop culture history) is considerably less than a standard NAQT round. And for that matter, there is a difference between trash and pop culture history. Our trash questions are far more likely to be on something actually historically significant. Nearly all of the recent history is "legitimate" history.


Having played the B set this year, I can confirm this. I can only remember 2 or 3 trash tossups all day (and one history tossup I got from sports knowledge).
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Sun Devil Student » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:27 am

Prof.Whoopie wrote:important games between top teams (which may soon involve thousands of dollars in scholarships, as you hope) can be swung simply by where a question appears in a packet

As someone who has seen a quizbowl team negatively affected by the temptation of money, I would suggest you be very careful with putting monetary prizes into a quiz tournament. Money serves to magnify the size of any slight unfairness over the course of the tournament, and this can cause small injustices which normally would not matter to become relevant (at least in the perception of teams involved). Also, there is a risk that students start being motivated by the scholarship money instead of the love of knowledge, which increases the chance they will quit when they move up to college where glory is the only available prize.

At ASU, there is an administration-sponsored intramural tournament which predates the ASU Quizbowl Club, and awards a large amount of money using atrociously moderated NAQT Intramural/A-level IS questions (and they don't even open a new packet every round) averaging about 11-13 tossups per game. In the past four years I did manage to recruit a few solid members from the intramural. However, a number of students we've tried to recruit over the years see no reason to put in the time commitment required to be good at good quizbowl and travel to tournaments when they can get lucky and win thousands of dollars "on the cheap" with just one month of commitment in the intramural. And it's true, the intramural lets people look fantastically smart (on TV, no less) for a lot less effort than it would take to win even a single game at, say, ACF Regionals. Now some of these students wouldn't make the time for any sort of quizbowl without the monetary incentive, and some just don't want to spend more than a few hours a year on it. But I believe there are at least a few ASU students for whom the existence of the "cheap-shot" alternative really makes the "good" intercollegiate competition seem unrewarding by comparison (e.g. more challenge and time commitment for less feel-good and less tangible gain), and I do think ASU Quizbowl might have gotten a couple extra recruits over the years if that unfavorable contrast wasn't constantly in our faces as an organization. (The organization itself also would be at considerably less risk of divisive drama and morale sapping from all the arbitrary stuff its members get subjected to while playing against each other in the intramural each year.)

This is the cross ASU's team has always borne and will continue to bear for the foreseeable future, and I'm going to say publicly for the first time that I'm very proud of my ASU players for sticking it out against a clearly superior bunch of California circuit teams all these years despite the above situation. But because of my experience, I am always very skeptical of large monetary prizes in any kind of legitimate quizbowl competition. I won't necessarily insist that it's a bad idea for the National History Bowl organization, but I would suggest that this new organization and new national circuit, which is currently free of the potential corruption of high finance, think very carefully about the potential consequences before taking on such a burden which may be very difficult to get rid of once taken on. (It's harder to reduce monetary prizes than to increase them, isn't it? Will teams accustomed to playing for money drop off in attendance if the prize sponsors withdraw for economic reasons? What happens to protest resolution procedures when there's so much more at stake? How much greater is the temptation that sportsmanship and integrity would face?)

Whatever National History Bowl ends up doing, I hope it works out to the best for everyone, and I wish good luck to all involved.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:18 am

For the foreseeable future, prizes of this sort are going to be limited to the very best students and teams in the nation at our National Championships. Even there, the level of prizes at stake, while significant, is not going to be of the sort that this would really have any impact at all on people's motivations for playing quizbowl, full stop. The largest prize, this year, a trip to the French Riviera, will go to the overall winner of the Varsity Bee. Whoever that is will have put in literally thousands of hours of preparation over at least 2, probably more like 3-5 years. The payoff is not so great as to completely change motivations. At the middle school level, the top prize of a $50,000 scholarship is much greater, but that's because TV is involved, and they've hired a whole compliance company to make sure we play by our own rules there. And again, since it's only 1 scholarship of that amount, it's hard to see how this would lead to questionable motivations for competing. Schools are signing up to give their kids an opportunity to get excited about history; largely unknowingly they're also getting introduced to pyramidal quizbowl in the process. We're certainly aware of the added responsibility that comes with greater prizes, but the top students and teams in the country deserve more recognition of this sort, and it's my firm belief that more of this is needed at the national level.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby List of Fighting Spirit characters » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:58 pm

I do not think that money especially dilutes the motivations of kids to be involved in this, considering how hard it is and how much dedication is required to actually win at this event in comparison to an intramural. I mean, just looking at geography bee and spelling bee champions, who also receive huge monetary prizes at the end, it's pretty clear that they have a fierce dedication to learning geography/the English language that transcends the mundane scholarship they receive at the end, which they would treat as akin to icing on the cake.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Kyle » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:32 pm

List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote:I mean, just looking at geography bee and spelling bee champions, who also receive huge monetary prizes at the end, it's pretty clear that they have a fierce dedication to learning geography/the English language that transcends the mundane scholarship they receive at the end, which they would treat as akin to icing on the cake.


It's always entertaining to watch people in the spelling bee bend over backwards in an attempt to justify their supposed love for spelling. You get great quotes like "For as long as I can remember, I have just really loved words, you know?"
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue May 01, 2012 3:08 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Going to 20/20 is not going to happen for this year. At Nationals, though, we'll be careful to survey all teams who are there, and figure out the best route forward.

Did this happen?
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Weighted Companion Cube » Thu May 03, 2012 10:46 pm

I must say, other than the difficulty that went all over the place, I actually did like the 60 second rounds. If you could just control the difficulty more, and maybe remove the time limit, this is something that can be enjoyable.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu May 03, 2012 11:05 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I must say, other than the difficulty that went all over the place, I actually did like the 60 second rounds. If you could just control the difficulty more, and maybe remove the time limit, this is something that can be enjoyable.


I do think that the time limit removal is a good idea - many of the readers, even ones who were experienced in reading for quizbowl, messed up on the actually timing, and the time limit really only ever was an issue when there was a slow reader, anyway.

Controlling difficulty though I think is just so incredibly hard that it is hard to think of a way to do it...I think one thing that might help would be loosening the themes, for example "1968 Democratic Convention" was an incredibly specific category, and if you happened to have studied it in depth, Pigasus and all, then you would be lucky, but most other teams would likely have low conversion. When there are 8 questions that can swing the game so much, it would probably be fairer to have a category like "American Battles" or "European Monarchs," both categories that cover a huge amount of material and would probably more accurately assess a team's ability, rather than a hit-or-miss test of a team's knowledge of a very specific topic.

Also, some of my teammates like NHBB almost solely because it has a 4-quarter format, so we do need to remember the whole "appealing to the masses" idea, not only to the top teams.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Weighted Companion Cube » Thu May 03, 2012 11:16 pm

SrgtDonow wrote:Also, some of my teammates like NHBB almost solely because it has a 4-quarter format, so we do need to remember the whole "appealing to the masses" idea, not only to the top teams.

Yah same with us. I actually did like the four quarter thing, although I think the point distribution needs to be changed, as it felt almost meaningless to get 7 tossups to 3 in the first round when you could have that completely undone in 2 questions the next round.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Cody » Thu May 03, 2012 11:20 pm

SrgtDonow wrote:Controlling difficulty though I think is just so incredibly hard that it is hard to think of a way to do it...I think one thing that might help would be loosening the themes, for example "1968 Democratic Convention" was an incredibly specific category, and if you happened to have studied it in depth, Pigasus and all, then you would be lucky, but most other teams would likely have low conversion. When there are 8 questions that can swing the game so much, it would probably be fairer to have a category like "American Battles" or "European Monarchs," both categories that cover a huge amount of material and would probably more accurately assess a team's ability, rather than a hit-or-miss test of a team's knowledge of a very specific topic.
This is pretty much impossible to do over all the lightning rounds (especially at Nationals and even more especially for the easier Regionals set) because it takes away too many answer lines & clues.

Lightning rounds are inherently unfair because, like bonuses, they are impossible to balance with each other, but, unlike bonuses, there's no chance to even out the difficulty over a large sample size.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu May 03, 2012 11:27 pm

Also, some of my teammates like NHBB almost solely because it has a 4-quarter format, so we do need to remember the whole "appealing to the masses" idea, not only to the top teams.

I just want to point out that this is not necessarily something that appeals to the masses. My work establishing MOQBA and coaching Rock Bridge has showed me that a whole lot of a player's perspective on quizbowl can be shaped by "managing expectations," as the estimable Donald Draper put it. The only reason your team your teammates have a reason to prefer a four quarter format is because they are used to playing it. In Missouri, the teams who are used to MSHSAA tend to prefer playing it because it's what they've always played. The teams now who are pro-MOQBA for the most part have players who think MSHSAA is incredibly weird and lame, on the other hand, because their expectation is that quizbowl should play like an pyramidal 20/20 set. If you take players and have them prepare for one format, they are going to expect it to be the standard one and will almost always prefer it.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby jonpin » Fri May 04, 2012 3:28 pm

SrgtDonow wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I must say, other than the difficulty that went all over the place, I actually did like the 60 second rounds. If you could just control the difficulty more, and maybe remove the time limit, this is something that can be enjoyable.


I do think that the time limit removal is a good idea - many of the readers, even ones who were experienced in reading for quizbowl, messed up on the actually timing, and the time limit really only ever was an issue when there was a slow reader, anyway.

Controlling difficulty though I think is just so incredibly hard that it is hard to think of a way to do it...I think one thing that might help would be loosening the themes, for example "1968 Democratic Convention" was an incredibly specific category, and if you happened to have studied it in depth, Pigasus and all, then you would be lucky, but most other teams would likely have low conversion. When there are 8 questions that can swing the game so much, it would probably be fairer to have a category like "American Battles" or "European Monarchs," both categories that cover a huge amount of material and would probably more accurately assess a team's ability, rather than a hit-or-miss test of a team's knowledge of a very specific topic.


I wouldn't have a problem with the removal of the time limit. Transferring this into a lightning round where teams have 5 seconds per part with immediate bounceback solves a few grievances I have:
1. More technical set-up. Under the current set-up, teams really deserve to have visible access to a clock, which is for the rest of the game just another piece of electronics that someone needs to bring and can get lost.
2. The rare but glaring occurrence of spoiled answers, where the answer to part (b) is referenced in part (c). I only noted it about twice over the course of the tournament, and once or twice in a regional set, but it is a problem. While standard in tossup/bonus format, it's not acceptable in the current lightning round format no matter how obvious the former part is, because it makes it easier (or in some cases obvious) for the second team to steal. The lesser problem of "removed answers", where a correct Team A answer to a later part eliminates a possible guess for Team B on a steal of an early part is also removed.*
3. Varying lengths of prompts. Some lightning rounds had prompts that were a third of a line, others were two-thirds of a line. That adds up over eight parts.
4. Ability to clarify answers. Without a running clock, it's a lot easier for the moderator to clarify which answer he should be taking. I had one team who, when I asked them "Who is the captain that I should expect answers from?" said "Can't we all just shout them out?" With a running clock, the calibration of when to pull the trigger finger and consider an answer directed at me is difficult: too quick and I have a team complain that they weren't answering yet; too slow and I have a team complain that they've already answered and I'm wasting their time.

I have no problem with specific categories, but the category names need to be a little clearer. The worst example was the playoff round that my team and I independently thought included a category on "Polyspeak", which we were baffled as to what the hell that was.

*-If this is unclear, consider a category of US PRESIDENTS, where part (c) is about "This 19th century Democrat did blah blah" and Team A gets it wrong. Team B is planning to guess between Andrew Jackson or Martin Van Buren for their steal attempt, and then Team A correctly answers part (d) with Van Buren. Now Team B unfairly benefits from Team A's knowledge.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Scaled Flowerpiercer » Fri May 04, 2012 4:39 pm

jonpin wrote:1. More technical set-up. Under the current set-up, teams really deserve to have visible access to a clock, which is for the rest of the game just another piece of electronics that someone needs to bring and can get lost.


And in many cases moderators had clocks which they neglected to made visible to teams, making the time limit even more of a hassle when you can't manage it

jonpin wrote:3. Varying lengths of prompts. Some lightning rounds had prompts that were a third of a line, others were two-thirds of a line. That adds up over eight parts.

Agreed, though I think the nationals packets did a better job at this than regionals - the most extreme case of "differing prompt length" would be when some are sentences and some are only 1 or 2 words, which happened some times (I remember one like "given a WWII battle, give the present day country where it occurred")

jonpin wrote:I have no problem with specific categories, but the category names need to be a little clearer. The worst example was the playoff round that my team and I independently thought included a category on "Polyspeak", which we were baffled as to what the hell that was.

Again I think it is just worth noting that NHBB/HSAPQ has gotten better at this, though it is certainly an important thing to be careful of going forward with 60 second rounds - "Polyspeak" was confusing, but I think it was an exceptional case. Last year I remember there was a "Wiped off the face of the Earth" category; I remember assuming it was about former countries which are no longer "on the map," but it was about extinct animals like dodos.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri May 04, 2012 5:38 pm

The round that had Polyspeak, the DNC Convention and "Inventions/Inventors"(or whatever it was) seemed like it had a really broad category but was to the point (inventions/inventors), a really obscure and meticulous category (DNC Convention) and then Polyspeak (wtf even was Polyspeak? Political speak? I remember we played Mr. Pinyan's team and we chose Polyspeak over the DNC thing, but I remember thinking to myself "math or something we don't know"?).
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby jonpin » Fri May 04, 2012 6:51 pm

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:The round that had Polyspeak, the DNC Convention and "Inventions/Inventors"(or whatever it was) seemed like it had a really broad category but was to the point (inventions/inventors), a really obscure and meticulous category (DNC Convention) and then Polyspeak (wtf even was Polyspeak? Political speak? I remember we played Mr. Pinyan's team and we chose Polyspeak over the DNC thing, but I remember thinking to myself "math or something we don't know"?).


Yeah, as soon as I heard things like "cloture", "earmarks" and the like come up, I realized it was POLI-SPEAK.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Great Bustard » Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:50 pm

Just to clarify, the rule about who picks in the 60 second rounds first is currently:

i. Teams must make substitutions before hearing the three categories which will be presented to the teams at the start of this round. The team who is trailing will play first and choose their category first. Note: At the National Championships, this provision may be reversed. NHBB will announce its decision on who will select first in the 60 second rounds at Nationals in early 2013.
1. If the teams are tied, the last team to be trailing will go first.

Sorry about the confusion here; the website, official rules, and scoresheets have been updated to reflect this. The primary reasoning for this is that teams who are getting blown out really took it badly when we tried to let the leading team pick first (i.e. adding insult to injury). That said, I do see the logic behind rewarding the best team and letting them pick first so as not to "punish" them for being in the lead. As the official rules state, we're not going to make a decision on how we do it at nationals until early 2013, but if people wish to voice their opinions on the matter in advance of Nationals, this is the place to do it.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Matthew Jackson » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:39 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Just to clarify, the rule about who picks in the 60 second rounds first is currently:

i. Teams must make substitutions before hearing the three categories which will be presented to the teams at the start of this round. The team who is trailing will play first and choose their category first. Note: At the National Championships, this provision may be reversed. NHBB will announce its decision on who will select first in the 60 second rounds at Nationals in early 2013.
1. If the teams are tied, the last team to be trailing will go first.

Sorry about the confusion here; the website, official rules, and scoresheets have been updated to reflect this. The primary reasoning for this is that teams who are getting blown out really took it badly when we tried to let the leading team pick first (i.e. adding insult to injury). That said, I do see the logic behind rewarding the best team and letting them pick first so as not to "punish" them for being in the lead. As the official rules state, we're not going to make a decision on how we do it at nationals until early 2013, but if people wish to voice their opinions on the matter in advance of Nationals, this is the place to do it.


There's something to be said for using the same procedures and rules at Nationals as are used throughout the rest of the year. At minimum, it'll be less confusing for all involved.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Edward Powers » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:15 pm

I agree with Matt.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:19 pm

It will also help prepare any moderators that will be reading at nationals.
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Re: NHBB & 60 Second rounds

Postby Corry » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:56 pm

Horned Screamer wrote:
Also, some of my teammates like NHBB almost solely because it has a 4-quarter format, so we do need to remember the whole "appealing to the masses" idea, not only to the top teams.

I just want to point out that this is not necessarily something that appeals to the masses. My work establishing MOQBA and coaching Rock Bridge has showed me that a whole lot of a player's perspective on quizbowl can be shaped by "managing expectations," as the estimable Donald Draper put it. The only reason your team your teammates have a reason to prefer a four quarter format is because they are used to playing it. In Missouri, the teams who are used to MSHSAA tend to prefer playing it because it's what they've always played. The teams now who are pro-MOQBA for the most part have players who think MSHSAA is incredibly weird and lame, on the other hand, because their expectation is that quizbowl should play like an pyramidal 20/20 set. If you take players and have them prepare for one format, they are going to expect it to be the standard one and will almost always prefer it.


I'm probably an exception, but I'll post my personal opinion anyways.

I started playing History Bowl this spring. Prior to that, I had been playing quiz bowl for a little under three years, and had attended about 10 separate quiz bowl tournaments using the 20-20 format (the SoCal circuit isn't exactly overflowing with tournaments). However, playing History Bowl for the first time, I found that I strongly preferred the 4-quarter format to the normal 20-20 format. To me, it's just more fun.
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