Wacky Practice Formats

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Wacky Practice Formats

Post by cvdwightw » Tue May 19, 2015 4:47 pm

I am assuming that most practices consist of either splitting into teams and playing a "fake game" or playing a packet of tossups singles-style (one buzz per person) and doing something with bonuses. This thread is for non-standard practice formats - gimmicks that one would never include in a real tournament but add a "fun" or "funn" component to practice. (You can find a number of completely ridiculous formats here, but this thread is for things people have actually done and liked in practice)

My contribution is something called "Uber Bowl" that was played at UCI circa 2010(?) to much hilarity and led to some player improvement. This practice format is intended for teams in which one player is clearly dominant, such that most "normal" practice situations are subverted by one player either getting all the tossups or sitting on his/her hands until the giveaway in order to let teammates have a chance.

We would read a college novice or high school nationals packet, something difficulty-appropriate for the rest of the people at practice, and play tossups singles-style. The idea is that I (substitute yourself if you are the person getting all the tossups in practice) would be required to buzz in sometime before the end of the second sentence with whatever my first inkling of the answer was. Often (especially in tossups without a lot of context clues) I would be far off in humorous ways, which led to much laughter once someone else buzzed in with the right answer. I'd usually get somewhere between 2 and 6 of the tossups and neg the rest, which meant that if we were keeping score I was almost always in last place.

This kind of practice format helped me work on my buzz intuition (and to a certain extent, my distaste for negging). It also kept me from just sitting on my hands during practice, but ensured that everyone else got to practice on a difficulty-appropriate packet without me stealing most of the tossups.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Tue May 19, 2015 6:02 pm

While Dwight's format makes sense when you have one player clearly superior to the rest, what happens when you have two players clearly superior to the rest? If you hate fun, you could just put them on opposing teams and play a regular mock game. Or... you could play Two-Headed Monster!

To play Two-Headed Monster, you form two teams and play a mock game. On one team (the monster), you place the two best players in the room. On the other team (the world), you place the remainder of the room. The world plays the game normally, but the monster does not. Instead, on tossups, each head of the monster must buzz for the other head - so you buzz when you think the other guy knows it, and then the other guy has to answer. The two heads of the monster are not allowed to communicate even non-verbally on tossups (presumably, this is to represent the well-known fact that polycephalic monsters lack a higher-order analogue of the corpus callosum). The two heads may communicate normally on bonеra, though.

Two-Headed Monster is curiously effective at helping you feel out how much you know about what your teammates know, which is a useful skill in actual games. It sort of degenerates, though, when there is a large skill differential between the lesser head and Matt Jackson, because at that point the winning strategy is for the lesser head to wait two clues and then buzz (or, perhaps, for Matt Jackson to wait two clues and then buzz on science, and then react with disbelief when the lesser head in fact does not know what the Blumbleschlumble-Flibberploof reaction is).

I don't quite recall the story of how Two-Headed Monster came to be, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't invented at Yale. Perhaps Kevin brought it from Stanford?

To the best of my knowledge, no practitioners have explored n-headed generalizations of this format. There's some low-hanging fruit for you, enterprising quizbowlologists!
Last edited by Excelsior (smack) on Wed May 20, 2015 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue May 19, 2015 6:28 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:To the best of my knowledge, no practitioners have explored n-headed generalizations of this format. There's some low-hanging fruit for you, enterprising quizbowlologists!
From what I hear the UChicago team (and possibly many others) has a long tradition of playing "Designate Bowl," where effectively both teams are n-headed monsters.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue May 19, 2015 6:35 pm

Harvard for a time in the mid to late 2000's played "Speed Rounds", which would be where tossup 1 is worth 1 point, tossup 2 is worth 2 points, etc. Negs are worth as much as the tossup value. This would traditionally be played on an NAQT IS set.

This is a pure gimmick format, generally played at the end of practice, and has no redeeming pedagogical value. However, it's a good feeling when you make up for your -23 neg with a 24 point first-line buzz.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Tue May 19, 2015 7:01 pm

Matthew J wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:To the best of my knowledge, no practitioners have explored n-headed generalizations of this format. There's some low-hanging fruit for you, enterprising quizbowlologists!
From what I hear the UChicago team (and possibly many others) has a long tradition of playing "Designate Bowl," where effectively both teams are n-headed monsters.
Bryan Berend was recently telling me about playing two-headed monster (or a close variant?) at Minnesota practices, but it's entirely possible that it started at UChicago.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue May 19, 2015 7:53 pm

We played two-headed monster at one of the Minnesota events this last summer (at Ashvin's suggestion, actually!) and I love playing designate bowl, but it's definitely a Chicago thing in origin.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed May 20, 2015 12:57 am

History of Designate Bowl, as I recall it:

It's definitely a Chicago thing. I think it was at some tournament in late 2008, early 2009 at UIUC where Sorice was reading for a team that included myself, Marnold, and David Seal. I forget exactly what the context was that had us trying to jokingly buzz for each other by sneakily buzzing when they had the buzzer down, but it was a joke for a little bit and led one of us (I think Marnold) to ask Sorice what the rule was on who would be recognized if one of us buzzed using the buzzer of another player. At lunch, the basic ideas of Designate Bowl were fleshed out and then implemented to everyone's delight at future practices. I don't know if rules were really ever codified: the best way to non-verbally communicate that you knew the answer was to repeatedly buzz and designate other players until they realized that you knew it. That's how I got my only ever literature buzz on Lazarus Long, who is of course, Robert Heinlein's perhaps fourth? most famous character. Sometimes I think Designate Bowl was my only lasting contribution to quiz bowl at large. Glad to know it's still floating around out there.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Eddie » Wed May 20, 2015 2:15 am

We played Two-Headed Monster at practice tonight, and it was definitely a blast, especially when one of us buzzed near the giveaway of a tossup that talked about "she," "slain," and "Tigris and Euphrates," only to have his teammate confusedly answer "Isis."
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Bloodwych » Wed May 20, 2015 3:53 am

Excelsior (smack) wrote:communicate normally on bonuses
between this and "lede-in," it's going to take a while to get used to this newfangled quizbowl lexicon
Last edited by Bloodwych on Wed May 20, 2015 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Jason Cheng » Wed May 20, 2015 5:51 am

Spheal With It wrote:We played Two-Headed Monster at practice tonight, and it was definitely a blast, especially when one of us buzzed near the giveaway of a tossup that talked about "she," "slain," and "Tigris and Euphrates," only to have his teammate confusedly answer "Isis."
Can confirm that I'll never trust said teammate to know the difference between Mesopotamia and Egypt ever again
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Muriel Axon » Wed May 20, 2015 7:40 am

Childeric III wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:communicate normally on bonuses
between this and "lede-in," it's going to take a while to get used to this newfangled quizbowl lexicon
bonuses is old news!
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed May 20, 2015 7:59 am

Childeric III wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:communicate normally on bon.era
between this and "lede-in," it's going to take a while to get used to this newfangled quizbowl lexicon
Oh dear, I missed one.

EDIT: now this conversation is a treat
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by setht » Wed May 20, 2015 9:29 am

The UC Berkeley club lexicon preserves three wacky formats we developed circa 2001:
Fijian
Modified Caprivian
Modified Prussian

These are all fun, but Modified Caprivian is.. favorite.. format.. playing.. old. Just.. sure.. avoid.. violations.

On another note, there has been a sad decline in club lexicons.

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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Eddie » Wed May 20, 2015 2:57 pm

Another fun thing we do at practice sometimes, which I think I found back on QBWiki a while back, is "double or nothing" on bonuses, where you hear the lede-in to a bonus and decide whether to play it normal, or to go "double or nothing." If you go "double or nothing," you get 60 points for thirtying the bonus, but you get 0 points if you miss any of the parts. This lends itself to specialists racking up crazy points on bonuses, but gets especially hilarious when someone gets a lede-in like:
This composer's Konzertstuck in F minor depicts a woman awaiting the return of her crusading husband. For 10 points each:
and it turns out to be an insane common link on Carl Maria von Weber, Max Weber, and magnetic flux.

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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Cheynem » Wed May 20, 2015 3:48 pm

Here's the rules for Family Feud:

FAMILY FEUD
Teams of 4-5. After determining who goes first (maybe off a speedcheck question), team A is given an answerline by the moderator, who is looking at a packet. For example, the answerline is "Ernest Hemingway." Each member of Team A, in turn like the show, tries to guess the proper nouns/clues that appear in the tossup (for example, you could guess "The Old Man and the Sea"). You get more points for guessing the earlier clues, so for example, if there are "10 clues" (moderator's discretion), you might get 1 point for the name Old Man and the Sea, but 5 points for "character who loves Joe DiMaggio" and 10 points for some short story clue. As with the show, you get a "strike" if you fail to name a clue, and three strikes mean the other team gets a chance to steal. This is funnier with common links and weirder tossups.

I don't remember the rules for Dodgeball, which was fun if somewhat frustrating.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by jonpin » Wed May 20, 2015 3:58 pm

These might fall more under the "ridiculous quiz bowl-like substance" category from the Mike Bentley Challenge, but here are some things we've done:
* Survivor. This is definitely a wacky thing for use with several players and a vast supply of short questions. Each round consists of an "immunity challenge" with several questions, each of which is contested by one member of each tribe, then a vote and an "elimination challenge" in which two players go head-to-head on a question with the loser eliminated. The last 3 players compete in a many-question-long final challenge to decide the winner. If you want more details... why?
* Green-Yellow-Red or "Three Strikes". Individually played. First neg is a warning. Second neg is a yellow card, either -1 or an N-question suspension depending on what we're playing. Third neg is a red card, and you're out for the rest of the packet (but still eligible to win or play a tiebreaker if you've earned enough points beforehand).
* "Family Feud" style bonuses. More just a test of what your think quiz bowl asks about. Upon hearing the lead-in of a bonus, try to name all three answers before the bonus parts themselves are read.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Wed May 20, 2015 6:12 pm

The first neg at practice results in five pushups, increasing by five with each additional neg. It curbs reckless buzzing and promotes fitness!
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Kyle » Wed May 20, 2015 7:33 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Harvard for a time in the mid to late 2000's played "Speed Rounds", which would be where tossup 1 is worth 1 point, tossup 2 is worth 2 points, etc. Negs are worth as much as the tossup value. This would traditionally be played on an NAQT IS set.

This is a pure gimmick format, generally played at the end of practice, and has no redeeming pedagogical value. However, it's a good feeling when you make up for your -23 neg with a 24 point first-line buzz.
This became a standard feature of Oxford practices as well, usually as the last fifteen minutes of practice on an old, easy-ish set of tossups. You're right that this is gimmicky, but there is some value if you have a team that is large enough to practice in two or more different rooms because it became a way to bring the entire team together at the end of the practice. We would often play this way with seven or eight teams of three.

(Also, Bruce, your first-line buzz on tossup 24 would be worth 32 points if your set has powers.)
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Victor Prieto » Thu May 21, 2015 2:20 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:Two-Headed Monster!
We developed a variant of this game at Rice. Instead of only 2 teams, everyone has a partner who buzzes for them (if there was an odd number, an inexperienced player would be allowed to buzz for themselves). We'd play like this on a couple of Fall-level packets at the end of a practice, shuffling partners between packets. It worked quite well in order to heavily involve newcomers, as we'd match them with an experienced player, and the pair would build camaraderie while producing hilarious results.
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Mike Bentley » Fri May 22, 2015 6:46 pm

jonpin wrote:These might fall more under the "ridiculous quiz bowl-like substance" category from the Mike Bentley Challenge, but here are some things we've done:
What the hell is the Mike Bentley Challenge?
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri May 22, 2015 7:23 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:What the hell is the Mike Bentley Challenge?
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... +challenge ?

Thread highlights: the origin of IRC "favorite" quizbowl baseball; Jason Mueller showing up again and again to pile on additional bad ideas, katamari-like, to his "pantheon bowl" concept; a million Andy Watkins posts that strive for, yet fail to achieve, even an iota of humor (this happened in every thread from 2008-2013 inclusive)
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Re: Wacky Practice Formats

Post by MicahGreenberg » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:35 pm

Fun way to get through a lot of tossups: Each person gets a packet. One person, especially someone expected to do worse (a head start), reads a tossup. Every person can buzz in once, and whoever gets the tossup right gets to read a tossup from their packet. If any question goes dead, the person who read it reads again. Whoever finishes their packet first wins the game. This allows good practice reading and playing, allows you to evaluate the skill of certain players (at least on tossups), and is fun.

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