First-Time Tournament Help

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biggiebird89
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First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

Hello all. I’m looking for some help in terms of a quiz-bowl tournament I’m trying to put on. I’m a senior attending a college in Vermont , and as a fundraiser for one of the clubs I help to run, we are going to put on a Vermont vs. New Hampshire quiz-bowl tournament sometime this fall. It would be run slightly different from how these states’ teams perform their leagues (I believe under NAQT questions, etc.) What I am curious about is if the format of the tournament (not necessarily the questions/matches) sounds reasonable given my current situation and concerns below:

The tournament would consist of up to (but hopefully) 15 teams from both states. Each state would then be divided into 3 5-team divisions, who would then play an opening round-robin tournament against other teams in its division (at the moment, the divisions would all be random unless a perfect geographical setup somehow presented itself.) This would result in at least 4 games and a BYE for each team. Once this was done, we’d break for lunch where scores would be tallied, and teams would be ranked based on total points scored in their 4 games (since I don’t want 30 2-2 teams.) Tiebreakers would go to head-to-head matchups, then PPG, and then I’m not sure after that, hopefully it’s not needed after PPG. Then we would rank the divisions based on those total points, and the top 2 teams in each division, plus the top 2 non-division qualified teams would play a single-elimination 8-team tournament until 1 VT and 1 NH team remains, who would then play for a title.

At the moment, my main concern is the formatting of this tournament, since it only guarantees 4 games for teams possibly traveling over 100 miles to this. I don’t want them to feel robbed of an experience and/or money by not getting what they may have bargained for. Money is also tight, as our club doesn’t have much to start, and our student government is really cheap when it comes to dishing out money to causes that “don’t benefit the student body as a whole,” etc. Could anyone offer any advice for this cause? It’d be most appreciated, especially given we are looking to more impact the schools than our cash box. Thanks!
Last edited by biggiebird89 on Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by cvdwightw »

biggiebird89 wrote:The tournament would consist of up to (but hopefully) 15 teams from both states. Each state would then be divided into 3 5-team divisions, who would then play an opening round-robin tournament against other teams in its division (at the moment, the divisions would all be random unless a perfect geographical setup somehow presented itself.) This would result in at least 4 games and a BYE for each team.
Unless your staff or rooms are limited, you can run the exact same format with 18 teams and give every team 5 games. In fact you can do this with any number between 15 and 18, just have some divisions with 6 teams and some with 5.
biggiebird89 wrote:Once this was done, we’d break for lunch where scores would be tallied, and teams would be ranked based on total points scored in their 4 games (since I don’t want 30 2-2 teams.) Tiebreakers would go to head-to-head matchups, then PPG, and then I’m not sure after that, hopefully it’s not needed after PPG. Then we would rank the divisions based on those total points, and the top 2 teams in each division, plus the top 2 non-division qualified teams would play a single-elimination 8-team tournament until 1 VT and 1 NH team remains, who would then play for a title.
As noted elsewhere on this board, single elimination is a bad idea unless you have so many teams that any other playoff format might exclude playoff-worthy teams. 15 or 18 teams is not such a number. In addition, what you propose for a playoff system is really confusing (How exactly does ranking the divisions mean anything? What happens if 5 Vermont teams and 3 New Hampshire teams make the single-elim? What incentive is there to actually win a game as opposed to just score points?).

A better playoff system would be to divide your group into three tiers: teams that place first or second in their division, teams that place third or fourth in their division, and teams that place fifth (or sixth) in their division. Break ties by points per game. For the playoffs each team plays every team in its tier that it hasn't already played. At the end of the playoffs, rank teams by total record (or fewest total losses, if your prelim divisions are unbalanced) and have a final (if necessary and/or wanted). This setup requires 11 packets rather than 8 (5 prelims + 4 playoffs + 2 finals) but gives every team between 6 and 9 games.
biggiebird89 wrote:Each match would consist of 4 rounds with house-written questions that are NOT of a style like NAQT or other similar styles: 1 – 15 tossups, 2 – tossups with bonuses (20 available tossups to be used until 3 sets of bonuses are read,) 3 – 60 second lightning round, 4 – remaining tossup questions not used in Rd. 2. Questions would be written from 7 basic categories: Math, Science, English, History, Humanities, Geography, and Garbage (random questions.)
Is this a local format? If not, there's absolutely no reason to use a more conventional four-quarter format (10 tossups, 10 tossups with bonuses, lightning round, 10 tossups). You end up having to write 7 more bonuses against 5 fewer tossups, but unless you're writing a packet full of two-line tossups most people find bonuses easier to write, so the writing time per packet shouldn't be noticeably different.
biggiebird89 wrote:At the moment, my main concern is the formatting of this tournament, since it only guarantees 4 games for teams possibly traveling over 100 miles to this. I don’t want them to feel robbed of an experience and/or money by not getting what they may have bargained for. Money is also tight, as our club doesn’t have much to start, and our student government is really cheap when it comes to dishing out money to causes that “don’t benefit the student body as a whole,” etc. Could anyone offer any advice for this cause? It’d be most appreciated, especially given we are looking to more impact the schools than our cash box. Thanks!
Obviously the considerations are going to be the number of matches teams expect to play, the number of staff you have available, and the number of questions you are willing to write. For instance, a well-run 16-team tournament would guarantee all teams 7 prelim rounds (and preferably 3 more in bracketed playoffs), but such a tournament would require 8 game rooms and ideally 12 packets. The ideal format for your tournament is going to depend on all three of those considerations.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

To your reply:

1.) Staffing is going to be a challenge for us mainly because 1.) it's a small club, and 2.) interest for helping might be low in this regard. What I had been proposing is having a discount for coaches/assistants of teams to help moderate, but putting these coaches in (obviously) different rooms/divisions other than their own teams.

2.) I think I may have given the wrong idea of the playoff format. It would take the top 2 teams from each 5 team division PER STATE ranked based on total points and they would automatically qualify for the playoffs. Then the top two non-qualifying teams (basically either two 3rd place teams or a 3rd and 4th from 1 division) would qualify like "wild card teams," and there would be an 8-team, single elimination playoff for VT, and the same thing would go for NH. That way it boils it down to 1 NH team, and 1 VT team.

3.) This isn't a "local format," persay. Of the members of the club (mainly exec. board,) I am the only one that did quiz bowl in HS, and did it for 6 years. In the league I played in, this was the format that we used. The first round was 20 tossups (mine is 15,) then we had 25 remaining tossups for the 2nd round that we read until 4 bonuses were read. (in my case, it'd be 15.) "Bonuses" consisted of 4-part questions with topics unrelated to the tossup. Teams have 8 seconds to confer, with the captain giving the answer. Regardless how they answer, they hear all 4 questions, and we would read tossups until 3 sets of these bonuses were done. The lightning round is unchanged, and the 4th round is the rest of the tossups not used in the 2nd round. My emphasis is more on quick-buzzing and quick-knowledge, as opposed to giving more information and drawing things out.

4.) I'm hoping to draw as many teams to this as possible. The directors from the VT and NH leagues have been in contact with me through email and are/have been MORE than helpful in guiding some of the things I'm trying to do, but the hard part is distance. Most of NH's teams are in the SE, and about an hour/hour and half away. I want to make this something that can draw them there and want to say, "Hey, here's a new tournament, different format, seems like it'd be worth it to give it a try and spend a little money for a new experience. Might learn something we didn't know."
Last edited by biggiebird89 on Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by cvdwightw »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) Staffing is going to be a challenge for us mainly because 1.) it's a small club, and 2.) interest for helping might be low in this regard. What I had been proposing is having a discount for coaches/assistants of teams to help moderate, but putting these coaches in (obviously) different rooms/divisions other than their own teams.
This idea is regularly used throughout the nation and rightly so since it is a good one.
biggiebird89 wrote:2.) I think I may have given the wrong idea of the playoff format. It would take the top 2 teams from each 5 team division PER STATE ranked based on total points and they would automatically qualify for the playoffs. Then the top two non-qualifying teams (basically either two 3rd place teams or a 3rd and 4th from 1 division) would qualify like "wild card teams," and there would be an 8-team, single elimination playoff for VT, and the same thing would go for NH. That way it boils it down to 1 NH team, and 1 VT team.
Again I am not sure why you are ranking teams based on total points without looking at win-loss first, or if you are looking at win-loss and just aren't saying that. I'm still not a fan of single elimination when you're working with a tournament this size.
biggiebird89 wrote:3.) This isn't a "local format," persay. Of the members of the club (mainly exec. board,) I am the only one that did quiz bowl in HS, and did it for 6 years. In the league I played in, this was the format that we used. The first round was 20 tossups (mine is 15,) then we had 25 remaining tossups for the 2nd round that we read until 4 bonuses were read. (in my case, it'd be 15.) "Bonuses" consisted of 4-part questions with topics unrelated to the tossup. Teams have 8 seconds to confer, with the captain giving the answer. Regardless how they answer, they hear all 4 questions, and we would read tossups until 3 sets of these bonuses were done. The lightning round is unchanged, and the 4th round is the rest of the tossups not used in the 2nd round. I'm borrowing old Patrick's Press questions from a teacher in HS who sent me older packets of questions. The questions are basic, and my emphasis is more on quick-buzzing and quick-knowledge, as opposed to giving more information and drawing things out.
First off, it is a local format, it's just not a local format that is common to all the teams playing. Second, I'm not interested in getting into a protracted debate about the merits of speed check vs. pyramidal questions, or in trying to figure out the reasoning behind your local format's use of three bonuses (this has the potential to really screw up a game: consider that a game between a math/science strong team and an English/humanities strong team could be literally decided by what order those first three tossups are).

The bolded sentence is a major, major problem, for two reasons that have nothing to do with my opinion of Patrick's Press questions. In your original post you advertised that these would be "house-written questions." I'm hoping that this is your inexperience speaking and not intentional misinformation, but using "house-written questions" means 100% of the time that the questions are written by "the house," i.e. the people actually running the tournament, i.e. you and your club. Notwithstanding that, I'm going to assume that if your old high school has access to old Patrick's Press questions, so do other high schools in Vermont and New Hampshire. Therefore it is likely that at least one team will have practiced on the questions you are planning to use.
biggiebird89 wrote:4.) I'm hoping to draw as many teams to this as possible. The directors from the VT and NH leagues have been in contact with me through email and are/have been MORE than helpful in guiding some of the things I'm trying to do, but the hard part is distance. Most of NH's teams are in the SE, and about an hour/hour and half away. I want to make this something that can draw them there and want to say, "Hey, here's a new tournament, different format, seems like it'd be worth it to give it a try and spend a little money for a new experience. Might learn something we didn't know."
Maybe an hour or hour and a half drive is a big deal for New Hampshire teams. I know that down here teams regularly make 45-minute to two-plus-hour drives to get to "local" tournaments. It's not completely unheard of in other areas. The three concrete ideas I can offer you are:
(1) Offer every team the maximum number of games that you think teams will want to play. If teams want to play 6 games then they're not going to drive out to play 4.
(2) Offer consolation playoffs to teams that want to keep playing but didn't make the playoffs or got knocked out early. Some teams want to keep playing, and their experience will be all the better if they get to play other non-playoff teams (or teams from the other side of the bracket if they get knocked out of the playoffs).
(3) Mix up the preliminary divisions so that teams from Vermont and New Hampshire get to play each other. It doesn't make any sense to have 15 New Hampshire teams drive an hour to play teams that are a few minutes away from them. If you're advertising the "Vermont vs. New Hampshire" gimmick, it would be much better if every team that came got to play a couple of teams from the other state rather than just one team playing a final against the other state's champion.

I hope I'm not coming off too harsh. I think that hosting another tournament for teams up in that area is great. I personally think there are a number of very bad things about this proposed tournament; I've refrained from commenting on most of them because I don't think you'll change your mind about them and I'd prefer to use constructive criticism for the things you might change your mind about.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

First, I don't take it as harsh - at first I suppose it was, but I know I'm just a rookie here, and I know I'm more of a player than a director, but I want to become that director to put on a very successful tournament and not look like I'm clueless. I don't take any personal offense, I know it's all meant to help.

Secondly, yes I am a little inexperienced in terms of the ideas behind directing a tournament. Hence why I signed up on the board to ask for help. :-)

1.) I've been doing a lot of thinking about prices at the moment, though I'm not sure what I'll do for discounts. I want to do them for 1.) bringing buzzer systems, 2.) moderator help, 3.) distance traveled (over a certain mileage,) and a possible (just a thought at the moment) 4.) discount for bringing over a certain number of fans to support a team.
The Vermont director, in an email, said to me this: "As I said, I run our current non-league events -- a trio of NAQT tournaments in September, December and March -- and one potential concern I can see for you is that, since I run my tournaments on behalf of our league, I do so with low admission fees as my goals are only to maximize participation and break even financially. While I have tried to encourage schools to hold their own tournaments as fundraisers, it's something that hasn't happened, so I honestly can't say what sort of response you would get if you tried to charge a registration fee more typical of the college-run events elsewhere in the country." and Over the last two years my tournaments have drawn between 16 and 34 teams and that's with events in more densely populated areas and with entry fees never exceeding $25 per team. My guess is you'd be doing well to reach the lower end of that range, but as we've never tried to run a tournament in your area, it is just a guess. I was thinking of around $35-50 at the moment, but it's just thought, not action currently.

2.) I can see based on the size of the team lot how you're coming to your reasoning. In the case of what I was proposing, total points were to be used because the divisions were set so that 1 team would play 4 games. That means that, in a Murphy's Law world, 30 teams could end up 2-2, and instead of doing a tiebreaker of total points, just making total points the main separator would've been easier to me. Of course, adding more teams could make this much easier, as someone emailed me suggesting to go to 32 teams, with a 2x8 round robin format. They then suggested a couple of options similar to what you did with another round-robin style matchup in the end, etc.

3.) In terms of the format of the bonuses, it's mainly due to the number of available tossups. If for Rounds 2/4, there are 20 questions to use and 3 sets of bonuses to use, that guarantees a maximum of 17 tossups for the last round where teams could make up ground, OR it could always be reduced to 2 bonuses, 1 from each of those Math/Science and History/English styles you mentioned. It's up in the air, and I'm ALWAYS willing to hear suggestions about it. The format that we’d be using, if I said it before, was how the league I participated in HS was formatted. I guess you could say it’s “local” to a degree, since some leagues run NAQT, or ACF, or other formats. This would be an alternative which I hope would draw in more teams due to the variety.

4.) I think depending on the number of teams that end up entering (which I plan to promote this as soon as September rolls around,) will determine the format. Personally I now agree with your #3 point. It doesn't make sense to put teams together that could play in any after-school matchups any given day. I’m just not sure of how to properly format it so that teams get the ultimate experience and the max. number of matches that they should receive in order to make the day worthwhile to attend. Plus there’s also the issue of how to keep teams around that allowed us the use of buzzer systems too. For prizes, what could someone suggest for a low budget tournament? We’re looking into donations from local businesses in the science field (perhaps museums, national weather service offices, etc.) but it’s hard to manage decent prices on a tight checkbook, though local businesses are generally more willing to donate to causes that promote back to the community, especially the education within a community.
Last edited by biggiebird89 on Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

So just a few notes I want to make on this:
biggiebird89 wrote:...discount for bringing over a certain number of fans to support a team.
Quizbowl isn't a spectator activity; those fans would be better off playing or, if they're not in high school, helping to staff. In any event, I'm not sure you'd want to encourage this.

On field size: With 32 teams, 4x8 initial divisions with rebracketing to another 4x8 (top 2 from each division advance to top bracket, etc) guarantees each team 13 games (after rebracketing, they don't play the other team from their preliminary bracket). Whether teams you're inviting want/are willing to play 13 games is another matter. After that, you can do a standard finals: if one team clears the field by two wins, they win outright; if the top two teams are tied, a one-game final is played; if the top team is ahead of the second-place team by one game, play an advantaged final, that is, the team that has the extra win need only win one game, but the other team must win two. (So it's a best-of-three with the first game credited to the team with the extra win from the round-robin play.) Single-elimination, on the other hand, magnifies upsets greatly.

On ranking teams: The number of points a team scores in a game is very opponent-dependent. If you have teams finishing with the same record, and you probably will (see the PACE NSC rules for how they handle tiebreakers for 2 to 7 teams to determine advancement to higher playoff brackets), then rank by statistics, sure, but rank first by win-loss. It would really suck to win all your games but not advance to the top bracket just because a team that won one or two fewer games happened to wipe out some of their other opponents. It's also (a bit) easier to keep track of a team's wins than their total points, and, after all, we play these games to win or lose them.

For prizes: Used books are generally inexpensive.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Howard »

biggiebird89 wrote:I think I may have misspoke when I mentioned the PP thing before. I'd be using the packets (which most are old [2005-2007 or so]) as GUIDES as to how to format quick, factual questions. If some seem appropriate to use, they might be used, but I believe we'll also be using other formats to supplement questions.
I cannot stress enough that these questions (quality issues aside) are not suitable for competition. You have no guarantee that the questions have not been seen by the teams potentially entering the tournament. If you happen to come across a question that has material you'd like to quiz on, there's no issue with incorporationg factual information from their question into yours. Even so, if you plan on doing this to any significant degree, there could be issues simply because you've made known on a public message board that you may use these questions as a source of factual information. Teams can then go back and study the questions, knowing there's a significant that even though the questions themselves will not be asked, the specific material tested will be very similar.

I think you've got the right idea on the pricing. If you can keep your entry under $50, teams will be attracted. Structure your discounts to encourage the things you need most. If you need a lot of buzzers, offer a $10 or $15 discount each. If you need a lot of readers, offer a $15 or $20 discount per moderator. Of course, if you get your discounts toward the higher end, you may need to adjust your entry a little higher as well. For example, at $50 for a team, $5 discount for a buzzer, and $10 discount for moderator-- this was typical at many tournaments up until a couple years ago-- a team with a buzzer and a moderator pays $35, a quite reasonable entry. If you charge $60 per team, offer a $20 discount per moderator and a $15 discount per buzzer, the same entry would be $25, even more reasonable. Figure out what average entry fee you'd like, how many teams you're likely to get (a tough task), and what percentage of them you'll need to supply buzzers and moderators. Structure the fees so they encourage what you need, while still trying to keep things reasonable. If the structure overly penalizes schools that bring more than one team, you can also offer discounts for teams in excess of the first. If you need to encourage more long-distance travel, offer a distance discount.

Lastly, it's my opinion that teams in the northeast generally begin losing interest if the tournament is more than an hour away. By the time you reach the two hour mark, most will have lost interest.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

To reply:

1.) Our club (college included) is in such a financial bind that it would be VERY hard to find other sources of questions in time for a late October/early November tournament. Though I haven't looked too in-depth like I probably should, my intention for this tournament is to be DIFFERENT than the standard tournament - quick-action, relying on basic information and not paragraphs. Obviously this will be different for most others on here, but this is something that I'm trying to do in order to create a new style of tournament for this area - something that would set us apart from the norm. This isn't a qualification tournament for any sort of state championship, etc. it's just a recreation tournament/fundraiser. It's a way of diversifying the subjects and the materials in a way that makes it a unique experience for those in attendance. While it IS true what was said about the tournament with other teams with questions, like I said, I haven't set in stone what I'm doing, and I'm ALWAYS open to opinions - hence why I reply back to these posts. I want to hear the criticism and opinions and the HELP, since I am lacking in that department. For now I have what I have and I'm doing the best I can with it, but I would always appreciate other alternatives that folks think might help.

2.) In terms of needs for moderators and tournament format, I'll definitely need a large number of moderators and readers. My club is small in numbers and even then I'm not sure how many would be willing to participate. What I was thinking was having a reader and a timer (where the timer will also do scoring, since this tournament would NOT be timed. That's something that I want to not change with this. I want all teams to have a fair shot at answering all questions in each match.) My best intention would be to place all moderators in divisions that do NOT contain their teams (for obvious reasons.)

3.) After talking with a couple of other people who have contacted me, as well as looking at the board posts and all, I think what I'm likely to do is stretch the field to 32 teams (16 from each state) and do 4 8-team round-robin divisions for the opening round (if it holds up, maybe taking each state and putting 4 teams in a N, S, W, and E type of alignment, then putting one of each team in a division. Therefore each division would have one N, E, W, and S from each state so it mixes things up a bit.) Then breaking for lunch and doing another bracket of the same, but then this is where I get confused on how to determine a champion from these brackets. One person that emailed me said these options might work best:
a) Take the top two from each bracket, and do a RR among those four. Do the same for the next two, and so on. No games carry over, prelim standings mean nothing.
b) Take the top four from each bracket and do a 4-round crossover. Games among teams in the same bracket carry through. Do this for the bottom half as well.
Then they suggested an "advantaged" final for each division.
---> What I'm wondering is if, from there, I can take the 4 top division winners and do a small semi-final and finals with those 4 for an overall champion (similar to the NCAA, where the team with the overall best record in the tournament may not be the one to win the final title)? It might not guarantee a VT v. NH final like I had intended, but if 3 VT and 1 NH team come out in the 4 divisions, it’ll show for something, for example. It would result in a need for more packets of questions, but that's the way it happens sometimes

4.) For pricing, let me figure it this way. I'd be expecting (give or take) 32 teams, and I AM capping each school to one team. If it results in dropouts, then that's fine, but I want to have 16 individual schools be representative of their state in this tournament. I won't limit the number of members of a team that can travel, but I will to 4 in a match (with as many subs. as they'd like during the halftime.) Is this reasonable? Then say -$10 for a buzzer set, and -$10 or -$15 for a reader/moderator volunteer. The travel discount is what worries me, because a good portion of teams will likely be traveling a good distance to this - at least an hour or so. I want to offer a discount for a certain mileage (a rep. from VT suggested this,) but that'll also depend on the teams and their distances from our college, I suppose.

(Again, I really do appreciate the feedback. I’m logging everything that’s been said so far and making use of it in my responses and decisions.)
~Garrett~
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Matt Weiner
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Matt Weiner »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) Our club (college included) is in such a financial bind that it would be VERY hard to find other sources of questions in time for a late October/early November tournament. Though I haven't looked too in-depth like I probably should, my intention for this tournament is to be DIFFERENT than the standard tournament - quick-action, relying on basic information and not paragraphs. Obviously this will be different for most others on here, but this is something that I'm trying to do in order to create a new style of tournament for this area - something that would set us apart from the norm.
I don't think your financial situation is an excuse for using poor questions, which seems to be your intention here. As to why you would want to be "different" from good tournaments, I think this is a good example of where difference is not necessarily a laudable goal.

There are many ways to get good questions for as low as the $10-12 per team range, and either cutting into your profits by that amount or raising entry fees accordingly would be, quite literally, a small price to pay for not foisting a terrible question set on your state. You've said you want to hear the opinions of people here and get some good advice; I can think of no advice more crucial to the success of your event than "do not consciously choose to use bad questions." If all else fails, I think your area would be very receptive to the Fall Novice set, which is notably free.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) Our club (college included) is in such a financial bind that it would be VERY hard to find other sources of questions in time for a late October/early November tournament. Though I haven't looked too in-depth like I probably should, my intention for this tournament is to be DIFFERENT than the standard tournament - quick-action, relying on basic information and not paragraphs. Obviously this will be different for most others on here, but this is something that I'm trying to do in order to create a new style of tournament for this area - something that would set us apart from the norm. This isn't a qualification tournament for any sort of state championship, etc. it's just a recreation tournament/fundraiser. It's a way of diversifying the subjects and the materials in a way that makes it a unique experience for those in attendance. While it IS true what was said about the tournament with other teams with questions, like I said, I haven't set in stone what I'm doing, and I'm ALWAYS open to opinions - hence why I reply back to these posts. I want to hear the criticism and opinions and the HELP, since I am lacking in that department. For now I have what I have and I'm doing the best I can with it, but I would always appreciate other alternatives that folks think might help.
Matt's said what I'd say on this: both NAQT and HSAPQ offer questions for reasonable per-team prices (NAQT also offers "A" sets, which are intended for teams without much prior exposure to quizbowl), and the Fall Novice set, as Matt said, is free.

Also, you'll probably want to schedule your event so that it doesn't conflict with tournaments like the Harvard Fall Tournament or ACF Fall.
biggiebird89 wrote:2.) In terms of needs for moderators and tournament format, I'll definitely need a large number of moderators and readers. My club is small in numbers and even then I'm not sure how many would be willing to participate. What I was thinking was having a reader and a timer (where the timer will also do scoring, since this tournament would NOT be timed. That's something that I want to not change with this. I want all teams to have a fair shot at answering all questions in each match.) My best intention would be to place all moderators in divisions that do NOT contain their teams (for obvious reasons.)
If rounds will be untimed, there's no need for two staff in each room. The moderator can do scorekeeping and call time on each question (since it's generally just a few seconds for each). This will almost halve your staffing needs; you'll still need a TD and a statsperson or two whether you have one or two people per room. Reading the articles here should give you some idea of what to do, especially anything under "Tournament Production". If you use a set like one of those mentioned above, there's a chance people from some of the established clubs in New England will help you out.
biggiebird89 wrote:3.) After talking with a couple of other people who have contacted me, as well as looking at the board posts and all, I think what I'm likely to do is stretch the field to 32 teams (16 from each state) and do 4 8-team round-robin divisions for the opening round (if it holds up, maybe taking each state and putting 4 teams in a N, S, W, and E type of alignment, then putting one of each team in a division. Therefore each division would have one N, E, W, and S from each state so it mixes things up a bit.) Then breaking for lunch and doing another bracket of the same, but then this is where I get confused on how to determine a champion from these brackets. One person that emailed me said these options might work best:
a) Take the top two from each bracket, and do a RR among those four. Do the same for the next two, and so on. No games carry over, prelim standings mean nothing.
b) Take the top four from each bracket and do a 4-round crossover. Games among teams in the same bracket carry through. Do this for the bottom half as well.
Then they suggested an "advantaged" final for each division.
---> What I'm wondering is if, from there, I can take the 4 top division winners and do a small semi-final and finals with those 4 for an overall champion (similar to the NCAA, where the team with the overall best record in the tournament may not be the one to win the final title)? It might not guarantee a VT v. NH final like I had intended, but if 3 VT and 1 NH team come out in the 4 divisions, it’ll show for something, for example. It would result in a need for more packets of questions, but that's the way it happens sometimes.
Again, how exactly you structure the tournament depends on how many games you want to give teams and how many games teams want to play. I suggested above a method by which every team was guaranteed 13 games; contact me (e-mail link on the right) if you have any questions about that. Your system confuses me, though: you say you have 4 prelim brackets, but then you say "take the two top from each bracket and do a RR among those four"; there'd be eight teams in that RR, not four. If you do have rebracketing, either carry over the full preliminary record or the game(s) played against team(s) from the same preliminary bracket; this means teams won't, in the playoff brackets, play a team they played in their prelim bracket. At that point, you look at the top two teams from the top playoff bracket and play a final (if necessary; advantaged if necessary) between them. (Unfortunately, an NAQT A-set will not provide enough packets for this format, and an IS or HSAPQ set will not provide enough packets to break ties on games rather than statistics. I don't know how many packets the Fall Novice will have, but last year it had as many as an A-set.) This format does have the feature that the team with the best record wins the tournament. (Tournaments like the NCAA ones are probably set up as they are because teams can only play so many games in a set period of time due to the physical fatigue each game causes.)
biggiebird89 wrote:4.) For pricing, let me figure it this way. I'd be expecting (give or take) 32 teams, and I AM capping each school to one team. If it results in dropouts, then that's fine, but I want to have 16 individual schools be representative of their state in this tournament. I won't limit the number of members of a team that can travel, but I will to 4 in a match (with as many subs. as they'd like during the halftime.) Is this reasonable? Then say -$10 for a buzzer set, and -$10 or -$15 for a reader/moderator volunteer. The travel discount is what worries me, because a good portion of teams will likely be traveling a good distance to this - at least an hour or so. I want to offer a discount for a certain mileage (a rep. from VT suggested this,) but that'll also depend on the teams and their distances from our college, I suppose.
I'd recommend against a hard cap of one team per school: some B teams are very deserving and it helps players who haven't made their school's A team get experience. If you want as many different schools represented as possible, that's fine, but you can probably keep the interest from schools that want multiple teams (and would drop otherwise) by saying something like that while you'd like to have as many different schools represented as possible, and hence will initially limit schools to one team, registering schools should indicate if they'd like to field multiple teams, and after a certain date (say, two to three weeks before the tournament), if your field is not full, you will allow multiple teams on some basis (say, first-come first-served). Distance discounts, while useful for attracting teams, are something I won't discuss, since I live across the continent from you.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by cvdwightw »

Matt Weiner wrote:I think your area would be very receptive to the Fall Novice set, which is notably free.
I cannot stress quite enough how good this fit would be. It is a free set. The whole point of the set is to get teams that are relatively inexperienced at pyramidal quizbowl (i.e. a fair number of teams in Vermont and New Hampshire) to play on a pyramidal quizbowl set that is nearly 100% accessible to them. The Fall Novice people want to get their set in as many areas as possible and did not have a tournament in Vermont or New Hampshire last year. You can find last year's version of the Fall Novice set here. It is my understanding that in Vermont, at least, the traditional format is somewhat of a hybrid between speed and pyramidal questions, so choosing one or the other would provide something "different."

Here is what I would suggest for a format using 12 packets and keeping with the "I want a Vermont vs. New Hampshire final" theme:

Put the field at 30 teams (15 from each state). Try to seed them as best you can or at least get a rough idea which are the 5 best teams from each state. Divide the field into five divisions of six teams. Each division contains 3 Vermont teams and 3 New Hampshire teams (ideally you would take one of the "best" five teams from each state and put those two together in a division). Play a five-game round robin.

For the playoffs, take the top two teams from each division, plus two wild card teams (teams best in some statistical measure, such as bonus conversion, that aren't already in). Offer consolation playoffs to the teams that didn't make the playoffs that want to stay (the consolation format will depend on the number of teams wanting to stay). Divide the twelve playoff teams into "Vermont" and "New Hampshire" brackets. If you have too many teams from one state, move the lowest-seeded teams (wild card teams or statistically worst second-place teams) into the other state's bracket, to maximize the chance that a team from that state ends up on top. Play another five-game round robin. Seed the teams 1-6 in each bracket and have them play against their opposite number from the other bracket, i.e., the two one-seeds play a final, down to the six-seeds playing an eleventh place game.

It's not the most fair format in the world (a team with one loss the whole tournament can end up in fifth place; all the top Vermont teams could be better than the top New Hampshire teams and you'd end up with unbalanced playoff brackets) but I think it suffices for what you want to do.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Charbroil »

biggiebird89 wrote:I'd be expecting (give or take) 32 teams, and I AM capping each school to one team. If it results in dropouts, then that's fine, but I want to have 16 individual schools be representative of their state in this tournament.
I'm slightly confused about this--how are you going to have 32 teams from 16 schools if you're capping schools to one team each?
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Important Bird Area »

16 schools each from two states.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Cody »

Charbroil wrote:
biggiebird89 wrote:I'd be expecting (give or take) 32 teams, and I AM capping each school to one team. If it results in dropouts, then that's fine, but I want to have 16 individual schools be representative of their state in this tournament.
I'm slightly confused about this--how are you going to have 32 teams from 16 schools if you're capping schools to one team each?
Two states.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

Ok. I should’ve probably made this well-aware when I started this but it must look more obvious now. Before getting onto this board, I had (and still to a degree now) NEVER, repeat, NEVER heard of NAQT, ACF, PACE, HSAPQ, or any other form of questioning/organization like these before. When I participated in High School Quiz Bowl, the formats weren’t using these questions (just from memory, I’m 100% positive about that.)

1.) The issue came up before about using posted questions. It was said before, “The whole point of the set is to get teams that are relatively inexperienced at pyramidal quizbowl (i.e. a fair number of teams in Vermont and New Hampshire) to play on a pyramidal quizbowl set that is nearly 100% accessible to them.” The rookie in me is questioning: Why is it fair that teams going to this tournament KNOW the questions/answers ahead of time. Maybe I’m blind to something here, or I might just be oblivious to this entire process, and given the fact I said before I’m very unfamiliar with other national formats of tournaments, that could be very-well be the case. I’d also like to try and do, I believe the term is, a 4-quarter system: tossups, bonuses, lightning, tossups. That’s the style I’ve wanted to do from the start.

1a.) “both NAQT and HSAPQ offer questions for reasonable per-team prices (NAQT also offers "A" sets, which are intended for teams without much prior exposure to quizbowl)” If I have 32 teams, does that mean I would have to pay for each team’s packet, etc. I don’t know how this works. Is there a way to just order a set and print out multiple copies for each room, etc? (I really don’t mean to seem stupid, I’m just not familiar with these processes at all.) For example, HSAPQ does packets at $16/team in a tournament – does this mean I’d have to pay $512 to supplement my questions for this one tournament?

2.) In terms of the tournament date, I’ll probably have to either do mine on the 30th of October since the 6th/13th of November are the two tournament dates you had mentioned before (the Harvard and the ACF Fall,) the 20th of November my college is on Thanksgiving Break, and when we come back, the first weekend in December is a regional tournament date. Does anyone see an issue with possibly offering a discount with teams dressing in costume(s) if it’s based the day before Halloween? I’m just curious of that. (I could even call it a Quiz Bowl “Spook”tacular. :-P)

3.) For formatting, I am thinking of having 16 teams from Vermont and 16 from New Hampshire. I would take and divide the teams up into 4 8-team brackets. Preliminaries would be a 7-match round robin, ranking teams on W/L records and tiebreakers being PPG. A break for lunch would occur, then we would re-bracket.
-> I was curious of “cvdwightw”s idea but altering it a bit. I could take the top 4 teams from each bracket and do 2 brackets of 8, a “VT” and an “NH” bracket, where if one state had too many teams, the lowest seed from the larger state could go to the other state, etc. I could then do another round-robin, where matchups from the first round are carried over and not played in the playoff bracket. Then if a tie results in the top-2 of a state, do a tie-breaker match for that, then take the top VT and NH team for the finals. Does that work out ok?

4.) For prices/teams, I think allowing multiple teams would be good, but as said waiting until a delay (2-3 weeks before the tournament) to allow it. Is it ok to mention that in a tournament summary or a registration form submitted to teams? Is it also ok to cap to 2 teams so more schools get a chance, or should if out of desperation, I open it up to more teams if say, I have 25 teams of 32 with 3 weeks to go?
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) The issue came up before about using posted questions. It was said before, “The whole point of the set is to get teams that are relatively inexperienced at pyramidal quizbowl (i.e. a fair number of teams in Vermont and New Hampshire) to play on a pyramidal quizbowl set that is nearly 100% accessible to them.” The rookie in me is questioning: Why is it fair that teams going to this tournament KNOW the questions/answers ahead of time. Maybe I’m blind to something here, or I might just be oblivious to this entire process, and given the fact I said before I’m very unfamiliar with other national formats of tournaments, that could be very-well be the case. I’d also like to try and do, I believe the term is, a 4-quarter system: tossups, bonuses, lightning, tossups. That’s the style I’ve wanted to do from the start.
Four-quarter isn't a priori bad, it just (as I understand it) has a bad name from the various issues Questions Unlimited/ :chip: has. HSAPQ has made four-quarter sets in the past; I don't know if they still do this regularly or would do so upon request. (NAQT might do it upon request, but, again, you'd have to ask them; I can't speak for either organization.) I'd be very surprised if you could get the Fall Novice editors to reformat it for four-quarter, but on the other hand it's free.

Also, what do you mean by "Why is it fair that teams going to this tournament KNOW the questions/answers ahead of time."? The idea of a novice set is that the teams playing will have had little or no prior exposure to (good) quizbowl, but will have heard of the answers, and the clues, especially near the ends of questions, will also be things they've heard of.
biggiebird89 wrote:1a.) “both NAQT and HSAPQ offer questions for reasonable per-team prices (NAQT also offers "A" sets, which are intended for teams without much prior exposure to quizbowl)” If I have 32 teams, does that mean I would have to pay for each team’s packet, etc. I don’t know how this works. Is there a way to just order a set and print out multiple copies for each room, etc? (I really don’t mean to seem stupid, I’m just not familiar with these processes at all.) For example, HSAPQ does packets at $16/team in a tournament – does this mean I’d have to pay $512 to supplement my questions for this one tournament?
You'd pay that, yes, but you'd pass along that cost to each entering team. So you'd have some base (maximum) fee, list discounts (eg buzzer, staff, travel, extra teams) and say that the minimum per team is some amount. That amount covers the per-team cost of the packet set and leaves you with a decent profit. (So it could be anywhere from $20-$30 in this case, I guess.) And you wouldn't use it to supplement your questions; they provide you with a fully-written, edited packet set that you can then use as-is.
biggiebird89 wrote:4.) For prices/teams, I think allowing multiple teams would be good, but as said waiting until a delay (2-3 weeks before the tournament) to allow it. Is it ok to mention that in a tournament summary or a registration form submitted to teams? Is it also ok to cap to 2 teams so more schools get a chance, or should if out of desperation, I open it up to more teams if say, I have 25 teams of 32 with 3 weeks to go?
Since you want as many schools as possible represented, tell teams that initially you'll cap things at 1 team per school but that they should indicate whether they'd want to enter multiple teams. Make sure to tell them when you'll start adding those extra teams so they know when they'll hear about whether they'll be able to enter more teams. As for teams beyond the second, you should probably rotate adding extra teams, that is, first add one extra team from every school that wants at least two, then one more from every school that wants at least three, etc. If the field is full and a new school wants to enter a team (and some school has two), or a school with one team wants to enter two (and some school has three), etc, give them priority over the last added team, and make sure this is also on the tournament information sheet. (In this case I'm not sure if you should offer a multiple team discount.)
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) The issue came up before about using posted questions. It was said before, “The whole point of the set is to get teams that are relatively inexperienced at pyramidal quizbowl (i.e. a fair number of teams in Vermont and New Hampshire) to play on a pyramidal quizbowl set that is nearly 100% accessible to them.” The rookie in me is questioning: Why is it fair that teams going to this tournament KNOW the questions/answers ahead of time. Maybe I’m blind to something here, or I might just be oblivious to this entire process, and given the fact I said before I’m very unfamiliar with other national formats of tournaments, that could be very-well be the case.
I think I see the problem: "accessible", in this context, means "answerable"--teams will be familiar with the material covered by the questions and will be able to convert them at a high rate.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

1.) I'm a fan of doing the four-quarter system because then it helps divide out the talents of the teams - some teams might be faster in tossups, but lacking in teamwork/communication, where as other teams might be better in lightning rounds/bonus consultations, but be slow to buzz. Catering to a mixture of quick-buzz/teamwork answering would help make this a bit diverse in that respect.

With the "accessible" discussion, what my question simply boils down to is: Will the teams I offer an invitation to have access to these "fall novice" questions or not? I don't want to use questions that teams would have already seen and know the answers to before getting to my tournament - it seems like cheating to me, in my (rookie) opinion.

--> Would it be unfair to use a Fall Novice set with (completely) house-written lightning round questions, or is it not "appropriate" to mix questions due to the concern over difficulty, etc.?
--> The nice thing with the HSAPQ site is that they'll offer a discount for an entirely new tournament, which this would be, as well as altering point values/number of questions per round/packet, etc. That would be beneficial if that were the route I chose to go.

2.) I think that's what I was getting at with the multiple team entry thing. For example, team A has 2 teams, B has one, C has 2, D has 2, etc. I get all single team entries in - I'd go back and then order the teams that had multiple teams by whomever registered the earliest, then the same process for 3rd teams (though I'd hope no more that 2 teams from a school, if that, would be needed.)
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Flutist Wren »

It's also possible he thought the 2009 Fall Novice set linked was the set he was supposed to use.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Susan »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) I'm a fan of doing the four-quarter system because then it helps divide out the talents of the teams - some teams might be faster in tossups, but lacking in teamwork/communication, where as other teams might be better in lightning rounds/bonus consultations, but be slow to buzz. Catering to a mixture of quick-buzz/teamwork answering would help make this a bit diverse in that respect.

With the "accessible" discussion, what my question simply boils down to is: Will the teams I offer an invitation to have access to these "fall novice" questions or not? I don't want to use questions that teams would have already seen and know the answers to before getting to my tournament - it seems like cheating to me, in my (rookie) opinion.
The teams who will be playing your tournament will NOT have access to the Fall Novice questions. I think the confusion here stems from the fact that, on the boards, "accessible" is sort of a euphemism for "easy" or "suitable for novice teams"; it absolutely does NOT mean that the teams will be able to obtain the questions before the tournament. The Fall Novice questions are eventually released to the public, but this only happens after all of the sites that are running tournaments using the Fall Novice questions have completed their tournaments. To reiterate, the questions from the Fall Novice set will be blind to any teams that may play your tournament; what people mean when they say "accessible" is that the questions will not be too difficult for teams that are new to quizbowl.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) I'm a fan of doing the four-quarter system because then it helps divide out the talents of the teams - some teams might be faster in tossups, but lacking in teamwork/communication, where as other teams might be better in lightning rounds/bonus consultations, but be slow to buzz. Catering to a mixture of quick-buzz/teamwork answering would help make this a bit diverse in that respect.
The advantage of tossup-bonus is that teams have to be good at both tossups and bonuses: if you can't get tossups, you won't win, but if you can't score on bonuses, you won't win.
biggiebird89 wrote:With the "accessible" discussion, what my question simply boils down to is: Will the teams I offer an invitation to have access to these "fall novice" questions or not? I don't want to use questions that teams would have already seen and know the answers to before getting to my tournament - it seems like cheating to me, in my (rookie) opinion.
If you use this year's Fall Novice (I linked to a thread about it above), those questions will be blind to all competing teams. "Accessible," as explained above, means that the answers and clues will be of appropriate difficulty, ie it's more-or-less synonymous with "answerable."
biggiebird89 wrote:--> Would it be unfair to use a Fall Novice set with (completely) house-written lightning round questions, or is it not "appropriate" to mix questions due to the concern over difficulty, etc.?
You could, I guess (I have nothing to do with Fall Novice so I can't say what the writers of that set would think about this) but teams might notice differences in difficulty, quality and style between your and their questions.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by New York Undercover »

nobthehobbit wrote:
biggiebird89 wrote:--> Would it be unfair to use a Fall Novice set with (completely) house-written lightning round questions, or is it not "appropriate" to mix questions due to the concern over difficulty, etc.?
You could, I guess (I have nothing to do with Fall Novice so I can't say what the writers of that set would think about this) but teams might notice differences in difficulty, quality and style between your and their questions.
Also you would probably run a fairly high risk of repeating some answers that would come up at some point in the other parts of the tournament, something that would definitely not occur if you ran the tournament in the provided tossup/bonus style.

Additionally, regarding this confusion over the "accessibility" of Fall Novice- if you did indeed choose to use this year's iteration of Fall Novice, it would be a good idea to link to last year's Fall Novice to help team's be aware of the format, style, and difficulty of questions, making them aware that some of the topics covered would probably be similar but the questions would be entirely new.

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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

1.) I think I would like to offer house-written lightning-round questions only because the ones I had started writing are very basic in structure - 3 sets would be offered to the teams: 2 subjects, and a "Wild Card" (so, let's say: "History," "Science," and "Wild Card.") Each subject would then have a "topic." (so again, in example, "Pre-Revolutionary War," "Famous Inventors," and "Words with a Double Z.) The format would mostly be the same as others, but with slight changes: a.) Incorrect/passed answers do NOT get 2nd chances within a 60-second set, and b.) opposing teams have 30 seconds to steal incorrect/passed answers from the 60-second. The lists are very quick (usually 1-line statements,) and would be more point-boosters that both teams could have access to. And I do understand that yes, there could be material covered in say, Match 4, that the lighting round in Match 2 Lightning Round might have, but even still, the lightning rounds would be 1 line questions that are intended to be quick and vague. Again, it's just an idea, but I'm curious the opinions of others.

2.) It's good to hear that the answers/questions won't be shown ahead of time. When I create my tournament format/registration sheets, should I just say in it "We will be using the 2010 Fall Novice questions for this tournament. Please refer to (link) for the 2009 questions as reference to format. We will be using a four-quarter untimed format, with 10 tossups, 10 tossups with bonus, lightning round, and 10 tossup questions. Lightning round questions will be house-written, with the rest from the FN set." I'm not understanding the "link" part someone mentioned above me.

3.) I brought it up earlier, but I'm curious to the reaction: If I schedule this tournament for Saturday, October 30th, does anyone see a major issue if I offer a small discount (say 5 or 10) if teams dress in costumes for this tournament, since it is the day before Halloween? This could also be something that sets this apart for the teams of the region, and make it more laid back in nature.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

As one of the overseers for the Fall Novice set this year, we'd much rather you just use the set instead of using lightning rounds mixed in.

Particularly subject-specific lightning rounds; those tend to unfairly tilt the scales. Let's say one team's stronger at history--well, they got the history lightning round and won the game! Or they're weaker, and they lost. At least choose well-distributed lightning rounds.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Golran »

I'm not much of a fan for costume discounts or financial incentives for costumes, but I know tournaments have offered a small prize for the best costume. The reason I object is you are offering an incentive to a person for making themselves stick out and potentially feel uncomfortable. Or there may be some cultures that object to wearing costumes (but none come straight to mind).
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:1.) I think I would like to offer house-written lightning-round questions only because the ones I had started writing are very basic in structure - 3 sets would be offered to the teams: 2 subjects, and a "Wild Card" (so, let's say: "History," "Science," and "Wild Card.") Each subject would then have a "topic." (so again, in example, "Pre-Revolutionary War," "Famous Inventors," and "Words with a Double Z.) The format would mostly be the same as others, but with slight changes: a.) Incorrect/passed answers do NOT get 2nd chances within a 60-second set, and b.) opposing teams have 30 seconds to steal incorrect/passed answers from the 60-second. The lists are very quick (usually 1-line statements,) and would be more point-boosters that both teams could have access to. And I do understand that yes, there could be material covered in say, Match 4, that the lighting round in Match 2 Lightning Round might have, but even still, the lightning rounds would be 1 line questions that are intended to be quick and vague. Again, it's just an idea, but I'm curious the opinions of others.
Also, to add to what Andy said, if you want 30 tossups and only 10 bonuses per round, that means that each Fall Novice round (20 tossups and 20 bonuses) will only supply 2/3 of a pack for tossups, and 2 packets for bonuses--so you'll have only 2/3 as many packets (8, if Fall Novice will have 12 packets of 20/20) and a lot of unused bonuses. I'm also not sure how many points a bonus in four-quarter is worth, but if it's less than 30 you'd have to be careful in excising bonus parts from Fall Novice bonuses as doing so could make the bonuses harder or easier than intended.

And I can say that the Fall Novice editors and writers are very good editors and writers with very good senses of difficulty. You won't be disappointed if you use their questions as is.
biggiebird89 wrote:2.) It's good to hear that the answers/questions won't be shown ahead of time. When I create my tournament format/registration sheets, should I just say in it "We will be using the 2010 Fall Novice questions for this tournament. Please refer to (link) for the 2009 questions as reference to format. We will be using a four-quarter untimed format, with 10 tossups, 10 tossups with bonus, lightning round, and 10 tossup questions. Lightning round questions will be house-written, with the rest from the FN set." I'm not understanding the "link" part someone mentioned above me.
http://www.quizbowlpackets.com/archive/09fallnovice/

The above is the link to the 2009 Fall Novice packets. They are in mACF format, not four-quarter. Again, if you use the 2010 set as is, you will not be disappointed.

As for "accessible," your confusion is understandable; "accessible" in the context of quizbowl means something like "of appropriate difficulty".
biggiebird89 wrote:3.) I brought it up earlier, but I'm curious to the reaction: If I schedule this tournament for Saturday, October 30th, does anyone see a major issue if I offer a small discount (say 5 or 10) if teams dress in costumes for this tournament, since it is the day before Halloween? This could also be something that sets this apart for the teams of the region, and make it more laid back in nature.
I'm not sure if I'd offer a discount, but you could offer a prize for "best costume as voted by participants" or something. (Basically what Ian said.)
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

Those are all really good points.

@Crazy Andy - will the Fall Novice packets be 4-quarter, or is it traditionally tossups, bonuses, and tossups format? If my group decided we wanted to have some lightning rounds mixed in, where could those kinds be found that provide a fair selection to all teams?

@Golran - I think we could change it instead to offering a small prize for the best individual or team costume. I certainly wouldn't want anyone uncomfortable just in order to save money, I'd want the opposite, being for them to do it for fun more than any kind of gain. I guess I'm just trying to find small quirks that will help make this stick out in some way from other tournaments.

@Nob - I was thinking more in a format of Rounds 1, 2, and 3, respectively being: 10 tossups, 10 tossups and bonuses, and then another round of 10 tossups. (If there were to be a lightning round, that would be Round 3, and Round 4 would be the last 10 tossups.) Unless it's generally run a different way. That way it saves more bonuses for, perhaps, an extended final. I'm really worried about my format though and the number of packets that would be available. This is my format at the moment:

16 teams from Vermont and New Hampshire each. 4 teams from each state will then go into another bracket, to have 4 8-team divisions (4 teams per state.) A preliminary round robin would the occur with teams ranked by win-loss record, then tiebroken by PPG. Lunch will occur, then the top 4 teams from each division will be taken and SEPARATED into a "Vermont" division and a "New Hampshire" division. (Should one state have more than 8 teams qualify, the lowest seeded teams, like 9 or 10 seeds, will be placed into the bottom of the other state's bracket. Another round robin would occur, where preliminary records mean nothing. Then each of the 8 teams are ranked 1 through 8, and play their opposing state's counterpart (so VT-1 would play NH-1 for the title, 2s would play for 3rd place, etc.) My only concern is that would require 15 packets (7-7-1,) and if the Fall Novice is 12 packets (or was in 2009,) I'd either have to take less teams or find alternative packets, unless I take some of the extra bonuses and convert them to tossups (which I'm not sure would be a proper way of dealing.)

In an earlier post, someone suggested the same format (basically I took from what they said) just with 15 teams per state, and 6-team divisions, which would result in a 5-5-1 packet distribution. What should I do in this instance?
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

biggiebird89 wrote: @Crazy Andy - will the Fall Novice packets be 4-quarter, or is it traditionally tossups, bonuses, and tossups format? If my group decided we wanted to have some lightning rounds mixed in, where could those kinds be found that provide a fair selection to all teams?
No, and I don't know of any "tossups, bonuses, and tossups" format. It's straight 20/20: twenty tossups which, if answered correctly, allow the answering team a chance for a three-part bonus. If HSAPQ chooses to write a four quarter set this year, then you could find appropriate category rounds from one of their sets--but then, if you're doing that, you should just buy a HSAPQ four quarter set. Otherwise, you'd have to write them yourself. Also, more importantly, we won't let you use the set if you're going to do this. You should just run a 20/20 tournament.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:@Nob - I was thinking more in a format of Rounds 1, 2, and 3, respectively being: 10 tossups, 10 tossups and bonuses, and then another round of 10 tossups. (If there were to be a lightning round, that would be Round 3, and Round 4 would be the last 10 tossups.) Unless it's generally run a different way. That way it saves more bonuses for, perhaps, an extended final. I'm really worried about my format though and the number of packets that would be available.
Each packet of Fall Novice contains 20 tossups and 20 bonuses. For now, I'm going to assume that in the round with bonuses, each bonus has three parts (for a total of 30 points) and its topic is not necessarily related to the topic of the tossup answered correctly to earn it. (Note that in standard mACF, tossups and bonuses are read in numerical order: if tossup 1 is unanswered, then the team answering tossup 2 correctly hears bonus 1, not bonus 2. I apologize if this is how bonuses work in four-quarter as well, but I admit to some unfamiliarity with that format.) To reformat the Fall Novice set into the format you want (although, as Andy said, they wouldn't let you use the set if you did), you would have to take 30 tossups and 10 bonuses for each pack. You have 240 tossups and 240 bonuses with which to work (plus a few extras written for tiebreakers and to handle protests). SInce you need 30 tossups per pack, you can build 8 packets; those packets will use 80 bonuses, leaving you with 160 surplus bonuses. You will save yourself significant amounts of work if you use the Fall Novice as is, and you will in this way introduce many teams to the format that many tournaments within striking distance of them are played.

Again, I can't and won't speak for quizbowlers in New England, but if you do use Fall Novice as is, and avoid conflicts with other tournaments in the area (as I'm glad to see you're taking into account), it's possible that some of them will come up and help you staff your tournament. Take it from someone from a region where tournaments were regularly minimally staffed or understaffed: you can never have enough staff, and good, experienced staff are worth their weight in gold. (If Andy Watkins came up, you could say that you have one of the chief editors for the tournament helping run the tournament.)
biggiebird89 wrote:This is my format at the moment:

16 teams from Vermont and New Hampshire each. 4 teams from each state will then go into another bracket, to have 4 8-team divisions (4 teams per state.) A preliminary round robin would the occur with teams ranked by win-loss record, then tiebroken by PPG. Lunch will occur, then the top 4 teams from each division will be taken and SEPARATED into a "Vermont" division and a "New Hampshire" division. (Should one state have more than 8 teams qualify, the lowest seeded teams, like 9 or 10 seeds, will be placed into the bottom of the other state's bracket. Another round robin would occur, where preliminary records mean nothing. Then each of the 8 teams are ranked 1 through 8, and play their opposing state's counterpart (so VT-1 would play NH-1 for the title, 2s would play for 3rd place, etc.) My only concern is that would require 15 packets (7-7-1,) and if the Fall Novice is 12 packets (or was in 2009,) I'd either have to take less teams or find alternative packets, unless I take some of the extra bonuses and convert them to tossups (which I'm not sure would be a proper way of dealing.)

In an earlier post, someone suggested the same format (basically I took from what they said) just with 15 teams per state, and 6-team divisions, which would result in a 5-5-1 packet distribution. What should I do in this instance?
First note: if you use mACF 20/20 rather than four-quarter, the first tiebreaker should be points per bonus rather than points per game, as the former is (mostly) opponent-independent.

Using Fall Novice gives you 12 packets. (If you get an NAQT IS set or an HSAPQ set, you'll get 15.) Dwight's system is sound (and, as I do, he recommends using points per bonus) and will use 11 packets. I do have an issue with trying to force a VT-NH final. For the sake of the argument, let's say Vermont's teams are stronger than New Hampshire's. Then in those top 12 teams, 8 might be from Vermont while 4 are from New Hampshire, and let's say that the top 3 teams (on a bonus conversion ranking of the five preliminary bracket winners) are all from Vermont. You then put the top 6 Vermont teams in one bracket, and the 4 New Hampshire and 7th and 8th Vermont teams in the other. The first bracket is then going to be much stronger than the second, and the team that probably should be second overall (if a full RR were played, say) will instead be no higher than 3rd. I'd instead recommend ranking the 5 bracket winners 1st-5th (on points per bonus), the 5 second-place teams 6th-10th (also on points per bonus) and the two wildcard teams (determined by points per bonus) 11th and 12th. Then build the two 6-team playoff brackets by taking 1-4-5-8-9-12 and 2-3-6-7-10-11. This (I think; Dwight or someone, correct me if I'm wrong as I often am) should be more likely to make the final between the actual two best teams. Again, this is really only an issue if one state is significantly stronger than the other, but you may as well have a format that accounts for that. If the states' teams are of roughly equal ability, you'll probably get a VT-NH final.

Note: if you end up with a four-quarter set, there probably aren't enough bonuses to make points per bonus sufficiently meaningful, so using points per game there is justifiable.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

@Crazy Andy - I mean no disrespect to the Fall Novice personnel (or the company that creates the questions, etc,) I'm just very unfamiliar with the formats of these tournaments that use these questions. With a 20/20 set, does this mean only 2 rounds of play: 1 round being 20 tossups, and the next being 20 tossups with bonuses, or can it be separated into multiple rounds so long as all 40 questions are used, etc? (such as a round of 10 tossups, a round of 10 bonuses, and then repeat this so it IS a 4-quarter format, and all questions are used?) Again I'm not trying to show intentional disrespect of ANY kind, I would just rather know the do's and don'ts of these questions, and since I don't (obviously) know, I ask.

I'm having a hard time trying to determine a scope for this tournament. It's not that I'm trying to "force" a VT/NH final, though it appears. My thought process long ago was, out of curiosity, "Which state has the better quiz-bowl teams based on a sampling?," and I've been trying to work a tournament set-up based on that. My only worry, in terms of the questions, is how can I do this while drawing a decent size field AND keeping costs low? I like the idea of the 32 teams in 4 8-team divisions with RR play, that generates a minimum of 7 games, which I feel teams would appreciate. After that is where things get a bit confusing in terms of ranking teams based on different measures/categories.

I understand the Fall Novice set has 12 packets with it and is free of charge (according to those stating so above,) and I have researched and found that the HSAPQ has four-quarter packets available as well for purchase/deduction of price/augmentation. At this point, I think I need to first determine the final format of the tournament BEFORE purchasing/requesting any packets of any sort.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Auroni »

biggiebird89 wrote:@Crazy Andy - I mean no disrespect to the Fall Novice personnel (or the company that creates the questions, etc,) I'm just very unfamiliar with the formats of these tournaments that use these questions. With a 20/20 set, does this mean only 2 rounds of play: 1 round being 20 tossups, and the next being 20 tossups with bonuses, or can it be separated into multiple rounds so long as all 40 questions are used, etc? (such as a round of 10 tossups, a round of 10 bonuses, and then repeat this so it IS a 4-quarter format, and all questions are used?) Again I'm not trying to show intentional disrespect of ANY kind, I would just rather know the do's and don'ts of these questions, and since I don't (obviously) know, I ask.
In one round, all 20 tossups are read to the two teams. Whenever a team answers a tossup, a bonus is awarded to them. 20/20 refers to the number of tossups and bonuses in each round of a tournament set.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

Ice Warrior wrote:
biggiebird89 wrote:@Crazy Andy - I mean no disrespect to the Fall Novice personnel (or the company that creates the questions, etc,) I'm just very unfamiliar with the formats of these tournaments that use these questions. With a 20/20 set, does this mean only 2 rounds of play: 1 round being 20 tossups, and the next being 20 tossups with bonuses, or can it be separated into multiple rounds so long as all 40 questions are used, etc? (such as a round of 10 tossups, a round of 10 bonuses, and then repeat this so it IS a 4-quarter format, and all questions are used?) Again I'm not trying to show intentional disrespect of ANY kind, I would just rather know the do's and don'ts of these questions, and since I don't (obviously) know, I ask.
In one round, all 20 tossups are read to the two teams. Whenever a team answers a tossup, a bonus is awarded to them. 20/20 refers to the number of tossups and bonuses in each round of a tournament set.
Further to this, you can read rules for this format (commonly called mACF) at:

http://www.acf-quizbowl.com/documents.php, click on "Final ACF Rules"
http://www.hsapq.com/resources.html, click on "ACF-format Rules"; note that they also have a scoresheet for this format available.

When we say x/y (in this case x = y = 20) with reference to the number of questions in a packet (or the number of questions on a certain topic), it means the pack has x tossups and y bonuses. As Auroni said, each time a player answers a tossup correctly, his or her team is read a bonus. Tossups and bonuses are not linked in any way, as my example above notes.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Howard »

I've made this point before elsewhere on the board, but it's important to not lose sight of your tournament audience. You've said you want to use short questions which can be answered quickly. I can guarantee you that the fall novice set will be nothing like that. While I'm sure the fall novice set will be a fine question set, it will be entirely constructed of pyramidal questions. (The point of pyramidal questions is that they can assess how much a team knows by writing each question with a large number of clues that start with the hardest clue and move to the easiest clue at the end of the question).

So here's my question. Are you choosing to do short questions because that's what you're familiar with or because that's what teams want? If the coaches would prefer pyramidal questions (or even if they're simply okay with such a choice), then the fall novice set is clearly the way to go. If they're primarily looking for shorter questions, then you should assess how many you'll lose (and gain) if you use pyramidal questions such as the fall novice set.

If you haven't done so, go to the link nobthehobbit provided. This should give you a good idea of what this year's questions will be like. You could even give the link to the prospective entrants so you can get their feedback on the questions. If they like last year's set, I'm sure they'll like this year's set.

As far as the gimmicky things such as the cheering section or costumes, I'd say to not worry about this right now. So far, it sounds like you've got enough difficulty simply choosing and/or constructing a question set. Gimmicks will only serve to distract you from more important tasks.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

Ok, having read the rules a little more in detail now, I think I understand. Let me throw out an example to make sure I'm fully getting it. We have Team A and Team B playing.

Question 1 is answered correctly by A - they would receive Bonus #1
Question 2 goes unanswered.
Question 3 is answered by Team A - they would receive Bonus #2 (not #3, since the bonuses and tossups aren't linked.)
Question 4 is answered by Team B - they would receive Bonus #3, etc.

In my case (going back 4 years to HS,) we used basic questions for our tournament - similar as I said way back to Patrick's Press-style questions, where something thrown at us might look like (for, say, a Humanities question):
Q: Identify the Austrian composer considered one of the greats in the classical period in music, roughly from 1750 to 1825, and known as the "Father of the String Quartet" and "Father of the Symphony."
A: (Franz Josef) Haydn

It was more done that way to make the clues easier, thus creating more of a need to be quick on the buzz AND to know only 1 or 2 facts about the subject, with those clues not necessarily being the hardest ones. I do not know what style of questions these leagues use in their state and league matches. I know Vermont holds FIVE events during the year - 3 of which are NAQT, the other two (the state championship matches) are 3-round: toss/bonus, lightning, tossups. New Hampshire I am clueless about how their league goes (would it be impolite to ask their format?) I think wanting shorter questions is/was just based on my sliver of familiarity with quiz bowl.

EDIT: I sent an email to the director of the NH league to inquire about their leagues' formats. Awaiting a reply soon (within a day
Last edited by biggiebird89 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Howard wrote:I've made this point before elsewhere on the board, but it's important to not lose sight of your tournament audience. You've said you want to use short questions which can be answered quickly. I can guarantee you that the fall novice set will be nothing like that. While I'm sure the fall novice set will be a fine question set, it will be entirely constructed of pyramidal questions. (The point of pyramidal questions is that they can assess how much a team knows by writing each question with a large number of clues that start with the hardest clue and move to the easiest clue at the end of the question).
Please stop not telling the whole truth. While the Fall Novice questions will not be speedcheck short (one sentence), they won't exactly be novel length. As one of the head editors of FN last year, I can guarantee that not more than a very small handful (say, less than 5) of my tossups from last year exceeded 5 lines of 12 point Times New Roman. That's far from "nothing like [short questions which can be answered quickly]."
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

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biggiebird89 wrote:Ok, having read the rules a little more in detail now, I think I understand. Let me throw out an example to make sure I'm fully getting it. We have Team A and Team B playing.

Question 1 is answered correctly by A - they would receive Bonus #1
Question 2 goes unanswered.
Question 3 is answered by Team A - they would receive Bonus #2 (not #3, since the bonuses and tossups aren't linked.)
Question 4 is answered by Team B - they would receive Bonus #3, etc.

In my case (going back 4 years to HS,) we used basic questions for our tournament - similar as I said way back to Patrick's Press-style questions, where something thrown at us might look like (for, say, a Humanities question):
Q: Identify the Austrian composer considered one of the greats in the classical period in music, roughly from 1750 to 1825, and known as the "Father of the String Quartet" and "Father of the Symphony."
A: (Franz Josef) Haydn

It was more done that way to make the clues easier, thus creating more of a need to be quick on the buzz AND to know only 1 or 2 facts about the subject, with those clues not necessarily being the hardest ones. I do not know what style of questions these leagues use in their state and league matches. I know Vermont holds FIVE events during the year - 3 of which are NAQT, the other two (the state championship matches) are 3-round: toss/bonus, lightning, tossups. New Hampshire I am clueless about how their league goes (would it be impolite to ask their format?) I think wanting shorter questions is/was just based on my sliver of familiarity with quiz bowl.

EDIT: I sent an email to the director of the NH league to inquire about their leagues' formats. Awaiting a reply soon (within a day
You have the structure of the match correct now (there are no separate "rounds" as there are in four quarter format). For an example of similar music questions from last year's Fall Novice (round 1), one toss-up was
3.This composer published sixteen pieces including a "Dumka" and a polka that was inspired by a Hungarian-style work by Brahms. In addition to Slavanic Dances, this man composed the a symphony that quotes "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and was inspired by the Song of Hiawatha that has a "largo" movement. For ten points, name this Czech composer who lived in America when he wrote his Symphony Number 9 in E minor, subtitled From the New World.
ANSWER: Antonin Dvorák (Pronounced DVOR-zhak)
and a bonus was
2.This symphony, written to impress Harriet Smithson, uses an idee fixe and includes a representation of the main figure taking opium. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this musical composition that features sections such as “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath” and “March to the Scaffold."
ANSWER: Symphony Fantastique or The Fantastic Symphony
[10] This composer of Symphony Fantastique also adapted a Goethe work in The Damnation of Faust and drew inspiration from Lord Byron for Harold in Italy.
ANSWER: Hector Berlioz
[10] In Harold in Italy, Berlioz was commissioned to write a solo for this instrument by Paganini which may better known for being slightly bigger than a violin.
ANSWER: viola
Though the questions are somewhat longer, they test depth of knowledge but include clues that should be familiar even to the most inexperienced teams. This way they differentiate between teams of high skill level but are still "accessible" to almost everyone.

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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

biggiebird89 wrote:Ok, having read the rules a little more in detail now, I think I understand. Let me throw out an example to make sure I'm fully getting it. We have Team A and Team B playing.

Question 1 is answered correctly by A - they would receive Bonus #1
Question 2 goes unanswered.
Question 3 is answered by Team A - they would receive Bonus #2 (not #3, since the bonuses and tossups aren't linked.)
Question 4 is answered by Team B - they would receive Bonus #3, etc.
Yes, that is correct. And then if Tossup 5 then goes unanswered, and Team B answers Tossup 6 correctly, Team B receives Bonus 4, and so on.
biggiebird89 wrote:In my case (going back 4 years to HS,) we used basic questions for our tournament - similar as I said way back to Patrick's Press-style questions, where something thrown at us might look like (for, say, a Humanities question):
Q: Identify the Austrian composer considered one of the greats in the classical period in music, roughly from 1750 to 1825, and known as the "Father of the String Quartet" and "Father of the Symphony."
A: (Franz Josef) Haydn

It was more done that way to make the clues easier, thus creating more of a need to be quick on the buzz AND to know only 1 or 2 facts about the subject, with those clues not necessarily being the hardest ones.
Basically echoing what John, Charlie and Pulak said here.
biggiebird89 wrote:I do not know what style of questions these leagues use in their state and league matches. I know Vermont holds FIVE events during the year - 3 of which are NAQT, the other two (the state championship matches) are 3-round: toss/bonus, lightning, tossups. New Hampshire I am clueless about how their league goes (would it be impolite to ask their format?) I think wanting shorter questions is/was just based on my sliver of familiarity with quiz bowl.
Certainly Vermont players will be familiar with tossup/bonus, at least those that play the NAQT tournaments. I don't entirely know about New Hampshire. It appears they do something like four-quarter (at least for one of their competitions), though Hanover sent a team to NAQT's HSNCT in 2009, and there was a New Hampshire team at HSAPQ's NASAT this year.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nadph »

I will note that at least a few schools in both Vermont and New Hampshire are familiar with the ACF format, since both states sent a team to NASAT.
biggiebird89 wrote:Ok, having read the rules a little more in detail now, I think I understand. Let me throw out an example to make sure I'm fully getting it. We have Team A and Team B playing.

Question 1 is answered correctly by A - they would receive Bonus #1
Question 2 goes unanswered.
Question 3 is answered by Team A - they would receive Bonus #2 (not #3, since the bonuses and tossups aren't linked.)
Question 4 is answered by Team B - they would receive Bonus #3, etc.

This is essentially correct.
biggiebird89 wrote: It was more done that way to make the clues easier, thus creating more of a need to be quick on the buzz AND to know only 1 or 2 facts about the subject, with those clues not necessarily being the hardest ones. I do not know what style of questions these leagues use in their state and league matches. I know Vermont holds FIVE events during the year - 3 of which are NAQT, the other two (the state championship matches) are 3-round: toss/bonus, lightning, tossups. New Hampshire I am clueless about how their league goes (would it be impolite to ask their format?) I think wanting shorter questions is/was just based on my sliver of familiarity with quiz bowl.
EDIT: What I meant to say was said much more concisely and clearly by Daniel, Charlie, and Pulak, so defer to them.

(I haven't seen someone explicitly ask this, but I could have missed something, so sorry if I'm being repetitive or redundant.) Is there a reason why you wish to value buzzer speed (besides it being "what you experienced")? As much as I can discern, the fun of quizbowl for most comes from being rewarded for gaining knowledge and thus knowing more than an opposing team. For example, perhaps I like JS Bach's music a lot and know many of his works because I listen to them often. If someone writes a pyramidal tossup on Bach, it is logical to assume that I will get the question right over someone who only knows that Bach composed the Mass in B Minor. However, if someone else writes a one-sentence tossup going "Which German Baroque compose wrote the Mass in B Minor?", there is only a 50% chance on average that I will beat my opponent (with knowledge of only one Bach piece) to the question, even though I may know more about Bach and his works.

It is my (and, I am sure, many, many other players') experience that questions which value buzzer speed are ultimately more frustrating to players, and teach them less, than well-written and pyramidal questions on the same topics (like those contained in the Fall Novice set) are. If Player X buzzes early on a tossup on, say, Arthur Miller, on a clue on Incident at Vichy, Player Y on the opposing team might say, "Oh, that sounds like something interesting. I like Arthur Miller but I've never heard of this play. I should go read up on it," and gain knowledge that can later be used to get other Arthur Miller questions. On the other hand, if Player Y loses to Player X on something like "Which American playwright was married to Marilyn Monroe?" (noted actual question I've heard), or the marginally better "Which American playwright wrote The Crucible?", and both know the answer, the only thing Player Y takes away from the question is either "Oh, my reflexes were worse than Player X's. I should go practice on them before my next match" or "Oh, I didn't know that biographical fact about Miller's life. I should go read about all the other things he did rather than learning about what he wrote."

This is why most people on these boards think that "bad quizbowl providers" (Patrick's Press included) don't write high-quality questions, because those questions almost invariably will promote
biggiebird89 wrote: [being] quick on the buzz AND [knowing] only 1 or 2 facts about the subject
rather than gaining deeper knowledge and learning more.

Again, apologies if this is redundant or somewhat off topic.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

It looks like both states appear to at least do both forms of the questions, so it'll depend on the format of the tournament at the moment as to what happens with it. I do like how the novice set looks, my only issue with doing it in that format was, from just my own personal POV, it seems slightly..what's the word...dull, to have just 1 match be 20 questions with bonuses, instead of varying it slightly. Mind you I don't mean that personally, it's just..1 round done 1 day vs. 4 rounds with varying degrees of set-up, I suppose.
One quick question, just from curiosity - if I were to say use the mACF questions (the Novice ones,) do I absolutely have to follow their rules with it? (say if I didn't want to use the -5 on interruptions rule, or increasing bonus time consultation from 5 to 10 seconds, etc. I'm just curious of that.

I should probably go back to my original argument of the formatting to explain my logic through this tournament, since now set-up will also be a large issue. I've wanted to, for a while, see which state (Vermont or New Hampshire) had the best quiz bowl team (or teams) out of a sampling. In my case, what I want to do is take 16 teams from each state, and divide them (as best as possible, and this will ONLY be done if both states can be split this way) into 4 geographical areas: North, South, East, and West. (for 15 teams, I might do North, Central, South or East, Central, West.) Each state would have 4 teams in each "geo-division." I'd take one team from each and create 4 8-team "preliminary brackets" from that. (Vermont works their league with 7 divisions of the same - each with uneven team numbers, I'm not sure about NH.)

Of course this would depend on the teams. Should I not have enough and allow schools with multiple teams to enter, their B teams, etc, would be put into divisions that lacked teams. A round robin would occur (that way each VT team played 3 VT and 4 NH teams, and vice versa for NH teams,) and each team, NO MATTER WHAT, got 7 good games in for their money, where teams would be ranked in their division by win-loss, then PPB (I suppose.)

A break for lunch would occur, but this is where things are getting muddy. My thought was to then take the top 4 teams in each division (therefore 16 total) and separate the teams, placing the VT teams and the NH teams into their own bracket. If a team had more than one extra team in that 16 (say 10 VT and 6 NH), then the two lowest extra teams would be the lowest ranked teams in the other state - increasing the chance that the lower-numbered state would put its own team into a final. Another round robin would occur, and then the 8 teams would be seeded by records again (either overall or in just the playoff bracket) and teams would play against their opposing state counterpart (so VT-1 would play NH-1 for the championship, VT-2 would play NH-2 for 3rd place, etc.)

Does this seem like a fair way of boiling it down to trying to get a VT/NH final using my logic, or should I instead just take the top 2 teams in each division and do another round-robin of that (teams that already played do not play again) and do an advantaged final from that?
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Stained Diviner »

You can change the rules. With newer teams here in Illinois, we sometimes eliminate point deductions or give teams more time to confer. That is up to you.

Keep in mind that your schedule is overly ambitious. It sounds like you probably will have some moderators that are not used to this format. Under that circumstance, you probably want to schedule five matches before lunch using six-team divisions and then go from there.

You probably do not want to get too much into a NH vs VT format. As you said in your last post, make sure that each team gets to play some matches vs out-of state opponents in the morning, but after that I would just find a way to have the good teams play each other and have the weak teams play each other in the afternoon. If all the strong teams are from one state, then you've already answered the question as to which state deserves the championship. If the strong teams are from both states, then they will play each other.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

The schedule IS ambitious, yes, but with an early start to the tournament (perhaps 9:30 at the latest,) we can get 7 games in easily, and then more after a lunch break, and get teams home in a reasonable time, given the tournament would be on a Saturday.

Again, it'll depend on what I hear back from those at HSAPQ about their pricing as well for a 4-quarter set, so we'll see what happens - I'm currently creating Excel schedule formats for both sets of tournaments, just in case.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by nobthehobbit »

On tossup/bonus being "dull": What we're trying to determine in a game of quizbowl is which team knows more. (At least, that's my view.) Hence, among other things, we try to minimize the impact of things like the game format, or buzzer speed. Having a consistent game format means teams don't have to shift their strategies much if at all over the course of a game. It's also the format used at many other tournaments which VT and NH teams might be interested in attending, such as the Harvard Fall Tournament (which, granted, will be of rather higher difficulty than Fall Novice, but top teams may still be interested).

On changing rules: Nothing wrong with this as such, in my view. Keep in mind that, again, many other tournaments will follow the rules as laid out in those documents to which I pointed out with far less variation (eg they'll give 5 seconds for bonus consultation and will penalize 5 points for an incorrect interrupt), so running to those rules will help, in a minor way, prepare teams at your tournaments for other tournaments in that format they might attend.

On the tournament schedule: Splitting teams into divisions geographically isn't such a great idea: what if teams from the north of both states are much stronger than those from other parts of the state? If you can get any idea (tournament results, league results?) of how strong various teams are, you should build the preliminary brackets to ensure that the best teams don't play each other in the prelims. (Otherwise you end up with "brackets of death".) David makes a good point: unless you round up a lot of experienced moderators, 6-team brackets are probably best. (This would be the 30-team format Dwight suggested.) Then you can use a packet set with only 12 packets (such as Fall Novice), whereas your 32-team schedule would require 15 packets. And, also as David said, let the teams sort out their relative strengths among themselves. If Vermont teams are consistently beating New Hampshire teams, Vermont's the stronger state and there's little point in trying to force a VT-NH final when it should probably be two VT teams in the final. If the states are of roughly equal ability, there's a good chance you'll have a VT-NH final, but that'll be because those two teams are actually the two best. (An advantaged final is done only if necessary; see here under the section "ACF Finals Format" for a better description than I gave. This will work for the 32-team format, because there you have only one top playoff bracket; for the 30-team format use single-game crossover playoffs, that is, 1 plays 1, 2 plays 2 and so on. Also, in the 32-team format, when rebracketing, each team will have, as you say, already have played a game against one of the teams in their playoff bracket, so carry over that win or loss to the playoffs; the rest can be dropped. There is also a format that can work with 30 teams--in case you just can't get 32--and 15 packets that allows for ACF finals rather than crossover finals. Again, PM or e-mail me for details.)

With the 32-team 4-bracket format, you can in fact give every team 13 games by taking the top two teams in each preliminary bracket into the top playoff bracket, the 3rd and 4th teams into the second playoff bracket, 5th and 6th to the third playoff bracket and 7th and 8th to the fourth playoff bracket. Only teams in the top bracket would be in contention for the title, but (assuming all the teams stick around) each team would get 13 games, which is good value for money. Doing similar playoff brackets in the 30-team format is a bit tricker; PM or e-mail me for specifics (at least, specifics of how I'd do it). And on the tiebreaker, PPB is used in tossup/bonus because (I think) some statistical analyses indicated that it was better than other (easily computed?) statistics as a predictor of future success, even head-to-head among the tied teams. (I might be getting this completely wrong; I think Dwight would either know more details or would know who knows them.) In four-quarter, where there are far fewer bonuses, PPG's probably your best bet.

As for starting at 9:30 and getting 7 games in before lunch, it probably won't happen, especially with inexperienced moderators. I'd plan on 30 minutes per game at minimum.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

In terms of the "dull" comment, I only say that because, when I think of a "competition," along with knowledge, I also think of skill being a separate factor - type of round, collaboration, etc, as being factors one needs to be good at. It'd be similar to a basketball player being able to be a good offensive AND defensive teammate both individually and as a unit, etc. It's not saying the questions would be dull, it's more saying the format is, I suppose, though I do see and understand that it's more about knowledge than other factors playing into the game (like playing on a wet vs. dry football field, etc,) that could have a near-detrimental effect.

My thought, in terms of rule changes, would only be to eliminate the -5 for an incorrect interrupt, and extend the collaboration time. When I played in HS, it was 5 seconds to buzz in, 3 seconds to START your answer (quoted from the rules: "irrelevant patter will be disqualified as 'stalling'," of which I agree with,) and with the bonuses, it was EIGHT (8) seconds to collaborate and have an answer started by. I know that 8 might be a bit odd, and 10 might be too much, but to me 5 isn't much at all. It's fine individually, but it to me would take more than 5 seconds to think yourself, talk with teammates, AND submit the answer before TIME is called, etc. What's your opinion on that, Nob?

For the format, it's hard because I don't 1.) know New Hampshire's schedule for their league, and 2.) would only have ONE event from Vermont (a month before mine would be, with 2 weeks between that and a deadline for my tourney) to judge any form of "leading" team of those results. I may have to cut it down to 15 teams from each state, and do either 6 5-team brackets (with a mix of 2/3 from each state) or 5 6-team brackets (with 3 and 3,) round robin them (for 5 matches,) break for lunch, and then.....again, where it gets tricky. I'd be interested in how you'd do that if you'd be willing to post it here, or you could email me as well or vice versa.

For the 32-team format, the top-2 playoff bracket would do the 15 packet tourney, but Fall Novice doesn't provide 15 packets, which is a problem. If the Novice set only has 12 or 13 packets (depending,) I'm incredibly limited in what I can do. As I mentioned before (I believe,) I've contacted (and am waiting to hear from) a gentleman at HSAPQ to see about discounts offered for new tournaments and their questions, just in case I wished to, in the end, go the 32-team 15-packet route with things. (Note, I only mentioned the ACF finals comment before just because I thought that was standard, that was my mistake, my apologies for that.)
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

biggiebird89 wrote:My thought, in terms of rule changes, would only be to eliminate the -5 for an incorrect interrupt, and extend the collaboration time. When I played in HS, it was 5 seconds to buzz in, 3 seconds to START your answer (quoted from the rules: "irrelevant patter will be disqualified as 'stalling'," of which I agree with,) and with the bonuses, it was EIGHT (8) seconds to collaborate and have an answer started by. I know that 8 might be a bit odd, and 10 might be too much, but to me 5 isn't much at all. It's fine individually, but it to me would take more than 5 seconds to think yourself, talk with teammates, AND submit the answer before TIME is called, etc. What's your opinion on that, Nob?
You'll never get in 7 rounds before lunch. In fact with the inexperienced teams and moderators you'll probably have, you'll be lucky to get through 5 rounds.
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by MahoningQuizBowler »

I concur with the sentiment that 7 rounds before lunch is a non-starter. 5 is an easier target; going with the 30-minute per round idea, a 9:30 start means a noon lunch break and restarting play approx. 1:00 pm. In the more likely case, given that you are only going to be as fast as your slowest reader, of closer to 40 minutes a round, a 9:00 am start still gets you to lunch by 12:20. This is assuming that you are going to get enough staff -- how confident are you that you can recruit 16 people to do this?

Re: the format of the game itself, an advantage of tossup/bonus is the fact that your readers either will already know the format well, since at least Vermont has something of a tu/b circuit already, or it will be easier for them to pick up. Coming from Ohio, where the state format is not tu/b and involves 3 different rounds with different rules, I've seen new readers struggle with transitioning between facets of the game. Tu/b keeps things simpler for staff and will minimize any potential teams/players/coaches getting out of sorts for a reader having misapplied rules during a match.

I would caution against scheduling in such a way that you would use every packet in the set in the normal run of play. Always keep 1 packet in reserve for tiebreaks (if you choose to use them) and replacement questions in case of moderator error (such as reading the answer to a tossup after the first team got it incorrect but before allowing the opponent their chance to buzz in and get it right).
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by cvdwightw »

Last year HSAPQ produced two four-quarter sets that can be found at this link (they're the pdfs that start with "4q").

Things such as removing the "neg-5" (a penalty for interrupting the question and being wrong) and changing time limits to answer are perfectly fine. They don't change the basic structure of the game and in fact we recently had a discussion on this very board about time limits.

I apologize for confusion caused by my using the buzzword "accessible." I do mean what other posters have said. Most pyramidal events try to ask about things that they expect people with knowledge will know, which is what we term "accessible" (because the answers are "accessible" to players' memories). Please continue to ask if you don't understand our jargon.

Two of the most common and self-perpetuating myths are that one-line questions are easier than pyramidal questions, and that pyramidal questions do not create the same need to be quick on the buzz.
biggiebird89 wrote:Identify the Austrian composer considered one of the greats in the classical period in music, roughly from 1750 to 1825, and known as the "Father of the String Quartet" and "Father of the Symphony."
A: (Franz Josef) Haydn
This question doesn't ask about a single work of Haydn. It just says that he was an Austrian classical composer and gives two of his nicknames. This question boils down to: "Guess an Austrian classical composer" or "Do you know these nicknames?".

Let me rewrite this question in the pyramidal style:
HSAPQ Four Quarter set #2, packet 12, tossup 7, with some editing from me wrote:One work by this composer features a persistent ticking rhythm. In another of his works, the performers gradually leave the stage during the fourth movement. The second movement of one symphony he wrote features a sudden fortissimo. For 10 points, name this Austrian classical composer, known as the "Father of the String Quarter" and "Father of the Symphony," who wrote the Clock, Farewell, and Surprise symphonies.
The one-line question gives some fluff about him being great, some dates that don't really help once the time period has been stated, states his nationality and time period, and gives two of his nicknames. The new question removes the fluff but keeps everything else. It also begins with a description of three of Haydn's most famous symphonies and even mentions them by name at the end of the question. Surely these are not the "hardest" clues about Haydn; someone who has listened to Haydn will almost certainly recognize a description of one of those symphonies (the original HSAPQ question describes and names the Palindrome symphony at the beginning, which is harder than any of the three but could still be answered by people with knowledge of Haydn's works). Even if they are clues that no one at the tournament has heard of before, surely someone who could answer your question will get it past the "For 10 points" when it gives the exact same text of your question (minus the fluff and redundant information) plus the names of three of his most famous symphonies.

In fact, for most people knowing only 1-2 clues about anything is sufficient to get a pyramidal question, since there is a much wider choice of which 1-2 clues you can know to answer. The only way you don't get the question if you know the 1-2 easiest clues is if your opponent knows earlier clues or your opponent knows those 1-2 clues and beats you because of buzzer speed.

People are mis-speaking when they say that the pyramidal question minimizes the effect of buzzer speed. In fact, buzzer speed is just as important as it is in the one-line question. What has changed is that the pyramidal question places a much greater emphasis on knowledge. If two players have the same amount of knowledge, then buzzer speed determines who wins the tossup. Trust me when I say that in most games upwards of 30% of the tossups are determined by buzzer speed (it's not the near-100% of a speed game, but it's not insignificant).
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

I think I've got a better understanding of the whole argument from the formats of the questions. I sent (as I said before) an email to a gentleman at the HSAPQ about questions from their side of things, and this was the reply I received:
Both our Four Quarter set (which are made from Virginia High School League regular season questions) and the Fall Novice set would be suitable for a "newer" region. For what it's worth, HSAPQ does charge per team, so that would not lock you guys into a large fixed cost. If the four quarter format is closer to what teams are used to, it may be good to do that. We are also willing to work with you on custom formats, as our four quarter sets are taken from Virginia High School League regular season sets and are explicitly written with a very wide audience in mind.

I also contacted the NHQBL director to learn about their formats, and learned this:
Relative to formats; Granite State Challenge place for 1/2 hour divided into four parts. The finals, or Super Challenge, is played for one hour, but the basic segments stay the same. The first part is toss up; break to talk with team; the second part is tossup/bonus; break to talk to other team; the third part is a sixty second round; and the fourth part is tossup. The questions are relatively easy, probably purchased from Academic Hallmarks or Campbell; television
does not like dead time, so they like questions that can be answered quickly. The NH Quiz Bowl League plays five regional tournaments, each using a round robin format; we play up to ten, ten minute rounds; all questions are of the toss up variety; the team that is ahead after ten minutes, wins; the team with the most wins at the end of the round robin, wins; in the case of a tie for the number of wins, we have a play off (in the round robin rounds, there are no ties - play until someone wins). The league championship is played among the 5 regional winners and the top three at large winners (schools that have not won a regional, but accumulated the most wins). I use questions from Academic Hallmarks.


Having wrote before that Vermont uses both NAQT format as well as (for league titles) 3-quarter format (tossup/bonus, lightning, and tossup,) it seems like either/or might be applicable to both states, and for this tournament. I have been encouraged to explore all my options (though most that I’ve talked to are saying to use the Fall Novice,) but just to do so, I’m also inquiring about a price for a 30-team, 4-quarter packet from HSAPQ, just to get a rough estimate (plus it doesn’t hurt any.) Again, what I could do is have 2 persons per room (an experienced moderator to read, and a student to time/score or some combination,) depending on the field size.

I would like to have my format and such figured out at least by the end of July/start of August so I can prepare registration sheets and get into contact with local team coaches to advertise. Would it be beneficial to advertise this on the forum here as well once everything is determined? I’m not sure how many VT/NH coaches are on the forum, but I doubt it’d hurt any.

(To Dwight - no harm done with the confusion on the "accessible" comment - like I've said before, I'm new, and having seen the dialogues on other tournament posts, it was natural for me to assume the worst without thinking about it first....no rhyme intended.)
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by biggiebird89 »

I was actually confused about one term in QB that I've seen thrown around through (not to take away from my last post) - What exactly is a "mirror" in terms of the Quiz Bowl lexicon?
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

A "mirror" of Tournament X is, generally, any other tournament at which the packet set from Tournament X is run. For example: if the University of Minnesota writes a set of packets and runs a tournament on them, and Harvard wants to run a tournament on the same set of packets, Harvard's tournament would be a mirror of the Minnesota set. Packets are always kept blind to all of the teams participating at a given mirror of a tournament, of course, and most mirrors are within two or fewer weeks of the original use of the packet set.

(note: sometimes the term "mirror" is used even when there is no central or original site a packet set is played at--for example, "you could host a mirror of the Fall Novice set.")
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Re: First-Time Tournament Help

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

biggiebird89 wrote:Again, what I could do is have 2 persons per room (an experienced moderator to read, and a student to time/score or some combination,) depending on the field size.
What's your plan for garnering experienced moderators? From what you've said about the teams that would be coming, their ability to furnish experienced moderators doesn't seem great.

I'd also like to echo what someone else mentioned above: If you do find experienced moderators and if you don't use timed rounds, there is no need to enforce the mod/scorekeeper duo in each room. Having one staffer per room (a few exceptions would be just fine) should alleviate your personnel problems somewhat.
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