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Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:50 pm
by Wbrandon
Hello my team has just qualified for both HSNCT and NSC, and we are not sure which one we should go to. It would be a great help if someone who has been to either could shed a little light on each one's merits I.E. prestige, difficulty, question quality, and quality of tournament administration/planning.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:08 pm
by heterodyne
Assuming this thread doesn't get moved to New HS Teams, which it might, there are a couple criteria to look at.

Both are going to have really good questions and tournament planning barring some sort of debacle, don't worry about that. PACE is harder. PACE is also going to be closer to you. PACE pulls a smaller field that is generally seen as more elite. HSNCT has a larger field so if you want a larger swath of schools you should go there.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:22 pm
by Wbrandon
This Urn Is So Grecian wrote:Assuming this thread doesn't get moved to New HS Teams, which it might, there are a couple criteria to look at.

Both are going to have really good questions and tournament planning barring some sort of debacle, don't worry about that. PACE is harder. PACE is also going to be closer to you. PACE pulls a smaller field that is generally seen as more elite. HSNCT has a larger field so if you want a larger swath of schools you should go there.
right now we are leaning towards HSNCT even though it will be a little more expensive.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:39 pm
by Corry
Quality of questions and tournament administration/planning is about equal for both tournaments.

It's debatable as to which one is actually more prestigious: the HSNCT is a larger tournament, with an arguably more "official" feel than the PACE NSC. Almost every team that goes to the NSC also goes to the HSNCT, so the HSNCT definitely has a wider presence. That being said, you could also argue that the PACE NSC is more elite than the HSNCT. As a whole, the competition at the NSC is tougher, since elite teams often see the NSC as a way to reaffirm/redeem their national ranking after the HSNCT. Less skilled teams don't usually bother to come. (Basically, the NSC has more of an "insider's club" sort of feel.)

Also keep in mind that the questions at the HSNCT and NSC are relatively different. The question distribution at the HSNCT includes a lot more geography and current events, while the distribution at the NSC includes a lot more fine arts (and basically other stuff that isn't geography and current events). The writing style of the questions also varies; have your team practice on a few sets from NSC versus a few sets from the HSNCT, and you'll notice the difference pretty quickly. This won't be a big deal at lower skill levels, but for more elite teams, it can make a big difference.

Personally, if your team has never been to either tournament before, I would recommend going to the HSNCT first.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:57 pm
by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite
This Urn Is So Grecian wrote:PACE is harder.
Historically speaking, the questions at the PACE NSC are of about equal difficulty, if not slightly easier, than the ones at the HSNCT. However, the median team at NSC tends to be stronger than the median team at HSNCT, so the former will have stronger competition in the earlier rounds (but that's kind of what one would expect from a national tournament).

From a personal opinion, the HSNCT seems to give off more of a "prestigious tournament" experience, with its high field sizes, its location in a large hotel, and the ilk. However, the NSC tends to be be the better determiner of how good every team is (for the past several years, every single team is given a final ranking, something that the HSNCT does not come close to doing), as well as longer, (IMO) higher-quality questions. PACE is also hosting the 2014 NSC in a hotel this year, and from what I've heard over the grapevine, I doubt the difference in atmosphere will be that much different this time around.

I'd be slightly in favor of the PACE NSC, though you are not going to go wrong with either one.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:22 pm
by samus149
One thing I have to say I like more about HSNCT is the pace (no pun intended). You're always rushing around to get to your next game, and when you get there, the timing cuts out all the crap and you're focused only on the questions. Also, shorter questions make it harder to remember questions you didn't like for that day, instead of having to linger on them like you do at NSC.

I also appreciate the format of HSNCT. The card system makes it do that after a round or two, you're playing a team of equal skill, and every game counts, especially on the second day. At NSC, the round robin system makes the latter games feel a bit inconsequential if you're not in the top bracket, and that hour long wait around lunch is pretty mood killing.

That being said, if possible, go to both. The different experiences are worth it.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:25 pm
by AKKOLADE
FWIW, when I did aPPB calculations after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the NSC came out to be one to two PPB easier than HSNCT, which is a significant difference.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:56 pm
by High Dependency Unit
question distribution at the HSNCT includes a lot more geography and current events
How much of a difference will this make in a game?

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:07 pm
by Corry
geolawyerman wrote:
question distribution at the HSNCT includes a lot more geography and current events
How much of a difference will this make in a game?
Of the 13 games that my team played at HSNCT this year, 4 of them essentially came down to a single tossup. So yeah, those extra 2-3 geography and current events questions can make a difference.

Of course, this is heavily dependent on the specific subject knowledge of your team.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:08 pm
by Sniper, No Sniping!
geolawyerman wrote:
question distribution at the HSNCT includes a lot more geography and current events
How much of a difference will this make in a game?
I'm pretty sure that's something in the area of 120 or so points on the board (three tossups with three part bonuses). If you're not very proficient in those areas, more likely than not your opponent will have a leg up on you.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:33 am
by jonpin
One thing to note, just based off of your signature, is that regardless of the difference between NSC and HSNCT, either is far FAR better than Questions Unlimited. NAQT and PACE are both organizations that run good national tournaments, and for many people the choice between them may come down to intangibles. This year, PACE is on Memorial Day weekend, allowing an extended trip/vacation should you choose. HSNCT is back in Chicago, which is a great place to visit. PACE has no negs and bigger powers, so if you are an aggressive team, it might be a better fit; it also has bounceback bonuses, so if you get a lot of tossups, you might not like that aspect (because it would let the other team back in the game).

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:57 pm
by The Stately Rhododendron
jonpin wrote: HSNCT is back in Chicago, which is a great place to visit.
So is dc! Go to Ben's chili bowl!

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:42 pm
by Howard
Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:FWIW, when I did aPPB calculations after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the NSC came out to be one to two PPB easier than HSNCT, which is a significant difference.
Are you doing this across the whole field or just the teams that went to both tournaments?

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:57 pm
by AKKOLADE
It's been almost two years now, but I think it was a comparison between teams that attended one or the other and played an IS set.

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:03 pm
by Howard
If that's the case, then NSC, with an allegedly more elite field, would be expected to have higher aPPB than HSNCT. If the data were from teams that attended both tournaments, I'd be much more convinced.

(I'm not complaining that you didn't do this, just pointing out that we may be making errors in the conclusions we're drawing.)

Re: Recommendation for a national tournament.

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:35 pm
by AKKOLADE
No, I'm talking about the aPPB adjustment, which hypothetically shouldn't be that affected by the strength of the teams and showed that PACE was easier than NAQT. After this semester is over, I'd be happy to work on this some more as possible.