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Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:36 am
by Votre Kickstarter Est Nul
Why are there so few novice tournaments in college as opposed to High School? It seems to me that NAQT Collegiate Novice, ACF Fall, DII SCT, and Delta Burke, are the only novice sets unless I'm missing some, which gives you four tournaments if you happen to be lucky enough to be near enough to all three (Does DII SCT count?). I could be wrong, but I'd assume many college kids would enjoy a few more opportunities to play ACF Fall level stuff and it would maybe serve as a better way to get more kids involved. Playing some stuff that is a bit easier, against kids who are a bit worse, more than just once or twice in a year sounds like a decent way to develop/keep what helps many tournaments run, the lower-level teams who don't really have the chance to win against the juggernauts but still show up. This, I think, may be true especially given the higher level at which "regular difficulty" is defined thanks to a combination of really good players some of which are grad students playing for many, many years, and just what seems to me as harder material as evidenced by the overall lower power/ppb numbers (in HS there are rarely tourneys with only 2 or 3 teams over 20 ppb and only a kid or two above 2 powers per game; whether that is good or bad is up to you and not my point).

I'm new to the collegiate scene so I could be completely off base (in which case let me know), or I could just be a kid nostalgic for the days where life was easy, but I'm just curious as to the lack of these tournaments. Any thoughts?

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:27 am
by RexSueciae
Consider that the high school question business is absolutely huge, with housewrites from both high schools and colleges (with varying results), not to mention NAQT basically printing money and HSAPQ steady with its sets for state-sponsored competitions. Consider also that there are considerably more high schools than there are colleges, and consequently more high school teams than college teams.

How many college-level sets are planned for this year? And of those, how many can be said to be below regular difficulty? There are the novice sets you mentioned, plus the reconstituted EFT and the hopefully continuing MUT, which probably make up a similar percentage of the whole as is present in high school. I think that this year there are slightly fewer regular difficulty events than years past but I'm too tired to go look at the scheduling forum.

I don't think that an independent novice tournament separate from NAQT's "collegiate novice" sets would be amiss, akin to what VCU Novice was last year. To that end, have you considered writing such an event? Even if a full slate of writers never materialize, writing questions is incidentally a great way to get a lot better at quizbowl.

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:17 am
by naan/steak-holding toll
I think there's an argument to be made that more tournaments could be of similar difficulty to the recent incarnation of EFT, or to MUT, and that "regular" sets can be made a bit easier. If ACF were to revive ACF Winter, I think that its difficulty would ideally be around that range. I don't know if there's really a need for more "novice" tournaments, but it would be good to have another more accessible tournament in the winter season besides SCT DII.

Also, I get the feeling that fewer people actively make strong efforts to study and improve at the college level than the high school level - partly because the amount of effort it takes to make a substantial improvement becomes higher, partly because people busier and more absorbed in more activities in college (I suspect social life becomes bigger for most people, jobs/internships become more of a concern, etc).

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:13 pm
by Cody
I think there are a few things you are missing.

The high school calendar can stretch from September to early-June (when the last nationals occur), whereas the college calendar can only really stretch from late September/early October to mid-April (when the last nationals occur). There are fewer months to hold tournaments in college, and due to the fact that colleges draw students from a very large geographic area (as opposed to 98% of high schools involved in quizbowl), Spring Break is a significant concern that needs to be scheduled around. You can hold a high school tournament on the day before Easter (a typical Spring Break time) and still get a large number of teams, whereas that is not the case in college. Less time to schedule tournaments = fewer tournaments, and fewer novice tournaments.

There are also fewer college tournament—they max out at about two per month. Fewer tournaments = fewer novice tournaments.

College "regular difficulty" is the level that people expect most teams to adjust to and play consistently. Many novice tournaments are close to high school regular difficulty, which is extremely far college "regular difficulty"—continually catering to a market that only wants to play the easiest question sets is good for college quizbowl's bottom line, perhaps, but not the long-term health of the game. (I and others would argue that the current college "regular difficulty" is too hard, but that's a slightly separate argument).

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:24 pm
by Mike Bentley
Cody wrote:The high school calendar can stretch from September to early-June (when the last nationals occur), whereas the college calendar can only really stretch from late September/early October to mid-April (when the last nationals occur). There are fewer months to hold tournaments in college, and due to the fact that colleges draw students from a very large geographic area (as opposed to 98% of high schools involved in quizbowl), Spring Break is a significant concern that needs to be scheduled around. You can hold a high school tournament on the day before Easter (a typical Spring Break time) and still get a large number of teams, whereas that is not the case in college. Less time to schedule tournaments = less tournament, and less novice tournaments.
I actually think there's room in the college calendar for late April / early May novice tournaments, especially for schools on the quarter system. For novice players it doesn't really matter that much that the national tournaments have already taken place, since they're largely not the target audience of those tournaments.

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:40 am
by mozzarella
I would love to have more novice tournaments (I'm a novice myself, and really need to, uh, get better?), but I can see the impracticality.

This might be a stretch, but there have to be some cities where there are a lot of players who are local when out of school. Something like a winter break or summer break tourney, and you forsake your school team and form one with the kids around you? I mean, it's not exactly a great plan, but it would give newbies the chance to socialize with other players, and play around without their honor being on the line.

Or advertise online tournaments more, maybe make them free or cheaper or mirrored?

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:52 pm
by Charbroil
mozzarella wrote:
This might be a stretch, but there have to be some cities where there are a lot of players who are local when out of school. Something like a winter break or summer break tourney, and you forsake your school team and form one with the kids around you? I mean, it's not exactly a great plan, but it would give newbies the chance to socialize with other players, and play around without their honor being on the line.
In recent years, there have been a lot of low difficulty summer open tournaments run on the NASAT set (a high school question set written for all-star teams) which let you team up with whomever you want.

I don't think a Winter Break tournament would work out very well, given how many people are busy with the holidays.

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:09 pm
by bradleykirksey
Charles is right. We've floated the idea of running things in the Central Florida area over Christmas break before, and the general consensus is that the people who are staying here tend to like their families more than the idea of staffing a tournament. It's a nice idea in theory, but actually trying to find a time over Christmas break where everyone is willing to plau has historically been really tough.

The chess college national championship is between Christmas and New Years, and we've had to go with the 11th or 12th best players at UCF as the 4th board because no one wants to take the time time away from their families.

With that said, easier summer opens isn't a bad idea at all, and would be a good way to get incoming freshmen involved in their soon-to-be clubs. I'm sure there's a market there for someone.

Re: Lack of Novice Tournaments

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:58 pm
by Jewish Pugilist
Hi all, this seemed like, other than the formal forum post to go up later today or tomorrow, the appropriate place to mention that the some Florida quizbowlers including myself have been developing a novice for mid to late spring (it's at about 50% done at the time). This discussion was a large part of my motivation, along with plenty knowledgeable people who I knew wanted to write in the area. The announcement will have more info, but I wanted to briefly mention it here as it seems pertinent