General 2017 NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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General 2017 NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:11 pm

Please discuss any broad thoughts about the set here. I've got a couple general theory topics I want to open conversations on, but I won't be able to start those today and want to see if people organically start them on their own; I may start new threads for those or not.
Thanks!
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

Pascal Plays Poker
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Re: General NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by Pascal Plays Poker » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:13 pm

What was the distribution for non-history questions (literature, science, FA, trash) this year? I felt like there were a lot more of those questions in bowl rounds as it started getting into later and later bowl rounds.
Hari Parameswaran
Beavercreek High School '19
Georgia Tech '2?

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: General NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:03 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:What was the distribution for non-history questions (literature, science, FA, trash) this year? I felt like there were a lot more of those questions in bowl rounds as it started getting into later and later bowl rounds.
Usually, each Bowl packet and each Bee packet (regionals and nationals) is planned to have exactly 10 "cultural history" questions, one from each of the following subcategories:
*Literature
*Religion/Mythology
*Philosophy/Social Science
*Visual Art
*Auditory Art
*Science & Tech
*Pop Culture (inc. Sports)
*Recent History (kinda current events, kinda "history but since the year 2000"; we theoretically try to keep it from being "modern politics" unless it feels like the question would age well as a history question)
*US Geography
*World Geography

In the Bee, things are simple - each category above gets a tossup, and in rounds of 35 tossups instead of 30 (usual for regular season), the extra 5 tossups were all non-cultural history.
In the Bowl, as there are Quarter 1, Quarter 2, and Quarter 4 versions, we balance things by giving each category above 4 Q1s, 3 Q2s, and 3 Q3s over the course of 10 packets - which, conveniently, is how many prelim packets we had and how many playoff+backup packets we had.

There were a few deviations from that pattern in this year's tournament.
*The Bowl prelims (Rounds 1 through 10 on Sat. morning and afternoon) were two tossups shorter in the first quarter than the playoffs were; that cut was 1 American history and 1 from the cultural swath, done by condensing US and World Geo into one slot only. (It's often hard to tell what's a geography question and what's a history question anyway, as the Geo tossups have to have historical content, so I imagine this was largely not noticed.)
*The Bee playoff packets were planned at 40, not 35 tossups, and the extra 5 tossups per packet included a small amount of extra cultural. We then only played 35 out of 40, using those extras as tiebreakers, and the packetization didn't keep that "+5" as the tiebreakers, so the split might not have been as perfect as the other packets. I'll be sure to fix that next year.
*I didn't have a pop culture tossup I liked enough to put in Bowl Round 8 (the final packet), so it got an extra religion/myth question (Quakers in Quarter 2, on grounds that it could pass as American history). I'm not a fan of changing the distribution, even on such a small level, between rounds of the tournament, but we wanted to get the packets ready for printing and me working on logistics sooner. This'll be one of the micro things improved next year when the packets are done a little bit sooner than they were this year.


Overall, though, the number of "the obvious cultural history" questions (exactly the ones you mention, basically) was constant in each packet.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

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Re: General NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by swimmerstar » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:09 pm

Is there any chance JV could move to double elimination given that there was already an extra playoff round this year?
Fred Zhang
Longfellow Middle School 2015
TJHSST 2019
Yale 2023

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: General NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:37 pm

swimmerstar wrote:Is there any chance JV could move to double elimination given that there was already an extra playoff round this year?
I am fully expecting this to be the case, probably with 24 teams on an 8 W, 16 L split to start. (15 minutes of bracket math left me liking those numbers; feel free to start a new thread if you've got an option you like more!)
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

Quinctilius Varus
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Re: General NHBB Nationals Set Discussion

Post by Quinctilius Varus » Mon May 01, 2017 1:43 pm

I really enjoyed this tournament, and thought it was very well-written overall. The U.S. History Bee set was solid and had some great ideas (like the tossup on Nixon only cluing from his economic policies or the one on Monticello). Although I thought the historiography questions were interesting, they skewed too hard for a high school audience, at least from the small sample size I saw. There were only a few throughout the tournament, so this isn't a very big issue compared to the other great questions in the set.

The History Bee and Bowl sets were significantly improved from last year, both in repeats and question quality. I'll defend a lot of the off-the-wall answerlines, like ice cream, Samantha Smith, and Imelda Marcos' shoes, because they usually test knowledge of history from outside of a classroom and help keep the game interesting. Thanks for a great set of questions!

Although it's the least important out of all the events, and I know that the NHBB writing team was not in charge of it, the Sports and Entertainment Bee was not a very good set. There seemed to be at least five tossups a game on food items or businesses that begins with clues on their origins. Very few people care about the history of Moon Pies or Chuck E. Cheese's, to name two examples from the set. The television and movies seemed to weirdly skew pre-1980, and the first round had two questions on Frank Capra movies, in addition to a question that began with a clue from It's a Wonderful Life. There were even list tossups! This was especially disappointing because I really enjoyed last year's iteration.

I'm sorry to end on such a down note, because I loved the U.S. History Bee, National History Bowl, and National History Bee sets. Thanks to everyone who helped run and write for this year's event!
William Golden
James E. Taylor High School '19
University of Texas at Austin '23

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