ABD (and mirrors) discussion

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fizzball
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ABD (and mirrors) discussion

Post by fizzball »

Damn that was a long time ago. Maybe someone at the BU mirror can start off question discussions, because I remember very little about the content. What I do want to mention about the Ann Arbor event, and something I've already discussed with Mike and Craig, is: multiple guessing on completed tossups needs to go.

(For those not there: during tossups 8-14, each member of a team could buzz in once on TUs. Negging teams were ineligible; if a question was incorrectly vulched after a neg, the TU went dead.)

I don't recall a team converting a tossup on buzz 3 or later in any of my rounds. In fact I'd wager that tournament-wide, mods blurted the answer before extra guessing could occur more times than there were any late conversions. The rule sets even experienced moderators up for failure, and eight people flailing about for answers (with four-second intervals between buzzes) wastes time needlessly; especially odd at ABD given its stringent rules on question length.

I'm fine with using ABD as a testing lab for new rules, and if such experimentation is to go on at all, I don't know that one can truly evaluate an innovation after a single event. But the current special rules have been in effect for 2-3 years now, and I don't see multi-guessing working out.
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Post by shim »

I played at BU last weekend. I agree regarding the multiple guessing. It was a mess in most of the rooms where it was used, and the moderators did have trouble not blurting out the answer right away if only one team had the right to multiple guess. I think it is a fun idea, but is a little bit impractical.

I think it would be more interesting to have the 50 or nothing bonuses in the last period, as it would make "wagering" on such a bonus more worthwhile. I remember only one team actually getting 50 points (Bond girls by the BU house team).

Overall, I thought it was great...really fun, diverse set of packets which seemed to spark interesting scores on certain matchups. I think people might be encouraged to look outside the WNBA for women's sports questions though...there are plenty of women athletes in the world.

My favorite powers (that I remember):

"It's westernmost office is in Akron. The Pittsfield office closed after . . ."

"He imagined his date with Britney Spears would begin in a convertible . . ."

"The name of this band is derived from the method of communication used to produce the albums . . ."

"They eliminated the live orchestra requirement in 1997 . . ."
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Post by Matt Weiner »

shim wrote:My favorite powers (that I remember):

"It's westernmost office is in Akron. The Pittsfield office closed after . . ."

"The name of this band is derived from the method of communication used to produce the albums . . ."
I have to say that these two were fairly poor questions. I have never watched a moment of The Office in my life and I could tell right away in question one that this was a tossup on "that company which is the setting for The Office" (whose name I do not know, so I didn't get the question.) Other than the fact that the word "office" appears six times in the question, the tone and the most basic knowledge of what trash people like (ie, no more than the amount of knowledge which one could have acquired from playing the previous rounds of the tournament) are pretty clear pointers. Questions which boil down to "FAQTP, do you remember what X is called?" are not good.

The second one was a first-clue buzzer race among at least four people in the room I was playing. "Figure it out" clues are generally dumb; as leadins, they are completely unacceptable. It doesn't matter if you know a lot about The Postal Service or even have ever heard a single one of their songs--all you need to get that tossup on the very first clue is to be aware that there exists a band called The Postal Service. That's not what first clues are supposed to be about.

I enjoyed a lot of the ABD set, but you chose what I thought were the low points for your examples.
Last edited by Matt Weiner on Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

shim wrote:My favorite powers (that I remember):

"It's westernmost office is in Akron. The Pittsfield office closed after . . ."

"He imagined his date with Britney Spears would begin in a convertible . . ."

"The name of this band is derived from the method of communication used to produce the albums . . ."

"They eliminated the live orchestra requirement in 1997 . . ."
Just out of sheer guessing, are the answers:
#1: Dundlemiffin Paper Company (or whatever that one from the Office is)
#2: Chris Parnel? (it's from that SNL rap he or someone else did once on weekend update)
#3: The Postal Service?
#4: Blue Man Group?

Edit: Well I guess Matt stole some of my thunder...
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Post by STPickrell »

The fourth is Eurovision
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Post by Matt Weiner »

By the way, I think it's time to rethink the way the 50-or-nothing is approached, assuming we need to have gimmicks at all. Let's take a look at some of the bonuses that were in the first third of various packets to see what I mean:
Given two of their past roles, name the Grey's Anatomy cast, for 10 points each.

(10) Willie Mays in Soul of the Game, Dwight Gooden in Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way
Answer: Isaiah Washington

(10) Detective Kincaid in Scream 3, Rudy in Meatballs 3
Answer: Patrick Dempsey

(10) Steven Seagal's niece Sarah in Under Siege 2, Isabel Evans on Roswell
Answer: Katherine Heigl
Now, this is a fine conceit for a bonus ordinarily--it links the answers by the fact that they are all on Grey's Anatomy, but it gives clues from various other movies and TV shows in order to make the bonus accessible to people who don't watch that one particular show. Excellent writing technique for trash in general (it is still noticeably harder than the average bonus in this set, but the idea is in the right place). But how are you supposed to figure out whether to try for 50 on this? You could be the world's biggest Grey's Anatomy fan, but without the names of the roles the actors play on that show, you could still easily miss a part. This is basically asking people to risk the 50-or-0 on a general "name actors from roles" bonus which I doubt anyone would be tempted to do.
For 10 points each--name the Comedy Central Roastees based on clues.

(10) This former playboy pin-up is a spokeswoman for MAC Cosmetics.
Answer: Pamela Anderson

(10) This comedian, the first to be roasted on Comedy Central, plays the philandering Tommy Gavin on the TV show Rescue Me.
Answer: Denis Leary

(10) He voiced the characters "Lyle" in The Fox and the Hound 2 and "Reggie" in Racing Stripes.
Answer: Jeff Foxworthy
A similar problem on this one. You could watch every one of the Comedy Central roasts multiple times but it wouldn't teach you that Jeff Foxworthy was in The Fox and the Hound 2. When the clues don't directly relate to the leadin, you tempt people into risking the points unfairly.

There were a lot of other potential examples but I just wanted to illustrate that one basic problem with the 50-or-0 idea.

A smaller problem for the 50-or-0 was bonuses like these in the first third of the packet:
Name the actor from movie roles, 40-30-20-10-1.

(40) Several fictional characters in some movie.
(30) Inspector Hovannes in Contract on Cherry Street; the titular protagonist of Dirty Dingus Magee.
(20) Colonel Ryan in Von Ryan's Express; Mike Connor in High Society; the titular protagonist of Tony Rome.
(10) Danny Ocean in Ocean's Eleven; Bennett Marco in The Manchurian Candidate.
(1) Frank Sinatra: Sinatra
Answer: Frank Sinatra
Pick two players on your team to play Simon, the Milton Bradley electronic game. You will get one point for each successful move, with a maximum of 15 for each player.
Many packets had a 30-20-10 or physical challenge bonus in the first 7. I wouldn't want to be playing strategically, perhaps trying to come back after the other team got the first 4 or 5 tossups, and looking for something to risk a 50 on only to run into a bonus where it's essentially impossible to get all the points. The rules are kind of unclear, too--if you use the 50 on the first bonus, do you get to hear the 30 point clue or just the 40? There's no logically definite answer based on the information we were given.

Unless people are willing to write extremely straightforward (some would say dry) bonuses for the first third of the game, where it's very clear what type of clue and category of answer will be sought from the leadin, I would say the option should be dropped in the name of fairness.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

Regarding the Comedy Central roasts one:

I don't think that one was all too bad, because I think there have only been maybe 4 or 5 people who have ever been roasted by the network (they previously did the Friar's Club roast before doing their own pointless thing). So, assuming that the answers weren't withheld after each part, by the time you get to Jeff Foxworthy, arguably the only hard clue of the bonus, by the process of elimination you can probably figure it out, since Jeff Foxworthy is a lot more likely to be playing a fox than William Shatner.

Of course, it may not have been all that wise in the first place to ask about something that has such a limited selection of answers. And the 50 or nothing thing does seem sort of strange on a 40-30-20-10-1 bonus, as well. But, again, I haven't heard the set yet so I can't really comment on it.
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Post by pray for elves »

Our team got 50 at least once or twice, I think. Of course, we missed it a few times as well, when I got Mathieu Schneider and Mike Camalleri but couldn't come up with Ronnie Stern (which is bad, since I'm a Flames fan) and a couple of similar situations.

At the BU mirror, we didn't get any physical challenge bonuses. There were no games of Simon or anything similar. I guess Athul decided to cut those out.

As far as bad/strange questions, one that sticks out was the bonus with 6/7/8/9 point sections. What was the logic behind this one?
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Post by Rothlover »

Does someone have the packets they can send me? I will have a very detailed response once I can have the facts in front of me before I launch into things. Thank you.
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Post by BigFlax »

Matt Weiner wrote:The second one was a first-clue buzzer race among at least four people in the room I was playing. "Figure it out" clues are generally dumb; as leadins, they are completely unacceptable. It doesn't matter if you know a lot about The Postal Service or even have ever heard a single one of their songs--all you need to get that tossup on the very first clue is to be aware that there exists a band called The Postal Service. That's not what first clues are supposed to be about.
I also disliked the structure of the Postal Service question, which created a buzzer race in our room as well. This can be the sort of thing one will sometimes run into in a packet-submission tournament; the editors may not always be aware of how obscure a clue is for a given answer if it's not in their specialty. However, I personally think in this question that there is no more obvious clue, even naming the band members themselves. It's virtually an NACutie, which is not how you want to be leading a question.

I don't really disagree with the comments about the gimmick rules, either; while I appreciate the way in which they make the ABD distinctive, the unlimited guessing rarely works out (and even when it does, is there any real reason to reward people for either (a) a shot in the dark or (b) having 20 extra seconds to try and recall the answer?). And I believe we didn't try for the 50-point bonus even once this year because the lead-ins were so frequently vague (at least in the front seven) that we were never really sure if it made sense or not.

Would anyone say that previous first-round gimmicks jackpot scoring and penalty box on negs were any better or worse than the above?
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Post by fizzball »

The jackpot scoring didn't add much, IMO. The penalty box was okay, but requires even more care in editing.

I liked the "get out of interrupt free" cards, my neg-10 notwithstanding.
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"Gimmick" Rules

Post by Phil Castagna »

I think the problem with the "Gimmick" Rules, is that people play so few tournaments, especially trash, that they are reluctant to fool around with them on the limited sets of questions on which they do get to play.

While I have played in some sink/steal tournaments (fun, but breeds resentment and "running up the score", but a great way to play a game between evenly matched teams).

It would be nice if there was a little more play-testing of these changes in rules to see what happens or how cumbersome they are to implement.
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Re: "Gimmick" Rules

Post by BigFlax »

Phil Castagna wrote:I think the problem with the "Gimmick" Rules, is that people play so few tournaments, especially trash, that they are reluctant to fool around with them on the limited sets of questions on which they do get to play.

While I have played in some sink/steal tournaments (fun, but breeds resentment and "running up the score", but a great way to play a game between evenly matched teams).

It would be nice if there was a little more play-testing of these changes in rules to see what happens or how cumbersome they are to implement.
Duck Bowl a couple years ago offered the "punt" gimmick, which modified the lame to a format where if you didn't want a bonus, you could punt it to the other team. If they could get all 30 on it, you got zero; if they got zero, you would get 30. The most literal type of defense and fairly interesting, I thought. I suppose if there were going to be any place where testing out gimmicky rule changes made sense, it would be unaffiliated Trash tournaments.
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Re: "Gimmick" Rules

Post by Mike Bentley »

BigFlax wrote:
Phil Castagna wrote:I think the problem with the "Gimmick" Rules, is that people play so few tournaments, especially trash, that they are reluctant to fool around with them on the limited sets of questions on which they do get to play.

While I have played in some sink/steal tournaments (fun, but breeds resentment and "running up the score", but a great way to play a game between evenly matched teams).

It would be nice if there was a little more play-testing of these changes in rules to see what happens or how cumbersome they are to implement.
Duck Bowl a couple years ago offered the "punt" gimmick, which modified the lame to a format where if you didn't want a bonus, you could punt it to the other team. If they could get all 30 on it, you got zero; if they got zero, you would get 30. The most literal type of defense and fairly interesting, I thought. I suppose if there were going to be any place where testing out gimmicky rule changes made sense, it would be unaffiliated Trash tournaments.
Yeah, I think the This Tournament Goes to 11 mirror at Columbia last year had that.

It's not a bad idea for tournament directors who don't want to write the 2 extra bonuses needed for each round in the event that two good teams both lame and skip their bonues. But it also makes teams play some not so great bonuses, so it's a trade off...
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