ASS II Discussion

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ASS II Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:01 pm

This thread is for discussing ASS II.

I'm particularily interested in hearing people's thoughts on the following parts of the tournament:

Themes in general - Did teams like the themed packets? I felt there was some guessing based on the themes going on, which I suppose was a little unfortunate. On the other hand, some of the themes ended up pretty neat, like Unusual Deaths and ACF. Even though we got rid of the subject packets this year, it does seem like the themes introduced some extra parity and variability into the tournament, as some teams alternated between having very strong games and close games or losses that more than usual it seemed.

The visual round - This was certainly the most non-traditional quizbowl round. Did people find this enjoyable? Did the packet seem balanced?

Bonus difficulty - Did the bonuses do a good enough job distinguishing between the teams? Looking at the stats, the top and the bottom of the field weren't separated by very many points, which even the lowest PPB being at 13.

Distribution - Looking back at some of the packets, the interests of the particular question writers probably came through a little more than they should have. Niche subjects of mine like alternative music from the 90s and probably the 90s in general came up a lot in this tournament, for instance.

Common link questions - There were a lot of these in this tournament relative to other trash tournaments. Is this something people have an opinion about either way?

And of course I'd be interested in hearing general critiques of questions. I'll probably have some more to add myself, but I'm rather tired right now.
Mike Bentley
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:24 pm

Mike,

I had a lot of fun playing, and I don't think the themes were particularly transparent. I liked the Violence/Mayhem theme especially, and the unusual deaths was properly sick and twisted. Though I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the theme was in round 2, solve the mystery for me?

Stylistically, the questions were solid. The difficulty level was very consistent, it managed to be fun without being obscure (which I think Trash can suffer from). The video game tossups/bonuses were good, but managed to get a little tough to parse out at times and seemed a tad more difficult overall in comparison to the other sub-distributions, but that isn't really a complaint, just an observation. The only real tossup I had any major issues with was the gamefacts.com tossup. I mean the tossup talked about message boards and games, and didn't offer the same kind of uniquely identifying clues that the overwhelming majority of the other ones did.

Generally, theme packets are fun, me personally, I wouldn't want to have an entire tournament of them, but I knew what I was getting into, and I don't think you could write an entirely themed tournament much better. Also, I prefer general themes, like kid-related or "Eye/Visual" rather than the specific themes like all of the answers appeared in this song, or this movie, as in the packet with the 4 multiple-themes, but again I have no problem with playing one round like that.

Relying on memory from the tournament, I thought the sports distribution was sufficiently diverse, I don't remember thinking, "oh another baseball question," and I appreciated the soccer tossups and EURO 2008 bonus.

Music: classic rock is awesome, and there was some good stuff namely "In Through the Out Door," and "The Kids are Alright."
The Visual bonus round was also very manageable, I have seen two such rounds previously in other tournaments, and this by far was the most accessible without being completely transparent.

Overall, despite my reticence and total lack of ability when it comes to playing trash, I would definitely play this again next year, if you decide to do it.

Also, Kid Eternity...sweet!
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:34 pm

It didn't matter but one thing to consider regarding the tournament.

It was stated that in the case of ties in the placement that Points Per Bonus would be taken into account. While I wouldn't normally have a problem with this (and in the end didn't), I would've been sore had our placement been determined by that because my team had a bye during t he Visual Bonus round. If it had been any other round it wouldn't have mattered but the Visual Bonus round gave teams many more chances to get at least partial credit on bonuses than the other rounds which may have led to a high PPB.

It didn't matter, but that is just something I felt was worth bringing up.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:55 pm

Yeah, it was unfortunate that our schedule was set up in such a fashion that we may have had to break a tie for the championship based on PPB, rather than actual questions. I would have liked to produce more packets, but this was essentially the maximum I could produce (with the help I received from other people) in the time period I was able to write for the tournament. But I'm not sure if in this situation there was a more fair way to do things. Plus, looking at the stats, from best I can tell, bonus conversion rates weren't significantly different in the visual round than other rounds.

The second packet's theme was the Venture Brothers, although some of those connections were pretty loose. By the way, did anyone figure out the theme before the last tossup? Casey apparently did on question 6 but wasn't playing.

In regards to the GameFAQs tossup, that probably should have just been on GameFAQs itself rather than focusing on the message boards (which I did to fit it into that kid's theme).

Videogame difficulty is probably high due to the combined factor of me knowing a lot about that subject and playtesting questions on people who also know a lot about the subject (such as Jeremy and Evan Nagler). In the future I will attempt to make that subject a little easier, as it's obviously a category where just because I've heard of it doesn't mean it's easy.

In regards to the Unusual Deaths packet, thank Dave Letzler for most of those answers. I've noticed that Dave has a very good ability to come up with unique answer choices (i.e. "I Drink Your Milkshake") that are still accessible and pyramidal. Also, while I'm giving out thanks, I'd like to recognize Jonathan Magin's role in editing the sports for this tournament. Some of you who play tested the questions online may have noticed that a lot of the questions I wrote in that category weren't very good, but thankfully Jonathan was able to fix them.
Mike Bentley
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by No Sollositing On Premise » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:54 pm

I didn't think the video game difficulty was that high, but then again if I'm a specialist on anything, it's video games. Overall, I didn't think the difficulty on any particular category was very high or low. The category rounds were a gimmick that... was never obnoxious or harmful, but I'm not sure I always liked them. The visual round was fine, but a little time-consuming.

This was my first trash tournament, and I had a lot of fun doing it. Thanks for doing such a solid job running it.

And PS: there is no way in hell that I am ever reading, let alone finishing, that many Star Trek books. I've seen maybe two or three episodes of various series, but I've never followed the stuff. Does anyone want me to give them a few?
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:09 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: The second packet's theme was the Venture Brothers, although some of those connections were pretty loose. By the way, did anyone figure out the theme before the last tossup? Casey apparently did on question 6 but wasn't playing.
I suspected as much throughout the packet but certain questions would completely throw me off. I have seen all the episodes and even I didn't understand the connection of certain questions. Questions regarding things like Jonny Quest, Doctor Doom, and "Dean" Dome may be closer related to the series but certain questions like the Depeche Mode bonus and Star Wars Kid tossup are questions about rather small sequences. Also, the bonus regarding caged birsd and and the tossup about "Are you there God? Its me Margaret?" meerly reference titles of episodes which seem like a bit of a stretch.

Having said that, round 2 was by far my favorite round (and my highest scoring).
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by yoda4554 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:05 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: In regards to the Unusual Deaths packet, thank Dave Letzler for most of those answers. I've noticed that Dave has a very good ability to come up with unique answer choices (i.e. "I Drink Your Milkshake") that are still accessible and pyramidal.
Thanks--the other side of this coin, though, being the occasional "poorly conceived and just plain weird" tossups referred to by Messrs. Westbrook and Kwartler, and the transparent ones complained of at PACE. Hopefully these weren't problems at ASS--one of the reasons I volunteered for this was because I had a bunch of these sorts of things in reserve and had no where to deploy them--and if they were, hopefully that was made up for by getting to buzz in and say "being eaten by a bear."

Incidentally, were these recorded? I'd like to hear how some of these questions played out...
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:20 pm

yoda4554 wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: In regards to the Unusual Deaths packet, thank Dave Letzler for most of those answers. I've noticed that Dave has a very good ability to come up with unique answer choices (i.e. "I Drink Your Milkshake") that are still accessible and pyramidal.
Thanks--the other side of this coin, though, being the occasional "poorly conceived and just plain weird" tossups referred to by Messrs. Westbrook and Kwartler, and the transparent ones complained of at PACE. Hopefully these weren't problems at ASS--one of the reasons I volunteered for this was because I had a bunch of these sorts of things in reserve and had no where to deploy them--and if they were, hopefully that was made up for by getting to buzz in and say "being eaten by a bear."

Incidentally, were these recorded? I'd like to hear how some of these questions played out...
Yeah, the matches were recorded (although the Violence packet was not due to some screw ups with reading packets out of order). They'll be posted probably this week, as I'm planning on going through the long backlog. Look forward to hearing Feldman neg with "Naked Girl Avalanche" for something in the Unusual Deaths packet.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by stevengfeldman » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:14 am

heh ... well there was a clue that sounded suspiciously like When Harry Met Sally ... and so I buzzed and realized that "Death by faking an orgasm" probably wasn't the answer ... so I said something funny ...
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by stevengfeldman » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:21 am

Oh yeah ... also ... I enjoyed this tournament ... it was my first trash tournament and it was certainly quite a bit of fun ... despite the fact that I had some pretty horrible negs ... and I must say ... my favorite packet was the ACF themed one ... like if someone wrote a whole set like that it would be amazing ... also a little more meta would ave been fun ... although only like my team and matt's wouldve been able to pull those ... but all in all it was a great deal of fun ... props Mike ...
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by NotjustoldWASPs » Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:17 am

The second packet's theme was the Venture Brothers, although some of those connections were pretty loose. By the way, did anyone figure out the theme before the last tossup? Casey apparently did on question 6 but wasn't playing.
Considering I've watched the whole of seasons 1 & 2 over the past month to catch up in preparation for season 3 starting, it took me shamefully long to figure this out. I definitely said in my head "Heh, that was funny in Venture Bros." (specifically, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Blacula....topics that I'm sure are quite unlikely to come up again but great anyway) at least twice during the match but didn't make the connection until the phrase "two characters arguing about who would win in a fistfight between Lizzie Borden and Anne Frank."


Overall I really enjoyed this tournament...the themes were well done, although I think at least twice I got questions on not actually knowing stuff but going with the theme. I had a really good time the whole weekend and it was fun to play against players and teams I don't see so often out in the Midwest. Thanks to UMD for two great events!
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:29 am

yoda4554 wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: In regards to the Unusual Deaths packet, thank Dave Letzler for most of those answers. I've noticed that Dave has a very good ability to come up with unique answer choices (i.e. "I Drink Your Milkshake") that are still accessible and pyramidal.
Thanks--the other side of this coin, though, being the occasional "poorly conceived and just plain weird" tossups referred to by Messrs. Westbrook and Kwartler, and the transparent ones complained of at PACE. Hopefully these weren't problems at ASS--one of the reasons I volunteered for this was because I had a bunch of these sorts of things in reserve and had no where to deploy them--and if they were, hopefully that was made up for by getting to buzz in and say "being eaten by a bear."

Incidentally, were these recorded? I'd like to hear how some of these questions played out...
Indeed, you get to hear me buzz incredulously on that "getting eaten by a bear" question. Good times, running through the lyrics of Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah in my head.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by BuzzerZen » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:13 am

In re: buzzing on the theme, I think the most egregious incident of that was in the vision packet, when I buzzed on "Univisión" after determining merely that the question was asking for a Spanish-language television network. So it certainly happened.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by No Sollositing On Premise » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:22 am

BuzzerZen wrote:In re: buzzing on the theme, I think the most egregious incident of that was in the vision packet, when I buzzed on "Univisión" after determining merely that the question was asking for a Spanish-language television network. So it certainly happened.
I had actually forgotten the category on that question, and buzzed in early with Telemundo. I felt a *little* stupid after the fact, and from then on my teammates would write the theme on a piece of paper underneath my buzzer so I could avoid similar incidents for the remainder of the tournament.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Stat Boy » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:00 pm

This was my first trash tournament, so I don't have anything to compare it to except academic ones (although my teammate who went last year said he preferred the previous format). Still, I thought it was as well or better written than most of the tournaments I've been to.

The only issues I can remember with clue structure came in the "Unusual Deaths" round with early mentions of overdoses in the Smashing Pumpkins tossup and Elaine Hobbs in the "Network" tossup. Still, that round had my favorite bonus, on Ed Delahanty, which I applaud Matt Weiner for 30'ing, and the answer choices in that round were probably the most creative.

Also, I'm not complaining (he's a musical genius), but I think bands featuring John K. Samson came up at least three times.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by yoda4554 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:29 pm

Stat Boy wrote:
The only issues I can remember with clue structure came in the "Unusual Deaths" round with early mentions of overdoses in the Smashing Pumpkins tossup and Elaine Hobbs in the "Network" tossup. Still, that round had my favorite bonus, on Ed Delahanty, which I applaud Matt Weiner for 30'ing, and the answer choices in that round were probably the most creative.
Ms. Hobbs is about the tenth most important character in that movie; I didn't write the question, and maybe if I had I would've put it a line later (not more), but getting the tossup there strikes me as a legit early buzz. Also, glad people liked the old-timey baseball.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Stat Boy » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:26 pm

Fair point. I saw it recently enough that that may be skewing my perception.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by vcuEvan » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:35 pm

My first trash tournament and I confirmed that I was terrible at trash but I actually had a lot of fun. However, I hope the phrase "prompt on Raisin Bran" never shows up in quizbowl again.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by theattachment » Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:45 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:
yoda4554 wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: In regards to the Unusual Deaths packet, thank Dave Letzler for most of those answers. I've noticed that Dave has a very good ability to come up with unique answer choices (i.e. "I Drink Your Milkshake") that are still accessible and pyramidal.
Thanks--the other side of this coin, though, being the occasional "poorly conceived and just plain weird" tossups referred to by Messrs. Westbrook and Kwartler, and the transparent ones complained of at PACE. Hopefully these weren't problems at ASS--one of the reasons I volunteered for this was because I had a bunch of these sorts of things in reserve and had no where to deploy them--and if they were, hopefully that was made up for by getting to buzz in and say "being eaten by a bear."

Incidentally, were these recorded? I'd like to hear how some of these questions played out...
Yeah, the matches were recorded (although the Violence packet was not due to some screw ups with reading packets out of order). They'll be posted probably this week, as I'm planning on going through the long backlog. Look forward to hearing Feldman neg with "Naked Girl Avalanche" for something in the Unusual Deaths packet.
Sad, the one I wrote wasn't on the podcast. I would have loved to hear it...

From a writing standpoint, it's really difficult to stay with a theme when trying to write a distribution that's balanced; because of that, you do have to do a lot of common links. I haven't gotten all the way through the set, but from what I've seen it's quite above standards.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by fizzball » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:42 pm

Thanks for posting the set so soon. I enjoyed checking these out, though the visual doc only opened well for me after I PDFd it.

The Venture Bros. round was especially entertaining, though I was hoping to see a good Klaus Nomi question.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:40 pm

Upon further reflection it seems if I were to continue to do ASS in the future, I would not be doing themes in the fashion of this tournament. While the number of lateral buzzes did not seem all that high in the actual tournament (as compared to reading online in the IRC chat, for instance, where there is no real penalty to guessing), there were still more than their should have been. I guess a question to ask would be whether people thought this tournament was "fairer" than ASS I, where the packets were for the most part subject packets. That tournament didn't really have any "buzz on the theme" type questions, but it had a less balanced distribution and was probably more prone to teams losing rounds by drawing a packet the other team was disproportionately good at.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:00 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Upon further reflection it seems if I were to continue to do ASS in the future, I would not be doing themes in the fashion of this tournament. While the number of lateral buzzes did not seem all that high in the actual tournament (as compared to reading online in the IRC chat, for instance, where there is no real penalty to guessing), there were still more than their should have been. I guess a question to ask would be whether people thought this tournament was "fairer" than ASS I, where the packets were for the most part subject packets. That tournament didn't really have any "buzz on the theme" type questions, but it had a less balanced distribution and was probably more prone to teams losing rounds by drawing a packet the other team was disproportionately good at.
I think the idea of theme and subject packets, no matter how they are done, will never have the same "balance" as a normal packet. At ASS I my team beat teams we had no business beating, mainly because we hit them on packets that completely fit our niche. ASS I was enjoyable for my entire team, but not at the same moments. Our sports person loved the sports packet while the others fell asleep. At ASS II I was surprised by my teams performance. While the ultimate outcome of the tournament was the product of many factors, I felt that the rounds were generally more competitive than at ASS I.

Its just my perspective, but I felt that the playing field was much more even. Perhaps it was completely because of the teams that were attending, but perhaps it was because of the packets. Whatever its cause, I must say that I have enjoyed ASS I and II and hope you continue the tradition in the future.
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Re: ASS II Discussion

Post by btressler » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:26 pm

Either way you do the tournament is fine by me. I personally did not find the theme packets to be any less or more fair than the subject packets. Since I am better at naming titles of things than people, the final effectively shut me out because it was name heavy. I wish I had buzzed in the final with "Linkin Park" as soon as I realized we were asking a music group and I could only think of two good answers that fit the theme. Either way, you go into the tournament knowing that questions will have a subject/theme and you take what you get.

Overall I enjoyed the tournament and look forward to ASS III: A Cheek We Didn't Expect

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