Also, then Cardinal Classic was canceled for the spring. These things combined to make me want to write part of a packet-submission tournament that adheres to these principles. Other people agreed with this sentiment and signed on to the project definitely or tentatively. So here goes:Matt Weiner wrote:I think it is possible to write a tournament that conforms to the objectively correct principles of good quizbowl (academic distribution, solid clue selection and ordering, tossups of 5 or more lines, bonuses that are interesting, consistent, and written in complete sentences) but is also written such that it moves the buzz distribution up by a notch or two. By this I mean that instead of writing a 9 to 12 line tossup where you expect the best teams to buzz by line 4 or 5 and the decent teams to buzz by the end, you write a slightly shorter tossup where you expect top teams to buzz in the first 2.5 lines, teams that are going to go around .500 to buzz before FTP consistently, and only the bottom of the field to have to wait for the giveaway.
This set will feature at least fifteen packets unless something goes terribly wrong. It will contain packets of at least twenty powermarked tossups and twenty bonuses. The tossups will obey a strict length cap: no tossup will feature any words on the seventh line, and ideally most tossups will not be six full lines. Good teams should, consequently, be able to expect to buzz early on tossups. People who have committed to working on this project include Rob Carson and Bernadette Spencer; I imagine Dallas will tell me fairly soon for sure if they're in, and Mike Cheyne is being asked as we speak if he'd like to edit the old man distribution. (A serious breakdown of what each of us is working on will appear here when appropriate.) (UPDATE: Mike Cheyne is secured.)
We're going to try to playtest these pretty extensively (early and often, as they say, but since packet-submission tournaments never seem to allow for "early" maybe we'll just playtest the editors packets a WHOLE lot), so if you don't think you'd want to play this event (which targets the ever-nebulous "regular" difficulty, but will have a buzz distribution less shaded towards the end than most contemporary "regular" difficulty events), feel free to volunteer to contribute in that way!
My personal coffers are empty because coffee, my debit card learned this morning, ain't cheap. Therefore, we're looking for mirrors across the country! Specific regions we're interested in, and sites that will be hosting in that region, follow:
Southeast Furman (with Southside cameos)
Upper Midwest University of Minnesota
East Midwest (OH, PA, KY) Centre College
West Mideast (Egypt)
... anyone else!
PACKET SUBMISSION DETAILS
We want packets. We don't (here's the part where I say "don't" again, but somehow you miss it both times) want packets to come in the week before the tournament. That is quite unpleasant! You wouldn't want me to start coming up with particularly horrifying things to compare it to, now would you? In a submitted packet, we'd like to see:
5/5 literature (1/1 American, 1/1 British, 1/1 European, 1/1 World, 1/1 additional of any category)
5/5 history (1/1 American, 3/3 European [of which one question is on British history and one is on ancient history], 1/1 World)
5/5 science (1/1 physics, 1/1 chemistry, 1/1 biology, 1/1 other science [math, CS, earth science, astrophysics; don't do two of the same], 1/1 additional of any category or difficult-to-categorize topics)
3/3 RMP (1/1 mythology, 1/1 religion, 1/1 philosophy; try to ensure that your mythology is about dudes and deeds and your religion is about worship)
3/3 fine arts (1/1 painting, 1/1 non-opera music, 1/1 other arts [opera, architecture, sculpture, dance, photography, film, jazz, questions about Bob Dylan if you are Chris White; please do one vis and one aud])
2/2 social science (at least one question must be geography; no more than 1/1 can be geography)
Here's the submission schedule, based off the date we imagine most mirrors will take place, 2/13:
12/20: -$50 (-$75 for teams that don't have to submit by ACF guidelines) -- if you gift-wrap your packet and mail it to one of us, you are discounted whatever that would cost you because it would make me SO HAPPY
1/3: -$25 (-$50 for teams that don't have to submit by ACF guidelines)
1/17: $0 (-$25 for teams that don't have to submit by ACF guidelines)
After 2/7, we'll grant twenty-four hour extensions one at a time; each one will cost $10.
Here's something that is a little unclear sometimes: when does this amorphous blob we call "12/20" end? This is particularly difficult because of time zones. So here it is: if your packet isn't in one of our hands by 4:00am Central time on the night of the deadline day (so your clock would, technically, read 4:00am 12/21, for example), then you have missed the deadline. There won't be leniency here because leniency gets exploited. End of story.
DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT A PACKET? As per ACF guidelines, if your teams has one or more players on it who's played a tournament before September of 2008, then you have to submit a packet.
CODA OF SOME KIND
Let one of us know if you're interested in hosting a mirror, submitting a packet, playtesting, or some sort of other relevant thing. I'm firstname.lastname@example.org; Rob is email@example.com.