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Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:23 pm
by Ciorwrong
I am pleased to announce 2020’s edition of the Spring Undergraduate Novice tournament. I hope this can become a yearly tradition. I was motivated to work on this tournament after reading Chris Chiego’s excellent thread here.

This tournament is the unofficial successor to the Florida Spring Tournament of the last two years.
Edited by: Harris Bunker, Taylor Harvey, Chris Sims, Mike Cheyne
Written by: The Editors and Lalit Maharjan, William Grossman, James Zhou, Bradley Kirksey,
Zachary Knecht, Montagu James, Roman Madoerin, Vishal Puppala, Eve Fleisig,
Rebecca Thomas, Spencer Oung, Charles Dees, Abhinav Karthikeyan, Jack Edmondson,
Karsten Rynearson, Jason Lewis, Zach Foster and Chandler West

Difficulty: We are shooting for the Level 1 or “Easy” difficulty as determined by Ophir’s very helpful scale. This means we are aiming for this set to be no harder than the modal ACF Fall. That said, this set is written for a college audience and will draw from a different canon than the typical high school set for example. Hard parts and powers will reward deep engagement with the material but will not be “extra-canonical” in any sense. We want several teams playing this set to easily break 20 ppb and want the average team to score around 15 ppb. In general, I will be instructing editors to try to get tossup conversion to 90 percent or higher. At this level, I feel dead tossups are particularly unappealing.

EDIT: I neglected to mention, but our length cap is 700 characters or approximately 7 lines of Times New Roman 10 before powermark.

Target Audience and Eligibility: This tournament will be written for college players with limited quizbowl experience. This does not mean that only freshmen or sophomores may play, but I would recommend that people who score above 35 ppg at ACF Fall or feel comfortable at ACF Regionals difficulty or higher to let their less-experienced teammates play this set without them. Former “high school superstars” who were in top 25 in scoring at either HSNCT or PACE NSC are not the target audience from this set. I entrust local TDs to set transparent and fair eligibility policies that fit their circuit. Please direct any questions to me.

Mixed, “chimera”, or open teams are strictly banned from this event. High schoolers are welcome to host their own mirror of this set (possibly for a reduced fee—email me) but TDs of college sites are allowed to split the high school and collegiate fields if they wish. (This means, that if say 10 college teams and 6 high school teams register, the college teams could do a round robin and the high school teams can do a double round robin and then a final.)


We will be producing 13 packets of 20/20 powermarked questions and a half packet used for tie breakers.

American Lit 1/1
British Lit 1/1
European Lit 1/1
World Lit/Mixed and Classical Lit 1/1

American History 1/1
European History 1/1
World History 1/1
Other History (More World, Commonwealth History, Historiography and Classical History) 1/1

Biology 1/1
Chemistry 1/1
Physics 1/1
Mathematics (mix of pure and applied) 0.4/.4
Astronomy 0.2/.2
Computer Science 0.2/.2
Earth 0.2/.2

FINE ARTS 2.75/2.75
Painting and Sculpture 1/1
Classical Music 1/1
Other Fine Arts (split equally between auditory and visual OFA) .75/.75

Religion 1/1
Mythology 1/1
Philosophy 0.5/.5
Social Science (Chiefly economics, psychology, sociology, political science, linguistics and “criticism”) 1/1

Geo/Trash/CE/Other Ac
Geography 0.5/.5
Trash 0.75/.75
Current Events 0.25/.25
Other Academic 0.25/.25

This distribution is pretty standard aside from the .5/.5 Philosophy and the slightly increased trash. which I feel is more appropriate for a novice audience I tried to craft this distribution to be as novice-friendly as possible while still providing a good semblance of what collegiate quizbowl is.

Mirroring and payment:

This tournament can be mirrored from March 1 until the end of the academic year. Potential mirrors occurring during the summer will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The mirror cost of this event is $40 per team. However, if a host successfully brings in a collegiate team that did not attend a tournament outside of NAQT Novice, ACF Fall and SCT DII in the last academic year (i.e. September 2018 – May 2019), the mirror fee for that school is $30/team. This is to encourage outreach to less-experienced or “plugged-in” teams. As I indicated earlier, high school-only mirror fees may be negotiable but I am unwilling to go below $17/team because I feel strongly that high school mirror fees are far too low.

If you wish to mirror the event, email me at harrisbunker AT and indicate your school, a rough estimate of the expected field and a contact email if it’s different than yours. Additionally, please provide information on how you are going to pay me promptly and in full. A simple sentence like “We need your address and an invoice in order to send you a check” should suffice. I would much prefer that all teams pay or start processing payment within a month of their event. The only form of payment I will expect at this point is a Venmo payment to me, Harris Bunker or a check made out to me mailed to my address. I reserve the right to change this payment policy at my discretion but prices will not change.

If there is interest, we can have a closed Discord mirror for high school or collegiate teams. I will aim to playtest all the questions in the set to interested experienced players at a later date. I applaud how the FST writing crew did this last year and I aim to emulate their playtesting approach.

I feel tournaments of this difficulty are much needed in all circuits and I look forward to teams playing the event! Please email or comment with questions or concerns. Additionally, I would love if this set was mirrored in the Canada or the United Kingdom. If you are part of either of these circuits and would like to help excising and replacing the the hardest American content, please contact me and you can be compensated for your work.

EDIT (March 24, 2020): this set will be available to mirror in person for Fall 2020. Let me know during the summer if this is possible for your region. Additionally, I have updated this post with a more accurate and up-to-date list of writers and editors.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:33 pm
by Ciorwrong

Ontario (Toronto): University of Toronto March 8
Ontario (Ottawa): Carleton University March 14
East South Central: South Carolina March 21 or 28
North Central: Minnesota March 28
Mid-Atlantic: Princeton April 11
Great-Lakes/Ohio: Penn State April 11
Pacific Northwest: Washington April 25
Midwest: Chicago May 9

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:39 pm
by Ciorwrong
I added some mirrors to the list. I am still actively seeking mirrors especially in high-density quizbowl areas such as the Midwest west, of say, Ohio. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested because I believe this set should be played by as many teams as possible.

Additionally, I am still seeking writers especially in Fine Arts. Email me four sample tossups if interested. I'd love to work with people I haven't worked with in the past. People interested in editing or quality control are of course welcome to assist as well.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:48 pm
by Ciorwrong
I have added several mirrors for this tournament. Ideally, we would still have a high school online (closed mirror) so let me know if you are interested in running that. I do not anticipate having the availability to run a high school online mirror but last year ILLIAC had an online high school mirror that seemed relatively successful. An organizer could keep all the profit except for a mirror fee.

Additionally, be on the lookout for playtesting opportunities. I plan to run those the last week of February or the first week of March. One category (i.e. Literature, History, Science, FA, RMPSS, Other) will be tested per day. If you are still interested in helping out with the set or just looking over certain categories, please let me know. Any additional help is appreciated.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:40 pm
by Ciorwrong
The recent COVID pandemic has put this set in doubt. It is completed and was successfully mirrored at Toronto last weekend. In light of this, I recommend SUN be hosted in Fall 2020 if the pandemic or extenuating circumstances prevent the set from being played. I think this set can coexist with ACF Fall and Saturnalia as good collegiate novice events.

There will be an online OPEN mirror of the set to be announced shortly for probably April. This event will be mostly for entertainment in light of recent cancellations and will not be ideal for novice collegiate players who are of course still welcome to play.

Secondly, there will be a CLOSED high school only Discord mirror of the set that Emily Gunter will TD/set up. This will be ideal for high school players looking to prep for harder high school events.

I am very sad that a lot of our work on this set will not be able to be appreciated this academic year but I hope everyone stays safe. As of now, the Carleton mirror is still happening and I welcome feedback from teams that played at the Canadian sites.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:42 am
by meebles127
The CLOSED high school only mirror will take place after the Open mirror of SUN online. I will be announcing a date after the date for Open SUN is announced.

Those interesting in staffing can email me at egunter127 AT gmail DOT com. Staffers for this tournament will be paid $20 USD.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:09 pm
by Ciorwrong
Preliminarily, the open mirror for this set will be on April 18 or 19, the same weekend as ACF Nationals was supposed to be on. Lemme know if this works for you.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:19 pm
by meebles127
The closed high school mirror will take place on May 3rd unless there are major objections. If there are not any major objections I'll put up a forums post in the next few days.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:57 pm
by CPiGuy
Progcon wrote: Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:09 pm Preliminarily, the open mirror for this set will be on April 18 or 19, the same weekend as ACF Nationals was supposed to be on. Lemme know if this works for you.
Harris is pretty busy so I figured I'd make an unofficial team formation spreadsheet for this. If you want to just make that the official registration sheet once he gets the announcement up, go right ahead -- but don't feel obligated to; everyone using this should probably be prepared to actually register through some other means should Harris and co. prefer it.

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:02 pm
by meebles127
An announcement for the CLOSED high school only mirror of this set can be found here: Mirror

Re: Spring Undergraduate Novice 2020 (Easy Difficulty)

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:23 pm
by Ciorwrong
For a variety of reasons, I've decided to more or less leave the national quizbowl community active immediately with no foreseeable date of return. I'd ask you respect this and not discuss this here or frankly anywhere.

However, I still want to at least recoup some of the lost money for this set so I can pay the writers and editors. Ideally, circuits who were already scheduled to mirror this set can email me (harrisbunker AT gmail DOT com) can try to schedule a "local" Discord or Zoom mirror for novice teams and players in their region. Please let me know if this is possible. In the event that in-person quizbowl is difficult or impossible in Fall 2020, these online novice tournaments could be a good facsimile of real competition. At this time, I will allow the set to be mirrored until January 1, 2021 but this could be extended as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. As always, email me with questions about this set.

I apologize for the inconvenience and I appreciate your understanding.

Additionally, players who played either the in-person Toronto mirror or the Penn State Discord mirror are welcome to join the discussion forum I've set up.