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Quizbowl: A New Kind of Trivia

April 23, 2023 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PDT

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Quizbowl is a fast-paced knowledge competition spreading to schools all over the world, but few adults have gotten a chance to experience the craze. Join 8-year quizbowl veteran Kevin Kodama and College Bowl contestant Ella L'Heureux to learn what the hype is all about and compete against your ii peers!

Trivia always has potential, but it’s tricky to get right. Often, the idea of trivia is more fun than trivia itself. For starters, it’s hard to make trivia feel fair. The winner is often decided by arbitrary factors, like the question topics preferred by the host or the fastest player at the buzzer. But even when a competition is fair, it’s often just not that interesting. For most questions, you either know the answer or you don’t. It’s those rare “agh, it’s on the tip of my tongue!” moments that make trivia worth playing. The best trivia events are able to feel fair and produce that “tip of my tongue” feeling, but it’s hard to do that for everyone with the same set of questions.

In the early 2000s, a bunch of college students decided to meet these challenges head-on by designing quizbowl: an attempt to make trivia live up to its awesome potential. Over the years, quizbowl has evolved into a science: the science of making trivia questions as awesome and engaging as possible. The standard “canon” of topics includes literature, history, science, art, religion, philosophy, geography, and current events, but the format can be applied to just about anything.

Quizbowl prizes deep engagement with learning above all else, which makes it a great fit for Interintellect members. The game is ultimately a celebration of niche interests, and community members are able to bond over topics that they never thought anyone else would also be interested in. In this salon, we will make the case for “quizbowl for adults” and show you just how rewarding trivia can really be.

In the first part of this salon, you will learn about the foundations of quizbowl. We will go through a bit of history and explain why questions are written the way they are. We will also introduce the rules of the game, which will prepare participants for some competition!

In the second part of this salon, we will read some example questions to the group. After clarifying any questions that people might have, we will split people into breakout rooms and play some team matches! This is a competition, so we will be crowning a winner. Good luck! 🙂 After the competition is over, we will spend some time talking about how you can engage with quizbowl on your own.

(Please do not attend if you have played quizbowl before. We want to give new players a fair shot! If this salon is a success, we may host future salons intended for people with prior experience.)


Recommended Readings:

What Is Quizbowl: A Primer and FAQ for Newcomers (Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence)

Video Explanation of Quizbowl (Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence)

The Quizbowl Experience: Testimonies from Past Players (National Academic Quiz Tournaments)



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April 23, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PDT
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Kevin Kodama
Ella L’Heureux