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Penn Bowl 11:
The Quiz Bowler's Guide to the Galaxy

25-26 January 2002

Registration Form | Packet Guidelines

These rules are based on the rules for the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence’s National Scholastics Championship (PACE NSC), and are used with permission of PACE.

Rule changes from the rules for Penn Bowl 10 are indicated in yellow.

A. Definitions

  1. The Tournament Director (TD) is the ultimate authority for PB11; all decisions of the TD and/or his designated representatives are final. Assistant Tournament Directors (ATDs) manage the tournament for a division or group of teams. ATDs may act on the TD’s behalf when problems arise within their bracket (e.g., running out of questions, resolving challenges).

  2. Every room shall have a Moderator who reads questions to the teams. The Scorekeeper records the activity of the game on an official scoresheet. The TD may appoint additional officials to help manage the competition. Unless absolutely unavoidable, moderators should not act as scorekeepers.

  3. A player is a participant competing in a game for a particular team. The team advisor is an approved school representative and chaperone for the team.


B. Players and Teams

  1. PB11 is open to teams of college students currently enrolled in degree-granting programs. For a team to be eligible for the playoffs, all players must be college students enrolled at the same institution.

  2. No more than six players may represent a team during any one match, and no more than four may play at any one time.

  3. Teams may substitute players, or shorthanded teams may add players, at halftime or during a timeout called by either team. Players may not be substituted before the start of an overtime period.

  4. A player may not play for more than one team during the course of the tournament. Should a player do so, both teams for whom that player played will be declared ineligible for the playoffs.

  5. Exceptions to rules in this section may be made at the TD’s discretion.


C. Equipment

  1. Each game shall employ a buzzer system, a lockout device which determines which player has signaled first. A buzzer check shall be performed at the beginning of each round to ascertain that it is operating normally. If it is not, then if either team objects to using it, it shall be replaced, or the game shall be played without a buzzer system.

  2. Should one or more players be signaling verbally, whether for lack of usable buzzers or religious conviction, be unable to use a functioning buzzer, the moderator, or another official in the room, must determine who has signaled first. Such decisions cannot be protested.

  3. Each game shall also employ a clock. Although the clock cannot officially be protested, the moderator may add time at his/her discretion to the clock to restore time losses.


D. General Rules of Conduct

  1. PADT expects all teams to adhere to the highest standard of ethics. Everyone should compete in an atmosphere of collegial, friendly competition, with problems being resolved honestly and civilly, so the competition is rewarding and fair for all participants.

  2. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any team member or advisor found to be party to intentional cheating or plagiarism will be expelled from the competition immediately; at the TD’s discretion, further sanctions may follow. All participants share responsibility in reporting instances where cheating may have occurred, and are expected to cooperate fully and honestly if investigations of cheating are instigated.

  3. Participants are expected to compete in a civil, sportsmanlike manner, without resorting to “psychological” games, ploys, or techniques. If a team or team member persists in such behavior, affected teams should report to the TD, who may impose sanctions.

  4. Teams, coaches, and guests are expected to behave appropriately during the competition. Any misconduct may result in sanction by tournament officials. Sanctions given by a moderator or bracket manager may be appealed to the TD, who has final authority over sanction decisions.

  5. Warnings. All officials have the power to give warnings for unsportsmanlike or disruptive behavior. A team that accumulates two warnings in a single game shall automatically forfeit that game, and any points earned therein; should time remain on the clock, the moderator will continue reading questions for the opposing team.

  6. Doors. The door(s) to a room shall be shut upon the start of a game. While a game is in progress, participants may not open the door. To gain entry, a participant must knock on the door, and wait for the door to be opened by someone within the room, or permission from the moderator to open the door.

  7. Noise. While waiting outside rooms, teams must refrain from making excessive noise. Any moderator may give a warning for excessive hallway noise disrupting game play.

  8. Spectators. Participants not involved in games are allowed and encouraged to watch other teams play. However, such audience members must refrain from talking during the game. Audience members who talk loudly while a game is in progress shall be given one warning, and then shall be ejected from the room. Audience members who actively attempt to give answers to either team, shall be ejected immediately; should the audience member in question be a player or advisor on either team, that team shall immediately forfeit the game, and any points earned therein; should time remain on the clock, the moderator will continue reading questions for the opposing team.

  9. Sanction penalties may include, but are not limited to, ejection of an advisor, team member, or spectator from a competition room or site for the duration of that game or subsequent games; forfeiture of a game, or of eligibility to qualify for the playoff rounds; financial penalties; forfeiture of eligibility for future PADT events; and/or legal action.

  10. PADT expects all participants to be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious or moral beliefs, geographical origin, heritage, or handicap. Deliberate acts of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated, and anyone found guilty of such actions may be expelled from the tournament; the matter may also be referred to the appropriate academic or legal authorities, if deemed appropriate by the TD.


E. Game Length

  1. Each packet shall consist of 28 tossups and 28 boni. Should a moderator run out of tossups or boni, the game shall end after that tossup-bonus cycle.

  2. Matches shall consist of two halves of 9 minutes each. When the clock signals the end of a half:

    1. If the moderator is reading a tossup, the half shall immediately end.

    2. If a player has buzzed in on a tossup, that player shall have the chance to answer the question. No further buzzes shall be allowed.

    3. If the moderator is in the process of reading a bonus, that bonus shall be completed.

  3. Time-outs. Each team shall have one 30-second timeout. Timeouts may only be called before a tossup is started; they may not be called during tossups or boni, or between a tossup and a bonus. Moderators shall ignore any other attempts to call timeouts. Timeouts do not carry over from game to game, nor are additional timeouts given in overtime.


F. Tossups

  1. Players must ring in before answering a tossup. After ringing in, it is recommended that players wait to answer the question until recognized by the moderator.

  2. Recognition should be observed, and done by name, number, and/or visual cue. Answers given before recognition shall be considered acceptable provided the player has successfully buzzed in before answering. An answer given without signaling shall be treated as conferring (q.v.).

  3. Time. A tossup remains alive for 3 seconds after it has been completed, unless the question states otherwise. Upon recognition, the player has 3 seconds to begin his/her answer. After 3 seconds, the moderator shall call “time;” any answer started after that point will not be considered. Any “ties” between a player and a moderator shall be resolved in favor of the player. If the moderator has finished reading a tossup when a player buzzes in and gives an incorrect answer, the second team will have three seconds to buzz in.

  4. Correct answers. A correct answer is worth 10 points, unless the player interrupts the question before the moderator reads past the asterisk in the question, in which case a correct answer is worth 15 points. A correct answer also earns the chance to answer a 30-point bonus.

  5. Incorrect answers. Should a player interrupt the moderator and fail to give the correct answer, that player’s team will be assessed a 5 point penalty; the moderator will resume reading the question for the other team at a natural starting point. No more than one five point penalty may be assessed per question.

  6. Conferring. Any communication—verbal, written, or otherwise—that contains informationregarding possible answers to a question is strictly prohibited. Any conferring shall result in the team being immediately disqualified from the question; if said conferring takes place while the moderator is reading the tossup, that team shall immediately receive a 5 point penalty. [Conferring penalties take precedence over interrupt penalties; should both occur during a single buzz, only the conferring penalty shall be assessed, even if the interrupt precedes the conferring. See Examples below.]

  7. Equipment failure. “Buzzer checks” are designed both to familiarize players with the buzzer system and to discern whether equipment failure is possible. Buzzer systems may malfunction, though, during the course of a game.

    1. If a player believes his/her buzzer is not working during a tossup, a player may use physical or verbal cues directed at the game officials. Acceptable cues include saying “Buzz!” (the preferred method), and raising one’s hand or signaling button.

    2. At an appropriate pause during the game (preferably before the next tossup), the player should inform the moderator. The system will be checked again, and appropriate action taken before the game continues. The ATD may be asked to assist in resolving problems with buzzer systems.

  8. Reader prompts. When more information is requested by the reader, the player must supply a response within two seconds after being prompted. Determination of expiration time is at the moderator’s discretion and cannot be protested. The moderator may also disqualify an answer if a team member tries to stall.

  9. Mistakes. If the moderator inadvertently reveals a tossup answer before either team has buzzed in, the question shall be thrown out without replacement. Should the moderator reveal the answer after one team has given an incorrect answer, the moderator will read a replacement question off the clock for the other team.

  10. Factual errors. Teams may protest any factual error that results in there being no correct answer at all. However, the TD reserves the right to reject protests deemed frivolous or that require unreasonable assumptions.


G. Boni

  1. Point value. Boni are worth a total of 30 points, and offer multiple opportunities for points.

  2. Time. Unless the question directs otherwise, teams have five seconds per part to consult. At the end of those five seconds, the moderator will prompt the captain for an answer.

  3. Answers. Teams are encouraged and expected to confer on boni. The captain is expected to answer for the team.

    1. The moderator will, however, take the first answer unambiguously directed at the moderator as the team’s answer.

    2. If two team members give different answers simultaneously, the moderator should prompt the captain for immediate clarification.

    3. The team captain may designate a teammate to answer if the captain so chooses. Designation should be done by name or gesture. Designation as a stalling tactic will result in a score of zero for that bonus part.

    4. Some boni may call for multiple answers to be given as a continuous list. A discernible pause of one second or more will end the answer. Unless otherwise stated, teams may give answers in any order. The moderator may request teams to slow down or repeat answers to check answers, and may stop the clock if necessary.

  4. Postponement of correct answers. Unless the question directs otherwise, moderators are expected to read correct answers immediately after a bonus part is missed. If both captains agree, however, the moderator may postpone reading correct answers until the end of the half. Either captain may withdraw permission at any time. Moreover, should this option be chosen, teams may not protest should the moderator inadvertently reveal the correct answer to a bonus part.

  5. Passing on boni. Teams may pass on a bonus part by saying “pass” at any point after the moderator has begun reading the part (the lead-in is considered part of the first part); the moderator will continue with the next part (if any). A team may also pass on an entire bonus by saying “next tossup” before the moderator prompts on the first part. No replacement bonus will be read (i.e., this is not a “lame” rule).

  6. Mistakes.If the moderator inadvertently reveals the answer to a bonus or bonus part, or if a bonus part contains factual errors, s/he will complete the current bonus, if possible, on the clock. The moderator will then read the next bonus off the clock. The team will receive the higher of the two scores, provided that it could have been earned on the initial bonus. [See Examples below.]


H. Correct Answers

  1. The answers that must be given for each question in order to earn points are listed with boldface and underlining. These represent, in the opinion of the editors, the minimum amount of information needed to uniquely identify the answer and distinguish it from similar answers in the same field. [e.g., Theodore Roosevelt v. Franklin Roosevelt, but not Mark Twain v. Shania Twain.] Alternate answers, including foreign language equivalents and abbreviations, have been provided wherever possible.

  2. When an answer is given, except as noted below, the moderator will compare only the first answer given to the answer text provided for the question. Supplemental information that modifies the answer given, however, may be considered, as noted below.

  3. Related information.Two pieces of related information of different types (e.g., author/book, city/state, actor/role, but not two authors, two books, etc.) may be given as one answer. If either answer is the desired answer, and the two items are correctly related, the answer shall be ruled correct. If either of these conditions are not met, the answer shall be ruled incorrect.

    1. Example: For “ANSWER: Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully,” “Anderson, Scully” and “Scully, The X-Files” are acceptable. However, “Anderson, X-Files” is wrong, while “Duchovny, Scully” is never acceptable.

  4. Partial information. Should a player or team give an answer that is correct but ambiguous, the moderator will prompt for further information. Players will only be prompted once per answer.

  5. Additional information. Answers that contain more than the minimum underlined information shall be considered correct unless the extra information is incorrect, or it is given in an attempt to delay the game.

  6. Incorrect answers. Moderators must not prompt players for more information on an incorrect answer. Should this happen, the question shall be thrown out and replaced, as appropriate.

  7. Protests. Teams may protest that too much information was underlined, but teams may not protest that too little information was underlined.

  8. Alternate answers in questions. Should an alternate answer appear as a tossup clue, it will be accepted as an answer until it appears in the text of the question.

  9. Prompts. Prompts for more information may occur under the following circumstances.

    1. Text-directed. When instructed by the answer text, the moderator may prompt for additional information. For boni, a short period of conferral (~1 second) may be taken.

    2. Moderator’s discretion. If a moderator is unsure of the answer given (e.g., pronunciation), s/he may ask it to be repeated. The answer must then be given exactly as given the first time, or it shall be ruled incorrect. If a second official is in the room, the team(s) or moderator may request a decision be made.

  10. Spelling. If a moderator asks for spelling to distinguish between multiple answers, only critical letters need be correct (e.g., “M-O-N-A-Y” is acceptable for “Monet”). If a player spells an answer without being asked, however, the answer must be exactly correct; any error shall result in the answer being ruled incorrect. In all cases, though, diacritical marks shall be ignored.

  11. Pronunciation. Players are not expected to know exact pronunciations. Any reasonable attempt at pronouncing an answer will either be ruled correct or result in a prompt for spelling. Transposition of consonants or other gross errors (e.g., short o for long e) will be ruled incorrect. [e.g., “stend-HAL” or “STAHN-dahl” is correct for “Stendhal”; “STED-nahl” or “STOON-dahl” is not.]

I. Tiebreakers

  1. At the end of regulation, the team with more points wins. If both teams are tied at the end of regulation, the moderator will read three tossups, as explained above, except that no boni will be read.

  2. If the score remains tied after three tossups, the moderator will read questions one at a time until one team gives a correct response. In “sudden death” overtime, incorrect answers will not end the game.

  3. If there are not enough questions to resolve a round-robin tie immediately, the TD may postpone the tiebreaker until the end of the round robin, and may leave the tie unbroken if it will not affect the outcome of the tournament.


J. Protests & Complaints

  1. Only players participating in a game, or a team advisor, may present a protest or complaint to the game official(s) presiding over a game. Such protests must be made before the scoresheet is signed.

  2. Team captains should not sign the scoresheet until all protests have been resolved or declared moot. Once both captains have signed a scoresheet, the only changes that will be made are clerical changes (e.g., errors in addition), or to correct actions that violate the letter or spirit of these rules; the TD will consider any other protests presented during the game resolved.

  3. In general, if a protest is upheld, the remedy is to restore the game to the condition it was in before the error occurred. In most cases, this will require at most the reading of an additional tossup/bonus pair. If the situation cannot be remedied before the start of the next game, such “replays” will occur at the same time as postponed tiebreakers.

  4. If the aggrieved team wishes to appeal a ruling made by the game official, that team must submit a written complaint. This protest should be given to the ATD, specifically mentioning the game official’s ruling, and why an appeal is justified.

  5. The ATD has the authority to present protests and appeals to the TD. A decision not to present an appeal is final.

  6. The TD may rule on a protest or appeal, or may convene a committee consisting of the TD, ATD, and at least one other official to review protests and appeals and render a final decision.

  7. Attempts to abuse the challenges and protests procedure will be considered tournament misconduct, and may warrant sanctions by the TD which are absolutely final.


K. Tournament Execution

  1. Timeliness. Unless otherwise specified by the TD or ATD, all games are expected to begin no more than 5 minutes after the scheduled start time. If a team is more than 10 minutes late, the moderator is expected to begin reading questions as if both teams were present. The TD or ATD may hold matches in a bracket to resolve logistical delays.

  2. Score checks.Score checks should be performed at halftime and during any timeout. In addition, before reading any of the last three tossups, a moderator may stop the game to perform a score check.

  3. All-Stars. All-Stars will be determined by a method to be explained by the TD at the Team Meeting.

  4. Championship bracket. The top four teams in each bracket will advance to the playoffs. Teams will be ranked first by win/loss record.

    1. If all teams in a tie will qualify for the playoffs, or none will, the order of tiebreakers shall be: head-to-head, then either total points or points per tossup heard, against other playoff-bound teams, tied or not.

    2. Should a tie be unresolvable by involve at least one team who will advance and one who will not, the tie will be resolved by mini-matches. The format will be announced by the TD before such matches take place.

    3. All ties shall be broken top-down.

  5. Changes. The TD and/or TO may make changes to these rules at their discretion until the end of the Team Meeting. Any change in tournament schedule, format, or rules after that point must be approved by a majority vote of all affected team captains.

  6. Finally, enjoy the competition. PADT will try to make every accommodation to make PB11 a special and exciting event for everyone. If your team has special needs, please notify us in advance so we may make our best effort to meet them.

Appendix. Examples


    Player 1 on Team A buzzes in. Player 2, also on Team A, gives an answer instead. Player 2 is assessed the -5, and the question is then continued for Team B.

    Player 1 on Team A buzzes in. Player 2 on Team B gives an answer unprompted. Player 2 on Team B is assessed the -5. Player 1 may then answer the question; if he misses, he is not assessed a penalty, and the question is over.

    Player 1 on Team A confers before either team buzzes in. Player 1 is assessed the -5, and the moderator continues for Team B. If a player on Team B interrupts and misses the question, he is not assessed a penalty, and the question is over.

Accidental bonus answer revelation.

    While reading the 20 point clue of a 30-20-10, the moderator inadvertently reveals the answer. He will read the next bonus off the clock. The team will receive any points they earn, up to 20.

    A team gets the first part of a bonus, each part of which is worth 10 points. While reading the second part, the moderator reveals the answer. The moderator will read the third part of the bonus on the clock. Assume the team misses that part. The moderator will then read the next bonus off the clock. The team will receive a minimum of 10 points, and a maximum of 20 points.