Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Blitz Quiz Cometh, Perhaps

An Idea

Before I start flinging this brain-flash of an idea at Arko and the EQC organisers in a fully-fledged form, I'm thinking of writing a quiz in a new format that I've been pondering for a long time and which needs a single site for people taking part (like the European Quizzing Championships). One that cannot be done in the Behemoth/Colossus* email style.

(N.B. I know, and will like a scratched record repeat again and again in later paragraphs, there is a really busy schedule and people will be exhausted and maybe a bit too sleepy for this kind of furiously paced late night shebang, but I'm counting on the POWER OF QUIZ)


My concept is a 'blitz' quiz: 250 questions in 45 minutes - 5.55 questions per minute. The questions would be exactly the same range of difficulty and subject matter as one of my old e-mail 500 question quizzes. But, naturally, I would try and make each question shorter. Maybe.

(BTW, 250 in 45 mins is a bit arbitrary at the moment, it is open to change)

Another twist: long before we set off for Estonia, I will be giving it to at least two other testers, who will be sadly stuck at home during our time in Tartu. After they have done it, they and I will grade each question on a 1-4 difficulty points scale. I'll average each difficulty grade from the testers and assign each question with a points value based on how bloody hard they are. 

Therefore, more esoteric knowledge will be rewarded. It also means that, as people will be constantly clock-watching, they have to make important choices about doing the questions that will boost their points tally in the best possible way.

Also, forgot to say, it will be a written quiz, so no need for a microphone or any tech equipment or me standing on a stage mumbling stuff that needs repeating three times. It will be quick and probably painful.

It will also be free. People who do the quiz in the 45 minutes in the same room don't have to pay a penny/cent. Other People, desperate to embrace sleep and in need of a Red Bull drip, who would just like a hand-out of the quiz will have to wait until the end of the weekend - or whenever I feel like it - for a free copy of the questions (without the answers - there will be no answer sheet - they will just be read out when the written quiz ends). Mwahahaha - I love coercion! The feeling of malignant power courses through my veins.

For everyone who does the quiz in the proper conditions, I will give out prizes to people who get 'solo' answers - probably £5 Amazon vouchers. But only one solo prize per person, otherwise you know what will happen...


Having written all that down, I realise, just for starters, the mental exhaustion factor and the lateness in the evening that will damage the 'purity' of the quiz. But you gotta start somewhere: "It was a dark and stormy night somewhere in Estonia. Tartu? Bless you. A new quiz beginning dawned. Ironically at about 1.13am."

However, knowing quizzers, yeah that's you Quiz-person, they, you and I won't be able to resist. You love it. Even at 1 in the morning.

And anyway, this is entirely hypothetical. I'm throwing out an experiment I've always wanted to do. 

Plus, I'm not holding out any great hope that it will fit in the EQC sked, as I imagine the despairing cries of the IQA committee saying: "NO, NO, NO, NO TIME! For the love of god, the program is a killer already".

A Different Way
The point is: I've always wanted to see who can answer the most questions correctly in sprinter-like time constraints away from Mastermind and other TV equivalents, where the pace of answer-production is what makes a champion. And I want to know what people think about it.

So much of written quizzing is middle-distance and long-distance running. The sprint, or equivalent of the 100-metre dash, gives it a different dimension.

And I would like to see how it plays out at the only event in the world where the very best European quizzers gather together every year.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments here on this interweb page or "Have Your Say" in the comms on my Facebook page.

Suggest tweaks, tell me I'm batpoop insane, I don't care. Feedback is welcome. Though personal insults will naturally be mentally filed away and avenged by Grabthar's hammer and the suns of Warvan, naturally.

*Results for The Giant Parts I and II still pending. I acknowledge my extreme lameness in providing people's scores and placings for the 1000-question quiz whose grand scope ultimately undid me and taught me painful lessons concerning matters of overreach and insane ambition. But, as I have said before, long suffering competitors will be rewarded with compensatory offers on future quiz material / books / compilations that I will be offering ... in the near future. Yeah, the "near future". Not two years' time.


Blogger Radinden said...

I'd say that 250 questions is still perhaps a few too many in one go for a blitz, especially if you want it meaningfully to feel like a sprint. You could perhaps try two halves of 100 questions each in 20 or 25 minutes (depending on the length of the questions), thus also allowing people a chance to get the feel for how the opposition is doing in the half-time standings (i.e. do I take wild punts at the high-scoring questions in an attempt to catch up in the second half?).

We used something similar in the past at Oxford as part of the university team selection: 100 short questions (no longer than about 150 characters, mostly), 20 or so minutes, answer on the question sheet (important in a time-limited format).

9:21 AM  

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