SpeedQuizzes

Quizzes are a peculiar pastime in that, more than any other I can think of, excellence is often discouraged! I can only imagine that people see other people being good at quizzes as a threat – and I guess it can be. So many of us have achieved our positions in life not merely as a result of being brilliant/good. Dare I suggest that most of us, to a degree, rely somewhat on the goodwill and perceptions of others, our position in any given power hierarchy is best not challenged, as who knows how we may be exposed? Now I would say being good at quizzes is just another skill set, like running, or throwing darts, yet we cannot but think that it reflects how ‘clever’ we are. And perhaps we know/fear that our positions are fragile, and perhaps are best left unscrutinised? It is a rare bird who thanks you for pointing out they are wrong!

Whatever, there is a thing called SpeedQuizzing, a form of quizzing that has been around since perhaps 2010, that by virtue of it being played quickly, via an app on electronic devices, reduces the chance for ‘networking’ (cheating). It is still possible to cheat, no matter what the makers boast, BUT by judicious use of the dynamic scoring that is part of the app, a poor cheat will struggle against a good, fast player. Whatever. Here is a glossary and some thoughts about various aspects of SpeedQuizzing game play with a view to fleshing out my quiz reviews. There are some personal opinions herein, so please just agree to disagree if they conflict with your perceptions (or change your mind!).

Points Scoring

in SpeedQuizzing is a movable feast. Typically early in a quiz relatively low rewards will be given for correct answers, likewise for speed off the mark answering. 4 and 2 is not untypical, though I employ 10 and 10 all the way through, both systems and everything in between are equally valid. Hosts may also include a Sliding Scale, when not only the first team to answer, but several below them are rewarded for how quick they are by increments of one point, so, for instance, in my quizzes the top ten get 10, 9, 8 etc. points depending on how fast they are. This reward for being quick on the draw is what sets SpeedQuizzing way apart from written down quizzes. The higher the ratio of value for speed against that for accuracy, the less chance there is to cheat. I’ve even been to “SpeedQuizzes” which don’t reward for speed, yet even then it’s great to hear your team name read out and your tune played!! But, it does say “Speed” on the packet so that’s what we should get. Regarding points scoring, sometimes there are big swings in values for different rounds. I respectfully suggest this is inconsistent, for example a music quiz with 2/2 for the 70s, 4/4 for the 80s and 10/10 for the 90s is, in effect, a 90s music quiz. (And that slays me!!! :) )

Keypad Rounds

are the staple of SpeedQuizzing, and they describe them better than I can, but basically they involve tapping a letter of number on your app screen to indicate your answer

Buzz-in Rounds

are not used by every host, but they are fucking awesome (well I love ‘em anyway), and again SpeedQuizzing themselves have good explanations of ‘if you know the answer, tap the screen and tell the host what it is, if you are first’.

BitchSlap,

an aspect employed by some hosts by which teams can take points off others is, IMHO, the worst concept of any game ever. I understand that games have to be kept ‘alive’, it is tedious if one team runs away with a contest, but there are other ways of levelling the playing field without resorting to this irritating, divisive, unimaginative, negative device which brings out the worst in people. We should use our intelligence to make the world a better place, and though it is initially hilarious to ‘bring people down a peg or too’ it brings about a net loss of well-being, as, played properly, anybody who bitch slaps a good player will suffer from tit-for-tat, and anybody who bitch slaps a poor player will achieve little other than kicking a man whilst he is down

Evil mode

is an aspect by which any player who attempts an answer but gets it wrong loses points. (On a hand-set if one looks in the bottom right hand corner ans sees a tiny horned devil icon, that means evil mode is on – don’t press unless you are sure). IMHO a useful addition to the app, something which is the same for everybody yet can bring about increased risk and reward

Fast-track

might be perceived as contentious in that during fast-track questions if a pre designated player or players (usually the leaders) fail to get an answer right, the fastest team outside that set who do input a correct answer go to the top of the table, usually by one point. A bit like the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021. Used properly the fast track can open a game up, and offer hope to the teams which are not having such a good day and excitement to all. Used improperly they reduce any game to a farce, negating the point of actually participating in the main body and actually can preclude the best team from winning at all!

Might I suggest that hosts who have fast tracks in the last round, whilst on ‘Evil’ mode up to somewhere between questions 10 and 15 on a 20 question set have it just about right – Not for me, I’d just rather not have fast tracks personally, nevertheless I want hosts to have super successful quizzes and I reckon that little dangly carrot going down the stretch is enough to maintain the enthusiasm for all. Without recourse to any stats I reckon that fast tracks up to 15 keep everybody in for most of the game, and with five questions left a fast tracker may just hold out until the end, nevertheless, the top teams might squeeze in a couple of goals during Fergy time.

Fast tracks right until the end are horrible! For example, two or three good teams have been dukin’ it out all night and are close at the top of the table. If Evil mode is on, they will not touch dodgy questions, but everybody else will have a punt, meaning quite likely if the last question is something along the lines of "When he appeared in the 'Friends The one with the Harry Potter Fancy Dress' episode what colour was the power-up which some Danish footballer got 18 minutes and 37 seconds into his game of Final Fantasy The Curse of Pokémon? A Pink B Salmon C Rouge" The top teams by virtue of being good at both quiz and strategy can not win. If they press they have a 66% chance of taking themselves out of the mix, and when they don’t press some team just hits anything, or worse still, a team with three handsets press three different buttons before hearing the options and kerching – ha ha.

People will clamour “Oh it’s just a bit of fun” – Well great, don’t announce any scores and don’t give away prizes! (And there is something slightly not legal about selling somebody something (Quiz questions) and then altering their value post sale (Fast Track/Bitch slap) (You can check that with trading standards)

Football is the most popular game in the world because it has that balance of results. Giant killing is possible. The best teams win most of the time but not always. This is what quizzes should try and emulate, not with outright gifts or moving goalposts, but having clearly defined rules which keep people engaged without disenfranchising anybody too much.

Nearest Wins

is a question often tagged onto the end of a quiz which gives teams one last shot to win by virtue of the guessing, or knowing a number, or at least being closest too it. Some hosts place them along the way. I don’t mind nearest wins questions, but I am not fond of hosts looking at the scores and then extending the value to incorporate more teams, though I understand why they do it. That boils down to ‘why try hard during the rest of the quiz?’

Fuckaboutery

has no place in my book, but then I am a miserable bastard, so what do I know? Anyhoo, quite often hosts will give bonus points if you tag them in your Facebook page, of win a bingo game or back the right turtle in a cartoon race. I do, however, think cute babies, dogs, and birthdays are legitimate excuses to give extra points. So how inconsistent am I??

In Summary,

my idea of a perfect evening is a SpeedQuiz that starts more or less on time, with frequent score checks, 60 to 100 questions (20 buzz-in) and a high ratio of reward for speed on a sliding scale. I reckon put a fast track in for the first 15 questions on the last round, perhaps a nearest wins for 50 points, and you will have a perfect evening every week.