The online tournament format provides a safe and competitive quiz bowl environment. This guide will walk you through the technical details of our online framework.
All our tournaments are interscholastic high school competitions. Every team must be composed of players who all attend the same high school. If you think your team falls under a particular edge case, such as an online school or a high school with an affiliated middle school on the same campus, consult our eligibility guidelines here. Feel free to contact the AQBL for clarifications on your particular situation.
Teams may have up to six members, but only four will be playing at one time. Teams can have fewer than four members, or even consist of a single player competing alone, but playing with teammates helps you take on stronger teams and is generally considered more enjoyable. If you have many students interested in competing, we encourage you to register multiple teams. There is no limit on the number of teams a single school can send to a tournament.
If your school has a team already, get in touch with your teammates and find weekends when you are all free. Since our competitions take place online, restrictions on extracurricular school events do not generally apply. If your school has no quiz bowl team, see our article on starting a quiz bowl team at your school. Remember that while we do not discourage having a teacher or parent chaperone at our online events, it is not required.
A list of AQBL events can be found at this link. First, find out which region your team will be playing in. Regional allocation is based on this map and the state in which your school is located. Players who reside in a different state from the state in which their school is located must compete in the region of their school.
Tournaments are held on Saturdays or Sundays and last 6 to 7 hours, with a break for lunch midway through the event. All teams are expected to play all rounds out of respect to their opponents’ time, and we do not use single- or double-elimination formats, so every team will play a full day’s worth of quizbowl.
In the tournament listing you will see the current number of registrants and the total field size. If the field fills completely, teams can still register and will be placed on a waitlist. Waitlisted teams should be prepared to respond quickly to invitations in the event of a registered team unexpectedly dropping out of a tournament.
Our tournaments run on Discord. Discord is a voice and communication platform that can be accessed on any web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) or on the Discord desktop application, which can be downloaded here. We recommend installing the desktop version for the smoothest interface.
You will see a log-in screen from which you can choose to create a new account using your email address. Choose an identifying username and a strong password. A few days before the tournament, we will send you an invite link which will navigate you toward our tournament server, where all the games will be played.
The server is divided into “channels”: voice channels, which are analogous to game rooms where moderators read questions, and text channels, where players buzz by typing “buzz” and enter their answer after being acknowledged by the moderator through the voice channel. You can join text channels and voice channels by clicking on their names in the left sidebar.
To troubleshoot your audio, click the settings icon in the lower left (it will say “User Settings” when you hover over it). In the window that pops up, click on “Voice and Video” in the left sidebar. Click on the dropdown under “Output Device” and change the selection to the intended output (speakers, headphones, etc.). You can also change the output volume in this window if you find it to be uncomfortably loud or soft. Ensure that your audio works before the day of the tournament to avoid surprises. View a visual example of this.
If possible, arrive 30 minutes early to account for unexpected delays.
There will be a text channel at the top of the left sidebar called “Announcements.” There you will find your schedule, accessible as a Google Drive link. You will only have access to the text channels for your specific matches, and those channels will only be accessible to your team and your opponent’s team. This prevents players from cheating by viewing the answers given by players in other game rooms.
There will also be a chat channel visible only to your team and the staff. There you can communicate about strategy or discuss your match schedule. You can also use this channel to contact the staff about a protest resolution or a report of suspected cheating or misconduct. If you prefer to communicate privately, Discord allows you to send a private message to the tournament director.
After every tournament, performance statistics are posted online with 48 hours. These include individual and team scoring distributions and average points-per-game, as well as the statistics for each match. You can use these to compare yourself and your team to others and, more importantly, to gauge your improvement over time.
See our resources on improving as an individual player and improving as a team to continue your preparation. Find the next tournament that your team is available to compete in. Quizbowl is a never-ending journey and there is always more to learn.