There exists a vast array of quizbowl resources on the internet, and whilst most of these are made to cater to Americans, they are still very useful for the British audience. Getting better at quizbowl tournaments requires a mix of practice and effort. Alongside playing actual games, some of these resources are helpful ways to get used to what comes up in quizbowl questions and to get better at the game.
Introduction to quizbowl
UKQB have prepared a quick and friendly explainer of the rules of quizbowl, which you will find valuable if you are just starting out: find it here.
UK Quizbowl: this is a casual server with past and present quizbowl players from the UK and elsewhere. Quizbowl packets are read out on Monday evenings.
UK Quiz: this server is intended for all current university students in the UK who are interested in quizbowl. You can discuss tournaments here and practice online with students from other universities, but there’s also room for chatting about things like University Challenge or Only Connect. You will need to confirm your status as a student to join.
US Quizbowl: its size might make it a bit intimidating, but the American quizbowl discord server is good for general chatting about quizbowl and tournaments, and occasionally a packet might be read out on there.
Student quiz societies
Lots of UK quiz societies already have websites or social media pages. They may be irregularly maintained, so get in touch with your university’s society if it has one – check your students’ union website if unsure.
Universities that are currently active in quizbowl include (but are not limited to): Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Warwick and York.
If you don’t see your university represented — why not start a quiz society? Get in touch with us, we have plenty of resources to help you do so.
Packet Archive: This is one of the key resources — a website with thousands of quizbowl packets of all kinds stretching back years. It’s important to keep tabs on their difficulty — it contains things all the way from American middle-school questions (fairly quick and easy) up to extremely difficult open tournaments with horrendously obscure answerlines, as well as a number of specialist subject packets. If you would like suggestions for academic tournaments to start out with, try British Novice, ACF Fall, or ACF Winter for something more difficult.
One can also find so-called “trash” packets on the archive — these are packets with a non-academic focus, including pop culture, sport and memes. Many are one-off packets written for fun, but there have been some tournaments in this vein, such as ACRONYM or the 2016 Lowbrow Oxford Open.
QBreader: This is a website that you can use for practising quizbowl questions on your own. It also serves as a database, allowing you to look up questions by category and tournament difficulty. This comes in especially useful when writing questions, as a sanity check for difficulty. NAQT You Gotta Know: NAQT is an American company which produces a lot of quizbowl questions. One of the best features on their website are these short guides which go through and explain lists of topics which come up frequently in quizbowl tournaments.
NAQT You Gotta Know: NAQT is an American company which produces a lot of quizbowl questions. One of the best features on their website are these short guides which go through and explain lists of topics which come up frequently in quizbowl tournaments.
Protobowl: Protobowl is the main site for playing multiplayer quizbowl online. There are a variety of rooms, ranging from middle-school questions up to specialist public rooms, in which one can play against quizzers worldwide in real time; alternatively, one can easily set up a private room, either in order to hone your skills individually or to play with, say, other members from your society.
HSQuizbowl Forums: This is the main internet forum for quizbowl. It’s a little bizarre, and dominated by Americans, but there’s nevertheless a lot of useful stuff on there. For instance, the ‘best of the best’ forum section includes guides on improving as a player, on writing better-quality questions, and all kinds of advice that you never realised you needed… it is, however, extremely liable to devolve into inscrutable in-jokes.
HSQuizbowl Stats: After almost all tournaments, the stats from the day will be posted on this site. The main results page will give the main leaderboard of the teams, though in other sections one can view an individual player’s performance or broken-down details for a whole team. Some of the numbers can be a bit difficult to get one’s head around – the key individual one is usually said to be PPG, or ‘(average) points per game’, counting only tossups. As a team, the ‘PPB’, or ‘(average) points per bonus’, is often the most highly regarded. Of course, worrying about this kind of thing is really nowhere near necessary.
HDWhite: This is a tool which allows you to search through the database of stats to find results for particular names of teams.
Tournament hosting guide
We have put together a list of things to keep in mind for prospective UKQB tournament hosts – you can find it here here.