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An In-Depth Look at Scoring

You’ve got a team together and you’ve memorized some verses. Your preparation for the meet is coming together smoothly. But how can you convert that preparation into a successful quiz meet? The scoring rules of Christian Bible Quizzing (CBQ) differ from those of existing Quizzing districts and feature a few twists that are designed to create dynamic and exciting matches. In this article, we will discuss how you and your team can take advantage of these bonuses to post high scores left and right.

Note: this article assumes the reader is already familiar with the “subtype” system: open-book, synonymous, verbatim, with reference, and add verse. Please consult the Query Types section of the CBQ rule book.

The Scoring System, Broken Down

In the current version of the rules, the value of correct replies ranges anywhere from 1 to 11 points. That’s right – top-scoring replies are worth eleven times more points than the bottom-scoring replies.

The query scoring rules as stated in the rule book:

For example, a query of type phrase, verbatim, with reference is worth +5 points.

In addition, should a quizzer reach their ceiling without being counted incorrect and not selecting open-book for any query, they receive an additional +3 points.

To rephrase:

It is easy to tell that the most valuable query base type is Finish, followed by Quote, and then Phrase/Chapter tied for last. Of course, this is only the case if the quizzer is willing to add the verse or the reference to what is required of their reply. But having these point ranges should aid in understanding the options available to you when you buzz in.

Lastly, there are team bonuses:

When the second and every following quizzer on a team earn a correct ruling for the first time in the quiz, that team earns +1 bonus team point, incrementing by the number of following quizzers. For example, the second quizzer earns +1 bonus team points, and the third quizzer earns +2 bonus team points.

In addition, a quizzer who answers a query correctly on the query immediately following a different quizzer from the same team answering correctly, that following quizzer earns their team an additional +1 point.

These are straightforward to understand, but tough for a team to consistently get! It should be noted that all correct replies of any query type are eligible for these bonuses, including open-book queries. With bonuses, open-book replies can technically get up to 4 points for a team, even though the value of the query itself is worth just 1 point.

No Subtractions!

What about losing points for giving incorrect replies to queries? There are no point subtractions, surprisingly. Your “penalty” for incorrect replies is that the other two teams get a free query without your team being able to buzz in. You lose the opportunity to get points. And with all the creative ways to add up points that we just covered, it should be clear that no extra penalty is needed – the lost opportunity is penalty enough! Of course, it bears repeating that you cannot get the perfect ceiling bonus upon hitting your ceiling unless you answered all queries synonymous or verbatim, and without giving incorrect replies. The loss of potentially getting this bonus is the only point-based “penalty” of any sort.

Similarly, there are no “error outs” or “incorrect ceilings” as in many current quiz rule sets, when a quizzer loses their eligibility to buzz in due to too many incorrect replies. A quizzer may remain an active participant even if they have had a rough quiz – but tons of errors will certainly make it hard on the rest of their team!

Individual vs. Team Scoring

Awards will be given for individual top scorers, not only team placements. Quizzers seeking high individual placement should be aware that the streak bonus and 2nd- and 3rd-quizzer bonuses do not apply to this individual score. This means the top individual score in any given 3-team quiz is 30 points. This requires a very specific set of circumstances – the quizzer needs to get 7 points on all three Finish queries and 6 points on one of the Quote queries. (Verbatim + add verse + with reference on all Finish queries, verbatim + add verse on the Quote query.) Then, they need to hit their ceiling with no incorrect replies for the 3-point bonus.

If a top-level quizzer is competing against all lower-level quizzers in a quiz, they can likely plan out the quiz to ensure they hit 30 points. But in highly competitive quizzes, this will not be possible. The most realistic strategy for achieving a high individual score would be focusing on both Quote and Finish queries, and falling back on Phrase/Chapter queries if the quiz is approaching the end and the quizzer still hasn’t hit their ceiling. This should result in an average score of something like 26 points per quiz, provided the quizzer is always able to hit their ceiling and only occasionally relies on the Phrase/Chapter queries.

The Elusive 11-Point Reply

The above explanation should make it clear that while a quizzer can get up to 11 points in a query, this event will be exceedingly rare. First, a quizzer needs to give three correct synonymous or verbatim replies with no incorrect replies. Then, one of their teammates needs to get a correct reply, to activate the streak bonus. Then, the next query must be a Finish query, which is the only query type that allows both the “add verse” and “with references” subtypes. Lastly, the quizzer must buzz in and answer the query verbatim, adding the next verse, and giving both references. On top of this, consider that the other teams will likely be aware of the point behemoth lurking in the other team, and may buzz in quickly to prevent such an advantage as part of their own team strategy.

A highly skilled quizzer will be able to answer Finish queries verbatim + add verse + with references, but the quizzer also needs lucky circumstances to even get a chance. Of course, the 10-point reply is also a possibility. While this will still require a lot of skill to obtain, the quizzer is at least not dependent on another teammate getting the previous query correct to reach 10 points. They could also use the streak bonus and not give references and still reach 10 points.

Under ordinary circumstances, it would be in vain to throw everything else out the window to try to reach the most possible points in one query. That’s not a winning strategy – ideally a quizzer and team will focus on the flow of the whole quiz, not one query. But hopefully this explanation shows how quickly a CBQ quiz can turn around!

OK, So What IS A Winning Strategy?

The beauty of the scoring rules unique to CBQ is that different teams will have different paths to victory. There isn’t one clear answer. Your team needs to understand its own strengths and work out a strategy together. That being said, there are a few general tips that every team should be considering:

Working the Numbers: Two Sample Approaches for Winning a Quiz

Team 1 has one top quizzer who can reliably quote two verses with references verbatim. The second quizzer is a high-level quizzer who is less consistent on verbatim, but should be able to put up a few correct replies that aren’t open-book. Finally, there is one mid-level quizzer who can get synonymous queries often, and is capable of reliably getting open-book replies correct.

Since all three quizzers on the team can get correct replies, this team should aggressively target the streak bonus and the 2nd- and 3rd-quizzer bonuses and plan their strategy around that. In many circumstances, a quizzer on this team who just got a correct reply should buzz in a little slower on the next query and allow their teammates to take the streak bonus.

The top quizzer should play the beginning of the quiz cautiously, waiting to snipe the Finish queries for a cool 7 points. Once the quiz is in the later half, or once the Finish queries have started to dry up, this quizzer should not hold back for Finish queries any longer. They should focus all their energy on hitting their ceiling and getting the +3 bonus, even ignoring the streak bonus if necessary. Of course, this strategy will have to be tailored to each circumstance. If the top quizzer is facing numerous top quizzers from the other teams, the small optimization of the extra point from Finish queries is not worth holding back on – it may be a monumental challenge for this quizzer to even hit their ceiling at all in such a competitive environment, and they should probably be more aggressive from the start of the quiz.

If this team plays their cards right, they will be able to beat even teams with three top quizzers. This team needs their top quizzer on their game, but the secret to their victory lies in the second and third quizzer standing and delivering when the flow of the quiz demands it. Proper strategy will give this team those few extra points that edge them ahead of other high-level competitors.

Team 2 has two high-level quizzers who can sometimes get verbatim queries and add a verse or give the reference, but can usually get synonymous queries correct. The third quizzer is a “rookie”, or first-year quizzer, and generally nervous to buzz in even for an open-book reply.

This team is going to have a rough time against teams who can reliably get verbatim queries, but stands a good chance of victory against teams in the middle of the pack if they strategize properly. It’s very important that the third quizzer should be encouraged to go for specific query types they feel more comfortable with, to secure the 2 bonus points for the 3rd-quizzer. The other two quizzers should aim for query types they are the strongest in, getting verbatim as much as possible. Ideally, the two quizzers’ favored query types do not overlap too much, so they can play to their strengths. This team should aim to always have at least one quizzer buzzing quickly and confidently on each query.