Apocalypse Sports Trivia, Explained

Hello everyone! Welcome to the explainer for Apocalypse Sports Trivia, the head-to-head league taking the nation (read: a few sports nerds) by storm. The simple explanation of our fair enterprise is that for ten days (M-F only), you will face a new opponent each day from within your ten-player division. The individual battles are “games,” and the overall ten-day affair is a “Fortnight” (with apologies to the video game). Along with answering five questions in each game, you will try to stymie your opponent in an attempt to limit the damage he wreaks. If you get more points than your opponent that day, you win the game. If you don’t, you lose. You can also draw! Three points for a win, one point for a draw, zero points for a defeat, just like European soccer. Also just like European soccer, there is promotion and relegation from within your division. At the end of each Series, the top finishers in each division will climb the ladder, and the bottom finishers will be relegated to what lies beneath. New players will be placed in Junior Divisions, and their results will determine which division they enter for the next Series.

Now, some FAQ.


1. What’s to stop us from cheating?

Nothing, except the strength of your character. And really, why would you join a league like this, which features no cash prizes, and cheat? What’s the point? Don’t cheat!

2. Can I look up parts of questions that won’t give me the full answer?

Absolutely not! Questions in Apocalypse Sports Trivia are meant to be answered using only the knowledge that’s already in your head. So, if the question was…

Of the 21 schools to have won a Division 1 national championship in men’s hockey, only two are located south of 40 degrees latitude, including the team tied with the second-most titles. Name either of the two schools, which happen to be located in the same state.

…you would not be allowed to look at a map to see which states fall below 40 degrees latitude, even though this would not give you the answer. Or if the question was…

Fill in the blank from a 2011 New York Times feature: “‘________ are going to bite the thunder out of you,’ says 44-year-old Buster Garrett, who took part in the 12th annual Okie Noodling tournament.”

…you would not be allowed to look up the definition of ‘noodling.’ (In this case, it would give you the actual answer.)

3. Are the questions hard?

Our league-wide average in our first fortnight was 47%, 52% for Fortnights Two and Three, and just over 53% for Fortnight Four, so let that be your guide (the goal is to keep a rate slightly above 50%). In my opinion, the questions are hard but not impossible. Your mileage may vary, but we’ll always keep up a certain standard of difficulty.

4. How long do we have to answer?

Twenty-four hours. The questions will come out at 9 p.m. eastern, and will be due by 9 p.m. eastern the next day, which is also when results will be available.

5. What if someone fails to answer in the time allotted?

That’s a default, meaning the other player gets a three-point victory and the highest possible points for each correct answer. For the defaulting player, it just counts as a normal loss, but too many defaults (the usual standard is two within a fortnight) and you’ll be booted from the league.

6. How are standings determined?

First by points for wins and losses and draws, then by differential of points within a match, then by correct answers.

7. How do points within a game work?

In each game, a correct answer is worth two points…with two exceptions. As you answer, you’ll also mark one question with a K, and one question with an HR—that’s baseball notation for strikeout and home run. If your opponent gets the question marked “K” correct, he or she will receive 0 points—you’ve effectively nullified the question. However, if he or she gets the “HR” question correct, it will be worth 4 points. Clearly, you want to assign a K to the question you believe to be easiest, and an HR to the hardest.

8. What’s with the division names?

Each conference, starting with the original Armageddon Conference, will eventually be populated by 60 players, separated into six divisions of ten players each based on performance in past fortnights. The names of the six divisions—Premiership, Liga Two, Serie Three, Fourdivisie, Deildin Five, Sixligaen—are borrowed from European soccer. New players will be placed in “Junior” divisions for their first fortnight, with their performance there dictating which division they’re placed in for the next fortnight.

9. What’s the format within a fortnight?

The first nine days of each fortnight will feature round robin play within each division, with every player in a division facing every other player in that division in a head-to-head match. Based on the standings after those nine days, players will be matched against each other on Day Ten in battles for championships, promotions, relegations, and honor matches. The first nine days constitute the “regular season,” while Day Ten is known as Championship Day.

10. What if I fail to play defense? 

Playing defense is not mandatory in the sense that failing to do so results in an automatic default, but if any player neglects to play defense, his opponent will get the maximum points for the questions he answers correctly. Even if that opponent only gets one answer right, it will be worth four points (the HR value), and no answers will be zero’ed out (the K value). If only the K is neglected, all correct answers will be worth 2 points except the HR question, which will still be worth 4. If only the HR is neglected, the first correct answer not K’ed will be worth 4 points. So it’s very beneficial to play defense, and neglecting it can only result in a worse outcome.

11. What about spelling, and names, and all that?

Unless otherwise stated, last names are fine for answers. In fact, we’ve had situations where someone unnecessarily attempted a first name, bungled it, and got the answer wrong even though they had the last name right. Beware! Spelling is a little trickier. You don’t have to spell your answer correctly, but it has to “sound” right even with the incorrect spelling. So if the answer to one question was “Jurgen Klopp,” “Yirgin Clahp” would be fine, but “Klopper” would be wrong since it sounds different. Some of this comes down to a judgment call, and the commish has the final call, but that’s the basic rule.

12. Any other minutiae?

Sure—if a question asks for one response, and you list more than one, your first response will count, regardless of what comes after. If a question asks for two or more answers, and you list only one, you will get the question wrong even if the answer you provided is correct—no partial credit.

13. Can defaults be a draw?

No. If you default and your opponent submits and gets zero correct answers, that will be a victory for your opponent and a loss for you. The opponent will be credited with the full three points, but zero correct answers and zero margin of victory.

14. What are the categories for questions?

Glad you asked…

The Categories

Note: As you’ll soon discover, there’s a good deal of overlap between certain categories. Many of the sports covered in other categories are also in the Olympics, for instance. I’ll make sure to balance the questions accordingly, so that, for instance, if there are two tennis questions in the “Country Club” category, there won’t be any in the Olympics category. And if there’s a question about Olympic Hockey, that will likely go under the Hockey category to avoid having too many hockey questions in one Series.

New for Fortnight Two: The categories will no longer be listed in front of the questions. Rest assured that each Series of 50 questions will still contain four to six questions from each category. The reason for this is that some questions are designed to test your knowledge in ways that would be given away if the category was listed.

Sub-Categories: Each set of five questions throughout a Series in a specific category will be separated into broad sub-categories such as history, current events, rules, entertainment, and business.

1. Football – Self-explanatory

2. Soccer – Self-explanatory

3. Baseball – Self-explanatory

4. Basketball – Self-explanatory

5. Hockey – Self-explanatory

6. Obscure sports – For the foreign and the uncommon, and also for general knowledge questions that don’t fit into a specific sport.

7. Racing & Combat – An admittedly odd couple that includes motor sports, horse racing, boxing, MMA, wrestling, etc.

8. The Country Club – For sports we associate with money, from tennis to golf to lacrosse to polo to fox hunting. Expect many fox hunting questions.

9. Olympic Sports – Sports that are contested in the Olympics that generally don’t appear in another category, such as swimming or track & field.

10. Games – Another broad category which can include anything from billiards to chess to video/arcade games to cards.

Official Terminology

To force a draw with one fewer correct answer is called a COTTOM.

To win with the same number of correct answers is a WHIPWIN.

To win with fewer correct answers is called a BUIE.

To draw with two fewer correct answers is called a FLOWE.

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One Response to Apocalypse Sports Trivia, Explained

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  1. Kevin Lawrence says:

    I want to play against Kisyk.

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