Jeopardy! with teams

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The phrase Jeopardy! with teams (or "Quizbowl is like Jeopardy! with teams") is commonly used to describe the premise of quizbowl to those who are unfamiliar, especially at recruiting events like club fairs. The phrase is meant to take advantage of people's awareness with popular game show Jeopardy! to succinctly convey concepts like the buzzer and the presence of academic content, but should be used with caution due to the many differences that they have.

With the introduction of the team-based All-Star Games in 2019, Jeopardy! also satisfies the category of "Jeopardy! with teams", though unsurprisingly this involves a very different format.


American TV show Jeopardy! is the mainstream game show that most closely resembles the format and content of quizbowl - though other games like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, and The Chase have some overlap in terms of content, Jeopardy! is the only competition to have head-to-head competition featuring a buzzer with any significant fraction of academic content. Even when this phrase isn't used in recruitment many new players immediately make the connection themselves, with answers in Jeopardy!'s format ("What is [answer]?") being very common at early practices.

Describing quizbowl as "Jeopardy! with teams" is meant to circumvent the initial barrier of describing the rules and intricacies of quizbowl by drawing an analogy. This is primarily successful because Jeopardy! does legitimately share things in common with quizbowl and because many of the people who would be interested in quizbowl have some interest in Jeopardy! as well. However, employing this method creates a new barrier: explaining the exact ways in which quizbowl differs from "Jeopardy! with teams". Differences in answer format are minor compared to the larger issue of Jeopardy! being intended for the general public and having apyramidal questions featuring large amounts of pop culture and trivia. Many of these characteristics are fundamentally antithetical to the concept of "good quizbowl", which (among other things) seeks to allow players to differentiate themselves based on their level of knowledge and not just their buzzer speed.

More relevantly to outreach, drawing comparisons between quizbowl and Jeopardy! is liable to leave many recruits feeling disappointed or lied to because they came expecting a format where they could answer short questions on sports and "potent potables" and were instead forced to listen to paragraphs about the Council of Trent. It is simply the case that many people are interested in Jeopardy! and not interested in quizbowl, and it is in everyone's best interests that the game is presently as honestly and directly as possible.