Old PACE format

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From its founding in 1998 until 2009, the PACE NSC used a unique packet format, which was intended as a compromise between several competing packet formats of the time.


Each game in the old PACE format had three parts: the Related Tossup-Bonus round, the Category Quiz round, and the Stretch round.

The Related Tossup-Bonus round consisted of ten tossups, which were each worth 10 points and had no powers. Each tossup was paired with a 2-part, 20-point bonus related to the topic of the tossup. As time went on, the relation between the tossup and the bonus became looser until the bonus was merely within the same large category as the tossup.

The Category Quiz round consisted of eight tossups, each worth 10 points. Each team would get a list of categories before the Category Quiz round; if a team gets a tossup correctly, they can choose a category and receive a one-part bonus in that category, which is worth 15 points. Each round has only one bonus part per category, so categories are gradually eliminated as the round goes on; for example, if a team picks "Science" for their category on tossup 1 of the Category Quiz round, their opponents must pick something other than Science. Old NSCs would feature one computational math bonus per packet within the Category Quiz round, so teams could choose to avoid such questions.

The Stretch round consisted of ten tossups and their corresponding three-part bonuses. Stretch Round tossups had open powers, which meant that teams were guaranteed 20 points if they buzzed in at any point up to and through the reading of the words "For 10 points" in any tossup, or 10 points after the reading of the words "For 10 points". The team that answers the tossup correctly is then given a typical 30 point bonus.

Across all three rounds, every bonus question used bouncebacks, and there were no negs.

The old NSC format contained 28 tossups per packet, and allowed for a total of 1000 possible points per match (not counting any tiebreakers): 300 points in the Related Tossup-Bonus, 200 in the Category Quiz, and 500 in the Stretch Round. In the event that a match ended in a tie, match tiebreakers involved a minimum of three tossups worth 10 points with unrelated 30-point bonus questions awarded (again with bouncebacks).

Occasional tournaments used an abbreviated format, in which each round had eight related tossup-bonus questions, six Category Quiz tossups with eight one-part bonuses, and eight Stretch Round tossup-bonus questions. HSAPQ wrote two sets in the abbreviated old-NSC format in 2009.

"Paper" tiebreakers were replaced with actual mini-match tiebreakers among teams who are tied in record who are contending for playoff qualification. From 2007 to 2009, five tossups with unrelated 30-point bonus questions were used for these head-to-head matchups.


Because very few tournaments ran the old NSC format during the year besides NSC itself, very few teams got accustomed to the strategy involved in this format; others would notice some idiosyncracies and make use of them (for a long time, each packet's trash tossup would always be in the Category Quiz round). Additionally, the burden of writing 31 tossups per packet and balancing difficulty among different types of rarely-seen bonuses made the format a losing proposition among NSC writers. After a survey of teams at the 2009 NSC, PACE decided to change its format in 2010.

The lack of negs and presence of bouncebacks were carried over to the 2010-and-beyond NSC format. All powers in the new NSC format are still worth 20 points, as a continuation of their value in old Stretch Rounds, but powers are now blind as they are in NAQT and most other tournaments that use powers.

Since 2010, record tiebreaker games have been played on half-packets, and starting in 2011 all tiebreaker games determining final tournament standing can be played on a full packet.