One-person teams

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A one-person team (or one-man team) is a team with multiple players on it whose fate is perceived to be entirely tied to the scoring abilities of a single player. Literal one-person teams (i.e. those with only a single individual on them) are sometimes called "one-person teams", but are typically referred to as playing solo instead.

The term is both laudatory and derisive - while it celebrates the skill of the "one-person" in question, it minimizes the contributions of their teammates (which are often significant) and carries with it the implication that the "one-person" is succeeding in part because of their lack of support. Because of the derogatory connotations, and especially the implied insult to the teammates of the "one-person," it is not a good idea to use this term in reference to any team in your tournament when you are the TD or moderator.

One-person teams are frequently successful at the local high school level and occasionally competitive nationally. They are vulnerable against well-balanced attacks from multiple good players at the highest levels of either high school or collegiate quizbowl, which frequently limits their placement.


The term is a typical example of quizbowlers focusing on the role of individual players in a team; another common example is the prevalence of player polls and the discussion of individual stats (lately, this has contributed to the cult of PPG). In all cases, including many one-person teams, all players contribute to the overall success of the team. It is not uncommon for players on a team with a strong generalist to take on specialist roles to help ensure maximum coverage. This sort of division of labor is particularly pronounced on bonuses, in which all players on the team have the opportunity to contribute.

The use of the more common "one-man team" has been criticized as gendered for its implication that such teams are led by men and that women do not contribute to those teams.[1] This is one facet of the larger issue that women in quizbowl (and more generally those who are not in the in-group) often have to score points to be considered equals, due to consistent prioritization of top players over those in leadership or administrative roles (which are often pushed onto non-men).

These same power dynamics also affect teams which have scoring asymmetries less extreme than in a one-person team.


  1. Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community by Couch's Kingbird » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:25 am