A scoresheet is a paper or electronic document used to track the score of a quiz bowl game; it is also used as synecdoche for detailed results on the outcome of a game or the literal scoresheet used to record it.
General scoresheet design
A typical design for a scoresheet split horizontally into two symmetric halves, each labeled as belonging to one of the teams. A segment of the sheet, typically a row, is used to track the result of a specific tossup-bonus cycle and is labeled with the question number; these are divided into segments (typically columns) to record the score of their players, the score on a bonus, on a question, and a running total.
The bottom of a scoresheet has an area for calculating aggregate information: the total number of toss-ups heard by each player, each player's powers, conversions, and negs, and the total toss-up and bonus points for each team.
Each question has a dedicated section of the scoresheet to track results in - in most scoresheets, this is a single row.
During the tossup
- Each a time a player buzzes in, the result can be recorded in the cell corresponding to the current question and the player
- The only exception to this is when the question is incorrect with no penalty (as can happen if a player is incorrect after the end of a question has been read or if the opposing team has already negged); in some cases this is recorded anyways
- When a player successfully converts a tossup, then they can proceed to the bonus
- In the event that neither team is able to convert the tossup, the scorekeeper will not need to record any points for the bonus (which is skipped) and can proceed to the section for the next tossup.
During the bonus
- For information on how these are structured, see: bonuses
- There will be a region of the row which allows for the results of the bonus to be recorded - this is typically found in the form of several columns on the right hand side of the team's half
- Depending on the scoresheet, there may be either a single space or three spaces
- A single space indicates that only the total number of points scored by the controlling team should be recorded
- Three spaces indicates that the score received for each individual bonus part should be recorded separately - this is typically to allow the determination of detailed stats like the conversion of individual bonus parts
- After the bonus is completed, the total number of points earned by the team (tossup points + bonus points) should be put in the intended space (typically the column that is the second to the right)
- When a player gets a toss-up, write the number of points earned (usually 10, or 15 in the case of a power) in the cell that is the intersection of the column of the player getting the toss-up and the row of the toss-up number. Then, once that team's bonus is complete, write the number of points earned on the bonus in that teams bonus column in the same row.
- When a player negs, write −5 in the cell that is the intersection of the player's column and the toss-up's row.
- After each question, write each team's new running score in the running score column.
The majority of tournaments adhere to either NAQT or ACF rules, which have sufficiently similar scoring rules that the same scoresheet can be used for either. Thus, many tournaments using paper scoresheets will use those provided by NAQT (linked below), even if not affiliated with them.
NAQT sheets explicitly includes space for several details which are not strictly necessary for the game to be scored but which facilitate the administration of the tournament and adherence to the rules. This includes space at the top for marking if a team has used their timeout and at the bottom for listing deviations from the standard reading order, a box for coaches to initial and confirm the score, and detailed instructions on the what each space is used for.
Paper scoresheets remain the standard for national tournaments due to their reliability. While never zero, the likelihood of errors is kept low by the high average ability of staff, eliminating a major downside of physical scoresheets: their lack of built-in checks.
- The PACE NSC uses a horizontal scoresheet with special fields meant to accommodate bouncebacks, which are unique to the format.
- The NAQT IPNCT uses a very large physical scoresheet to accommodate the larger number of players who can be playing at a single time and the increased number of questions in a given round.
The primary advantage of digital sheets is their capability to automate tasks like arithmetic and explicitly check for invalid game states (e.g. two buzzes in the same tossup), drastically reducing the chance of errors. The tabular layout of scoresheets makes spreadsheets a natural choice for creating scoresheets; most examples are based on this framework.
Digital sheets can be split into the two categories of offline and online, with offline being synonymous with "Excel spreadsheet" and online largely referring to Google Sheets.
While laptops have long been brought to tournaments for the task of entering stats and reading questions, the development of Excel-based scoresheets allowed moderators to keep score on their computers as well. Some of the earliest sheets shared publicly were developed in 2008 by Lily Chen of Hunter. The thread includes a number of other variations on the sheets for use with other rulesets.
While such sheets were very useful as replacements for physical sheets, they found much of their use at informal events like practices or tournament finals. Though there were scattered uses in actual tournaments, the fact that sheets had to be passed around by email, USB, or similarly manual process meant that they were not much more practical than actual paper.
With online scoresheets, the runners which had to ferry sheets between statkeeper and room are replaced by the transmission of data through the air. With reasonably fast WiFi ever-present in the schools and hotels which serve as sites for tournaments, it is more feasible than ever to run tournaments where every scoresheet requires internet.
For much of their existence, online sheets remained niche solutions employed by plugged-in teams and were predominant in the closer-knit college community. As recently as 2018, it was not the norm for high school tournaments to use online stats. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated adoption by forcing quizbowl online and with it its scoresheets - all of a sudden, regions which had previously relied on paper sheets were forced to quickly learn how to use various online sheets. Some formats (like MSHSAA) continued to dodge modern technology by simply holding in-person tournaments during the second wave of a national pandemic.
The growing popularity of tools for online collaboration like Google Drive have made online scoresheets more feasible than ever. The majority of these sheets are built on Google Sheets, but a small fraction are standalone web-apps which typically can incorporate additional functionality.
As early as 2013, Ryan Rosenberg posted a set of online sheets (to little fanfare). Around this same time, adoption of online score sheets in the SoCal region was quite high, with many local tournaments making use of scoresheets developed by Dana Lansigan of Irvine. These would continue to see use at tournaments hosted by UCSD, which was also an early adopter of Advanced Stats.
TJ Sheets is commonly used at high school tournaments. Its use at some side events at the 2021 Chicago Open (Scattergories 5) provided inconvenient after several teams were expanded to have five players, which was not supported by the sheets.
Pandruwu Sheetz is often used in practices and scrimmages.
The Neg5 app was created by Mostafa Bhuiyan in 2016. It is one of the most popular options because it is able to handle both scorekeeping and statkeeping and can produce live stats - however, the tendency for its server to go down in response to high load has caused many problems (including when it was used at 2017 NSC). Additionally, Neg5 does not produce output in the SQBS format and thus cannot be hosted on the database; instead, they are hosted on a separate site (which long prevented them from being archived by HDWhite).
Advanced Stats, developed by Ophir Lifshitz, was the first scoresheet to support detailed stats; its reader allows for buzzpoint collection and writing teams which make use of the system directly collaborate with Ophir to provide other requisite information. This was the first implementation of detailed stats and remains the best known - its name is often used metonymously to refer to the concept in general. Reports of individuals complaining about Advanced Stats (and online scoresheets more generally) prompted Will Alston to author the post "PSA - Don't be a Luddite". A sample of the tournaments which have used Advanced Stats include the modern iterations of EFT, Sun God, multiple years of Terrapin and ACF Regionals, and WORKSHOP 2021.
The MODAQ system developed by Alejandro Lopez-Lago is a standalone app for scoring and statkeeping which also supports the collection of detailed stats. MODAQ is the preferred scorer for QB League, an online quizbowl league run by Daoud Jackson, Joey Goldman, Kevin Wang, and Ryan Rosenberg.
- NAQT's scoresheet
- Lily Chen's Excel scoresheets
- Jon Pinyan's Excel spreadsheets
- WUStL (archived)
- Jacob Reed's online scoresheet app (link broken)
- Excel quiz bowl scoresheets by lchen » Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:43 pm
- Re: Excel quiz bowl scoresheets by millionwaves » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:12 pm
- A Case for Online Scoresheets by Bhagwan Shammbhagwan » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:15 pm
- Online spreadsheet scorekeeping by ryanrosenberg » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:43 pm
- WUStL Updates Statistics Live!: real-time Web scorekeeping by The Friar » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:55 pm
- Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud by BlueDevil95 » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:22 pm
- Re: Stevenson Memorial Tournament (SMT) @ Harvard (3/31/2018 by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:11 pm
- PSA - Don't be a Luddite by naan/steak-holding toll » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:15 am