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The shoot-out format refers to an alternative to team-based quiz bowl play in which each player plays individually; it is roughly equivalent to each player acting a separate team. Unlike conventional formats, more than two incorrect buzzes are typically allowed (though the specific amount varies from event to event).

Many informal events will be run as shoot-outs, as well as many side events. The rounds of Festivus and the Internet Charity Tournament are run as shoot-outs.