Captains Give Team Answers

Team answers are given only by the captain, either on the team's own questions or on a steal. There are several reasons for this. First, it's to protect the poor Quizmaster, who may mistake a vociferous player's urging his idea on his team for the actual team answer. Even worse, someone may shout out an answer to the Quizmaster, while the rest of the team may not agree. Second, it often happens that the team comes up with several ideas, and someone has to pick one to go with. This is perhaps the captain's most important function: you can have a healthy discussion of the alternatives, but in the end, someone has to take responsibility for making a choice.

Captain May Delegate

Occasionally, a captain may delegate: the question may call for an answer that is long and complex, and the captain is perfectly entitled to say "We'll let Mary answer this one," allowing Mary to give a first-hand response, instead of feeding it a few words at a time to the captain, who parrots it to the Quizmaster.

Time Management

Time management is very important strategically. Remember to leave your team time to give an answer if you can't come up with one, or if yours is wrong. It can also be very helpful to a player who is struggling to recall an answer if someone sings out "Team knows" when they are sure they have the correct answer. This lets the player know they can take almost the full sixty seconds in an attempt to to dredge up something that will get their two points. Since there is no penalty for guessing wrong, it's almost always worth a guess; it's surprising (if not downright amusing) what your subconscious can come up with sometimes. On the other hand, if you know you haven't the foggiest notion, take a very fast guess, and get right into the team discussion: five heads are better than four (usually). Remember, too, that while you are thinking, so are your opponents. If your whole team doesn't have a clue, it can be better to pass it across quickly, giving the opposition only five seconds more to get their act together, rather than giving them your minute as well to confer.

Playing Without a Full Team

Sometimes a team will be short a player; there are several ways to handle this. The most obvious, of course, is to find a replacement player. We've done this by borrowing an extra hanger-on from the other team, borrowing an opposition spouse, making frantic phone calls, canvassing the other people in the bar, and even by co-opting the waiter on a slow night! Failing all these, the team has to play one short (the invisible team member is usually designated on the scoresheet as "Harvey," a reference to the six-foot tall, invisible white rabbit in the Jimmy Stewart movie).

The Basic Rules of Play (part 3)

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