Teams in all the Toronto leagues are comprised of five players each. An independent Quizmaster (QM) reads the questions, rules on the answers, keeps time, and keeps score. There's nothing magic about the number five, but it does seem to be about right. There's a good balance between having enough people on the team to help answer difficult questions and too many cooks spoiling the broth.
Each game consists of ten rounds. The titles of the rounds usually give some clue to the topics, but you often have to be able to follow the twisted mind of the round's author -- for instance, a round called "The Strippers," was actually on the artists of newspaper comic strips such as "Garfield" and "Bloom County."
We generally set up at a long rectangular table, with the Quizmaster sitting in the middle, and each team clustered around an end.
On Your Mark, Get Set...
Each team needs a captain, whose role is quite important. The captain's first task is to write the names of the team players along the top part of the score sheet (supplied), in the order they will take their turns answering questions.
To start the game, the Quizmaster tosses a coin, and the captain winning the toss can choose to have their team go first or second. Depending on how you play the final (Miscellaneous) round, this decision may be important at the end of the game. However, usually it's not a choice that's going to determine the result of the match, so don't sweat it!
The Quizmaster then reads Question 1 of the first round to the first player on the team going first (let's call them Team 1), and begins timing. That person and their team have sixty seconds to come up with the answer. If the person whose question it is answers correctly, without team assistance, they receive two points. If they answer incorrectly, the question passes to their team, who can try once more within the sixty seconds; if the team gives the correct answer, it is worth only one point.
If, in that sixty seconds, both individual and team answers are wrong the team scores zero, and the opposition has five seconds to come up with the correct answer for a steal. A steal is worth one point.
Now the next question is offered to the first person on Team 2; again, they and their team have sixty seconds to give the right answer, failing which Team 1 can try to steal a point.
And so the game continues, in like fashion. Each question is directed to a particular player, in the order of their names on the score sheet, alternating between the two teams. When a round is finished, the Quizmaster totals and announces the score, and moves on to the next round, starting again with the first player on Team 1. This continues for the first five rounds.
The Basic Rules of Play