AGazine, June 2016

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Outstanding Senior Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes


Rules Changes for 2016-17

  • Propaganda
    The sections for next year are A, B, D, E.
    Also, the Non Sequitur technique in Section E will be expanded in Junior/Senior to include spotting valid and invalid forms of reasoning. (A full explanation with worksheets will be available this summer.)
  • Presidents
    Elementary/Middle play presidents #25-44.
    The theme for 2016-17 in all divisions is Presidential Firsts.
    In Junior/Senior, a second theme is Foreign Affairs.
    Also Jr/Sr clues for #25-44 may involve U. S. Leaders Group 2: Susan B. Anthony, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Eugene Debs, W.E.B. Dubois, Huey Long, Gloria Steinem
  • Equations
    Senior Division: The
    √ = i variation is renamed Imaginary Numbers. Instead of √, sideways – will represent i. Players may call the variation even if no – cubes are rolled and wild cube is not called.
  • On-Sets
    Senior Division: Change this comment that follows the Double Set variation in the rules: “In Senior Division, any – in the Double Set name means symmetric difference if the Symmetric Difference variation is also in effect.” Instead, if a player specifies a Double Set using –, that – means regular subtraction even if a subsequent player calls Symmetric Difference. However, if Symmetric Difference is called first, then any – in a Double Set called by a subsequent player (or the same player) means Symmetric Difference.

Changes in the other games to come.


Outstanding Senior: Charles Bower

CharlesBowersCharles Bowers played Academic Games for ten years in the Central Valley (PA) School District.

During that time, he attended eight national tournaments. Charles’s specialty was the three reading games, especially World Events in which he won the individual championship five straight years (2011-15) and led his team to the title for three years (2013-15). He was also part of the Presidents national champions in 2015.

Here’s what his coach, Mandy Goss, wrote about Charles in her nomination.

Charles has come a long way since his first national tournament in Knoxville in 5th grade. He was literally bouncing off the walls in anticipation. What a growth opportunity!

For the past two years, Charles has coached 5th graders in Presidents and World Events. He has made them study guides and taught them the rules of the games. He has volunteered over 40 hours with them.

He has also logged more than 100 hours at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, PA, where he helped build a digital data base of historical documents.


Down Memory Lane

R. Lawrence Liss of Palm Beach, FL, was present at the beginning. Here are his recollection of the first National Academic Games Tournament.

At the first tournament in 1966, when only EQUATIONS was played, there were no three-player games, nor any variations. They had not yet been
invented. Players discovered a counting algorithm that insured that the person who set the GOAL would automatically win unless some simple math error was made. We had to handle that situation on the fly.

By the second EQUATIONS tournament (in New Orleans during the 1966-67 Christmas holidays), we had already invented three-player games, but we still had no variations (except what many were doing in their classrooms). Still no Equations game rules written down. In effect, all decisions were unique.

By the third national tournament in 1968, we had added two simple variations, which were distributed to all entrants ahead of time, but still no written rules.

During the summer of 1968, FOR THE FIRST TIME, a group of us (including Layman Allen, the inventor of EQUATIONS and ON-SETS, and Brother Neal Golden) met in Turtle Creek, PA, to write down rules for the games (EQUATIONS, ON-SETS, Propaganda) for each Division. Some variations were added. Finally, people (including judges) knew what the written rules were.

The first time that LINGUISHTIK was played a few years later, there were NO written game rules, if you can imagine that! Now, through the hard work of many people, there are huge books written about the English language and what is legal or not for the game of LINGUISHTIK. Over several decades, there has also been a Definitive Guide for all the Techniques in PROPAGANDA, plus a compilation of used questions for both PROPAGANDA and PRESIDENTS with nearly a thousand past tournament questions for each.

All this is to say that we have an organization that is constantly evolving. Every year we discover new things that we did not know (or have written down). So, we should be gentle about punishing ourselves that we are not yet perfect. In fact, we may never be.

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