AGazine, March 2015

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Profile: Alicia Mullins Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Universal Orlando Ticket Discount

Steve Wright, AGLOA Board member and Legal Counsel, has negotiated a substantial discount on tickets to Universal Orlando. This was based on AGLOA being a Florida-based, non-profit organization. League heads were sent the forms for ordering tickets. One more exciting feature of the 50th Anniversary Tournament next month.

Upcoming Events

18 New Orleans Academic Games League meeting for schools with Nationals qualifiers
20 Nationals T-shirt order form due
21 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Awards Ceremony (Minor, Elementary, Middle)
27 Nationals Cost Sheet, Rooming List, Adult Master List, and Volunteer Form due
28 Jefferson Parish Elementary World Events Tournament
2 Nationals Individual and Team Registration Forms and Cube Games Seeding Form due
11 Louisiana Academic Games Invitational at Brother Martin High School (8am – 1pm)
50th Annual National Academic Games Tournament
April 24-27, 2015
Orlando, FL

To see all of our of upcoming events, visit our Calendar page. If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.


Profile: Alicia Mullins

Alicia Mullins began playing Academic Games in the 6th grade in Logan County, WV. She attended her first national tournament in 8th grade.

After I came my first year to Nationals, I got the bug. I absolutely did everything I could to qualify every single year after that.

After going to college, she returned to Logan County to teach and immediately volunteered to coach Academic Games. The middle school where she was assigned to teach had a weak Academic Games program.

They knew I was strong in the games. So they gave me a class to work with in Academic Games. It was a really fun experience. Some of those kids continued through high school and just graduated recently.

After that year, she moved to the high school she attended, where she now coaches with two of her former coaches. Fortunately, the middle school she left has continued its program with an enthusiastic coach. She’s come to nationals as a coach since 2006.

Alicia gives different answers when asked what game she liked to play best and which game she coaches best.

I’m a math person. So Equations was the game I loved to play. But it wasn’t the game I was best at. I was pretty talented in World Events and Presidents. I placed individually in World Events and with a team and individually in Presidents at least once a year.

Which game do you coach best?

It’s really funny. Propaganda. I feel like since I’ve matured and gone through college, I understand Propaganda and the logistics behind it and how it relates to math. I’m a better coach at explaining that game. Equations is second best.

Logan County has a solid Academic Games program. The three middle schools (Grades 5-8) and all three high schools participate. The 4th graders at the Elementary schools sometimes participate. The county holds one tournament in December or January at which all five games are played: Equations, LinguiSHTIK, Propaganda, Presidents, and World Events. There are typically about 30 students in each division. It’s organized like Nationals, except that only one session is held in each game. So just two rounds of each cube game. The tournament is held at the county vocational/technical school. The Elementary and Middle Divisions compete in a large classroom while Junior and Senior meet in the board room which has the technology available to display the Presidents clues and the Propaganda visuals.

As chief scorekeeper, Alicia hustles to finalize the scores for the awards ceremony that closes the day. Only sweepstakes awards are given—no trophies for individual games.

The Nationals qualifiers attend Monday practices from 4-5:30 p.m. the next few months to get ready for Nationals. Players also have an opportunity to practice the cube games during lunch or free time at school. The kids are very good at doing a lot of home study for Presidents and World Events. They watch YouTube videos and research current events quizzes online. They also found a weekly podcast on current events.

Her league has enjoyed outstanding support from the central administration and local businesses. The current superintendent worked in the central office as Curriculum Director for many years. Part of her job in that position was to organize the Academic Games tournaments. She saw the value of Academic Games, what it did for kids who wouldn’t have that opportunity otherwise. She works hard to publicize the games. Donations from local businesses (insurance agency, grocery store, lawyer, mining company) defray the travel, registration, room, and meal expenses for Nationals. If they donate once, they get hooked. They see the results and the positive influence. Either one of their children plays or they know a student who plays. Word gets out, and people seek us. “We would like to help.”

Alicia MullinsWhy does she love Academic Games so much?

We live in an impoverished area. A lot of the kids we bring to Nationals have never left our state. Some have never seen the ocean. We have kids who have no spending money. We pick them up for practice and take them home. They come back every year. I’ve watched a lot of them who felt like there was nowhere to go. Just stay in the area and work in the coal mines. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they realize there are other opportunities. I’ve seen kids come to a tournament and get hooked and realize that the world’s bigger than Logan County. There are places to go to college. Scholarships available. They meet people who think like them but live hours away. They do better in school. We’ve seen kids who had no hopes and dreams become lawyers, computer programmers, doctors—you name it. It’s amazing to see. Many times they’re the first one in their family to go to college.


Down Memory Lane

Here are the proposed rules changes in Equations for 1992-93, the second year of AGLOA’s existence.

  1. Modify the ten-second warning to give the player being timed ten seconds after the sand runs out. When the sand runs out, an opponent counts down the ten seconds.
  2. Try to make the scoring rules of Equations/On-Sets and LinguiSHTIK agree.
  3. Review the rule requiring that a player challenging Now must move a cube to the mat within 15 seconds. The alternatives are to keep it as is or return to the previous rule whereby a player challenging Now does not move a cube but instead may use at most one cube from Resources in the Solution.
  4. A player who did not present a Solution scores 6 for the shake if that player accepts another player’s Solution as correct even if that Solution is subsequently proved wrong by another checker. [NOTE: The Challenge scoring at that time was 10-8-6; so 6, not 2, was the lowest score on the challenge.]
  5. Allow the usual mathematical order of operations to apply to Solutions (not to the Goal).
  6. Allow – to represent the negative sign in the Goal and the Solution.
  7. For square roots, allow the √ sign to be used without the “2” indez. The “2” is optional and could be used if the Goal-setter or Solution-writer wishes.
  8. Junior/Senior: Delete the add to Goal variation; make multiple operation perennial.
  9. Senior: Modify the log variation to allow the Goal-setter to use the ÷ sign sideways to force the log interpretation. A ÷ sign placed in the regular way in the Goal (or Solution) may be interpreted as division or log.

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