AGazine, March 2016

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Nationals Preparations

Most leagues across the country have finished their local competitions and are preparing for their trip to the AGLOA National Tournament in Atlanta April 22-25. All leagues use a qualifying procedure to determine which players go to Nationals.

  • Some leagues use players’ scores across all games to determine who qualifies.
  • In other leagues, players can qualify by scoring in the top 10-15% of any game. Usually, players are required to play most, if not all, the other games that the league plays to complete their qualifying.

Leagues also vary in the manner in which they organize their national trips.

  • Some leagues register and pay for their participants as a unit.
  • In other leagues, schools and/or school districts register and pay for their participants separately.

Leagues must follow AGLOA’s guidelines for determining the number of qualifiers in each division.

  • El/Mid: Five qualifiers for every 25 participants or portion of 25 in a division based on the average number of participants in each game, with the lowest participation game being dropped for purposes of computing the average.
    Example: Suppose a league played four games with participation of 45, 54, 52, and 56 in a division. Then drop the 45 and take the average of the other three:
    54. Then the league gets 15 qualifiers – 5 for the first 25, 5 for the second 25, and 5 more for the extra 4 above 50.
  • Jr/Sr: Ten qualifiers for the first 25 participants plus 5 more for each additional 25 or portion of 25.
    Example: For the participation numbers in the El/ Mid example above, the league would get 10 qualifiers for the first 25, 5 more for the next 25, and 5 more for the extra 4 above 50 for a total of 20.
    Note: Starting with ten qualifiers for the first 25 participants for Jr/Sr is done because (a) high school leagues are generally smaller, but (b) the players have participated in Academic Games for longer periods of time. So AGLOA wants to reward them for their loyalty. In general, AGLOA is concerned about diluting the quality of play at Nationals by allowing too many weak players to participate, particularly in the cube games. But high school players are mostly veterans who have reached a minimum level of competency in each game.

Formation of five-person teams within a division is left to the local league.

  • Some leagues go strictly by the order of finish of players in their qualifying procedure. So the top five in a division form Team A, next five, Team B, and so on. If the league is not interested in competing for Team Sweepstakes championships which requires the same five players in four games, they form Team A in Equations from the top five in that game, Team A in Presidents from the top five in that game, etc. If the league is interested in competing for Team Sweepstakes, they form the teams based on the combined rankings of players across all games.
  • Other leagues allow schools with five or more qualifiers in a division to form their own team. Any remaining players – say, two from school A, two from school B, and one from school C – are grouped into "conglomerate" teams. If a league has, say, 17 national participants in a division (not a multiple of five because of dropouts), the extra two may be grouped by AGLOA with leftovers from other leagues to form a conglomerate team for purposes of scheduling. Occasionally, such a team finishes in the top three of the division and wins a Thinker.
  • Leagues do not have to use the same procedure for forming teams in every division. Sometimes a school has five players in a division but is willing to allow their top two players, say, to join the league’s #1 "all-star" team so that those players have a better chance of winning an award at Nationals.

Upcoming Academic Games Events


16 New Orleans Academic Games League (NOAGL) On-Sets El/Mid Rounds 3 & 4
21 Riverview (PA) Intermediate Unit #6 Equations Tournament
23 NOAGL Nationals Trip Meeting
25 Deadline for submitting t-shirt order form for Nationals


2 Deposit of $110 per player and coach due for those attending the national tournament along with the final cost sheet due for each league or district
Deadline for all on-line registration and rooming requests
Deadline for submitting volunteer form for jobs at Nationals, including judging, monitoring, and reading
9 Louisiana Invitational Tournament

If you do not see your league’s events above, please send your calendar.


Down Memory Lane

I Think, Therefore … I Play: Celebrating 50 Years of Academic Games, prepared by Stu White for the 2015 tournament in Orlando, is a treasure trove of memories. Here’s one of the many stories in this magnificent publication.

At the 1970 National Academic Games Tournament, the administration of Academic Games decided that Elementary-aged players (grades 4-6) were too young to understand how to play Equations, On-Sets, and Propaganda. The concepts and topics were just too tough for these youngsters. Furthermore, the pressure of playing against one another and suffering the agony of defeat would traumatize the young players. Their precious emotions could not take such pressure.

In 1971, one teacher – Lois Fink of Allegheny Valley School District in Pennsylvania – challenged those assertions and campaigned to have the Elementary Division reinstated. With reluctance, the Academic Games administration conceded. The rest is history. The Elementary Division of Academic Games is now the largest division. Elementary students more than understand the academic concepts and courageously handle the pressure of competition without undue trauma. Lois Fink won the battle. All Elementary competitors for the past 45 years have reaped the benefits.

Lois helped establish a record of excellence in Academic Games that defies logic. Domination is a better word to describe her reign in the Elementary Division. 12 consecutive National Sweepstakes Championships! 40 team championships! Over 25 individual championships! Although Lois’s life was cut short by cancer, her spirit carries on in the minds and hearts of her peers, students, and players.

Many who knew her commented about the many special qualities she displayed with her students. She was known to be in control but never controlling. She was very organized, but her students did not feel managed. A number of colleagues commented that they wished that they had the courage to emulate her original teaching style.

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