AGazine, November 2014

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

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News and Notes

Harmony Committee

Proposals are being sent to members of an Ad Hoc Committee whose goal is to harmonize the rules of LinguiSHTIK and the two math games as much as possible in order to make learning the games easier for new players.

The proposals center on three areas of difference between Ling and EQ/OS.

  1. Nomenclature for Challenges
    EQ/OS uses Now/Never; LING uses Win/Impossible.
  2. Who writes a Solution after a Now/Win Challenge
    EQ/OS: The Mover may NOT write a Solution; the Challenger MUST write a Solution; the Third Party has a choice. The time limit is two minutes to write the Solution. If the Third Party chooses to write a Solution, the TP has the full two minutes to decide whether or not to present a Solution.
    LING: All three players have a chance to write a Solution, even the Mover. If either the Mover or Third Party decide NOT to write a Solution, they must say “neutral” within the first minute, or they are assumed to be writing a Solution. The time for writing a Solution is three minutes.
  3. How does a shake end?
    EQ/OS: If players make no earlier mistakes, players may put unnecessary cubes in FORBIDDEN until there are only two cubes left in Resources. At this point, presumably all players agree that both cubes are necessary to make a Solution. Then, the next to last player places one of the two cubes in Permitted or Required. NO ONE MAY CHALLENGE NOW ON THE LAST CUBE. (Of course, if the next to last player puts the cube in FORBIDDEN, that player is subject to a NEVER Challenge.) With one cube remaining, if no one challenges NEVER, the last mover places the last cube into Required or Permitted and all three players write Solutions. Any player who writes a correct Solution, scores 4 points. Any Player who writes an incorrect Solution scores 2.
    LING: If players make no earlier mistakes, they may end up with as many as six cubes (four wild cubes and two necessary cubes for a correct Solution), any two of which are needed to write a correct Solution. There is no Forbidden Section for players to move the unnecessary cubes. The next player must recognize the situation with as many as six cubes in Resources and declare FORCEOUT. FORCEOUT means that this player is claiming that any TWO cubes remaining can be used to write a Correct Solution. The rules currently allow other players to DISAGREE with that declaration, setting up a lengthy process of determining who is correct in their Claim. If no player DISAGREES, all three players write a Solution using any TWO cubes remaining in Resources. Any player who writes a correct Solution scores 4 points. Any player who writes an incorrect Solution, 2 points.

The proposals are meant to provide committee members with food for their thinking and for local experimentation to obtain feedback for important discussions that will take place in both the Math and Language Arts Meetings at the 2015 National Tournament in Orlando.

None of the proposals will affect local play in any game or play at the 2015 Nationals. 2015-16 is the earliest any changes would take effect.

The committee must decide which rules and procedures of the various games can be standardized while respecting the inherent differences between LING and the math games. For example, the time for writing a Solution may need to continue as three minutes in LING but only two in EQ/OS.

Events across the AGLOA leagues during the next month:

18 Indian River County (FL) LinguiSHTIK, Round 1
New Orleans Academic Games League Jr/Sr Equations, Round 2
19 NOAGL Elem/Mid Equations, Round 2
20 Western Pennsylvania Academic Games League On-Sets Tournament at Soldiers & Sailors
21 Beaver County (PA) AG League Propaganda Tournament
Jefferson Parish Mid/Jr/Sr LinguiSHTIK Tournament
1 NOAGL Jr/Sr Equations, Rounds 3 & 4
2 Indian River County (FL) LinguiSHTIK, Round 2
NOAGL Elem/Mid Equations, Rounds 3 & 4
3 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV (PA) Mid/Jr/Sr LinguiSHTIK Tournament, Slippery Rock U.
6 Michigan League of Academic Games(MLAG) Regional Tournaments – Jr/Sr only
9 Indian River County (FL) LinguiSHTIK, Round 3
10 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV (PA) Elementary LinguiSHTIK Tournament, Slippery Rock U.
11 NOAGL First Semester Awards Ceremony – Christian Brothers School 7 pm
12 Jefferson Parish Mid/Jr/Sr Presidents Tournament
13 Jefferson Parish Elementary Equations Tournament & Propaganda Section D
MLAG Regional Tournaments – El/Mid only

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.


Outstanding Seniors: Luis Gonzalez and Julio Morales

These two Outstanding Seniors from the 2014 Nationals were teammates at Cass Tech High School in Detroit.

Here is what their teammate, Antonio Cleveland, wrote about Luis when nominating him for an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2014 Nationals.

“Extraordinary barely describes this outstanding senior. He has six AP classes and still finds the time to help other students whenever they need help. He does everything he can to help the people around him, and he always commits selfless acts of kindness. Not only is he our leader, but he is a mentor to the people that are around him. He challenges his peers to always do better and go the extra mile to achieve their goals. When he succeeds, he makes sure that everyone around him succeeds too. He has given so much to Academic Games over the past four years. He has never missed a day of practice; he is always the first one in the room and the last one out solving WFF’s or making new tricks to use in Equations.”

“The dedication that he shows to Academic Games is extraordinary and unmatched. I honestly believe that he is the heart of our team. No one deserves this outstanding award more than him. It’s not even the fact that he has AP English or AP Calculus or AP Statistics or AP Physics or AP Biology or even the fact that he maintains a 4.8 grade point average, not even that he has a job creating websites, but because Luis Gonzalez is an outstanding senior.”

Here is what Luis wrote in his nomination for Julio.

“It is a cliché to say an outstanding senior must be heavily decorated, must be free of any errors, and must be Thor’s long lost brother. It is a cliché because my nominee is an outstanding senior but, as far as I know, is not related to Thor.”

“When I first met him, he was an opponent, or at least I thought he was. I found out that he had volunteered to learn the Senior set of variations for all the games as a 10th grader to help complete his school’s senior team. Going against all odds, he helped his team make it to the recently closed AG nationals in West Virginia. At the nationals, due to lack of rooms, I ended up rooming with him. I learned that he had spent hours smashing and squeezing lemons to make lemonade in order to help pay for his team’s travel expenses to the State tournament. After that year’s nationals, his school was closed.”

“I thought I would never see him again. His new school did not sponsor an AG team. I thought his AG career was over until he showed up to a Saturday tournament representing my school. As I found out later, he actually made an effort to find another AG team that would allow him to compete again. This uncalled for dedication truly struck a chord in me. He was digging his own path toward what he enjoyed even though all the road signs said stop. I am glad he did not bother to read the signs. He became an indispensable part of my team. He took the time to read the AG rule book; he made time to practice since he could not make it to practice at our school, and grew to be a great AG player. He also made me and my team’s experience with AG much more enjoyable. This is what makes this senior outstanding. He is dedicated, smart, funny, loud, and brings a sense of family to not only my team but to everyone else who meets him.”

2014 Nationals Outstanding Sr - Luis Gonzales 2014 Nationals Outstanding Sr - Julio Morales

Luis Gonzalez (L), Julio Morales (R)


Outstanding Educator: Paula Unangst

2014 Nationals Outstanding Ed - Paula UnangstPaula Unangst has been involved in Academic Games for 30 years in the Mercer Area School District in Western Pennsylvania. She has coached all six games played at the national tournament in the Elementary Division. Under her guidance, the district’s Elementary program has grown from a handful of students to over 30 per year. When she started, Mercer was not a contender at the local level with no Nationals qualifiers. Now the district regularly has Elementary qualifiers who bring home awards from Nationals.

Paula retired from teaching six years ago but continues to coach the Elementary students on her own time. She opened up her family farm for an Academic Games Summer Camp. During the busy farming season, she took time to work with not only the Mercer students but any Intermediate Unit IV student who would like to come. The Oustanding Educator Award at the 2014 Nationals in Knoxville culminated her final year as an AG coach.

Here are excerpts from the numerous nominations from her students.

Mrs. Unangst is welcoming. When you go in to practice, she gives you a nice, “Hello,” and offers you a snack that varies from Animal Crackers and pretzels to fruits snacks and Rice Krispies. If you know a trick in Equations or Presidents, she’ll let you say it. Sometimes she’ll let you teach it to the other kids.

Mrs. Unangst cares about everybody. For example, she makes sure that everybody, and I mean everybody, understands the game that we are focusing on. She explains things in the simplest way possible which is easier for the younger kids.

In Academic Games, there are many things our teams can be puzzled about. We have no issue telling her we don’t understand. Paula explains the games in ways that we remember and comprehend.

We wouldn’t be at Nationals without her teaching us. We have all come a long way from when we started. She is the best coach ever!


Down Memory Lane

Joan Ross, an associate of Dr. Layman Allen at the Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, made crucial contributions to the development of the rules and variations of Equations and On-Sets.

Here is a portion of the notes she made during the Math Rules Committee meeting at the 1973 National Tournament at Kent State University in Ohio.

  • Tentative resolution of the forceout problem: New rule for Olympics only.
    (1) a player is two or more points ahead and
    (2) the five-minute warning has been called and
    (3) more than one cube is in Resources,
    then that player is not permitted to call forceout.
    A call of forecout by such a player is illegal procedure.
  • For Junior and Senior Equations, the list of variations will be divided into two sections:
    1) Approximately ten basic variations which will remain constant over time and
    2) Supplementary Variations which will change from year to year (from 5 to 10 of these).
  • Several new rules will be added immediately to the supplementary lists. In particular, we are looking for a rule that uses GCF and LCM. We also might have a roundoff rule.

The “forceout problem” referred to players who were ahead when the five-minute warning was called declaring forceout with multiple cubes left in Resources. Since no one could write a Solution using only one more cube, everyone would score the same and the leading player would preserve first place. The “Supplementary Variations” became today’s Even and Odd lists that alternate from year to year.

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