Saturday, August 11, 2018

Twentieth annual Vancouver Estival Trivia Open

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (VETO), the nation's longest-running annual quiz bowl tournament. We hope there will be a mirror of this tournament in Toronto.

This web page will be kept up to date with the most current information.

June 4:   Website posted.

As in past years, VETO will be run "guerrilla" style, meaning:

As always, VETO will be free of charge.

See the CAQL results page for links to full reports on previous VETOs and their mirrors in Ontario.

Who can play

VETO is an "open" tournament in the sense that we don't exclude anyone because of age, student status, degrees obtained or not obtained, nationality, inability or unwillingness to pay us money, etc.

However, recognizing that people come to VETO with vastly different levels of experience, we'd like to give priority to those who have a history of providing good questions in the tossup/bonus format.

So instead of accepting teams on a "first come, first served" basis until space fills up, this is what we'll do:

Don't feel intimidated by this application/invitation procedure. The point is to make sure that the people who will be writing the questions for VETO have experience writing questions. This is important because it's a guerrilla tournament, and nobody will be editing (except the people who wrote each packet). As for how high our standards are: the vast majority of the packets in the Stanford and Collegiate Quiz Bowl Packet archives would meet our criteria for acceptance.

Even if your team doesn't write questions, we expect you to have enough familiarity with the quiz bowl format to be able to staff games during your bye rounds.

A team can have any number of players, but no more than four can play at a time. If you don't have a full team of four, we can match you up with other players. Solo teams are OK, too: we'll set the schedule so that other teams will have byes and you won't have to staff more than one room by yourself.

In Vancouver, the size of the field is capped at 6 teams.

Since 1999, more than a hundred different people have joined us in Vancouver to play at VETO. Players have included current or former members of the quiz bowl teams of the following universities and colleges:


Saturday, August 11, 2018, probably starting at around 9:00 a.m. local time, and ending around 6:00 p.m.

For quiz bowl tourists, this is 3 weeks after the Chicago Open. It is a week after the B.C. Day / Simcoe Day long weekend.

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by July 28, 2018.

VANCOUVER location

Just as last year, VETO will take place in suburban Burquitlam (Coquitlam, BC, next to Burnaby), in a baby-friendly house! If you have a baby, then bring him or her along. The address will be given to everyone who signs up.

For drivers, there is lots of free sreet parking. If you're going by public transit, take the Evergreen Extension of the Millennium Line to Burquitlam, and walk from there for 15 or 20 minutes. Weekend transit fares are $2.95 for 90 minutes of travel anywhere on the system, including buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus.

Vancouver International Airport, Canada's second busiest, is a premier global gateway served by 53 airlines with more than 109 non-stop destinations worldwide. The Skytrax World Airport Awards rank it as the best airport in the Western hemisphere, and number 14 in the world.

Devotees of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue may prefer to fly to Seattle/Tacoma and then take the Quick Shuttle or rent a car. Non-residents of Canada should have no problem driving an American rental car across the border, but Canadian residents aren't allowed to do this. Also keep in mind that even if it's cheaper to fly to Sea-Tac, if you factor in the time and money you spend on the 3-4 hours ground transportation each way, it may work out to be more worthwhile to take Air Canada or WestJet or another airline directly to Vancouver.

Stay tuned for lunch options!

See below for other stuff to do in Vancouver, and places to stay.


VETO will be run "guerrilla" style, without central editing, and will be staffed by players. We'll play at least a full round-robin.

Games will be conducted according to NAQT rules (and also NAQT's Correctness Guidelines), except that:

It is to your advantage to print out and bring a copy of the rules. If some discrepancy occurred in a game and you want to protest it, it's a lot easier to convince a judge if you can point at the text that justifies your case, rather than to point into the air and say "I think the rules say..."

Question Packets

Detailed question guidelines are on a separate web page, which includes a section with useful links categorized by subject.

Rounds will be untimed, with 20 tossups played in each. But you will have to write more than 20 tossups and 20 bonuses, because:

So your packet should include (at least): Use the following subject distribution for tossups, and the same distribution for bonuses:
Science, Math, Technology 3 — 4
History 3 — 4
Literature 3 — 4
Geography 2 — 3
Current Events 2 — 3
Fine Arts 1 — 2
Religion, Philosophy, Mythology      1 — 2
Social Science 1 — 2
Popular Culture, Games, Sports 1 — 2
General Knowledge 0 — 3

Canadian content quota:
Of the first 20 tossups, at least 4 must refer to Canadian people, places, things, events, and created works. The same goes for the first 20 bonuses. But overall, don't exceed 50% Canadian content in your packet. Your Canadian questions should also cover diverse subject areas and not be clustered in Geography or Literature, etc.

Tossups should include at least four separate clues. Multiple-choice bonuses should be used sparingly, if at all, and should provide at least four choices.

In order that we can keep to a reasonable schedule, questions must not be too long:

To promote fun and variety, teams are encouraged to bring multimedia questions (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory). These tend to work better as bonuses than as tossups. In Vancouver, cassette tape players will be available for auditory questions in every room. Every packet must contain at least one multimedia question: It can be as simple as presenting a printout of a picture you found through http://images.google.com and asking a few questions about the picture.

For our further amusement, we encourage rounds with hidden themes. In recent years, we've had packets in which:

Aim for a difficulty level approximating that of Division I NAQT sectionals. Please do read the separate packet guidelines page, because it offers many helpful tips. If you can't think of what to write about, we have loads of categorized links to websites you can browse to find possible material for questions.

The Stanford archive contains most of the question packets used at VETO in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011; the Collegiate Quiz Bowl Packet archive contains the packets used at VETO in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :) We've taken the list of answers that have come up in VETO in 2005 through 2017 and categorized them by subject. This list gives you an idea of the kinds of things to ask about when writing your own packet (though we prefer you not pick these exact same answers).


The leading individual scorer earns the prize of West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge (WC-DORK).

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. In previous years, we've had up to 22 prizes awarded to individuals and teams.

Contact us if you're sponsoring a prize that you want listed on this web page. If you want to encourage others to write questions of your favourite type or on your favourite (broadly defined) subject, then announcing a prize here is a good way to do so.

VANCOUVER: Other stuff to do, and places to stay

Studies released in 2017 by the Economist Intelligence Unit and in 2018 by Mercer Human Resources both concluded that Vancouver is the best city to live in the Western Hemisphere, and among the top five in the world (lagging behind only some Antipodean or German-speaking cities that have never had any known quizbowl activity).

Special events to entice you to come for VETO:

See http://www.tourismvancouver.com for more information about Vancouver, including links to special promotions.

There are quite a few reasonably priced hotels in downtown Vancouver. Try findinghotel.com for looking up accommodation online, but do not be tempted by cheap rates in the East Hastings neighbourhood. This is identified by the V6A postal prefix, which is Canada's poorest large urban postal code.

Another cheap option is a dorm bed at the HI Vancouver Downtown hostel, which we've checked out and found is pretty good as hostels go. It is in a nice neighbourhood in downtown Vancouver.


For questions, etc., contact Peter at pmcc -at- alumni -dot- sfu -dot- ca Let us know by July 28 if you'd like to participate!

Updates will be posted on the web page http://caql.org/events/veto18.html which you're looking at right now.

"A lot of Imperialist ladies asked me to tea to meet schoolmasters from New Zealand and editors from Vancouver, and that was the dismalest business of all."
- John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps

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