facts in five [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report    

 2006 Status: pending December Membership Century Vote

Sean McCulloch, OH

2005 Champion

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Event History
1993    Luke Kratz      23
1994    Eric Olin      25
1995    Chuck Foster      24
1996    Luke Kratz      25
1997    Stephanie Greenwood      19
1998    Caleb Cousins      29
1999    Shantanu Saha     17
2000    Randy Cox     31
2001    Aaron Silverman     34
2002    Doug Hoylman     48
2003    Aaron Silverman     43
2004    Doug Hoylman     31
2005    Sean McCulloch     40


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Aaron Silverman    FL    03     44
  2.  Doug Hoylman       MD    04     42
  3.  Randy Cox          SC    03     31
  4.  Richard Irving     CA    04     24
  5.  Pitt Crandelmire   MA    02     24
  6.  Sean McCulloch     OH    05     20
  7.  Shantanu Saha      NY    99     20
  8.  Paul Bean          MA    05     12
  9.  Steve Cameron      PA    00     12
 10.  Francis Spencer    MD    04     10
 11.  Richard Meyer      MA    04     10
 12.  Roderick Lee       CA    05      8
 13.  Winton LeMoine     CA    04      8
 14.  Debbie Bell        MD    01      8
 15.  Caleb Cousins      ME    01      8
 16.  Sean Cousins       ME    01      8
 17.  James Hopkin       CA    00      8
 18.  Stephany Greenwood MD    99      8
 19.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    05      6
 20.  Roy Pettis         VA    03      6
 21.  Robert Cranshaw    RI    05      4
 22.  Frank Cunliffe     PA    05      4
 23.  Luke Kratz         ID    04      4
 24.  Donna Balkan       ON    01      4
 25.  Andy Maly          MD    99      4
 26.  Gordon ELgart      CA    02      1

2005 Laurelists

Paul Bean, MA

Roderick Lee, CA

Gordon Rodgers, PA

Frank Cunliffe, PA

Robert Cranshaw, RI

Past Winners

Luke Kratz, ID
1993, 1996

Eric Olin, CT

Chuck Foster, TX

Stephanie Greenwood, MD

Caleb Cousins, ME

Shantanu Saha, NY

Randy Cox, SC

Aaron Silverman, NJ
2001, 2003

Doug Hoylman, MD
2002, 2004

A Real Trivial Pursuit

Ordinarily this event doesn't fit my schedule, but this year I couldn't attend my usual Saturday evening event. Furthermore, after listening to a former player whine about how unfair she thought the prior year's categories were, I was curious to see what all her fuss was about. Hence I entered the trivia competition. After completing the event, I think the whiners should find something else to play Saturday evenings. I am really impressed with the amount and quality of preparation the GM put into this event. He had to come up with 25 categories, answers for all possible starting letters, and then combine them into five sets of five categories where the five starting letters corresponded. The only category I thought questionable was "Pennsylvania Cities with Population over 5000" because I thought it gave Pennsylvanians an unfair advantage. (Not that I was able to take advantage. Having lived most of my life in Pittsburgh but the most recent years in Philadelphia, one would think this question tailored for me. Yet I only got three answers correct.) Some people complained about the "Canadian Prime Ministers" category. I say that no one who doesn't know the first PM (MacDonald), longest serving PM (Trudeau) or current PM (Chrétien) deserves to be a trivia champion. The gamemaster could still improve this event, though, by having a few reference materials with him to resolve simple disputes, like an almanac. (I scored a round for an opponent who answered "Vienna" for "Cities with Population over a Million" and was rejected.) I'm also curious why the director wouldn't let us keep our answer sheets. .... Frank Cunliffe in EPGS' Heroics newsletter

One problem Facts in Five has had as an event was there wasn't a real great place to hold the event at the HVI, but the Host has the Hopewell Room, a small theater/auditorium with writing space at each seat. Perfect for holding a small class or seminar. Just like a college lecture hall, except the seats are more comfortable. Just the place to hold the WBC event most like a final exam!

For those who have never played Facts in Five, it is very simple. The players get five categories and five letters of the alphabet, which are written on the edges of a 5x5 grid. Players then have five minutes to write in answers that match the category and begin with the proper letters. (People generally sorted by their surname and titles remove any initial "The", "A" or "An") Scoring is actually needlessly complicated--I am not going to go into that here. (But this year I had far fewer scoring errors (which I try to correct in the five minutes of the next round).

At home, the game consists of the players picking categories from a deck of cards and letters are drawn randomly. Answers are confirmed by reference materials that the players happen to have available and vote when there is still a dispute. At the WBC, the GM preselects the categories. I do this for two reasons:
- That way I can make sure there is an answer available for each box on the scoresheet. Nothing is more frustrating when the draw of letters is something like Q J X V R.
- I can research the categories to provide an answer sheet. This eliminates the need for references and players can appeal to the GM on an answer that does not appear on the list. The GM makes the final call on the validity of any answer not on the sheet. (This is mainly done to prevent the Great Presidential Dispute of the Year 2000 when enough Fi5 players selected Ben Franklin to be a US President.)
There are four rounds where everyone participates. The top six scorers and anyone within 100 points of the lead, advance to the fifth & final round. After five rounds, the player with the top score is declared Champion.

40players started the final exam, but the field was wide open this year as the two players who have passed the championship back and forth the last four years (Doug Hoylman and Aaron Silverman) were not in attendance.

To give an example of the categories I used, here is the first round:
- Pizza Hut toppings (and only those used at Pizza Hut)
- Names of Popes
- Cat Breeds
- Things/People found in a court room (but not proper names)
- US Cities (Population 5000+) whose names begin with "San ____" or "Santa ____") (in this category the start of the name after the San/ta is what counted: Example: San Francisco is sorted under F.

Letters: ABCJP

Needless to say there were a lot of answers I didn't include, especially for things found in a court room. (But I expected that.) Two particular answers need further explanation:
- Under Cat Breeds: Calico is not a breed but a description of the pattern of fur color. Many different breeds can be described as "calico cats". But the Cat Fanciers Association does not consider it a breed itself.
- San Pedro is not a separate city. It was annexed by Los Angeles in1909.

Scores were considerably up from last year, when the event was GM'ed by someone else. I try to pick categories/letters where there is at least one answer from every box and I try to pick letters so well known answers are available. (I hope everyone got B, J & P answers for Popes!) No one scored a perfect round of 250 this year--Sean Mc Cullough came closest with a 200 in Round 3.

After four rounds an all-time high of 12 players finished within 100 points of the leader:
Sean McCullough (582),
Paul Bean (558),
Roderick Lee (544),
Rich Meyer (530),
Jeri Freedman (528),
Robert Cranshaw (520),
Frank Cunliffe (518),
Francis Spencer, Gordon Rogers (tied at 516),
Ken Gutermuth (514),
Winton Lemoine (490),
Bruce Maxwell (484).

The final round included these categories (these should be more difficult than the early rounds)
- Canadian Prime Ministers
- Movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock
- US Satellite TV networks (Dish Network or Direct TV, most of these are also available on cable systems)
- Pennsylvania Cities & Towns (population 5000+)
- Current members of US Congress (Representative or Senator)
Letters: CMPST

The highest score on the final round was Gordon Rogers with 122, enough to bump him from 9th to 4th place, Frank Cunliffe had 112 which moved him up to 5th. Paul Bean and Roderick Lee both scored 102 to keep their 2nd & 3rd place laurels. But Sean McCullough was not to be denied with a final round 100 points to hold onto his lead and claim the title.

Congratuations Sean!

 GM      Richard Irving [4th Year]  NA 
    rri12@sbcglobal.net   NA

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