Northeast Normal University Big English & Politics Competition Fall 2017

Official Preview & Blog


BACKGROUND: We're back and ready to rumble even harder! Registration for the 2017 BEPC closes Fri., Nov. 10th. This year we've invited the students from the Rutgers-Newark Institute at NENU (RUNIN) to form teams and compete in a separate qualifying round. The top five teams from Round 1 for both the Dept. of Law & Politics & RUNIN will meet on the weekend of Nov. 18th & 19th (day and time to be announced). Before the competition, teams may check the sections below for a preview of the games we will play.

We are currently seeking scorekeepers and assistants for both rounds of competition. We will also need photographers, and it would be great if someone could take a video of the whole competition this year for posterity. For Round 2, we need an official scorekeeper who is not from the Dept. of Law & Politics or RUNIN. Participation of foreign teachers is strongly encouraged for photo ops and international flavor, and Julian will treat volunteers to lunch or dinner after the competition.

The school-funded cash prizes will be strictly divided by dept. for the top teams. Julian will provide additional prizes without consideration of dept., including more levels to encourage those teams in the bottom half during the end of Round 2 to keep up their effort.

ROUND 1: Games for Round 1 will be held in the same classrooms in the Law & Politics Dept. building as last year. For RUNIN, the competition begins Sun., Nov. 11th at 6PM. The Law & Politics Dept. begins their competition on the following Sat., Nov. 12th at 5:30PM. Those wishing to learn or practice any of the games may arrive up to an hour before the official starting time. Note that this year we will not spend nearly as much time explaining the games, as we offered a practice party on Nov. 4th and many teams are playing for the second time! As Boggle is new this year, it will be the exception.

To check in for Round 1, all five members of your team must be present. Incomplete teams will not be allowed to check in. Teams which do not check in by the beginning time of the competition may be replaced by teams on the waitlist (according to the order on the waitlist and the presence of all five team members). The goal is to ensure that both departments' versions of Round 1 have 12 teams competing.

RUNIN and Law & Polt. Round 1 will be scored separately, with the top 5 teams advancing to Round 2. Each team's total score is the cumulative scores of the three Round 1 games: 1. Scrabble, 2. Wii Wordjong, 3. Boggle.

1. Scrabble: All five team members may play. Dictionaries and cel phone apps will not be allowed this year. With twelve teams playing, we will have four boards in groups of three teams per board. Your team can expect to score 100-175 points in this game, though a score of 200 or more is not impossible. This is the most difficult of the three games, and it will take the longest to play and finish, about 2-3 hours. We will start the competition with this game and then call teams to play Wordjong & Boggle after Scrabble has begun.

2. Wii Wordjong: This will be played by two team members: one with the Wii controller and one to coach. With twelve teams playing, we may either have three groups of four teams playing at once or four groups of three teams playing at once (as it gets a little crowded in the classroom). The winning team of each group will have a maximum of 150 points from this game.

3. Boggle: Only one team member will represent the team in this group. We will have two game sets, with three teams at each table. The game will only be played to 50 points, but the winning team at each table will get 75 points. The second-place team will get 50 points, and the losing team will get 25 points or their actual score (whichever is higher) to standardize the range of scores in case some teams are especially dominant.

At the conclusion of Round 1, we will decide the day and time of Round 2.

Special thanks to assistants from Round 1:

ROUND 2: Suggestions or applications for a neutral scorekeeper not affiliated with either RUNIN or the Dept. of Law & Politics are currently being accepted, with lavish compensation to be negotiated.

Round 2 will take place on Sat., Nov. 18th at 5pm in Classroom 4 at the Dept. of Law & Politics. It will last about three hours. The top 5 teams from Round 1 (regardless of dept.) will start Round 2 with 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 point, respectively, while the bottom 5 teams will start at zero.

Qualifying teams can expect several sets of questions related to their majors, for each of which teams will wager from 0-5 points before the question is asked. We hope that other professors who have studied politics or business will provide additional sets of questions as special guest MCs. There will also be many "team challenges" similar to 2016 including: Map Challenge (China, USA, World), English challenge, World Currency Challenge, Alphabetization Challenge, Dictation, etc. If you have a suggestion for a game or challenge for Round 2, please tell Julian ASAP, but be aware that it should be possible to explain and complete in 10 minutes or less!

Prizes have been advertised by each respective program and will be supplemented by Julian. While RUNIN & the Dept. of Law & Polt. teams will not compete against each other for their respective cash prizes, Julian will make sure that the prizes encourage competition to be #1 overall, regardless of one's program of origin. We'll also try to do better to encourage the teams on the bottom half of the rankings to stay competitive after their odds of being the champion recede. The actual prizes will remain veiled until the day of Round 2, but students can expect, in addition to the grand cash prizes, an assortment of music CDs, foreign currency souvenirs, candy,

Participants can expect Round 2, like in 2016, to last about 3 hours in a game-show format very similar to the Review Game in the courses Julian teaches.

RESULTS & ANALYSIS OF ROUND 1: Photos are coming eventually! Special thanks to assistants Mubarik, Liv, Raise, Sirius, Kan Yunfei, Lulu, Nadia, Catherine, Cadence, Elena, and volunteers from RUNIN and the Dept. of Law & Polt. whose names escape me at the moment. Payment in kind is soon to follow! Participants who didn't qualify for Round 2 but left before getting their consolation prize may stop by RUNIN Office 245 for their Russian candy and contact organizers for a snazzy notebook.

The average combined score for RUNIN (Newark) was 381, while Law & Politics teams averaged 387. The lowest qualifying score for RUNIN was 345, for L&P 376. The highest nonqualifying score for RUNIN was 337, for L&P 371. The difference-maker between the 5th-place (qualifying) and 6th-place (non-qualifying) teams appears to have been Boggle, as in both cases the 5th-place teams had higher Scrabble scores than the 6th-place teams.

Teams not qualifying for Round 2 from RUNIN included Teams 3, 4, 7, and 10. Nonqualifying teams from Law & Politics were #2, 3, 7, 8, and 9.

Three registered teams did not attend and will be swiftly and severely punished: neither program's Team 6 showed up, and L&P Team 4 quit before the event.

The highest Scrabble scores for the whole tournament were achieved by RUNIN 8 (308), L&P 5 (282), and RUNIN 1 (260). As one of the boards both days (RUNIN Board D and L&P Board A) had significantly higher scores than all the other boards for all its teams, future competitions will need to look into standardization of just what the "no cel phones" policy actually means in practice. The only team from either program not qualifying despite playing on the high-scoring boards was L&P 8, due to a low Wordjong score and just average Boggle performance.

Wordjong scores were noticeably higher this year for those who'd practiced and lower for those who played for the first time in this year's Round 1. Special condolences go to L&P Team 9 (2014 PA), whose Scrabble and Boggle scores were the highest for their groups but whose videogaming skills effectively disqualified them:-( Of the four teams which scored less than 100 points in Wordjong, only one of them qualified (RUNIN 1).

The addition of Boggle was a bit of a headache for scorekeepers, as it's probably the least interesting and most tedious to watch and officiate. Interestingly, the L&P teams visiting the RUNIN tournament dominated their groups, and all but one of the qualifying teams from L&P was a Boggle winner. The only Boggle-winning team from either program which did not qualify for Round 2 was the long-suffering 2014 PA team from L&P. Only one team losing in Boggle qualified, RUNIN 8.

Special note for Sirius & Kan Yunfei: it is not an ethical violation to be both an administrator and participant in the competition. There are very few freshmen participating in Round 2, and had you formed a team that would likely have been different!

QUALIFYING TEAMS INTRODUCTION: Let's get to know our finalists, with photos to be posted eventually, after Round 2.

Ranked by cumulative Round 1 scores, with Round 1 final score & starting Round 2 team score in parentheses (345-509, 0-5pts.):

1. L&P 5 2014 Int'l Polt. (509, 5) This team came in 2nd-place last year.

2. RUNIN 8 Juniors Fin./SCM (484, 4)

3. RUNIN 5 Mixed PA/Fin./SCM (477, 3)

4. L&P 11 2015 Int'l Polt. (454, 2). Astute visitors to this site will note that these are the defending champions from the 2016 BEPC.

5. RUNIN 9 Juniors SCM (436, 1)

6. L&P 1 2016 Mixed Int'l Polt. & PA. (420, 0)

7. RUNIN 1 Soph. Fin.1 (416, 0)

8. L&P 12 2106 Int'l Polt. (392, 0)

9. L&P 10 2016 Polt. (376, 0)

10. RUNIN 2 Mixed Junior/Soph., Fin./SCM (345, 0)

Las Vegas is now accepting wager inquiries for which team will bring home the championship.


Special thanks to assistants in Round 2:

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