KQ/QK Tips

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Kaleidoquiz is a daunting challenge to take on, especially if you’ve never done it before. Below you’ll find ten steps to follow to succeed at, and have fun with, Kaleidoquiz.

This list is long and relatively comprehensive so don’t let it scare you. For smaller first time teams, KQ is about picking your battles and dividing what resources you have available. In the end though it’s all about having fun, so if you’re short someone at 5AM and can’t make it to an event, don’t sweat it.

P.S. If you are on this page because you’re doing Quickykwiz, read through this advice, but realize that QK isn’t as long or hardcore, demands a much smaller team size, and does not require so much preparation.

  1. Gather Your Team – Kaleidoquiz is a team event. Team sizes vary greatly but successful teams, for purposes of this list teams that finish in the top 10, typically have, at minimum, 25 team members. That 25 number is important because it’s also the number of people we target you’ll need during most hours of KQ. Mind you, this is based on approximations of an “average” team, so your millage may vary. If you’ve got someone who’s ungodly in front of Google you might need fewer people in your phone room, if you’ve got someone who’s a hoarder you might not need so many people for scavenger hunts, but remember, this is a 26 hour event and most of us need to sleep to be at peak performance.
  2. Pick a Team Headquarters – For 26 hours wherever you pick will be your home. The essentials you’ll need are an internet connection, a big enough room to fit people and a bunch of computers, and ideally a side room you can work on the various side projects we throw you. Beyond those essentials you’ll want easy access to cars (and thus parking), and a place for your team members to get away and take a nap and/or unwind. Finally a huge bonus is proximity to Friley. We try our best to give ample time to teams that are off campus or farther flung than UDA, but in the end everyone has to be given the same deadlines. The less transit time you have the better.
  3. Plan a Route to Friley and the KURE Studios – The bowels of Friley Hall are home to KURE and Kaleidoquiz. We have no windows, and if you don’t familiarize yourself with the basement of Friley before the day of KQ you’re more likely to cross paths with a Minotaur than get to an event on time. Seriously, take a field trip with a bunch of people down to the KURe studios before KQ, but please don’t feed the DJs.
  4. Gather Items on the “Team Scavenger Hunt List” – The Team Scavenger Hunt List is the only clue that we’re going to give you into the events of this year’s KQ. We’re being intentionally cryptic and obtuse so get used to it. Parse the items on this list carefully because it was composed with care. Hopefully this’ll give you some insight into what we’re looking for this year.
  5. Read Everything on the Kaleidoquiz Website – No really, we’re giving out free advice here. We also like to leave hints in strange places. If you think of a question, write it down, we always do a pre-KQ team Q&A, a KQ&A if you will. Worst case we might not answer your question, or we might give a cryptic answer, but we might be upfront about things; if you don’t ask you have zero chance of even getting a hint.
  6. Develop a Plan for Expenses – This is easy for some and harder for others. If the team is buying pizza at 1AM, who is paying for it? Now that you’ve purchased 10 novelty versions of Monopoly for a scavenger hunt (because you cheated and didn’t just find people that owned them) what are you going to do with them, and who’s footing the bill? Keep receipts, they make figuring out who owes whom much easier. This isn’t to say that KQ can’t be done on a shoestring but it’s not cost free either, at minimum you’ve got a registration fee.
  7. Prepare a Plan of Action for Friday Before KQ – Kaleidoquiz starts at 4PM on Friday afternoon. But that’s not when you should start getting your team set up, that’s when you should be ready, ready for anything (see item 9). 4PM is when the first question is read, the first challenges are announced, and the gauntlet is laid down. This means your team HQ should be set and ready to go. You should have many team members on site as you can and the rest of them on their way. You should have picked up your team packet, tested your secret phone line, and most importantly most, if not all, of your team members should have finished individual registration.
  8. Prepare a Plan of Action for All of KQ – Kaleidoquiz is a multiheaded beast. You’ll need to all be at the top of your game at all times. Come up with a plan for when people are going to do what. Some teams plan out who is sleeping when to ensure that when the 5AM doldrums hit you’ve got some fresh minds and cheerful faces to pull the third shifters through to the end. Other teams go so far as to plan out shifts for eating. As much as planning is possible you should attempt to do so.
  9. Be ready for All Standard Event Types – Kaleidoquiz is all about the unexpected but there are some things you can always count on.
    • Questions on the Air: the heart of KQ, read every 6 minutes, you’ve got up till the buzzer to answer them. You should probably have a recording and some kind of transcript of the questions. We’re self referential at times and you’ll always want to make sure you can remember if that question had a “not” in it.
    • Scavenger Hunts: 20 items, 2 hours, 3 times. You’ll have to build some of these things from scratch, others you’ll have to wake your friend’s Mom in Boone to drive up that children’s toy she never threw away.
    • Montages: 10 to 20 5-15 second movie and music clips you have to identify. You should have some means to record these as we only play them once, but we will give you a 15 minute warning.
    • Physical Challenges: Four-square tournaments, games of Quidditch, races to the top of a rock climbing wall, and triathlons. No really, we made people do a triathlon once.
    • Creative Challenges: Photoshop showdowns, talent shows, rock operas, video-editing challenges, we’ve done them all. You’re guaranteed to need a video camera at some point.
    • Intellectual Challenges: Video game tournaments, lectures, in-person internet-free trivia challenges, navigating Wikipedia. The sky is the limit.
    • The Traveling Question: This is infamous, it’s epic, it’s the college road trip you see in movies, the quest for that distant goal that changes along the way. You’ll literally go places you didn’t expect you’d ever go, and those places are frequently out of state.
  10. Prepare to Throw Your Plans Away – If your best graphics person is sleeping at 4am and we throw out a challenge to photoshop Dan Quayle into a 2012 Presidential Debate they better be available, and easy to rouse from a slumber. Kaleidoquiz is all about adapting to what’s thrown at you, adapting being the key word.

Tips for Teams

Competing in KQ is fun, arduous, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting and most of all hectic. Over the course of the 26 hour period that makes up KQ your team will be besieged by questions that only a team of competitors can hope to answer, scavenger hunts with items so improbable you’ll be tempted to forge some, and tasks so strange you’ll definitely be writing home about them. KQ is in a word, crazy. At times you’ll likely feel that your team has completely lost control of the situation, at other times it’ll seem as if we have. To that end we offer our first two pieces of advise: relax, and we are always right.

To elaborate on “Relax”. When we say relax we mean a great many things. First and foremost though we mean it in the most literal sense. Take a deep breath, step back, and think. The tasks we set before you aren’t impossible, just difficult. We don’t design KQ to be won by a team of 100 people (though that may help), we shoot for an ideal team size of around 20 dedicated people. Get some rest, both before, during and after. If you’re exhausted, it’s probably because you need sleep. If you’re a team leader and need sleep, I hope you have someone to take over, you’re not going to lead well on fumes.

When we say “we are always right” we mean it in the most egotistical, maniacal, stubborn way possible. We’ve spent months planning KQ, we’ve looked into, and/or thought of almost all the possibilities, and we really are convinced we’ve done a pretty good job most of the time. A lot of the time we have, and when you question us you’re wrong and you’re just annoying us. Sometimes, SOMETIMES, (this is the first, and last time you’ll hear us say this) we may be right, but not as right as we could be. When these times arise you’ll undoubtably wish to point out this disparity, if you do allow us to suggest the following. Be polite; remember that we’re trying our best. Be calm; we’re much less likely to listen to someone jumping around waving their hands. Realize that we may be wrong but we are the final arbiters; if you’re calm, clear, and intelligent we’ll listen to you, and even consider what you have to say, but respect our decisions as final. We have a long night.

Those two tips above, although probably the best advice you’ll receive, might not have been what you were looking for. Perhaps a little too broad? Here are a series of more specific tips.

1. Record KQ, All of It. Not only are we sneaky bastards and ask you for things you forgot hours ago, it’s just an all around good idea. No one caught if the question reader said “do” or “don’t”? Just go to the recording!

2. Set Up an HQ. Things a basic HQ will have: a computer room; a separate (quieter) staging area for planning things like the traveling question, scavenger hunts, etc; access to parking; food (but not by the computers!). Things a good HQ will have: a projector in the computer room to display the current question and/or time remaining, a timer, easy access to parking; a planned route to the KURE Studios; a variety of food (fruit is going to get your team further than more pizza when 7AM rolls around).

3. The More the Merrier. Although we’ve seen teams as small as 10 do relatively well those 10 people were absolutely nuts and were totally happy with merely finishing in the top 10. KQ is a team event, a large team event. We try to target KQ to be doable by a group of 20 or so absolutely dedicated souls or 30+ less dedicated ones. If you’re shooting for the top 3, have at least that many people.

4. Things We’re fond of (and you should be too!). Obscure television shows, bad movies, leaving hints in strange places, riddles, wordplay, obscure humor, scavenger hunts, intentional errors, movie montages (series of nearly unidentifiable movie clips that only movie buffs would catch), referencing pop culture, referencing indie culture, referencing nerd culture, hating on hipster… uh… culture?, long road trips, long walks on the beach, careful listeners, a grand old time.