Brain Game Rules & Information

WRAL's Brain Game

I. General

  1. Brain Game is an academic quiz show for high school students (grades 9-12).
  2. For 2010-2011, the regular season games will be taped October-December, and the playoffs/championship will be taped January-April.
  3. Three teams, with three players each, compete in a game. (Except during playoffs – see that section for details.)
  4. Each team may have one alternate player. Alternates may enter at the beginning of a game. Once a game has begun, alternates may be substituted only during a commercial break and only due to an existing player’s illness or other physical inability to play.
  5. Questions are asked by the host, Mark Roberts, with points given for each correct answer and points subtracted for each incorrect answer. The team with the highest score wins the game.
  6. In the result of a tie, a tie-breaking question will be asked off-air.


II. Eligibility/Participation

  1. All public (including charter) and private high schools in the WRAL viewing area are eligible to compete. Teams from home schools or home school collectives are also welcome. No prior qualification is necessary.
  2. Each school will be allowed to play only once per season.
  3. Regular season competitors are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
  4. If your team has not participated in the past, please fill out the online registration form and you will be contacted by the Brain Game Coordinator.

III. Playoffs and Championship

  1. All 12 regular season winners advance to the playoffs. Six wild card teams (highest scoring, non-winners) will also advance.
  2. All six Round One winners will advance to Round Two. From these games forward, the matches will consist of two teams instead of three.
  3. All three Round Two winners, plus one wild card team advance to the Final Four.
  4. The two winners of the Final Four matches will play for the Championship.
  5. For Round One and Round Two of the playoffs, competitors will be “seeded” and matched based on their regular season scores. The Final Four competitors will be selected at random.

IV. Questions

  1. Brain Game questions are written by a panel of experts, including current and former North Carolina teachers. These experts also serve as judges during games.
  2. Each game consists of the segments listed below. Unless noted, there are 10 questions per segment, each worth 20 points.
    A. Pop Up Culture: Movies, TV, Internet, Music, Sports, Games
    B. Headliners: International, National, State and Local News
    C. Word Power: Themed Crossword Puzzle
    D. Arts & Crafts: Fine Arts from Classic to Modern Day  (5 questions, +/- 20 points)
    E. Name Game: Big Names in Arts, Culture, Politics, History (5 questions asked per team, +/- 10 points, 20 point bonus for all correct)
    F. Crunching Numbers: General Math, Algebra & Geometry (5 questions, +/- 20 points)
    G. Rocket Science: Earth & Physical Science, Biology
    H. Globetrotting: Geography and Culture Around the World
    I. Across America: Geography and Culture in the United States
  3. With the exception of Name Game, the questions in each segment are open for all teams to answer. If a team misses the question, the question is open for one remaining team to answer.
  4. During the Name Game segment, questions are timed and directed at individual teams. Points are deducted for incorrect answers, but the team may pass on a Name Game question with no impact on the score. If the host completes the reading of a Name Game question and time is called, the team will be allowed five seconds to answer.
  5. Questions are answered by buzzing in. Teams may buzz in once the host begins reading a question. After buzzing in, the team must wait for the host to recognize them. The player who buzzed in may confer with teammates. Once the team is recognized, they must answer within 5 seconds. The judges will sound the bell when time is up. If no answer has been given, points will be deducted from that team.
  6. All questions will be read ONLY ONCE. If no one buzzes in to answer a question after 10 seconds, the host moves on to the next question with no impact on any team’s score.

V. Acceptable Answers

  1. Each question lists its answer and any acceptable alternate answer. In the event an answer is incomplete, for instance giving a last name when first and last are required, the host will ask for more information or require the player to be more specific. Any incorrect information given makes the entire answer incorrect.
  2. It is at the host’s discretion to ask for clarification or a ruling from the judges.
  3. Only the first answer given will be accepted.
  4. Pronunciations do not have to be exact. A plausible or phonetic pronunciation is usually acceptable, unless it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about the correct answer.
  5. If a player from a team that has not buzzed in answers a question, the answer does not count, even if the given answer is correct. No points will be deducted. The team that did buzz in will be allowed to answer.
  6. If someone in the audience shouts out an answer, that question will be thrown out.

VI. Protests

  1. All decisions of the show’s Producer are final.
  2. Protests should be made to the judges during the first available commercial break, and post-game while all teams and players are still present. Delayed protests will not be considered.
  3. Reasons for protest include acceptability of an answer, execution of game procedures, or scoring errors. Protests will be considered only if they affect the outcome of the game.
  4. If a question contains a verifiable factual error which misled a player into giving a reasonable response to the information provided, the response given will be accepted as correct.
  5. If a question contains a verifiable factual error which misled a player into giving no response (leading either to an unanswered question or a question answered by the opposing team), the question will be tossed out.
  6. A buzzer check will be made at the beginning of taping. If a buzzer stops working during play, the team should notify the host immediately. Protests after the fact about buzzers not working will not invalidate a game. In the absence of a completely functioning buzzer system, a designated official will be the final judge of which player signaled first. That judge’s call is not subject to protest.
  7. Only the judges may determine whether a team was given the allotted time to answer a question and their decision is not subject to protest.
  8. Intangible factors, such as breaking a team’s momentum, will not be considered by the judges.
  9. If a protest is accepted, scores will be adjusted accordingly.

VII. Conduct

  1. All players, coaches, school representatives, and other persons associated with a team are bound by an honor code to behave responsibly and ethically. This includes, but is not limited to: treating all other participants and staff with courtesy, neither giving nor receiving impermissible assistance, not creating the temptation for another to cheat, abiding by all decisions of the Brain Game staff, not colluding with another person to "fix" a game result, not intentionally "throwing" a game, honestly reporting details of game situations to tournament officials, and reporting violations of the honor code.
  2. Instances of misconduct may result in removal from the studio, suspension of a participant, and/or a team ban from participation.

VIII. Taping Information

  1. Teams invited to play Brain Game will be contacted by the Brain Game Coordinator.
  2. All tapings are done on Saturdays at the WRAL-TV 5 Studios. Please invite your parents, friends, and any supporters to the taping to cheer you on.
  3. Teams will receive a package of information for their game day, including directions to WRAL, arrival time, where to meet, etc.
  4. Coaches should provide the Coordinator the names of their players and alternate at least one week prior to taping.
  5. If a team is more than 15 minutes late, and does not contact the Brain Game Coordinator, or does not show, that team will be forced to forfeit the game. The forfeiting team will not be invited to participate again for a minimum of one year. If possible, the remaining teams will be rescheduled for that season. Exceptions will be made for certain emergencies at the discretion of the Producer and Coordinator.
  6. At a briefing prior to taping, teams will draw for positions on the set. Game rules will also be reviewed.
  7. Photographs may be taken when the television cameras are not taping.