Rules & Information

Guide for Writing Friendlies

Thanks for your interest in writing an AST Friendly. Here are some tips to help make your Friendly as successful as possible.

Picking A Good Theme

The more specific your theme, the better. Again, this is relative—if you have a sport like roller derby, that's probably specific enough, but if your quiz is about baseball, it should be refined further.

Along with your quiz, you should write a short description of what it's about, i.e. what the players can expect. This will go up on the site ahead of time, so people have an idea what is coming, and will show alongside of the quiz.

Showing Your Personality

Don't be afraid to let your personality and your passion for the topic shine through in these. This is not to say you have to write essays for each question, or that there's not a place for very simple, direct questions, but these are niche subjects and you have license to be creative and/or funny, give historical context, and essentially tell a story with these questions—if you want.

Balancing the Difficulty

A Friendly should be 10 questions, and the most important role of the author is to vary the difficulty such that it's fun and accessible to the player with broad or limited knowledge, but is also difficult enough to separate out even the best players.

There is no ironclad rule for how this breaks down, but in general there should be 3-4 questions you consider on the easier side, 3-4 on the medium side, and 3-4 that you'd consider tough enough so that you'd have to have specific knowledge to know the answers. Again, this is all relative and all on a spectrum, so do your best and myself and the testers can help you along the way.


One thought to keep in mind on difficulty is the YEKIOYD (you either know it or you don't) idea. For some questions, particularly the easier ones, you might consider giving an alternative path into the answer. A (too-easy) example of what this means: If your quiz was about minor league baseball, you might write, "This player batted .236 for the Birmingham Barons in 1995, but was just slightly better known for his achievements in another sport." You get the idea. If you're asking a refined knowledge question, but you need to make it easier, this is a good solution. In general, the more difficult the question, the more likely it is to be of the YEKIOYD variety.

Ordering Based on Difficulty

The questions do not have to be presented in order of difficulty, and in fact, because such a big part of scoring is figuring out which ones will play toughest, they shouldn't be.

Adding a Tiebreaker Question

You should also write a tiebreaker question, closest to the pin style. What this means is that the answer must be a numerical value that's hard to get exactly right, but which can be estimated by those who know the subject (i.e, how many hits did Ichiro have as a New York Yankee?)

Submitting and Grading Friendlies

When you send them in, send them to me pasted in an email (not a Google doc or Word File) first with just questions, then with questions and answers.

In the near future, we'll be giving access to the author to grade their quizzes. We can help in that regard, but just be prepared to be available for that when the time comes. The system is extremely easy to use.