Scoring a Rallye by Hand
Today, TRC has a computerized scoring system, but before it was developed, rallyemasters scored gimmick rallyes by hand. Some rallyemasters still prefer to score their rallyes by hand, and others like having the option (just in case the laptop computer at the finish dies).
Coursemarker Scoring Patterns
This section is applicable only to coursemarker rallyes. If you are writing an A–B or Q–A rallye, you can skip to the Scoring Templates section.
The key to scoring a coursemarker rallye quickly by hand is arranging the CMs in an easily followed scoring pattern. That means that normal CMs worth +10 points are in one area of the score sheet, bad CMs worth -10 points are in another area of the score sheet, and CMs with more complex scoring are in other areas of the score sheet.
Creating your scoring pattern is one of the last steps in writing a CM rallye. In this step, you assign letters to all your CMs.
Begin by identifying the following groups of special CMs:
- CMs where the letter(s) on the CM are part of a gimmick
- CM letter(s) that are gimmicked, but unused
- CMs with complex scoring (impossible combinations, CMs with prerequisites, etc.)
- bad CMs worth negative points (fish, bandits)
- any other CMs that are not worth a simple +10 points
Next, draft a blank score sheet, and start blocking out areas of the score sheet for different types of CMs.
Gimmicks Using CM Letter(s)
Start with the CMs where the letter(s) on the CM are part of a gimmick. You have the least flexibility with these CMs, so start with them.
Also note whether any of these CMs have other special characteristics (as listed above), and whether any other CM letter(s) are gimmicked, even though you aren't using them.
For example, your General Instructions specify that the words North, South, East, West, and their abbreviations (N, S, E, and W) do not exist on signs.
After getting a simple setup gimmick (e.g., an obviously misspelled street name), rallyists will find the CM E. This CM is worth partial credit (for getting the original setup gimmick), but rallyists should ignore it (because East and E do not exist on signs, including CMs) and continue further to record the full-credit CM instead. They should never record both E and the full-credit CM.
Furthermore, one of your on-course CMs is W, and is therefore bad. There are other on-course CMs that are worth +10 points, but W should be ignored, and recording it is worth -10 points.
On your template score sheet, you should indicate that
- CM E is partial credit for an impossible combination
- CM W is bad
- CMs N and S should not be used (otherwise you would repeat the same gimmick again)
CMs with Complex Scoring
Next, place the CMs with complex scoring. Impossible combinations are the most common example, but there are other possiblities, including:
- CMs with prerequisites (i.e., worth +10 points if a prerequisite CM was also recorded, but worth 0 or negative points otherwise)
- CMs that are scored differently depending on which number(s) are recorded (e.g., CMs that may be recorded more than once)
- Groups of CMs with "logic table" scoring (e.g., 3 CMs with a chart showing the value for each of the 8 possible permutations)
Note: While it is possible to score CMs in extremely complex ways, it is usually better to keep things simple. In addition to making it harder to score the rallye by hand, extremely complex scoring makes it harder to explain the scoring of your gimmicks in your critique, and makes it harder for rallyists to determine what their scores should be based on their run sheets. It is often better to trade a little accuracy for more simplicity.
To continue our earlier example, we already know that CM E is partial credit for an impossible combination, that CM W is bad, and that we canot use CMs N and S. Let's say we have three other impossible combinations, each with a partial-credit CM worth +10 points and a full-credit CM worth +20 points. We'll arrange these three partial-credit CMs in the upper-left corner of the score sheet (above CM E), and we'll arrange all four full-credit CMs immediately to the right of their corresponding partial-credit CMs.
This arrangement makes it easy to score this group of 8 CMs. Both CMs of any side-by-side pair (e.g., both E and R) is an impossible combination worth 0 points. Otherwise, the CMs on the left (B through E) are worth +10 points, and the CMs on the right (O through R) are worth +20 points.
Another alternative is be to arrange the partial-credit CMs on one row (E through RR) with the full-credit CMs on the row above them (D through QQ).
Next, place the bad CMs that are worth negative points. Fish CMs are bad CMs that there is no reason for rallyists to find. Bandit CMs are bad CMs that you have tried to trick rallyists into recording.
Usually, bad CMs are worth -10 points each. If you have bad CMs worth different negative values (e.g., some worth -10 points and others worth -5 points), then group those with the same value together.
To continue our earlier example, let's say we have 8 bad CMs (including W), and that they are all worth -10 points each.
There are many ways to keep all 8 bad CMs together. The Example Scoring Pattern shows a 2-column block in the bottom-left corner of the score sheet, but other options include moving the 2-column block a row or two (or three) higher on the page, centering the 2-column block (W through Z and JJ through MM), or arranging them in 2 rows (J through WW and either the row above it or the row below it).
Other Special CMs
If there are any other CMs that are not simply worth +10 points, now is the time to place them.
Some CMs may be worth 0 points. This is typical for course-correcting CMs, where the rallyist has already been penalized for missing a gimmick (by recording a bad CM, or by not recording a good CM), and the goal is simply to get confused rallyists back on course, so they don't get lost.
Other CMs may be worth more than +10 points. For example, the full-credit interpretation might have you record a CM worth +20 points, and a partial-credit interpretation might have you record both that CM and a bad CM worth -10 points (for a net score of +10 points).
Whatever the reason, now is the time to arrange any other special CMs.
At this point, the remaining CMs should all be normal CMs worth +10 points. Arrange them in the space that remains available.
To continue our earlier example, let's say we have 30 good CMs worth +10 points each. We'll arrange 26 of them in the two columns that are completely open, and we'll arrange the remaining 4 in the space between the impossible combinations and the bad CMs.
Experienced rallyists (especially those who have helped score previous rallyes) can gain insight into a rallye by analyzing its scoring pattern. For example, if you are uncertain about a CM, then look at the CMs surrounding it on the score sheet. If they are good, then it is probably also good. If they are bad, then it is probably also bad. If they are partial credit, then it is probably also partial credit. And so on.
However, experienced rallyemasters expect this analysis. Some have been known to introduce irregularities into their scoring patterns (e.g., a bad CM among the good CMs, or vice versa), to throw off experienced rallyists. An irregularity or two need not complicate the scoring process much, and can help keep experienced rallyists honest.
A scoring template is a tool that makes it easier to calculate a team's score. The most basic scoring template is a copy of the score sheet with windows cut into it. The template can be placed over a score sheet, and the team's answers can be viewed through the windows.
Some rallyemasters prefer scoring templates made from overhead transparency sheets. Transparency markers (or in a pinch, dry-erase markers) can be used to mark the template. When a transparent template is placed over a score sheet, everything recorded on the score sheet can be seen. Sometimes teams make additional marks on their score sheet that might not show through the windows of a paper template.
A scoring template does not need to show the CMs that were not used, but otherwise it simply acts as a reference for the scoring pattern (for coursemarker rallyes), or as a reference for the correct answers (for A–B or Q–A rallyes).
Scoring templates are not strictly necessary for coursemarker rallyes with simple scoring patterns. Some rallyemasters have been known to memorize their scoring pattern, totalling scores without referring to a template or answer key.
It is often helpful to have two scoring templates for a rallye. The first template indicates everything that is simply worth +10 points. Scoring this template is easy: count the answers that match this template and append a zero (i.e., multiply by 10). The second template indicates everything else, and usually the more experienced person scores this template. (If it is complex, a third template can be all the CMs worth -10 points and the second template only those left.) A third person can add the two (or three) scores.
SUPP and SI Numbers
One RM found himself confusing a CM with number 15 worth 10 points, part of a combination worth 15 points. He suggests that this confusion would not occur if the numbers 5, 10, 15, and 20 are not used for SUPPs or SIs, because they might be confused with scores. There is not a shortage of one- or two-digit numbers.