So you’ve made it through Preseason, now what happens? Well it’s time for the Individual Game.
And I want to make this clear right off the bat, it’s called the Individual Game for a reason, you play this portion of the competition completely on your own. You cannot ask anyone (this includes your professor, coach, classmates, teammates, or NCL Player Ambassadors, etc.) for any help of any kind. If you’re not sure what is considered cheating, go back and reference this blog post. The National Cyber League (NCL) purposely renamed this portion of the season from the Regular Game to the Individual Game last year to get rid of the confusion. If you absolutely have to ask a clarifying question, submit a support ticket to Cyber Skyline and they will give you as much guidance as they can.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the bracketing system. After participating in Preseason, you’ll be placed into one of three brackets, Gold, Silver, or Bronze. If you don’t answer any challenges during Preseason, you’ll be placed in the Pewter bracket, which you can read more about here. The Gold bracket consists of the top 15% of players on the Preseason leader board, Silver consists of the next 35%, and Bronze is the remaining 50% of players. During the Individual Game, you’ll be ranked on the Overall leader board as well as your bracket leader board. The bracket placement allows you to see how you rank against players that are at a similar level as you, but does not influence the challenges you get during the competition. Every bracket answers the exact same challenges.
The next thing you should know is that, unlike Preseason, you’ll see all of the same categories in the Individual Game that you saw in the Gymnasium, so you’ll really get to use all the skills you’ve practicing throughout season so far. You should also know that the Individual Game is only one weekend long. The game open ups at 1PM EST on Friday afternoon and closes at 9PM EST on Sunday night. Yes, that is not a long time to get through that many categories, but that’s what makes it such a fun competition, and it really wouldn’t be a challenge if you had a whole week to figure everything out.
Another question we often get is, “Will the Individual Game be harder than the Gym/Preseason?” The answer it YES! It’s designed to challenge you. Think of the Gym and Preseason as a warm up to build your foundational skill and the Individual Game and the real deal competition.
After the season is over, you will receive a Scouting Report which will detail your national rank, bracket rank, score, flag capture, flag attempts, and accuracy for the overall competition, as well as each individual category of the competition. The Scouting Report is a great tool for when you start applying for jobs or internships. You can add a line to your resume saying that “Scouting Report is available on request”, which will give you a talking point for discussing your NCL accomplishments and the skills you’ve acquired through the competition.
Finally, if we’ve said it once we’ve said it a hundred times, please don’t forget to take care of yourself during the competition. Remember to eat and at least sleep for a few hours. Let you’re friends and family know ahead of time that you’ll be busy and probably won’t be talking to them the entire weekend, but also don’t yell at anyone because you’re frustrated with a challenge (I learned that lesson the hard way my first season).
If you have any questions about the logistics of the game, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @Jeana_Byte, but remember no challenge questions during the active competition.
Have fun and happy hacking!