The National Cyber League (NCL) is a multi-Game, season-long offensive and defensive security competition based on the CompTIA Security+ and the NIST NICE framework. The season is broken down into a Practice Gym and three competitive Games.
- The Preseason Game – an individual event used for placing competitors into appropriate competitive brackets.
- The Individual Game – considered the NCL Main Event, this individual event is the one that the Individual Scouting Reports are based on and where prizes are given to individuals.
- The Team Game – a place to work together with your peers to expand your skills and advance in the NCL Games.
The Team Game is largely the same as the Individual Game, so I highly recommend you start with this season’s Everything You Need to Know About the Individual Game. That being said, a few challenges will be harder as there are more people to work on them. I’ve discussed my personal teamwork strategies in this previous blog. You will have the same amount of time as the Individual Game to compete, but the effort gets spread out among you and your teammates. Below are some of the most common questions I get asked by first time players.
How do I start/join/find a team?
Everything you need to know about Team management can be found in this very helpful support document from Cyber Skyline, the NCL Game makers. This is updated as changes to the platform are made and should be the best place to get up-to-date information on these processes.
How many people can be on a team?
1-7. This means that you can be on a team all by yourself (so there’s no reason to miss out on the challenges!) or you can have 2-6 people join you.
Who can be on my team?
Any other player who registered for the current NCL season.
Although, I prefer to answer this question with a list of who cannot be on your team since it tends to add more clarity. The following individuals CANNOT be on your team:
- YOUR COACH. (Yes, I’ve had to clarify this in the past, but this competition is for STUDENTS.)
- Non-Students of ANY kind.
- People who did not register for the NCL Games.
- Parents, Mentors, Professionals, etc. (See points 1, 2, and 3.)
- People who are included in other teams. (That’s right! You can only be on ONE team per season. The horror.)
Do my teammates have to be from my school?
Nope! There’s a #ncl-team-search channel in the Cyber Skyline Slack for you to find other players from all over the country. That’s how I met some of your favorite Player Ambassadors when I was still in the Games!
How do I log in during the Team Game?
Exactly the same as every other part of the NCL Games! Your interaction with the platform should be highly unchanged. The key difference is that your answers will affect your teammates, and your teammates’ answers will affect you! For this reason, I recommend solid communication between you and your teammates.
If one person inputs an answer, does it affect everyone?
YES! This is the KEY FEATURE of the NCL Team Game. All players registered to your team will be able to input correct and incorrect answers. For strategies on managing this, I recommend the following series of blogs on collaboration tips.
Will I be able to see who is entering wrong answers?
Yes! I’ve personally used this for my own crusades after people who were destroying my team accuracy. You know who you were.
If you click the counterclockwise arrow that looks like rewinding a clock (found under the remaining attempts in the image below), you can see who submitted answers and what answer they submitted.
Does the Team Game matter?
You absolutely do not have to compete in the Team Game. It will not negatively affect your Individual Game Scouting Report. THAT BEING SAID, I highly recommend joining a team and learning from other NCL competitors along the way. I think it’s the MOST VALUABLE part of the season as you can discuss methodologies and answers with your teammates DURING the Game!
Do I need a faculty coach?
I think I’m officially supposed to say “yes” to this. I personally advocate for players to be able to register without a coach. You can currently register without a coach; therefore, you do not need one. But note: if you are caught during the Cyber Skyline cheating audit, you will be disqualified and unable to go through the appeals process (which requires a coach). For this reason, I highly recommend you find a faculty member or advisor who will serve as your coach.
Do I have to have all 7 members to participate in the Team Game?
You do not! You can actually compete in a team individually if you don’t want to work with anyone else or can’t find a team. (Check out the #ncl-team-search channel in the Cyber Skyline chat if you just can’t find a team!)
Should I partake in team play if I am a noob?
THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TEAM GAME! Work with someone who knows more than you even if you just shadow them and they teach you along the way. Though, I recommend asking them to coach you through solving the challenge yourself. Try setting up a way for them to see your screen and walk you through some stuff!
Can Pewter players join a Gold team without making the team ineligible?
Yep. The only bracket that matters in Team is the bracket of the HIGHEST bracket anyone on your team was in for the Individual Game. That’s the bracket your whole team will be in for the Team Game.
A quick message from JeanaByte. Since Kait forgot to write a conclusion even though I’ve asked her three millions times, I’ll say this:
If you’re on the fence about playing in the Team Game, just go for it! It’s truly one of the most fun parts about participating in NCL. You’ll learn more from your peers than you ever thought possible and, if you’re as lucky as Kait and I are, you’ll meet some of your best friends along the way!