2023 Tournament Survival Guide: Part 3


At the Tournament

[Part 3 of the NH-DI Tournament Survival Guide]

Our tournaments provide a showcase at which we celebrate the creativity, problem-solving skills, and teamwork that every Destination Imagination team has developed by working on their chosen Challenge.

Tournament day is also a lot of fun for both the kids and the adults!

Here are some things you should know about before you arrive at your tournament:

  1. When you arrive
  2. Team Challenge procedures
  3. Instant Challenge procedures
  4. During the tournament
  5. Awards and beyond…

When You Arrive

Weather Delays

If bad weather is predicted on the day of the tournament, NH-DI will decide by 8:00 PM on Friday evening whether to delay the starting time for the tournament, or postpone it until the snow date. We will let you know by posting an announcement on the NH-DI web site.

Team Manager Check-In

In the past, NH-DI asked Team Managers to check in when they arrived at the tournament. We have decided that this is no longer necessary, because (1) all of your team’s forms will have been submitted in advance, so there won’t be any paper forms for us to check, and (2) if there is anything that you will need, we can get to you by posting it online or emailing it to you.

Volunteer Check-In

Volunteers should check in at the Information Table as soon as they arrive at the tournament. Volunteers should report for work about 10 minutes before their scheduled start time.

If your volunteer has been assigned to work during the time when your Team Challenge is scheduled, please tell them to let us know! If a volunteer needs to leave briefly to watch their family member’s performance, we will either find someone else to take over their job while they’re gone (if they are an all-day volunteer), or assign them to a different time slot (if they are a two-hour volunteer).

When Your Team Arrives

Set up meeting times and places when you first arrive. Let parents know that as the Team Manager, you must make all decisions regarding the team’s free time at the tournament.

Please remind your team that if they are watching a performance, and realize that they were supposed to be meeting you, they will have to wait until the performance ends. No one will be allowed to enter or leave during a performance!

Encourage good sportsmanship and appreciation of other teams’ efforts! Every team has created something to be proud of. Please uphold the spirit and philosophy of DI by praising the hard work, imagination, and teamwork exhibited by all of the teams you encounter. Good sportsmanship is contagious!

Banner Parade and Opening Ceremony

Please line up promptly at the time shown on the schedule for the Banner Parade. Signs with the name of each school or organization will be posted to show you where your teams should line up.

If the members of your team will be traveling to the tournament in separate vehicles, this spot will probably be the most convenient place for everyone to meet. Once your parents have taken a few snapshots of the team, please ask them to head to the gym to await the Opening Ceremony. If everyone hangs around in the hallway, it will become very crowded!

When the Banner Parade begins, please remove the sign(s) for your school. Hand a sign to the volunteer who will be directing the teams into the gym. They will show the sign to the announcer who will introduce your school or organization to the spectators sitting in the bleachers.

The Opening Ceremony usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Teams with early performances might want to wear their costumes to the Banner Parade, and leave shortly after the beginning of the Opening Ceremony. During the morning announcements, we usually remind these teams that they are allowed to leave early, but if someone forgets to do this, please feel free to get up and leave anyway!

Transporting Props

Try to transport props and people in as few vehicles as possible, because parking may be limited. Please do not park illegally. We don’t want to use the intercom system to ask people to move their cars, because that could interrupt team performances. If you park in a fire lane, we will not be able to warn you before your vehicle is towed.

Adults are allowed to help carry props and sets to your Team Challenge Prep Area. However, please try to leave props, costumes, and other equipment in vehicles until your team is ready to begin setting up for its performance. This reduces congestion and prevents accidental damage to items left in hallways. Return the props to your vehicles shortly after the team’s performance. You may need them again!

Team Challenge Procedures


Teams should report about 20 minutes prior to their scheduled time for both Team Challenge and Instant Challenge, except for teams that have chosen the Engineering Challenge (see below).

Team Managers may stay with the team in the Prep Area until the Prep Area Appraiser tells them that it’s time to leave. However, please remember that only the team members should answer the Appraiser’s questions!

Engineering Challenge teams should report to Check-In as early as possible, and at least 40 minutes prior to their Team Challenge. The Check-In room will be open before the Opening Ceremony for teams that are scheduled early. Once presentations begin, there will be limited access to the Check-In room. Please check the schedule for your tournament.

Team Managers may not enter the Check-In room. For an elementary level team, the Team Manager may wait just outside the door. Only two team members will be allowed inside the room. Components that do not meet the Challenge requirements, and cannot be brought into compliance, can still be tested during the team’s performance. However, they will not receive a score.

Presentation Area

Reserved seats will be provided for Team Managers and any non-performing team members. At some sites, a row of seats may also be reserved for the families/supporters of performing teams. These seats must be vacated each time for the next team’s families and friends.

During a presentation, all beepers, watches, and cellular phones must be turned off. Anyone wishing to videotape must have prior permission from the team.

The Head Appraiser/Announcer will usually introduce the team.

No one may enter or leave the room during a presentation. There will be large crowds in the hallways, so even opening a door quietly can interrupt a presentation by letting in noise from outside the room. Please ask everyone to arrive well in advance, because we cannot allow anyone to enter the room once the presentation begins.

After Your Presentation

Adults are encouraged to help remove props after the presentation. However, no one may enter the presentation area (including the Team Manager) until the Appraisers have indicated that they have finished talking with the team.

Approximately 30 to 90 minutes after the team’s presentation, the team’s raw scores should be ready to review with the Head Appraiser or Challenge Master. The team’s name and number will usually be posted at the Team Challenge site when the raw scores are ready.

One team member and one Team Manager may then approach the Head Appraiser and ask to review the scores. The Head Appraiser will go over the scores with the team representative and Team Manager. After you have reviewed the raw scores with the Head Appraiser, a copy of the scores will be emailed to the Team Manager so they can go over them with the rest of the team. You should receive this email shortly after you have met with the Head Appraiser.

Your team will have 30 minutes to discuss the scores, and to return with any questions or concerns. Please refer to the Rules of the Road for a full explanation of this process.

Instant Challenge Procedures

All members of your team, accompanied by one Team Manager, should report to Instant Challenge check-in about 15 to 20 minutes before their assigned time. No one else is permitted in this area. Please keep the hallways in the vicinity of Instant Challenge clear and quiet, and wait in the designated area only.

Before your team enters the Instant Challenge room, they will be asked which members will participate in the Instant Challenge. They will also be asked whether they want to allow one Team Manager to come with them to observe the Instant Challenge. The same Team Manager may also join the team in the Chill-Out Room after their Instant Challenge. The Chill-Out room is a special area for teams that have just completed their Instant Challenge. In this room, teams can freely discuss their Instant Challenge, without having to worry about the possibility of being overheard.

Please warn your team not to talk about their Instant Challenge at the tournament (except in the Chill-Out Room, or in private), or to share ANY information about their Instant Challenge with others (including parents) before the end of DI Global Finals in May. The same Instant Challenge may be used at other DI tournaments throughout the world, so it’s important to keep it secret! If your team is overheard talking about their Instant Challenge, they can be disqualified.

We would like to remind all Team Managers about some additional rules for Instant Challenge:

  • Teams are not allowed to bring electronic devices of any kind into Instant Challenge. If possible, please arrange for someone else to store all electronics (cell phones, watches, and cameras) before you arrive, because this will speed up the check-in process.
  • Team Managers who manage more than one team will only be allowed to accompany their last team of the day into Instant Challenge.
  • Assistant Team Managers under the age of 18 may not accompany teams into Instant Challenge.
  • If a team member is on two or more teams, the Tournament Director must be notified in advance, so they can arrange for the teams to have different Instant Challenges.

For more information, please refer to the section “Rules for Instant Challenge” in the Rules of the Road.

Rising Stars!

There is no limit to the number of children you may have on a Rising Stars team. All team members are encouraged to perform in the Team Challenge, and participate in the Instant Challenge.

You might want to adjust your arrival time to fit your team’s schedule. Consider arriving after lunch if your Rising Stars will perform in the afternoon, or just come for the morning if you have a morning presentation time.

Paperwork is optional, but good practice for coming years!

Rising Stars will not be scored by the Appraisers. Instead, the Appraisers will provide encouraging feedback, and sticky notes with positive comments. Awards and kudos will immediately follow each Rising Stars performance at their Challenge site. Don’t forget your camera!

All Rising Stars have a special Instant Challenge that is designed for young children. Your Rising Stars will have fun with this, and Team Managers, parents, and siblings are invited to watch!  At most tournaments, the Instant Challenge will be scheduled right after their Team Challenge.

During the Tournament


Food concessions will be open all day with snacks, entrees, and beverages. Only concessions that have received advance approval from NH-DI will be allowed to operate at our tournaments.

Food and drink may only be consumed in designated areas. Please don’t eat in the hallways!

Teams are welcome to bring their own lunches, but please store coolers and other belongings in the car if at all possible. Lunch tables must be kept clear and available to everyone. Please don’t try to “reserve” a table for the day by leaving belongings on it. This is not fair to everyone else!

NH-DI tournament stores will sell items like hats, shirts, pins, car magnets, keychains, etc. NH-DI will accept cash, checks, MasterCard and Visa (no gift certificates or purchase orders).

Raffle Items

NH-DI will bring items to each tournament to raffle off. The proceeds will help us keep registration fees as low as possible, so we would like to encourage everyone to support this fundraising effort by purchasing raffle tickets. In the past, we asked local programs to donate raffle items, but this is no longer required.

Most items will be raffled off shortly before the end of each regional tournament. A few items might be held back until the State Tournament, but you’ll be able to enter the raffle for these at your regional.

Keeping Things Tidy

Try to bring a laundry basket or two. These can be very handy to contain and keep track of your team’s coats, lunches, etc.  It also reduces the amount of “stuff” lying around, so the cafeteria can be used for congregating. If you can leave items in the car until they’re needed, that will also help!

Clean up is everyone’s responsibility! This includes the cafeteria, the hallways, and restrooms used for costume changing. Please be courteous to our host school, and leave every area clean and picked up when your team leaves. Failure to do this could jeopardize our relationship with the host school, and might even delay the Closing Ceremony.

Fun Stuff!

It can be a long day, so we always try to provide fun activities for the kids at every tournament. Check the tournament schedule for more information.

You might want to bring a few diversions of your own, which you can pull out if troops become restless. Cards, travel games, puzzles, etc. can be much appreciated by weary team members!

Team Photographs

This year, NH-DI will not offer the services of an official photographer at the regional tournaments. Instead, we will create a special photography space for teams to use, with an official NH-DI backdrop and some fun props to use in your team’s pictures. This will also be an opportunity for photos with and without performance costumes and props. There will be signs posted throughout the tournament site to direct you to the NH-DI photo space. We hope you will enjoy this new photo option!

Awards and Beyond

To determine the number of teams that will advance to the State Tournament, NH-DI uses a formula based upon the number of competing teams that present their Team Challenge at each regional tournament. This formula changes each year to let many teams as possible advance to the State Tournament.

Please note that you can’t determine the number of competing teams by simply counting the number of teams listed on the printed schedule. Some teams opt to be non-competitive, some are no-shows, and a few just come for Instant Challenge. When the highest scoring teams are announced during the Closing Ceremony, the announcer will indicate whether each team has advanced to the State Tournament.

Following the Closing Ceremony, scores will be made available to Team Managers. You will receive these in an email after the tournament (probably the next day).

Team Managers of the advancing teams should plan to attend a very brief meeting immediately after the Closing Ceremony.

There is no additional registration fee for teams that advance to the State Tournament.

[Continued in Part 4]