Monday, September 6, 2010

Seeding in smaller Warhammer tournaments

Every tournament I've played in has always gone 6 rounds unless it's been a GW one (i.e. 'Ard Boyz) which goes for less (usually 3). This of course is usually enough to determine an undefeated player by the end (6 rounds is good for 33 - 64 people) but can cause problems for tournaments with 32 people or less.
That's because you could have multiple people with records of 5-1 and one person may not necessarily have an undefeated record. Only a problem if you don't have enough prize support and generally smaller tournaments don't.

So what is the solution?

My proposed solution might have already been discussed elsewhere but I haven't looked.

For Orctoberfest (a Warhammer Fantasy tournament I am organizing for the beginning of October), I am only projecting between 24-30 people attending but I still want them to play 6 games. The math says I only need 5 rounds to ensure one undefeated person. Going for a 6th round brings up the problem that I could have multiple 5-1 people and no undefeated person.
So I planned on using the first game to seed everyone from 1-24 (or whatever the total number of attendees is) using some weird formula based on their first game performance. Then the competition starts Game 2 and ends on Game 6 which is conveniantly 5 rounds which is enough to determine one undefeated person.

I see this solution avoiding at least a few problems. The first is, again, making sure only one person has an undefeated record at the end. Second, it ensures that the two best players don't knock each other out of the competition right away should they meet up during the round 1 random pairings. Third, since the first game doesn't fully count towards someone's overall score (sportsmanship would still be scored in someway, but the result of the game wouldn't), it should put them in a much lighter mood for the rest of the tournament and hopefully keep everything pretty civil afterwards.

Of course if someone were really savvy, they could throw the first game completely, and then fight their way to the top through the loser brackets (which could filled with other savvy players, lol), but going that route, you would still face the best player in the winner brackets and that won't garuntee you an undefeated record.

For the record, I plan on implenting a pairing system similar to what the NOVA did, so people will play people with a similar WLD record. This way those savvy players who threw the first game to get an intentional low seed will continually play better players on their climb to the top.

Interestingly this type of system would work well for even smaller tournaments (less than 16 people), you'd just have more rounds to determine the seeds and less actual competition rounds. Larger tournaments pose a problem as you'd have to add more rounds which means longer tournaments (mind you Magic: The Gathering has very large and long tournaments on their pro circuits and people will shell out the money to attend those).

Lol, could you imagine a Pro Warhammer tournament circuit?


  1. Problem with single elimination events is that once you lose a game why continue playing if you are there to win. If I pick up a loss in the first day why come back for the second. Single elimination events are fun to watch (NCAA Basketball or NFL playoffs) but I think they are less fun to actually compete in. Especially in a game where random dice rolls can determine the outcome (unless you are cheating with the dice).

    Also I do not think using the first round as a seeding round would make it more easy going. Crushing your opponent there gets you an easy opponent the next round. If you assume the top players are about 20% of the group then that player can go 4 rounds before getting a same level opponent. Unlike many claims on the internet this is the definition of clubbing baby seals.

    It is interesting to see how people give something like battlepoints enough credit to be useful in seeding but then say that they should not be used in determining the winner.

  2. I have to say though that using Battle Points to seed is no different than what most sports leagues use to seed for their playoffs (i.e. 2 pts for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss in most sports). Once in the playoffs, its win or lose. The difference between sporting events and Warhammer events like the NOVA is that the losers still have the chance to get something (i.e. Best Overall, Best Appereance, Best Sportsman, random prizes)

    Best Overall should still be determined by a combination of the three things most tournaments score (Battle Points, Appearance and Sportsmanship) and would still allow someone with a loss or two to grab the Best Overall depending on the weighting (which should be 1/3 of each)

    And just like the NOVA, if one did pick up a loss they could be entered into a draw for additional prizes.

    The seeding games would still be used for pairing purposes. So after the seeding round, the 1-0 people would play the 1-0, then the 0-1 play the 0-1. Then the next round all the 2-0 would play all the 2-0, the 1-1 would play the 1-1 and the 0-2 would play the 0-2 and so on. The seal clubbing should be kept to a minimum.

    Though I do have to wonder what makes people come back on day 2 when they have no chance of winning anything anyways. In all the years I've played in tournaments, no one has ever dropped (at least voluntarily, I've seen some people drop for medical reasons). I've never actually considered dropping myself, even though there were several times I had no chance of winning anything.

  3. Hey Butch,

    I'm coming no matter what...but have to agree with the comment above...knowing your out of the tournament from one loss sort of hurts.

    Also I'm traveling a ton and I'd much rather get home early than play an extra game...this is a new edition and the 2500pts which means a lot of people will be warhammered out by the end of five games...

    just my thoughts...overall I'm very happy your running such a cool event!

    I'd just like to give NAG a plug...they have the rankingshq widget on the site...couple guys including yourself in the top ten for 40k!