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Messages - metzgerism

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1
 6:34 Hobnobbin: are you even trying?
 6:34 Hobnobbin: so slow, wasting half my day
 6:34 Hobnobbin: no discernible strategy
 6:34 metzgerism: play
 6:34 Hobnobbin: get owned scrub
 6:34 Hobnobbin has returned to the lobby.

Right before he left, he ended the game - this was his "victory" speech, apparently.

The game took about 12 minutes - not actually slow, imo.
Total asshole.

2
Tournaments and Events / Re: Multiplayer league
« on: August 09, 2012, 05:38:41 am »
Axxle, I've actually been considering firing up a league once more. These are a few considerations I'm having:

1) FunSockets may kill everything - INCLUDING the leaderboard - so any long-running leagues should probably wait.
2) IsoDom is filling the role of ongoing league here, although there's room for something different (and BGGDL was certainly different).
3) Because of IsoDom, the only way a "new BGGDL" would get off the ground is if it offered something different - like 3p games.

4) I lost interest in playing BGGDL games and collating data. I loved running the thing, but the busy work sucked. Now I have a job that takes more of my time, and while I don't necessarily think my free time is any less than it was then, I understand better now that you just can't have a massive glut of games and expect everyone to want to dive in. Moderation is probably key here.

I've REALLY got a chronologically-incorrect craving to run some BGGDL right now, so it's definitely something I'm looking into.

3
Ruined Island

Set aside this and another card from your hand. Return them to your deck at the end of the game.
0 VP.

EDIT: Heck, in that vein, Ruined Monument: +1 VP.

Seems imbalanced at $0 though.

4
Game Reports / When 10 Minions & DoubleTact fails
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:43:10 pm »
This is the second of two games that I won against Watno using a completely different strategy - there was little crossover of cards, and each of us basically let the other go willy-nilly with stacks. The first game was just as interesting, actually - my Highway-Grand Market stack vs his Village, Festival, and Library set. We were neck and neck and emptied VP piles until I had a 43-37 lead, and since he was first player he took 3 piles to concede.

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201207/19/game-20120719-113209-f3af2654.html

We both went hard on Native Villages and got Loans early. My goal was to get Alchemists set up to run a Treasure Map, which actually took a long time. In that time, he was able to set up DoubleTact and get all 10 Minions. I should have been smoked.

After we opened with Provinces, I bought a Possession. His Minions were my Minions, and his 2 buy turns with a crapload of cards were now mine. I actually only pulled 2 Provinces from him in one turn, but in a game where he should have had distinct material advantage, I was given enough time to run a Possession-based deck and use just about every meaningful card in the game.

Really crazy wins.

5
Dominion World Masters / Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« on: July 17, 2012, 04:25:11 pm »
With 3-player, my ideal is a 27-player Double Elimination bracket (with the bye representing a loss).
+1 for elegance. But this is effectively a 5-round swiss where players get kicked after two losses. Swiss might be preferable so that people can keep playing.

This guarantees you 4 meaningful games at the very minimum. Additionally, players can continue to play after elimination, for ranking.

It wouldn't be exactly the same because of the lost bye round in round 4, and every pathway is scripted - you MUST win to advance.
And Swiss is typically a single-elimination bracket with consolation rounds. Potayto Potahto.

6
Dominion World Masters / Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« on: July 17, 2012, 03:46:53 pm »
With 3-player, my ideal is a 27-player Double Elimination bracket (with the bye representing a loss).
It takes 5 rounds in length to complete, and everyone is guaranteed to be in at least the first 2.
Also, losing early doesn't hamstring you like 2p DE tournaments - there is only one "bye" in the whole bracket, and everyone in the final needs to have 3 wins. It really is an awesome bracket format (I'm not sure if anyone else has discovered it, either).

For dominion, I'd have each round be a "best-of-4" pod (I have no suggestion on ties).
This guarantees you 4 meaningful games at the very minimum. Additionally, players can continue to play after elimination, for ranking.

This probably cannot be done every single time, obviously. Exact player numbers are not always enforceable.

---

I also very much enjoy 3-player, and honestly believe that it is Dominion's "sweet spot."
However, there are significant balance issues in 3p that prevent it from being seriously considered for high-level play.

7
I'd like to put in my two cents here.

I'm in favor of allowing anything anyone has at their disposal (provided they are unable to cheat with it), for the following reasons:

1) Complete information upfront allows players to more quickly come to the correct decision when considering late game purchases. Personman mentioned something earlier - that it allows players to play better because they have better knowledge. This isn't necessarily true, because all the information is tracked in the log and you can go back and read it.

The problem with that is that it wastes a lot of time, where the point and card counter gets you the information you really want instantly, AND those players who would usually make an educated guess are provided with even more accurate information upfront.

2) It changes the game, for the better in my opinion. Dominion WITH the point counter feels a lot like the administrative scoring aspects of football - the points involved are similar, and you don't want to leave your opponent with a halfway-decent chance at the end of the game. Remember this year's Super Bowl, with Ahmad Bradshaw falling into the end zone for the game winning TD, and looking like an idiot? That's because he took the second to last province, and was playing against Tom Brady. The parallels are not exactly the same, but hopefully you get my point - it's not always about getting the most points, sometimes you just have to manage the clock.

Now, if everyone knows how to do this properly, they will (hopefully) playing appropriately based on the scoreline. Imagine trying to play football without a scoreboard, and with a lot more scoring - I played Aussie Rules for years, and we had this problem (point tallies usually approach or break 100, and there's often about 30 scoring events per team per game, so we just kinda had to guess on the score and the clock as well).

---

The card and point counters do nothing that you couldn't track yourself, with pencil and paper - they just do it faster, which means less in-game delays for those players looking to actually perform well. For that reason alone, I'd allow them, but also it's hard to regulate from an organizational standpoint, so I'd just not regulate it, period.

8
Since we're changing it up for each qualifying round, maybe we can do the next round as a "first-to-2" or "first-to-3" wins scenario? The kingmaking problems become a little more clear that way, however.
But you can't do that, because you have more pods than qualifiers.
Right, and I gave it a little thought and decided it's probably not worth it.

In a 3p "best 2/4," you're going to have an obvious problem: game 2 will, with ideal political play, never be won by the winner of game 1. Neither of the other players can allow it and survive. Game 3 returns back to a veritable free-for-all, with the exception that both previous winners would rather hand game 3 to the trailing player and finish it in game 4. Effectively, a best-of-4 makes for marginalized, politicized games 2 and 3. In 4p "best 2/5," the same issues arise in the same way for games 2, 3, and 4 (game 3 being a little odd this way). Even in best 3/9, the same problems exist, only with more chances to use and/or ignore them.

I do believe that the issue is with which format best represents a multiplayer game. One method, probably the cleanest, is to have single or double (or triple) elimination in one-off games - unfortunately, we've long established that one-offs are not even closely representative of Dominion skill, and having a loser's bracket as the mitigating factor doesn't really solve that. Another possibility is swiss, which is good because all players have similar stakes in all games - the main downside being that the length of the tournament needs to be long enough to be anything more than single-elimination in practice.

I'm not beyond saying that multiplayer Dominion just makes for bad tournaments...upon serious analysis, it all feels like a crapshoot.

9
Since we're changing it up for each qualifying round, maybe we can do the next round as a "first-to-2" or "first-to-3" wins scenario? The kingmaking problems become a little more clear that way, however.

10
In the current format surely game 4 of each match only usually matters to 1 possibly 2 of the players playing it?
This opens up a huge potential for collusion.
I agree with this, with the current format, and I believe it's a bigger problem than points vs. wins and actually spins my opinions in the reverse a bit.

Let's say one player has won games 1-3.
Is there any reason to play game 4? Probably not.

Let's say one player has 2 wins, and another has 1.
Is there any reason for the other two players to play game 4? Probably not.

Let's say the first 3 games have been split, one apiece to three players.
Is there any reason for the 0-3 player to play game 4? Probably not.

We've already got the evidence that this is likely the case - you need at least 2 wins to advance, and even then it's probably a play-in of some sort. I prefer WTA obviously, and since that's likely what the brackets and championships will use, you've got to have it. Regardless, a point system will mitigate this, but absolutely cannot eliminate it. I mentioned my preference for a best-of-X/first-to-3-wins series - a first-to-2-wins may actually be the best option, with additional games played in 3p to find 2nd place in a pod.

That said, it's a little too late - we're just going to have to run with it as-is.

11
@Kirian

And I think whatever discussion we had is done here too (it's working OMG :D)

Yes, I'd prefer to have players in a LOT of games, as you and tim probably remember from the BGGDL. While that blew up out of control because I didn't control the format properly (and the ranking system came into play, effectively replacing the primary goal of league), if I ever run one again, it'd have a similar nature: encourage playing games, discourage metagame elements, and don't require the administrator to be omni-present. In a tournament format like this things would be a little different.

Ironically, at each player count it might be safe to say "first to 3 wins" for a truly interesting and seemingly fair format, but that honestly has more to do with the succession of each win itself: 1 lucky win, 1 good win, and 1 clincher.

Something like that.

12
@Tim

Well, unless there's any other points you want to make I think the derailment is over. I'm speaking generally and you're speaking conditionally, and in these conditions that all makes a bit more sense to me.

I still believe that we must rank players by wins first, and (especially with 4 games played) in no scenario will several 2nd place finishes out-do a single 1st place, but I don't really think you're arguing that. Tiebreakers will matter significantly in this format, anyways.

13
Other Games / Re: What should I do once Isotropic goes down?
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:02:03 am »
1) Get a part time job.
2) Pay for FunSockets.
3) ??
4) Profit!

14
Why winner-take-all:

1) It is the only result prescribed in the rules. There is no mention of credit for 2nd or 3rd place in the rulebook for Dominion, just winners (tied or outright). This means that there is no official precedent for having any credit given to players who do not win a game.

2) It is what matters in the latter stages of most tournaments and championships. With a few exceptions, Dominion tournaments are won in a matter of a single game, or a best-of series. To crown a champion, neither of these methods take into account any losers, except for some tiebreakers.

3) It discourages players from colluding with certain opponents to gain a beneficial result for both of them. If you've ever watched a major international soccer tournament, you know that the last two games of the pool rounds are played concurrently. This is meant to mitigate a "common-enough-to-make-a-rule-about-it" situation where the participants of one game will both advance to the next round, regardless of the result of the other game, if they play for a known and exact result. It happened in 1982 and the rule was instituted, although the phenomenon is not preventable in soccer's current regular tournament format (Euro 2012's Group C had this problem scenario). With a winner-take-all system & a first-to-X-wins format, this problem ceases to exist. Without a first-to-X-wins format, winner-take-all still helps prevent this collusion between, for example, a first and second place player.

If I am playing a tournament or league of anything, I want to be playing the actual game prescribed (Reason 1), not a modified or watered-down version of it. I also want to be playing under as-close-to-the-same rules as possible from start to finish (Reason 2), because with different incentives come different styles of play. Finally, I will be playing to win; if there is some loophole in the format that will guarantee my progression in the tournament, I will take it, spirit-of-the-game be damned (Reason 3). I've done it before, and I'd do it again, because it's the organizer's job to make the rules, not mine. My goal is to win.

As an organizer, these are the primary concerns I have, which is why a winner-take-all system (ideally with a first-to-X-wins series) is the only proper way to organize a Dominion tournament, in my opinion.

Now, to respond (please feel free to respond to mine - I'm trying to be formal and equal, so please do the same for me):

Why Point system:

My main reason is that the result reflects more skill than luck. Multiplayer Dominion is a very swingy and luck-dependent game. You can just lose to a newbie with bad draws. 4p game is the most severe, as engines are more unlikely to be built. My experience in multiplayer game is that I am more often powerless to win, but I do have more control not to be last, say in a 3p game. Note that if only 4 wins and 3 wins can proceed this reason is probably not relevant.
I agree that Dominion can be a very swingy and luck-dependent game, and it scales upwards in player count poorly. However, long ago we started having best-of and multi-game series for Dominion, and that's basically become the norm in tournament play. This provides a simple solution for this problem, and retains the game in it's complete form - Dominion is swingy, why prevent that through metagaming? It's just a part of the game, and it still takes a decent amount of skill to see which combo is going to provide your best path to victory.

A slightly less important reason is that point system has less king-making. Basically in winner-take-all, you cannot predict what opponents will do once they find themselves highly unlikely to win. In addition, since in the current format one only faces the same set of opponents, it is unlikely for anyone to have a chance to play suboptimally in order to make his main competitor even less likely to win.
Aside from speaking about the current format, I disagree completely, as the kingmaking is worse with a point system. Assuming everyone plays as optimally as possible, and does not "fall on their sword" so to speak, a winner-take-all system would have everyone not in the lead positioning themselves for the best possible path to victory. This gives the player with the lead the unenviable task of trying to end the game without any help from someone playing poorly.

Having a point system changes this completely. Instead of everyone fighting in their own self-interests, someone with the opportunity to end the game in 2nd place might do so, simply to screw over the two people they are leading. The 1st place player gets a lot more points simply because one of their opponents decided that kingmaking them was preferable to trying to win themselves, and in reality could lead to players without a decent endgame strategy gaining a lot of points simply because their opponents thought it preferable to place 2nd next to them.

This opens up the table for late-round collusion, sub-optimal play, and metagaming. If two players can be guaranteed advancement via an alliance, you have now added politics to the game that DXV tried so hard to make non-political.

A even less important reason is that a point based system has no problem dealing with 3 or 4 players or ties.
I recommended a system almost identical to the old one-off BGGDL system. This would be strictly "winner-take-all," cares about the players that you beat (you winning, them not winning), including shared victory. It scales perfectly and ignores ties.

[snip for brevity]
The only distinction made is between players who won, and players who did not win. According to the actual Dominion rules, there's only one prize handed out: victory (shared or outright). Therefore, winner-take-all seems like the LEAST arbitrary system to employ, in my observation and opinion.

Perhaps, but of course those rules only apply to a single game of Dominion.  By the same rules (including Intrigue rules), a single game of (regulation) Dominion cannot determine the winner of a group of larger than 6 players.  Therefore, the victory rules in the rulebook cannot apply to a tournament situation.  QED.
Agreed, a single game of Dominion cannot determine a winner in a larger group. Furthermore, we generally have no framework for a tournament with >3 players/teams per game. But that doesn't mean that the rulebook is unimportant or should be discarded in a larger tournament setting - we should use it as a framework for organizing. As I state above, once you modify the terms of victory, you might not be playing Dominion anymore.

I should be clear that I don't think it was the non-points system that is arbitrary nearly as much as the only four games and the all of those games with the same players problems, not to mention the seating problem.  I actually think all of those trump the winner-take-all problem.  But I should have been more clear on that, I think, since I harped on the 4P WTA initially and mainly.

For those of you that want to see a point system: what's the reason?
(I can sum up the points given, but I'm already biased and don't trust myself to be objective about what I don't agree with - so please, someone answer it for me, then ask the same question about winner-take-all)

In my opinion, a multi-game winner-take-all scenario encourages poor play, especially from the fourth seat.  There have been discussions about the inherent necessity of taking extra risks from the P2 position in 2P games.  That necessity scales with the number of players.  In a 4P game, P4 must be willing to take risks that are poor play but might still win the game.  Buying two unsupported Maps is, I'm sorry, bad play--but it's good enough, on average, to overcome that huge fourth seat deficit.

It also compounds luck.  Consider a series of four games.  A player who wins one (say, the one where he started) and takes second in three is, in my opinion, likely to be a better player than someone who wins two games--the one he started, and the one where he lucked into T5 Maps as P4--and came in fourth in the other two.  It's reasonable to guess that this player would not have won that game without such great luck.  However, that single lucky win bumps him into serious contention.

Both of these can probably be mitigated by more games.
As I stated above, "more games" is generally the norm. However, I disagree with you completely about a 1-3 player with three 2nd places being better than a 2-2 player without - because the objective of the game is to finish with the most VP, and the 2-2 player did that more often than the 1-3 player, that 2-2 player is clearly better at fulfilling the winning objective of the game. Subjectively believing that the consistent 1-3 player is a better player is just that: subjective. The 2-2 player did what was asked - win - more often, and is therefore more likely to win a game.

Expand this to a 400 game series. Is the 100-300 player any better than the 200-200 player?

Also, is there a better argument against winner-take-all in Dominion, specifically, than "2 Treasure Maps?" I'm not a big fan of the card, but everyone still has the same access to the kingdom, right? No matter what you do, you're going to have to choose a strategy that may not pan out. I see Treasure Maps as an indictment against having one-offs, and not against winner-take-all. In fact, Treasure Maps ARE a part of the game, and if you're just implementing a metagaming system to prevent against the 1/12 chance there's a Treasure Map in the kingdom, you might as well just have a rule saying "No Treasure Maps" instead. Seems a little simpler, but still isn't Dominion.

And I see timchen has already noted these, along with the kingmaker argument.
Which I addressed above. I know for a fact that kingmaker would be worse (I'd exploit it, for one) with a point system that gives primary competition credit for non-winning performances. I think, in regards to the kingmaker issue, you're considering the presence of sub-optimal players in a tournament setting. I'm not.

Sub-optimal players exist in the early rounds, but they get eliminated quickly UNLESS you have a system that encourages them to continue playing sub-optimally. That's fine if the format continues in that way, although I'd say you're not playing Dominion anymore, and instead something quite watered down.

Most of the time, halfway through the tournament, you adopt a bracket system and the point system goes completely out the window. You're playing real Dominion again! But you don't necessarily have the best Dominion players in your bracket. And these sub-optimal players could compound the problem by denying a truly strong player advancement through their poor play. It's a slippery slope that leads to either not playing a Dominion tournament as written in the rules, or not having the best players play each other when the games count the most.

Kirian: I agree about the 4p pods being arbitrary. There's nothing about them that doesn't seem that way. I just wish I hadn't misunderstood your comment!

15
Hey, so here is a suggestion about how to balance points in 3p vs 4p. First off, let's make each game zero sum in points. In other words, the point distribution is:

4p game: 3, -1, -1, -1
3p game: 2, -1, -1

The motivation behind this is so that it doesn't matter too much how many games you play, because the average points among all participants remains zero. OK, now, for 4p, the maximum points you can achieve in 4 games is 12. To make it fair for 3p, the maximum points achievable in the games you play should also be 12, so 3p players should play 6 games, ideally.
I think this is fine as long as 3p pods play 6 games. Not really a point system, and the negative range for 3p is larger than 4p.  There's still a level of inequity involved in how match-ups pan out, but there's only so much you can mitigate. This does the job well by making 3p games accountable within a similar framework as 2p games.

How do you score ties, though?

16
What I've learned from the ongoing, cyclical debate between those debating points vs. wins.

Multi-player Tournaments: Never again.
As long as people want to hold them, they will continue to exist. Which basically means, as long as there will be over-the-table tournaments, this will continue to be a thorn in the side of some people. Most notably, myself.

---

I understand there's a decent amount of derailment going on here, but since zxcvbn and kirian are watching (and I'm sure WW is too):

For those of you that want to see a point system: what's the reason?
(I can sum up the points given, but I'm already biased and don't trust myself to be objective about what I don't agree with - so please, someone answer it for me, then ask the same question about winner-take-all)

17
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest again that multiplayer winner-take-all is the most arbitrary system that could have been used, that still involved actual gameplay.  And I'm actually not convinced that using a poll would have been more arbitrary, especially given the total of only four games used, all with the same four people.  Not a single qualifier demonstrated superiority of play over more than three people here.

The seat rotation method used was poor too, since we're bringing up flaws.  With two excellent players and two people who bought cards at random in a pod, it was possible for one of the excellent players to go before the other one three times.
Are you sure you're using "arbitrary" correctly?

See definition 4.

Quote
Here's what I'd suggest:

A-B-C-D
D-C-B-A
B-A-D-C
C-D-A-B

Everyone gets every seat, and you're only sitting before/after the same person in games 1 and 4.

And since the person you're directly before or after doesn't make much difference, that last part isn't an issue.  What you've posted is perfect, as every player goes before every other player twice.  Thanks for taking the time to actually do that.
You're welcome! Made sense to me :) Although I disagree about the "who you're sitting before and after" part - Possession, Masquerade, and final turn dynamics care about those things.

---

I disagree strongly to your assessment that winner-take-all is arbitrary based on that definition of the term, and now I have an ace-in-the-hole reason:

From the Dominion rulebook, page 8: "Game End"
Quote
The player with the most victory points wins.
If the highest scores are tied at the end of the game, the tied player who has
had the fewest turns wins the game.
If the tied players have had the same number of turns, they rejoice in their shared victory.

Nowhere in the rulebook does it state anything about players who did not finish with the most points, only that they were not victorious. There's no talk about second-place points, third-place, etc. None.

The only distinction made is between players who won, and players who did not win. According to the actual Dominion rules, there's only one prize handed out: victory (shared or outright). Therefore, winner-take-all seems like the LEAST arbitrary system to employ, in my observation and opinion.

EDIT: I don't really want to open this can of worms again, but the use of "arbitrary" really bristled me, and I just remembered to use the rules as evidence. So I have.

18
Also, I'm just talking and don't want anything changed, but have just ONE more thing. I think, if we would have rotated opponents, the advantage of those playing 3p matches would have been spread out and we wouldn't have that much of a problem (This isn't a very serious proposal, btw).

.

.


.

Okay, now I'm done talking about it. No, really.
I think you get to try again on Tuesday if you failed to qualify today. Is that correct? Is that also enough rotation for you?

You misunderstand me. I don't think there was a problem with playing the same opponent four times. I think many people playing 3 4p games and 1 3p game is more fair than a few playing 4 3p games.
Oh, yes. I'm actually not delving into the 3p vs. 4p debate quite yet because I don't have a great solution for that. My recommendation would definitely be to have backup players.

Honestly, there's not a good objective way to do the 3p pods. I think the 3p results need to just count 2/3 as much, which means that they have to pull 3 wins to have a shot. Again...it's not ideal or fair, but it's not fair for someone any way it is right now.

19
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest again that multiplayer winner-take-all is the most arbitrary system that could have been used, that still involved actual gameplay.  And I'm actually not convinced that using a poll would have been more arbitrary, especially given the total of only four games used, all with the same four people.  Not a single qualifier demonstrated superiority of play over more than three people here.

The seat rotation method used was poor too, since we're bringing up flaws.  With two excellent players and two people who bought cards at random in a pod, it was possible for one of the excellent players to go before the other one three times.
Are you sure you're using "arbitrary" correctly?

I agree about the seat rotation being pretty harsh - there's 24 different seating orders that could be used, though, it's not like it's easy to figure out what's going to be fair. Here's what I'd suggest:

A-B-C-D
D-C-B-A
B-A-D-C
C-D-A-B

Everyone gets every seat, and you're only sitting before/after the same person in games 1 and 4.

20
Also, I'm just talking and don't want anything changed, but have just ONE more thing. I think, if we would have rotated opponents, the advantage of those playing 3p matches would have been spread out and we wouldn't have that much of a problem.

.

.


.

Okay, now I'm done talking about it. No, really.
I think you get to try again on Tuesday if you failed to qualify today. Is that correct? Is that also enough rotation for you?

21
theory: All I remember before this, in terms of what could be construed as a "decree," was this:

Quote from: theory
This is completely overblown, this points-vs-winners thing.

Let's be realistic.  With any of the points systems we're considering, (5-3-2-1), those with 4 wins will always beat those with 3 wins will always beat those with 2 wins.  So this is a completely unnecessary distinction at this point.

Although a lot of players today probably just played as best as they could, some might not have. Many of us agree that whatever system is used encourages playing towards that system, and not necessarily Dominion in general. Because there wasn't anything set in stone beforehand, you should award spots based on most wins, with collective non-win placements as tiebreaks.

Re: Seeding @ timchen:

If you were to seed based on 4p rankings, you're going to have a lot of participants just flat-out unseeded (and those might be the best players of all). Since 2p is the primary way we play, 2p is the only logical & available way to separate players.

22
Tournaments and Events / Re: Multiplayer league
« on: June 23, 2012, 07:11:00 pm »
I recommended an idea for the current Isotropic U.S. qualifier - theory ultimately chose something else, but I think the idea (a minor tweak to what we did with the BGGDL) could serve as the basis for a rotating league or series of tournaments. Here's what I'm thinking:

* Adopt the one-off format of the first couple installments of BGGDL (that is, no best-of-3's or point system), and require all games to be 3p or 4p. Multiplayer never really did well with "best-of-x" series, and with the "replay ties" format you're going to play most opponents multiple times anyways.

* Divide players into approximately X groups of ~Y players. I did this for one tournament in my old chess league about 7 years ago, we got 30 players in 5 groups of 6. We actually started with 3 groups, then at a certain point added a 4th with those players that were waiting, so that we get everyone started on their tournament shortly after they registered, but also allow for similar sized groups and more groups as the tournament got larger. Very subjective to assess, but it was pretty nice in practice.

* The top Z players in each group, plus some wild cards, would advance to a bracket or a second pool stage (which would then be followed by a bracket).

---

The malleable groups idea would also work pretty well, if it can be assessed consistently and smoothly, in a 2p league or tournament as well.

23
Fixed sets is something to bring up, because I'm pretty sure that's how it will be at nationals as well.
Unfortunately, this is true. A lot of tournaments have fixed sets for all games in a round - as long as we have distinctly segregated rounds, we might want to have players get the same array of kingdom cards throughout the tournament.

Not that I advocate for it, but it's probably how the nationals are going to be.

This is completely overblown, this points-vs-winners thing.

Let's be realistic.  With any of the points systems we're considering, (5-3-2-1), those with 4 wins will always beat those with 3 wins will always beat those with 2 wins.  So this is a completely unnecessary distinction at this point.
If that is the case, where more wins invariably equals a higher ranking, then I'm not worried about it at all - furthermore, that means a traditional point system would be merely cosmetic.

I am more interested in asking -- how long is the slowest 4p match likely to take?  Is 30min a reasonable upper limit?  I think it is, but all the 4p games I've played in have me in them and are therefore subject to sampling bias.

I bet the longest will be an hour.

All you need is kc, pool, young witch, secret chamber bane, minion.  I've played 30 min 2p matches before.   
I second this.

24
Equally hard question: Name a professional/olympic sport that isn't golf and has 3+ teams competing in the same game/match.

Archery?
Races, like cycling and motorsports. Those usually don't have a winner-take-all scenario for each individual race.

25
The real argument now is whether winner-take-all or a points-based system is better for the heats.  And to those who support the former--metzgerism and rrenaud chief among them, I think--I have a simple question:

Name a sport, professional or Olympic, in which more than two players compete in each round, but only one player from each match in each round advances.

I can't find one, but maybe I'm wrong.  Golf is the only commonly-followed sport* I can think of that are not one-on-one games, and it uses a point system.  Swimming and track sports use heats from which multiple athletes advance from each race.

*NASCAR was mentioned, but, sorry, just no.
I can't think of any. There are few confrontational sports (if any) that are not 1v1, and therefore a heat-based system is more preferable. There have been competitions in the past where a single qualifier is returned from a grouping.

I'm also not necessarily advocating that single qualifier thing, so I'm not sure where this discussion is heading...

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