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Author Topic: How best to run a 3-player tournament  (Read 19790 times)

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Tejayes

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How best to run a 3-player tournament
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:30:20 am »
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Hi, guys! I'm fresh back from the US Dominion Finals (don't ask how I did, though...), and the basic agreement is that, sorry Jay, but your format needs work.

This topic is meant to gather ideas for improving the kind of tournament that Jay wants for the Dominion Regionals/Nationals/Worlds/Universals? (any aliens playing this game?). Don't just say "Make it a 2-player tournament" because, as much as I know how most players prefer 2-player games, Jay has made it clear that he wants 3-player as much as possible.

Here's a reminder of how Nationals worked: For preliminaries, each player played three games, once in each seating position. You get 5 points for a 1st place, 3 for a 2nd, and 1 for a 3rd. Ties get a split between positions (e.g. a tie for 1st gets 4 points each). Once everyone plays their three games, the top nine (yes, we played three games each just to eliminate two players) start the process again with a clean slate.

Ideally, the player with the most points would win. That did not happen. There was a tie for first place, and Jay did not want a 2-player tiebreak. He wanted to put the third-placer in the tiebreak game, but there were two of them, too! After a heated discussion, we just did a 4-player final game that was overly Witch-centric. Not the best way to end a tournament, for sure.

After that final game, we talked about how tournaments should progress in the future. Jay firmly established that the format should stay 3-player, and I agree. ednever talked quite a bit about implementing a veto mode of sorts, from the standard veto format to one that favors the third player a bit more. I brought up a few ideas for a seeded elimination format, at least for the post-prelims, that uses the same point system to determine a single player to advance out of a group of three. I don't really remember the rest of the discussion, so if anyone who was there can help me out, I'd appreciate it.

Now's your chance to say whatever you want. Here are a few points of discussion that I want to focus on the most:

  • For the point games, should there be more games? Obviously, the more games you get to play, the less likely a tie at the top will occur. To me, this seems like a no-brainer, but if people with brains have an objection, make it known.
  • If there is ever a tie for qualification or the title, how should it be resolved? Three-way ties are optimal for the format, but how often would that happen? Larger ties could use the point system again, even though it'll take a long time, perhaps. Two-person ties are the big issue, due to the lack of desire to host 2-player games here.
  • If we do use a seeded elimination system, how do we group up the seeds? I mentioned in a topic in the IsoDom board that I've been working on two such formats: double underdog (1-8-9, 2-6-7, 3-4-5), and what I now call "Magic Square" (1-5-9, 2-6-7, 3-4-8). One person at the tournament (I can't quite remember his name, so I'll just call him "Mr. Vegan") suggested sort of a split difference between the two that would look like this: 1-6-9, 2-5-8, 3-4-7.
I would like to host some test 3-player tournaments on Iso to help determine what would work best. This will be after I get more input, of course. So please, start discussing! And thank you in advance!
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dondon151

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 12:02:39 pm »
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2 player ties should use 2 player games. It'll only happen probably once per tournament, if even that, and the rules that we were given pretty clearly indicated, in my opinion, the possibility of a 2 player tiebreak.

I don't understand why 4 player games are admissible but 2 player games cannot be played, ever. I agree as well that 3 player games are the most interesting multiplayer subset, but the only players that should play a tiebreaker are the players that are actually tied for the top position.
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Lekkit

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 12:13:22 pm »
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The way we did it at our Nationals was sort of round robin, with higher seeded players getting the advatange of not playing each other during this phase. That was mostly due to the lack of time for the guy who made the seating system. The optimal system would've been for players to play random players all games without having to play the same opponent more than once. And since we played 6 rounds we all got to play as first player, second player and third player two times each.

After that we had the best player move on to the finals directly with the second, third and fourth best player duking it out for the final spot in the finals, which was a two player game. Making the finals a three player game could easily be done with either three three player games with seeded groups or two three player games and one person advancing as the best player from the first phase of the game.

As for the finals, I would say that the best thing would be a set of games, not just one. First to two wins shouldn't take too long time, even with three players, but it would take more time than just playing one, obviously.
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 12:50:46 pm »
+1

Don't just say "Make it a 2-player tournament" because, as much as I know how most players prefer 2-player games, Jay has made it clear that he wants 3-player as much as possible.

if this needs to be forked, then so be it.  i think the arguments that 'Jay wants' or 'this is how we did it in the past' are horrible reasons to maintain the status quo. 2 player had been the dominant competitive environment for most of isotropic's existence, with 3p only gaining popularity in preparation for this world's tournament. really, there are just too many technical issues in 3/4 player vs 2 player. the exaggerated effects of seating order, kingmaking, collusion, point systems for placing, tie breakers, and potential length of game issues. i'm sure i'm missing something, but the main issue for 2p tournaments IRL are related to actually having enough copies of the game, something which can be alleviated by the existence of the base card expansion, preset kingdoms, and/or the funsockets app. 

donald x., creator of the game, has stated that he prefers 2p for competitive play. (though he adds that you could also run multiplayer tournaments for those that wish) 3 and 4 player tournaments are the result of jay's desires to help promote the game, and i personally haven't ever seen any other logistical or competitive reasons why he prefers 3/4p. any gains he might imagine from having 3p tournaments are likely lost when anyone views the circus of events that has surrounded the tournaments.

as the hardcore fans and competitive players, i think that we should have some right to flex our muscle and seek some serious discussion with jay while we can. the community seems to be rapidly growing, and the existence of an official app for tablets/phones could potentially explode the user base. yeah, improving the 3p system is nice, but why not seek a legitimate overhaul before we become too set in our ways. maybe this needs to be forked or maybe it needs a poll.  i just don't think i like sitting idly by with 'Jay said...' as the only reason we don't seek to move from what has been a pretty ugly system.
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Lekkit

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 01:05:46 pm »
+1

I don't get the "I've been playing 2p games all my life, I would rather die than play 3/4p!". I think the reason why many people prefer 2p games is because that's how they're used to play the game. I've seen a lot of players who started playing IRL and did that for a while. Most of those players have no problems at all with playing 3/4p. The ones who are usually saying 2p is better are the ones that has mostly played on isotropic and not much outside that.

Our nationals this year made Fabian the champion. He claims never to have played 3p games before. Yet he won 5 out of 6 3p games and ended up second in the last game. Was he just that much better than everybody else, or are the "disadvantages" of playing 3p games not so huge as people have theorycrafted?
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 01:12:33 pm »
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i think the arguments that 'Jay wants' or 'this is how we did it in the past' are horrible reasons to maintain the status quo.
Quote
3 and 4 player tournaments are the result of jay's desires to help promote the game, and i personally haven't ever seen any other logistical or competitive reasons why he prefers 3/4p. any gains he might imagine from having 3p tournaments are likely lost when anyone views the circus of events that has surrounded the tournaments.

Except that Jay paid for this Nationals, including the very nice hotel rooms and food and travel (I think -- I paid my own way), so he has final say over what format the tournament takes. He does want the tournaments improved, as he stated at the end of Nationals on Saturday. Still, when the owner of the publishing company that put this game on the map sponsors the tournament, you can't just look this gift horse up the you-know-what.

Also, as Lekkit just said, it's a little hypocritical to complain about the status quo of 3-player tournaments when you espouse the status quo of 2-player gaming.

Quote
2 player had been the dominant competitive environment for most of isotropic's existence, with 3p only gaining popularity in preparation for this world's tournament. really, there are just too many technical issues in 3/4 player vs 2 player. the exaggerated effects of seating order, kingmaking, collusion, point systems for placing, tie breakers, and potential length of game issues. i'm sure i'm missing something, but the main issue for 2p tournaments IRL are related to actually having enough copies of the game, something which can be alleviated by the existence of the base card expansion, preset kingdoms, and/or the funsockets app.
Quote
donald x., creator of the game, has stated that he prefers 2p for competitive play. (though he adds that you could also run multiplayer tournaments for those that wish)

If tests prove that 3p just doesn't work compared to 2p, perhaps that'll convince Jay to run tourneys in 2p mode. Anyway, the point of this thread is not to complain about 3p over 2p -- it's to figure out how to improve 3p tournaments and then test those methods on Iso. If you have nothing to add to that discussion, please add no more.

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Fabian

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 01:18:23 pm »
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Lekkit, for the record I probably played some 3p back before I found isotropic, the first time or two I played. This was back when the Village piled was auto-emptied in the first two turns etc though, so I wouldn't really call it much "real" 3p :)

As for my games at Nationals, the kingdoms happened to turn out in a way where very few attacks came into play (no Amb, no Hag, no Witch, no Mountebank until the 2p final, no Swindler until the 2p final, etc). Without wishing to put down any of my opponents at the tournament, I think when playing "solitaire dominion" I can expect to do very well in the long run, whether it's in 2p or 3p mode.

I do think 2p Dominion is a much better game than 3p Dominion. I would in general prefer tournaments to be 2p rather than 3p (4p is comparatively pretty awful, there would be none of that if I was in charge), but some variety isn't the worst thing either. I'd save the 3p tournaments for less "serious" things than an actual world championship though.
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 01:28:42 pm »
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sure, jay paid for food and travel. but we are the people who pay for his product.  our opinion should theoretically be worth something.

and no, i did not simply espouse the status quo of 2 player gaming. i pointed out a few of the major flaws we have had with 3/4 player tournaments and stated why i thought 2p was better.  the only reasoning i have ever seen for 3/4 player tournaments is based on jay wanting it that way for marketing. that is it.  if you or anyone else has any reasons in favor of 3/4 player i would love to hear them.  as i stated in my post, my biggest issue is not with 3/4 so much as simply going along with the 'jay wants' argument.

hey, if im such a huge nuisance i will gladly go and start another thread and poll on the issue.  but before i go i might as well point out there has been tons of forum speculation (and argument) on these exact issues already. you are not quite breaking new ground.

and fwiw, using 2p as the dominant format does not mean 3/4 player tournaments can not occur, just that there are multiple reasons why it should not be the dominant competitive format.
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 01:35:28 pm »
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Our nationals this year made Fabian the champion. He claims never to have played 3p games before. Yet he won 5 out of 6 3p games and ended up second in the last game. Was he just that much better than everybody else, or are the "disadvantages" of playing 3p games not so huge as people have theorycrafted?

Fabian is one of the top players out there, and i'm pretty sure he has been the top ranked player on isotropic too.  i don't see how this is a convincing argument in your favor.  if i remember right from Fabian's writeup, he seemed to suggest that he had probably 15-20 levels of isotropic skill on the other players.  you could have went and played with some home-brewed dominion rules made up on the spot and Fabian still would have been the favorite to come out on top. 
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theory

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 01:49:14 pm »
+6

We can run both; Jay does his 3/4p thing, and DominionStrategy hosts the 2p tournament.  Is it the imprimatur of "official-ness" that bothers you?
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Lekkit

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2012, 01:59:11 pm »
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I think there were at least three or four players who are about the same playing level as me, and I'm currently 4 levels behind Fabian on the iso leaderboard. My dad is currently lvl 19 on iso and he was the only one to knock a game off Fabian. Luck did play a bit of a role there, but then, Fabian was first player and missed to win with his first player advantage, so they had an equal amount of turns. I'm not saying Fabian is a bad player, not at all. I wasn't the least surprised to see him win. What I'm saying is that there were other good players there, Fabian played really well, even from second or third seat and that iso levels isn't the only true way of measuring skill.

@theory: We've been having an IRL League, and to be honest, I feel like the seriousness of that was about the same as during our nationals. So just because it isn't leading to worlds doesn't make it less of a tournament. I guess I'm trying to say I think I agree with you.
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2012, 02:02:03 pm »
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We can run both; Jay does his 3/4p thing, and DominionStrategy hosts the 2p tournament.  Is it the imprimatur of "official-ness" that bothers you?

i would personally love to see a championship in both, personally. my concerns are:
- the recent 3/4 tournaments have been an absolute mess.  the points systems and tie-breaking issues especially stand out, both of which are less of an issue in 2p.  and i think that 95% of us will agree that 2p, ignoring aspects such as time or resources, is better for determining who the best player is. 
- i am not sure we will ever see a consensus from the participants, so it will come down to someone higher up just making a decision.  but if the opinions of the players are to be heard, why not hear input on 2/3/4 player instead of just how to make 3 player tournaments better.
- i think i have seen more formatting complaints and trouble from just the US finals themselves than from the entire DS.com tournament and all of the IsoDom tournaments put together.
- jay's reasoning. i might have missed other reasons, but per my understanding it is entirely based on his ideas of marketing.  sure, there is no evidence that 2p marketing is better but i don't know of any evidence that it is worse. and as the people who help pay his bills, i feel that we should have at least a little input.
- the 'official-ness' is certainly one aspect, as is the potential prizes.  no offense at all meant to the DS.com tournament (which i thought was spectacular), but room/board/travel for a tournament is a nicer prize in itself than what you/we can offer on this site. 

fwiw, i am totally ok with sticking with the 3p format if need be.  i would just like to see some more discussion on it, especially if that would include some more input from jay. and to not hijack this thread any further, i would direct people to throw a vote and a comment at the poll i set up.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 02:04:30 pm by greatexpectations »
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Fabian

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2012, 02:02:23 pm »
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I'm level 42? Jeez I really need to get that uncertainty number below 11.5 or whatever it is :(

Edit: FWIW it seems to me that Lekkit is definitely the second strongest player in the room during our tournaments, by a pretty wide margin, but speculating too much about other peoples' relative skills probably isn't the best thing to do so I'll leave it at that.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 02:04:27 pm by Fabian »
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2012, 02:14:36 pm »
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sure, jay paid for food and travel. but we are the people who pay for his product.  our opinion should theoretically be worth something.

Unless you are only playing on Isotropic at the moment, in which case you're not paying anything to complain about 3-player tournaments.

Quote
and no, i did not simply espouse the status quo of 2 player gaming. i pointed out a few of the major flaws we have had with 3/4 player tournaments and stated why i thought 2p was better.  the only reasoning i have ever seen for 3/4 player tournaments is based on jay wanting it that way for marketing. that is it.  if you or anyone else has any reasons in favor of 3/4 player i would love to hear them.  as i stated in my post, my biggest issue is not with 3/4 so much as simply going along with the 'jay wants' argument.

I'll put this in bold up top, but I'll write a reminder here, too: The sole purpose of this thread is to discuss ways to improve 3-player Dominion tournaments, then use Isotropic when we can to test these improvements as much as possible. If you do not wish to add constructive suggestions to this discussion and instead just complain, I cannot stop you. I will, however, ask you to keep all posts as constructive and relevant as possible.

As for reasons in favor of 3-player, here are a few:

  • Donald X. himself has stated that he personally prefers 3-player and even 4-player games over 2-player due to the increased interaction and social atmosphere. While he did state a preference of 2-player in tournaments, he never said he was completely against them.
  • As you stated earlier, when playing with physical copies, you need fewer sets of base cards to accomodate for more players in 3p than 2p. Since this game was designed to use physical cards, official in-person tournaments using computerized versions of the game would be silly.
  • More to come once I get a longer break from work...

Quote
hey, if im such a huge nuisance i will gladly go and start another thread and poll on the issue.  but before i go i might as well point out there has been tons of forum speculation (and argument) on these exact issues already. you are not quite breaking new ground.

I realize that I'm not doing anything revolutionary here, but I'm hoping that people will provide genuine ideas towards the topic at hand rather than just waste everyone's time by continuing to rant about the drawbacks of 3p tournament play. You have every right to start a thread titled "Why 2p Tournaments are Better than 3p Tournaments" or something. I would likely agree with that sentiment at the moment as well, even though I prefer 3p play. My only wish with this thread is to figure out if and how a 3p tournament can work as well as a 2p tournament because my experience at Nationals showed that the current way of doing 3p is far below optimal.

Quote
and fwiw, using 2p as the dominant format does not mean 3/4 player tournaments can not occur, just that there are multiple reasons why it should not be the dominant competitive format.

Again, the point of this thread is to improve 3p tournament play, not just complain about it. Even if Jay decides to adopt 2p tournaments from here on out, people might still want to run 3p or even 4p tournaments. In those cases, we should know the best method of doing so.
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theory

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2012, 02:22:03 pm »
+1

Yes.  Let's keep this topic focused on how best to run a 3p-4p tournament, as flawed and problematic it may be.  And we'll can have a separate discussion on how to run 2p tournaments.
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2012, 02:23:24 pm »
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i would personally love to see a championship in both, personally. my concerns are:
- the recent 3/4 tournaments have been an absolute mess.  the points systems and tie-breaking issues especially stand out, both of which are less of an issue in 2p.  and i think that 95% of us will agree that 2p, ignoring aspects such as time or resources, is better for determining who the best player is. 
- i am not sure we will ever see a consensus from the participants, so it will come down to someone higher up just making a decision.  but if the opinions of the players are to be heard, why not hear input on 2/3/4 player instead of just how to make 3 player tournaments better.
- i think i have seen more formatting complaints and trouble from just the US finals themselves than from the entire DS.com tournament and all of the IsoDom tournaments put together.
- jay's reasoning. i might have missed other reasons, but per my understanding it is entirely based on his ideas of marketing.  sure, there is no evidence that 2p marketing is better but i don't know of any evidence that it is worse. and as the people who help pay his bills, i feel that we should have at least a little input.
- the 'official-ness' is certainly one aspect, as is the potential prizes.  no offense at all meant to the DS.com tournament (which i thought was spectacular), but room/board/travel for a tournament is a nicer prize in itself than what you/we can offer on this site. 

fwiw, i am totally ok with sticking with the 3p format if need be.  i would just like to see some more discussion on it, especially if that would include some more input from jay. and to not hijack this thread any further, i would direct people to throw a vote and a comment at the poll i set up.

Then provide some discussion on it, why don't you?! All you have been doing is complaining about 3p tournaments, not providing ideas on how to make them better. If I wanted to see people claim to improve ideas by just shutting them down with no positive input, I'd go to Capitol Hill.

If you have anything to say that might make 3p tournaments better, I'd like to see it.
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2012, 03:19:26 pm »
+2

Then provide some discussion on it, why don't you?! All you have been doing is complaining about 3p tournaments, not providing ideas on how to make them better. If I wanted to see people claim to improve ideas by just shutting them down with no positive input, I'd go to Capitol Hill.

If you have anything to say that might make 3p tournaments better, I'd like to see it.

i wanted to see discussion on 2p vs 3p vs 4p in response to jay's uncontested assertion that the tournament be 3p. i was not looking for more discussion on 3p, we had some of that already here, here, and in the preparations for the online qualifier. if that wasn't clear from the rest of my post discussing that issue, than that is my fault for not being clear and hey now you know.  i'm really not sure what you are getting so worked up over though.  that last post was a direct response to theory, and i stated in it that the poll and discussion could be found elsewhere. if the tangential posts are such a big concern i will gladly delete my other posts.

but hey if you'd really like my thoughts on 3p well then here they are:
- formats, tiebreakers, etc. should to be consistent across all tournaments feeding into the nationals.  this means that the rules need to be able to accommodate a tournament of 8 players as well as 200 players.
- how do you adjust to odd player totals in tournaments? round robin setups will not always be viable or fair. seeding and byes means either a random draw or some previous input.  and capping tournament sizes seems in contradiction to jay's whole marketing argument.
- the amount of money in the copper/silver/gold piles needs to be specified. these pile sizes become more important as you add more players. to my knowledge there is no rule on this outside of isotropic. your argument that 2p requires more setups is directly dependent on this. 2p and 3p both have the same amount of vp per person, so it is the number of coin cards which limit things.
- games should be formed from fully randomized sets of cards OR pre-designed from a combination of at minimum 2 different sets.  base only tournament sets are luck dependent and flat out boring, both of which will hinder jay's efforts of trying to sell the game to outsiders. look to the DS.com championships for evidence of this. well designed sets with competitive players is a great thing to watch.
- 2p and 4p games should be avoided in a 3p tournament.  determine seeding or tiebreakers some other way.
- alternating seats in a 3p set so that everyone gets a chance at each seat seems silly to me.  the impact of seating order will vary wildly from game to game. i would just organize people by how they finished the last set.
- one of your arguments pro-3p was the increased interaction and social environment.  i completely disagree. i think that there needs to be strict limits on what can and should be said during a game.  speculation on strategy, comments on points remaining, and comments on pile sizes all carry far more weight in 3p games.  it is simply too easy for seemingly offhand comments to influence the other players decisions.  i will freely admit to being a manipulative SOB in competitive gaming.  i pull all sorts of these shenanigans in playing settlers and puerto rico, and i have done the same in IRL dominion.
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ednever

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2012, 03:27:20 pm »
+3

After competing in three multi player tournaments this year, i gave a lot if thought to these tournaments on the trip home. here are my thoughts (Detroit, DS.com, us nationals)

This is how I would run a 3p in-person tournament if I ran one tomorrow:

Prelims:
If group is divisible by 3, play 3 prelim rounds (or 6 for an "epic" tournament that runs longer). Everyone plays once from each seat.

Each table has two different sets. Cards are randomly determined from those two sets. Every game is different. No two people play each other more than once.

If not evenly divisible by 3, then have four rounds with every player getting a buy in one round to keep it to all 3p games.

Advancement to semi finals:
Players advance based on rank order with a cut off of 9 people (or 27 if there are two rounds)

First: players with the most wins (in practice this means 1-1-3 beats 1-2-2)
On a tie on wins, number of. 2nd place finishes
On a tie on second place finishes, wins in the last game of the match (which helps solve the "I've already locked it issue now I play for fun)
On a still tie: second place finishes in last game
Still tied: wins on second last game, etc

Only ties remaining would be those with absolutely identical records. For them either flip a coin, or wins vs top 9 players or something.

Semi finals:
9 players put into 3 seeded pods:
Pod 1- 1-6-7
Pod 2- 2-5-8
Pod 3- 3-4-9

Top player from each pod advances based on the same criteria as above (wins, 2nds, wins in last game)

In the case where a player comes 3-3 in the first two games, last game is played 2p (this means that every player has a chance to win in every game- there are no spoilers). Top seeded player plays p1 in the last game.

Finals:
Top player from each pod play another set of 3 3p games under the same rules as the semi.


All the semi and final kingdoms are designed kingdoms using all the sets.

Total time to play:
Prelims: ~40m per round x 3-4 rounds= 2h-2h40m
Semi finals: ~30m/round (since not slowed down by slowest game in each round)- 90m
Finals: same, 90m
Total: ~5h

Time can be extended by 2h by adding 3 games to prelims.

I've almost finished the excel model that does the seating for non-divisible by 3 prelims.

Happy to expand on reasoning as requested (particularly why no designed kimgdoms in prelims. I tried but unless you make some serious compromises - ie people playing the same kingdom more than once, or having an absurd number of kimgdoms, it's not possible...)

Ed
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2012, 03:30:51 pm »
0

I think a committee should be formed that helps hammer out rules and takes into consideration the needs and desires of various players. Also, I don't think the final say should lie with Jay regarding 2P/3P even though he feels that way.

Also, I do think that every tournament sold have a final round that pits the two best players in 2P mode.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 03:42:27 pm by Beyond Awesome »
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ednever

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2012, 03:40:29 pm »
+7

One more thing:

I have seen it written in many places that "Jay wants to do 3p for marketing purposes". I have no idea where that came from , but after talking to Jay this past weekend, it is absolutely not true.

Here is my interpretation on what Jay thinks:
1- he does not like tournaments. He sees them as a (potentially) necessary evil
      (he made a point at nationals of having a dinner before the event with all the participants so that we would know and like each other before we started playing. He wanted to do pickup games the evening before, etc)

2- jay doesn't really believe in marketing (at least the traditional kind). He wants to make good games that people want to introduce their friends to - that's his marketing

3- so why 3p? Two reasons:
   1- jay really doesn't like the way the game plays in 2p (call it personal preference)
   2- jay spoke to Donald (he trusts and respects Donald a lot), and together they agreed that 3p would be a great tournament format

That's really it. No conspiracy or big company manipulation. Just a guy trying to make the experience the best he knows how to do.

My personal belief, after a very recent adjustment, is that while Doninion is an amazing 2p Gand (the best in my opinion), and a pretty good 4p game, the full complexity of the game really shines in a 3p format.

I did not believe that until recently after playing a lot of 3p games.

I'm happy to write another post sometimd on why Dominion is at its peak in 3p, but that's for another day.

Ed
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ednever

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2012, 03:43:19 pm »
0

I think a committee should be formed that helps hammer out rules and takes into consideration the needs and desires of various players. Also, I don't think the final say should lie with Jay regarding 2P/3P even though he feels that way.

I think anyone can run any tournament they like using whatever rules they like (they can even call it the world championships if they want the way they do at boardgame.org's event). But that in the tournament Jay runs (and pays for) I'm pretty sure he has final say...

Ed
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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2012, 03:44:38 pm »
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Ed, wow... Just wow... That is how it's supposed to be done.

The only thing I can really think of is that you probably need to have a time limit for each round in the prelims. This is coming from experience. While I'm not really fond of it, I'd rather have it that way and the time can actually almost be calculated, rather than one game dragging on for an hour (this can happen, and will happen if there will be no time limit).
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2012, 03:52:23 pm »
0

I have seen it written in many places that "Jay wants to do 3p for marketing purposes". I have no idea where that came from , but after talking to Jay this past weekend, it is absolutely not true.

i think that is a result of this (and any other similar post) post by Donald and a lack of any other real commentary from Jay. we don't usually hear a lot from him on the tournament front, something which is evidenced in not only 2p vs 3p vs 4p but also in the spread of information on qualifying tournaments.  this makes the information in the rest of your post super useful to the rest of us who have not ever interacted with him, so much thanks for it. 

but again, it brings up the question: if jay is not himself particularly interested in tournaments then why is his word the final say? i feel he could benefit some from interacting more with the community here.
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ftl

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2012, 03:56:48 pm »
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Ednever, I think your thoughts are spot-on. I like what you say and would subscribe to your product and/or service. I had a post written, but yours is better.

I would just add that for a very large tournament - like >81 players - you could also do something like a single-elimination tournament. Split the round up into groups of 3, each group of 3 plays some number of games, whoever has the most wins advances.
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ftl

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2012, 03:57:45 pm »
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if jay is not himself particularly interested in tournaments then why is his word the final say?

Because he's the one who's actually running the tournament... of course his word is the final say... Tournament Organizer always gets the final word...
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ednever

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2012, 04:02:27 pm »
+1

On Jay not interacting here:
I think we are all spoiled by DX being around. Jay is the founder/owner/CEO of Rio Grand, a company that makes a lot more games than just dominion (even though dominion is his favorite, along with rftg).

I also think people are under the belief that rgg is much bigger than they appear. Jay and his wife are the only employees... That's a lot for a couple of people to do... Not sure where checking forums falls on that list.

Ed
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greatexpectations

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2012, 04:12:55 pm »
+1

Because he's the one who's actually running the tournament... of course his word is the final say... Tournament Organizer always gets the final word...

i think you missed my intended point though.  of course, he is running the show so he makes the rules. but by his own admission he is not interested in tournaments.  that just makes me wonder why he doesn't interact more with the community in establishing formats and rules or even pass on the organization to someone else.

On Jay not interacting here:
I think we are all spoiled by DX being around. Jay is the founder/owner/CEO of Rio Grand, a company that makes a lot more games than just dominion.

right, i don't think any of us expect donald-level interactions. but with his other responsibilities and limited time it seems silly that he would also run the tournament.  i think it would be easier for him to either solicit input or to pass the buck to someone else. 

really, i think the issue is that dominion has seemed (to me) to grow significantly in popularity in the last year or so. about 2800 more users on the isotropic leaderboard right now compared to this time last year, rapid growth of these forums, and the impending release of an app that people can easily play on their phones and tablets.  your standard operating procedures will often need to change a little to accommodate that sort of growth.
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2012, 04:14:20 pm »
0

i wanted to see discussion on 2p vs 3p vs 4p in response to jay's uncontested assertion that the tournament be 3p. i was not looking for more discussion on 3p, we had some of that already here, here, and in the preparations for the online qualifier.

The thing is, neither thread was/is geared specifically towards the advancement of 3p tournaments in general. They do have very useful information, but it's like telling someone to go to a cheese store instead of a chocolate shop if you want them to find a good dark-coated salted caramel. Maybe the cheese store really does have the best caramel, but it sort of negates the purpose of both stores, don't you think?

Quote
if that wasn't clear from the rest of my post discussing that issue, than that is my fault for not being clear and hey now you know.

I gleaned as much from your long argument with Donald X. over in Rules Questions.

Quote
i'm really not sure what you are getting so worked up over though.  that last post was a direct response to theory, and i stated in it that the poll and discussion could be found elsewhere. if the tangential posts are such a big concern i will gladly delete my other posts.

As I stated a few times already, I didn't create this thread for people to just whine about 3p tournaments but rather suggest ways to make them better. I get very easily frustrated when I have to repeat myself and people still continue what they ought not to. I don't know whether that person just can't get it, I'm not explaining it well enough, or that person is just being a troll. Anyway, no need to remove your prior comments, as it will just make the replies all the more confusing in context.

Quote
but hey if you'd really like my thoughts on 3p well then here they are:

Thank you! That's exactly what I wanted. Now, to address each point.

Quote
- formats, tiebreakers, etc. should to be consistent across all tournaments feeding into the nationals.  this means that the rules need to be able to accommodate a tournament of 8 players as well as 200 players.

Agreed.

Quote
- how do you adjust to odd player totals in tournaments? round robin setups will not always be viable or fair. seeding and byes means either a random draw or some previous input.  and capping tournament sizes seems in contradiction to jay's whole marketing argument.

Yes, odd numbers of players are a problem, and this is a good argument for 2p over 3p since wonky numbers are about 33% more likely in 3p tournaments. One would think that a system that allowed each player to play an equal number of games in an equal number of starting positions would be enough, but perhaps not.

Quote
- the amount of money in the copper/silver/gold piles needs to be specified. these pile sizes become more important as you add more players. to my knowledge there is no rule on this outside of isotropic. your argument that 2p requires more setups is directly dependent on this. 2p and 3p both have the same amount of vp per person, so it is the number of coin cards which limit things.

Usually, there are 40 Silvers and 30 Golds per game, plus whatever Coppers are leftover after forming the starter decks (46 in 2p, 39 in 3p, etc. with just Base). Both Base and Intrigue say you use all basic Treasures after forming the starter decks. The Intrigue rulebook establishes that the number of basic Treasures can be increased to allow for a more seemingly endless pile, so combining the basics from Base and Intrigue is fine. While you are correct that 2p and 3p use the same number of greens per person and would make splits easier in 2p, we'd have to reduce the number of Silvers and Golds from the standard 40 and 30 to allow set splitting (e.g. 26 Silvers and 20 Golds can accomodate three 2p games using two base card sets).

Quote
- games should be formed from fully randomized sets of cards OR pre-designed from a combination of at minimum 2 different sets.  base only tournament sets are luck dependent and flat out boring, both of which will hinder jay's efforts of trying to sell the game to outsiders. look to the DS.com championships for evidence of this. well designed sets with competitive players is a great thing to watch.

The decider at Nationals was Base only, and that was crap. It was also a 4p game, though, so... Otherwise, totally agree. I'm more of a predetermined set guy because that would allow for more early preparation and thus shorter intervals between games, hopefully. Oh, and the whole well-designed thing, too.

Quote
- 2p and 4p games should be avoided in a 3p tournament.  determine seeding or tiebreakers some other way.

VERY much agree!

Quote
- alternating seats in a 3p set so that everyone gets a chance at each seat seems silly to me.  the impact of seating order will vary wildly from game to game. i would just organize people by how they finished the last set.

True. Many boards and certain cards in particular disproportionately screw over Player 3. Only if the sets were all the same would that be more balanced, and who wants to just play the same set over and over and over...? Of course, your "last set" idea could hit snags when you have a wonky number of players and require sit-outs. Requires testing.

Quote
- one of your arguments pro-3p was the increased interaction and social environment.  i completely disagree. i think that there needs to be strict limits on what can and should be said during a game.  speculation on strategy, comments on points remaining, and comments on pile sizes all carry far more weight in 3p games.  it is simply too easy for seemingly offhand comments to influence the other players decisions.  i will freely admit to being a manipulative SOB in competitive gaming.  i pull all sorts of these shenanigans in playing settlers and puerto rico, and i have done the same in IRL dominion.

Professional poker players have to employ these tactics to win, so why not Dominion players? Yes, I know poker and Dominion are vastly different games, but any good game allows players to play other players as much as, if not more than, the game itself. As long as there are no physical shenanigans, playing mindgames with the opponents adds a level of competitiveness that further prove why I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not right for tournament play.
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2012, 04:18:27 pm »
+1

After competing in three multi player tournaments this year, i gave a lot if thought to these tournaments on the trip home. here are my thoughts (Detroit, DS.com, us nationals)

This is how I would run a 3p in-person tournament if I ran one tomorrow:

Prelims:
If group is divisible by 3, play 3 prelim rounds (or 6 for an "epic" tournament that runs longer). Everyone plays once from each seat.

Each table has two different sets. Cards are randomly determined from those two sets. Every game is different. No two people play each other more than once.

If not evenly divisible by 3, then have four rounds with every player getting a buy in one round to keep it to all 3p games.

Advancement to semi finals:
Players advance based on rank order with a cut off of 9 people (or 27 if there are two rounds)

First: players with the most wins (in practice this means 1-1-3 beats 1-2-2)
On a tie on wins, number of. 2nd place finishes
On a tie on second place finishes, wins in the last game of the match (which helps solve the "I've already locked it issue now I play for fun)
On a still tie: second place finishes in last game
Still tied: wins on second last game, etc

Only ties remaining would be those with absolutely identical records. For them either flip a coin, or wins vs top 9 players or something.

Semi finals:
9 players put into 3 seeded pods:
Pod 1- 1-6-7
Pod 2- 2-5-8
Pod 3- 3-4-9

Top player from each pod advances based on the same criteria as above (wins, 2nds, wins in last game)

In the case where a player comes 3-3 in the first two games, last game is played 2p (this means that every player has a chance to win in every game- there are no spoilers). Top seeded player plays p1 in the last game.

Finals:
Top player from each pod play another set of 3 3p games under the same rules as the semi.


All the semi and final kingdoms are designed kingdoms using all the sets.

Total time to play:
Prelims: ~40m per round x 3-4 rounds= 2h-2h40m
Semi finals: ~30m/round (since not slowed down by slowest game in each round)- 90m
Finals: same, 90m
Total: ~5h

Time can be extended by 2h by adding 3 games to prelims.

I've almost finished the excel model that does the seating for non-divisible by 3 prelims.

Happy to expand on reasoning as requested (particularly why no designed kimgdoms in prelims. I tried but unless you make some serious compromises - ie people playing the same kingdom more than once, or having an absurd number of kimgdoms, it's not possible...)

Ed

One more thing:

I have seen it written in many places that "Jay wants to do 3p for marketing purposes". I have no idea where that came from , but after talking to Jay this past weekend, it is absolutely not true.

Here is my interpretation on what Jay thinks:
1- he does not like tournaments. He sees them as a (potentially) necessary evil
      (he made a point at nationals of having a dinner before the event with all the participants so that we would know and like each other before we started playing. He wanted to do pickup games the evening before, etc)

2- jay doesn't really believe in marketing (at least the traditional kind). He wants to make good games that people want to introduce their friends to - that's his marketing

3- so why 3p? Two reasons:
   1- jay really doesn't like the way the game plays in 2p (call it personal preference)
   2- jay spoke to Donald (he trusts and respects Donald a lot), and together they agreed that 3p would be a great tournament format

That's really it. No conspiracy or big company manipulation. Just a guy trying to make the experience the best he knows how to do.

My personal belief, after a very recent adjustment, is that while Doninion is an amazing 2p Gand (the best in my opinion), and a pretty good 4p game, the full complexity of the game really shines in a 3p format.

I did not believe that until recently after playing a lot of 3p games.

I'm happy to write another post sometimd on why Dominion is at its peak in 3p, but that's for another day.

Ed

Have I mentioned how much I like you, ednever? Thank you so much for all of the info and ideas you posted.
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dondon151

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2012, 04:24:03 pm »
0

I recall a few ideas that the participants (but mostly Ed) shared at the end of the tournament for 3 player games:

- If kingdoms are randomly determined, then implement veto mode. Pick a kingdom of 13 random cards, 2nd player vetoes 1 card, and 3rd player vetoes 2 cards
- Predetermined, predesigned kingdoms (e.g., kingdom design challenge)
- Player 2 has a random opening split; player 3 chooses an opening split and player 1 mirrors player 3's opening split
- Player 3 decides the opening split for all players

Surely some of these have to be good...
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2012, 04:28:06 pm »
0

I recall a few ideas that the participants (but mostly Ed) shared at the end of the tournament for 3 player games:

- If kingdoms are randomly determined, then implement veto mode. Pick a kingdom of 13 random cards, 2nd player vetoes 1 card, and 3rd player vetoes 2 cards
- Predetermined, predesigned kingdoms (e.g., kingdom design challenge)
- Player 2 has a random opening split; player 3 chooses an opening split and player 1 mirrors player 3's opening split
- Player 3 decides the opening split for all players

Surely some of these have to be good...

They may be good, but they are also untested for the most part. If anyone has already played a game using the variants dondon151 mentioned, let us know how they turned out. If you want to play one of these variants, let us know the results then, too. The split ideas will be basically impossible to implement on Iso at the current time, but there are ways to make the escalated veto idea work using randomizers and chat/PM, I should hope.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2012, 04:30:17 pm »
0

I recall a few ideas that the participants (but mostly Ed) shared at the end of the tournament for 3 player games:

- If kingdoms are randomly determined, then implement veto mode. Pick a kingdom of 13 random cards, 2nd player vetoes 1 card, and 3rd player vetoes 2 cards
- Predetermined, predesigned kingdoms (e.g., kingdom design challenge)
- Player 2 has a random opening split; player 3 chooses an opening split and player 1 mirrors player 3's opening split
- Player 3 decides the opening split for all players

Surely some of these have to be good...

My favorite idea of yours is player 3 deciding opening split for all players. That seems pretty fair. Your veto mode idea is interesting. But, I would change it too player 3 vetoes first, player 2 vetoes second, and player 1 vetoes last.
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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2012, 04:34:30 pm »
0

Quote
Usually, there are 40 Silvers and 30 Golds per game, plus whatever Coppers are leftover after forming the starter decks (46 in 2p, 39 in 3p, etc. with just Base). Both Base and Intrigue say you use all basic Treasures after forming the starter decks. The Intrigue rulebook establishes that the number of basic Treasures can be increased to allow for a more seemingly endless pile, so combining the basics from Base and Intrigue is fine. While you are correct that 2p and 3p use the same number of greens per person and would make splits easier in 2p, we'd have to reduce the number of Silvers and Golds from the standard 40 and 30 to allow set splitting (e.g. 26 Silvers and 20 Golds can accomodate three 2p games using two base card sets).

intrigue rules actually specify that the money piles are intended to "be in abundant enough supply to not run out".  page 2 of this pdf. now, that is not really reasonable in any early knockout stage, but by the final round you could have ten spare games sitting around.  do you use all of those cards then? or do you stay consistent with the early rounds?  its mostly a fringe question, but it is trouble which can be avoided with an early specification.

Quote
Professional poker players have to employ these tactics to win, so why not Dominion players? Yes, I know poker and Dominion are vastly different games, but any good game allows players to play other players as much as, if not more than, the game itself. As long as there are no physical shenanigans, playing mindgames with the opponents adds a level of competitiveness that further prove why I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not right for tournament play.

i think this was just listed as an issue at some qualifier.  if i remember right, some comment from an outsider led to a game being restarted, and another comment led to another player ending it before the other player could have a chance to win.  the community at large might not agree, and it will likely lead to another rambling thread on dominion ethics.  either way, i think it is an action which is very likely to generate ill will.
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Tejayes

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2012, 04:53:32 pm »
0

intrigue rules actually specify that the money piles are intended to "be in abundant enough supply to not run out".  page 2 of this pdf. now, that is not really reasonable in any early knockout stage, but by the final round you could have ten spare games sitting around.  do you use all of those cards then? or do you stay consistent with the early rounds?  its mostly a fringe question, but it is trouble which can be avoided with an early specification.

Personally, I would prefer a set number of Golds, Silvers, and even Coppers for each game, up to and including the championship game(s). Honestly, the whole notion of cards that are "in abundant enough supply to not run out" never anticipated Tunnel or Trader or any other shenaniganny cards like them. This is a good issue to discuss further, I think.

Quote
i think this was just listed as an issue at some qualifier.  if i remember right, some comment from an outsider led to a game being restarted, and another comment led to another player ending it before the other player could have a chance to win.  the community at large might not agree, and it will likely lead to another rambling thread on dominion ethics.  either way, i think it is an action which is very likely to generate ill will.
Outside comments should be forbidden, yes. In-game comments, however, are just fine with me. I'm personally not against the idea of mindgaming your opponents into submission, mostly because I'm most likely not going to play in any tournaments again (I'd rather run them). If enough people are against it, we can ban in-game chatter in tournament play. Facial expressions, body language, and telltale coughing might still be allowed, though.
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dondon151

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2012, 06:53:36 pm »
+1

Outside comments should be forbidden, yes. In-game comments, however, are just fine with me. I'm personally not against the idea of mindgaming your opponents into submission, mostly because I'm most likely not going to play in any tournaments again (I'd rather run them). If enough people are against it, we can ban in-game chatter in tournament play. Facial expressions, body language, and telltale coughing might still be allowed, though.

I believe that disallowing chatter between players is somewhat contradictory to the spirit of RL play. One of the reasons why my big mouth inadvertently caused a game to be thrown out is because I was just so used to making offhand comments in RL games among friends, about half of which is obviously bad advice (4/3 opening, herp derp open Throne Room/Tunnel) or what I think are obvious statements (2 piles gone, cheapest kingdom card left is Watchtower with 3 more copies in the supply).

A good player shouldn't be affected by these sorts of utterances because he should have a plan and the commitment to stick to it. If he has doubts about the soundness of his strategy, then he's probably lost. Now, spectators should keep their mouth shut, but I really don't want to play in a match where any slip of the tongue, no matter how funny nor innocuous I think it, would force the game to restart.
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dondon151

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2012, 07:08:30 pm »
0

On another note, I'm anticipating arguments that measures taken to reduce the effect of shuffle luck and seating position in tournament play (such as those brought up previously) are variants because they are not explicitly allowed by the Dominion rulebook, and should therefore not be implemented.

There is no indication that a variant should not be the default format for tournament play! The tournament formats for many competitive games use an official ruleset that is a variant of the base game. I myself am more familiar with video gaming than boardgaming, but games with large competitive communities such as Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon both employ heavily restricted rulesets in order to promulgate a healthy competitive game that minimizes the influence of luck and explicitly or implicitly removes imbalanced elements from the game.
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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2012, 07:12:20 pm »
+1

More games.

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2012, 07:22:44 pm »
0

On another note, 'Jay wants it this way' is a good reason when discussing tournaments run by Jay. But it doesn't seem to me that there's much point in discussing such things anyway - it seems doubtful that what we say will influence Jay in how he runs things. Which is not a reason to not discuss how best to run 3p tournaments in general.

dondon151

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2012, 07:48:33 pm »
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On another note, 'Jay wants it this way' is a good reason when discussing tournaments run by Jay. But it doesn't seem to me that there's much point in discussing such things anyway - it seems doubtful that what we say will influence Jay in how he runs things. Which is not a reason to not discuss how best to run 3p tournaments in general.

No, you're right. But there are certain things that Jay is willing to compromise on; it was he himself who asked the participants after the tiebreak round had concluded about how the tournament format could be done better. I'm guessing that 2 player tournaments officially sponsored by RGG are out of the question, but every other aspect within the tournament format and rules seems to be up to discussion.
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metzgerism

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2012, 03:46:53 pm »
+2

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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 03:51:28 pm by metzgerism »
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blueblimp

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2012, 04:18:49 pm »
+1

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.
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metzgerism

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2012, 04:25:11 pm »
+1

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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 04:27:59 pm by metzgerism »
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Razzishi

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2012, 12:04:22 am »
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Pretty late to the party, but I was going back over this forum now that GenCon is this week.....

The following works with 6 or more players, although it's a bit excessive until you get quite a few more.  I have no advice on how to choose kingdoms, just on 3p tournament setup that recognizes the need to fairly arrange seat order.

Arrange people into pods of 3.  In case of an uneven number of players, have 1 or 2 pods of 2.  Players play a set of 2 games against the same opponents, swapping 3rd and 1st playing positions for the second game irrespective of finishing order in the first game.  After each set players still wishing to play are formed into new pods for another set, with the pods being among similarly ranked players as in Swiss pairings.  No one should face the same opponent more than once; unless you're playing way more sets than you need this shouldn't be an issue but might require some management to ensure.  The number of sets to play will be dependent on the number of players and the time available, taking into account the time needed for future rounds as will be discussed later; the bare minimum number of sets is 2.  Scores per game are 4/2/0 points (4/0 for 2p), spread evenly in case of shared places (assuming equal turns, etc.).  Cut at least half the field to the next lowest power of 3.  That is, cut 17 or less to 3, 18-53 to 9, 54-161 to 27, etc.  First tie breaker is average game points of opponents, second is best performance in a more recent set of games, third is overall wins.  If still tied, coin flip.  Or follow how DCI reporter was programmed at one point to handle exact ties: first player listed on the master player list is listed first in standings, meaning the first player to register among those tied gets the nod.  But definitely do not play another game.

If that cut was to 3^n people, do the following n times:

Determine pods of 3 by Swiss pairing methods and play a set of 3 games, with each player going once in each position.  Players may face the same opponents that they did in previous rounds with no restrictions.  Scores per game are 4+X/2+Y/0 where the previous round was X/Y/0, added to previous scores.  Cut to the top third of the field.  Tiebreakers are the same, counting an opponent's average once for each set in which he was faced.
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MaartenRobinson

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #43 on: September 06, 2012, 04:12:12 am »
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Thanks for all these comments and contributions.   I live in the UK and have not seen much about Dominion Tournaments here, and certainly not much in the South-West [perhaps we have been disctracted by the Olympics and Paralympics this year].  However,  on a recent holiday to the Netherlands [where we managed, incidently, to buy Intrigue and SeaSide [both Dutch versions] and Prosperity in German, adding to our French Hinterlands and our English all the other sets] I took a notebook and started working out how a tournament with 9, 10, 11, 12 and so on competitors might work.  I agree with several of you that a good tournament needs a mix of 3, 4 and even 2 player competitions.   One of the nicest is to have a number of players divisible by 9 ... then you get the first three rounds randomly allocated and no-one need play another player twice in those three rounds.   I wasn't sure if 5,3,1 or 6,3,0 should be used.  I like the 6.3.0 then you can use 6.4.2.0 for 4 player games and have the same winning score.  Good for a mix of 3 and 4 in the same round.

 If you are playing with multiples of 9 you can pre-select cross fertilsation across the groups of 9 ... I must admit that it can get very addictive ... working it out ... it's good fun.

After those 3 rounds ... continue with a sort of Swiss round [it helps to balance the results across the board when the randomness didn't quite get it right in the first 3 rounds].  Swiss in this context would play the top 4 [so far] against each other ... then the next 4 and next 4 and so on.   Yes ... moving to 4 player games.   If the numbers don't add up ... then adjust with a subtle mix of 4 and 3 [but concentrate on the 4 at the higher end of the rankings].

For the 5th round ... seed the players ... as mentioned before [by whatever means ... ] but on 4 players per table.

After this round you have a set of results from which to pick your semi-final table and so on down the listings.
The top 4 after this 5th round ... play against each other and the top 2 then play a final for overall 1st and 2nd.  The next 2 play for 3rd and 4th place ... and you may wish to continue to the 5th and 6th play off ... Perhaps you are running a sequence of tournaments and the lower positions matter [cf F1 racing pts].

Then I thought ... but above all, what is important in all this is, that the players enjoy their playing and that it doesn't just get to be a set of tournament rules being enacted [this was part of our sermon at church on Sunday just gone ... Mark 7 vv6-8] ... it sort of rang true.

So I wrote down some ground rules.
- Enjoyment of the players
- the opportunity for  the best overall player on the day to be the winner
- to play Dominion largely as it was designed [ie for 2 - 4 players] ... I know you can play with 5-6 but I'm keeping it simpler for my mind to cope with.
- Enjoyment of the organisers and without too much hassle [not sure of spelling ... or is it hastle].

So 5 rounds then semis and then finals ... or cut it shorter if need be.  With only 12 players ... I would do a round of 3x4p then a round of 4x3p then a Swiss and then seeded ... then into Semis [4p] and Final [2p]

Just a thought ... but above all Enjoy.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: How best to run a 3-player tournament
« Reply #44 on: September 06, 2012, 05:43:45 am »
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I'd run it as a straight Swiss. All the games in a round - bar possibly one at the bottom of the draw - are 3-player; that one is 2-player, 3-player or 4-player to ensure no byes.

Your opponents are - wherever possible - players on a similar score to you who you haven't already played yet.

Your seating position in any given game is a function of your average seating position so far - the earlier you've been on average, the later in seating position you get in a later game.

Games score 12 for the winner, 6 for the runner-up and 0 for the loser. The odd game at the bottom scores 12-0, 12-6-0 or 12-8-4-0 depending on its size. If there's a tie for position in a game, the players split the points equally.

If there's a cash prize for the tournament and players tie for it, split the money equally between the tied competitors. If there is an indivisible prize, such as a trophy, run a playoff game between all the players who tied for it.
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