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Dubdubdubdub

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Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« on: September 03, 2012, 11:26:36 am »
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Davio had the right idea: we should open a new thread for this.
I would like to organize a one day tournament in Utrecht, Netherlands. I think it should be an 'Open Utrecht (Students) Dominion Tournament', as in: anybody can play, but it's 'marketed' towards students because that tends to help get a big turnout in a city like this.

Some interest has been shown already; -Stef-, you had some ideas on how to improve on the structure the Dutch Nationals used?
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 11:55:15 am »
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Logistics are going to be your main problem.

If you want to do this in a day with a big turnout of over 50 people you either have to have 3- or 4-player tables, and this increases variance, or a LOT of sets for people to play with.

Last year I commented that a tiebreak on victory points wasn't a sane idea, but if they did, they had to have the same setup on every table. Yes, initially they had planned on random setups with tiebreaking on VPs.

If you cut it down to random setups per table and use more sane tiebreakers, you just need 25 boxes of Base or Intrigue (or Base Cards) total and this is a lot more doable.

2p is the only sensible thing here and I think you need a Swiss system, since it's an accepted way of doing things. If a match takes half an hour, you could aim to play 10 matches over the course of the day with breaks at certain points.

I'm not all too familiar with Swiss systems and how many games you really need for a certain field size, but a minimum of 10 seems both doable and necessary.

Does a Swiss system use cuts? I mean, people who have lost the first matches may not be inclined to try their best anymore or just drop out and this would skew the results.

Well, I'm looking ahead a bit too much maybe, but first you have to think about what kind of tournament you want.

Do you want a casual tournament? This is what I think about when I think about a student tournament. Then you could easily do 3p and people wouldn't care so much.

Or do you want a serious tournament? Then you basically have to do 2p and some sort of Swiss.
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 04:43:30 am »
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Would it not be much easier to shuffle al the different kingdomcards to devide them among the tables.
So with 1 box of each sets you have 152 different cards which you can fill up 15 tables which means you could invite <30 people for a 1vs1 tournament or <45 for a 3 player tournament.
One little problem, you need the basic cards on every table.
To sum up, you will need the 7 different boxes and 13 basic boxes.

It is exactly what Davio says. What kind of tournament are you thinking of?
I would like to see a swiss 1vs1 tournament with some good tiebreaking setups like a Neustadtl score. (weerstandspunten)
If you need some help to set this up, I would like to help.

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-Stef-

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 06:57:54 am »
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I get the feeling you're more open-minded about the tournament structure then the people organizing the last tournament.
That's great but does imply we need to agree on some major things first before going into details...
  • Is this tournament going to be 2P, 3P or 4P?
  • Is it going to be a one day thing, or are either "qualification rounds" or "finals day" acceptable?
  • Do we want some set-selecting mechanism or just random sets?

Some practical thoughts:
  • If you want to schedule rounds (Swiss) I don't think you can cut it to much below 1 hour/round. 30 minutes is probably an accurate average, but in a tournament you'll always have to wait for the slowest game.
  • You need a flexible tournament structure. Last tournament I think 5 people signed up but didn't show.
  • Are you going to contact 999 and try to borrow their games, or are we limited to what we can bring along ourselves?

My answers to my own questions
  • I prefer 2P, but 3P would be fine too. I don't like 4P.
  • I would say yes, you need either one of these. Playing 7 games of dominion just isn't going to be enough to reduce 40 people to 1, no matter how good your tiebreaking score system is.

    I think a "finals day" is more practical then "qualification rounds". It would allow you to organize a big swiss tournament with 1 game against each opponent. Just about any amount of people actually showing up would be ok. Top 4 qualifies for the finals day, top player gets to choose his opponent for semifinals from 2-4 (choosing an opponent is a little trick stolen from Bridge tournaments and actually works miracles).
    Semifinals could be best of 5 and finals best of 7?
    The only disadvantage I see is that the "big tournament day" wouldn't have a real winner, and the SF/F probably won't have many people watching the games. But hey, having 4 winners sounds cool too and the latter would have to be fixed by just writing/reading about the final games.
  • I prefer random sets. Something like ArjanB suggests (dividing kingdomcards between tables randomly) sounds like a very practical suggestion. It also has the advantage that you could join your own tournament, but I don't know how important you think this is.

@Davio - Swiss system doesn't use cuts, but people losing a lot will not be scheduled against people winning a lot. So the problem you suggest is somewhat fixed by the system in another way.
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Geronimoo

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2012, 07:10:36 am »
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I contacted 999 games and they weren't planning to provide materials or prize support for random tournaments (outside of the national championships).
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2012, 07:24:04 am »
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I contacted 999 games and they weren't planning to provide materials or prize support for random tournaments (outside of the national championships).
Well, that was to be expected, I guess, can't really blame them, because, why should they?

So it's basically going to be a "by the people, for the people" thing. :)

I forgot that the Swiss pits lesser players against lesser players.
A friend of mine used to go to chess tournaments and lose the first round a lot so he could play lesser opponents the rest of the tournament and still get a good result.
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Dubdubdubdub

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 09:02:05 am »
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I contacted 999 games and they weren't planning to provide materials or prize support for random tournaments (outside of the national championships).
Well, that was to be expected, I guess, can't really blame them, because, why should they?

Well, I was kind of hoping they would - this is a kind of marketing, isn't it?

Everybody, thanks for your thoughts. The idea of a finals day sounds really good, although that may scare some casual players off. That's why I think the finals day date should be decided amongst the winners, so it doesn't have to be communicated beforehand.

I get the concept of Swiss, but could one of you explain it to me in detail?
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Indur

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 09:36:40 am »
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Some quick thoughts from behind my work computer:

1)
Most important IMO would be the 2p vs 3p debate (I would say definately no 4p, and byes for the 1 or 2 players who can't compete because of rounding-to-3-issues). This directly influences issues like
venue (more room is needed for 2p tournaments),
duration (2p games last much shorter),
pairing system (Swiss only works for 2p, so you can use standard software for the pairings; 3p will problably have to be done manually, taking up time between rounds) and
material (3p games need less material, but still more than organisers can round up without help from participants)

2)
A multy-day tournament sounds like a no-go to me, because of scheduling issues, venue cost, etc, but I'm not against it, personally.

3)
Ruud, I'd be happy to run you through the swiss pairing system someday, but for a quick overview I recommend the wikipedia page.

4)
Has a 'bring your own kingdom' like approach been tried before? Or something like that? It would really help with the material issue. Kind of like decks players bring with them to certain Magic tournaments.

More later, but feel free to shoot at my thoughts :)

Steven
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 09:48:56 am »
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I don't think getting the cards would be a problem if people bring some with them.

The first round of a 1vs1 swiss tournament is completely random. So you can get matched up with anyone.
After the first round , you have the winning players with 1 point and loosing players with 0 point and maybe some draws with 0,5 points.
The second and next rounds you will play against someone as closest to you on the ranklist. So if you won 2 out of 3 you will propably get matched up with someone else with 2 out of 3. So top players will meet each other and the bottom players too. No player is paired up against the same opponent twice.
It is similar with chess, you can also attempt to ensure that each player plays an equal number of games as startplayer or as second player.
Alternate startplayers in each round being the most preferable.
After a preset amount of rounds, you will get a final rankboard. If there are some players with equal points then you could use the Neustadtl principal.
It is basically a kind of tie breaker who will give a winner by counting the points together of the beaten players by that player. So the more top players you have beaten you are more likely winning the tiebreakers.

If you want to use the swiss system you will need a computer with software which will calculate each rounds match ups and starting players.

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Geronimoo

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 10:02:33 am »
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I'm going to organize a small tournament in a toy store. The owner has a lot of experience organizing Magic tournaments and we'll probably use the Magic software to determine swiss pairings etc ( http://www.wizards.com/WPN/Events/Tools.aspx ).
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Dubdubdubdub

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2012, 01:31:27 pm »
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I think we're on the right track here. 2p, swiss, we just need to figure out how to select sets and where we're getting our material.
A multy-day tournament sounds like a no-go to me, because of scheduling issues, venue cost, etc, but I'm not against it, personally.
Let's assume it's a one day thing. If we start at 10.30 and really start a new round every hour, we can play 5 rounds before the finals have to start, around 15.30. If the rest comes down to final 4, we could play 3 rounds of semi-finals (so everyone plays everyone once). 18.30. Final two play best out of three: 21.30u.

That's a very long day. Is there a way to fit a tournament-done-right into one day? Or should we just settle for something a little more casual? If the final is played with a cool, pre-determined set, maybe it can be a single round.
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2012, 03:36:31 pm »
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I think a 5 round Swiss is not enough. You will get a lot of tie scores.
If you want a Swiss system you probably need 8 rounds or more.
A disadvantage in a Swiss tourney (in chess often) is that there is no real final. You play 8 rounds or whatever and the one who wins the most is the champ. If you want some kind of final than it will take a lot of time extra. So maybe a extra day for the finals isn't a bad idea.
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2012, 05:50:29 pm »
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You have to make a trade-off between the perfect tournament (winner is really the best player) and a realistical one, where you have to deal with limitations.

If you want a "perfect" tournament, you're looking at an entire season. The bigger the sample size, the better.

But it's more useful if you check for limitations first and try to put something together that fits.

An extra day for finals isn't necessarily bad, but not perfect either. Your players may have no problem clearing their schedule for one day, but may have a hard time planning something in the future, especially if it isn't clear in advance when it will be.

I myself would be more inclined to join if it were one day and less so if the finals would take an extra day. And if you want a big turnout with lots of students, then they too may only want to spend one day.

So how long do you want the day to be? Anything more than 6 hours is going to feel like a drag and may make it less attractive for casual players.

We need to decide on these limitations first before we can look any further, I think.
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Geronimoo

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2012, 06:28:16 pm »
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I wouldn't worry too much about getting the best players to win. The Dutch championship had only 5 rounds and yet the finals featured three top isotropic players and no n00bs. Dominion has less luck than poker (and maybe even Magic) so it needs fewer rounds to determine the best players with some certainty.
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-Stef-

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 05:25:41 am »
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I wouldn't worry too much about getting the best players to win. The Dutch championship had only 5 rounds and yet the finals featured three top isotropic players and no n00bs. Dominion has less luck than poker (and maybe even Magic) so it needs fewer rounds to determine the best players with some certainty.

I strongly disagree here.

In the Dutch championship the difference in the preliminaries between the players was really huge. I played against people clogging up their decks with random actions. Even in the semifinals I played against someone not buying a Chapel and against someone not using his Chapel. Dominion is not very forgiving on plays like this, and no realistic amount of luck can save you there.

But if everyone is level 20+, you definately need more then 1 game to get a meaningfull result. Against a chapel on turn 3 with a chapel on turn 5, I would lose against anyone posting in this thread. We don't play BO5 or BO7 in isodom matches just because Dominion is fun to play. It's also because Dominion is a game of chances, and you can't do much more then trying to maximize your own.

--

I still really like the idea of having 4 winners on the day of the tournament. And if it's going to be a casual tournament anyway - how about just playing the semifinals and finals at home, on three different days? Maybe give all semifinalists a three week window to schedule their game?

And if some lucky participant really doesn't like playing semifinals, (s)he can always be happy with being one of the four winners and forfeit to #5.
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Dubdubdubdub

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2012, 05:30:49 am »
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Don't you think it might be a bit of an anticlimax for most attendants when the game ends with not one but 4 winners?

I think a 5 round Swiss is not enough. You will get a lot of tie scores.
If you want a Swiss system you probably need 8 rounds or more.
A disadvantage in a Swiss tourney (in chess often) is that there is no real final. You play 8 rounds or whatever and the one who wins the most is the champ.

Is there a problem with this? Who needs a final? I actually think this sounds good.
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2012, 06:12:17 am »
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With a 2p Swiss, it may be easier initially to streamline the games, making it more efficient.

After the first round, you can just wait for the first two winners and they can play each other next while the losers can start their game immediately.
And any 2 more finished games will produce 2 new games.

This may go out of sync at a certain time, but you can get quite a few games in this way I think.
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2012, 06:35:28 am »
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Is there a problem with this? Who needs a final? I actually think this sounds good.

No problem there. I have been to many chess tournaments with a swiss system.
There might be some people who dont like the idea of missing a final. With a swiss you might allready know who will be the winner in round 6 or 7.

After the first round, you can just wait for the first two winners and they can play each other next while the losers can start their game immediately.
And any 2 more finished games will produce 2 new games.

This may go out of sync at a certain time, but you can get quite a few games in this way I think.

I dont think this is possible. Computer software makes it possible that everybody gets the right opponent based on score, startplayer and not the same opponent possibility. When to players already play each other there might be a problem or not a fair match up for others who were not ready.
You have to wait when every one is ready for a fair match up in the next round.
So 1 hour per round is what I think is necessary.
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2012, 06:44:45 am »
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But after the first round all winners will have 1 point and losers will have 0 points, so you can just pick the first 2 winners.

If you want to alternate starting positions, you may have to wait a bit more until you get a pairing.
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-Stef-

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2012, 06:59:19 am »
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Don't you think it might be a bit of an anticlimax for most attendants when the game ends with not one but 4 winners?

Could be, I can't speak for others. Personally, I would consider it a great structure for a tournament.
The game wouldn't end with 4 winners, just the day. Everyone could still read about the semifinals/finals.
It's the best balance I can think of between 'forcing everybody to reserve a lot of time' and 'reducing luck factor to acceptable levels'.

I think a 5 round Swiss is not enough. You will get a lot of tie scores.
If you want a Swiss system you probably need 8 rounds or more.
A disadvantage in a Swiss tourney (in chess often) is that there is no real final. You play 8 rounds or whatever and the one who wins the most is the champ.

Is there a problem with this? Who needs a final? I actually think this sounds good.

I don't need a final.

But completing 8 rounds of swiss might be more problematic (time-consuming) then anticipated here.
Dave's suggestion of starting the next round before the previous one finishes just won't work, except for round 2.
It only works for people winning all their games and people losing all their games.

I'm still a little bit scared of a small group of players playing 4-5 games of duh-minion, and then deciding the tournament in 1 or 2 games.
Playing 6 rounds of Swiss works better if everyone is approximately the same level, or if winning a single game is more meaningfull (like in chess or most sports).
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2012, 07:11:21 am »
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Yep 8 rounds might be to much. But 6 rounds with 30-40 people is also not very handy. You will get a lot of tie scores.
So then you need another good tiebreak score. The Neustadtl score might not be veryy efficient in this setup.

Maybe 7 rounds :P

Ruud, how many players are you wishing/expecting?
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 07:42:12 am by ArjanB »
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2012, 07:53:13 am »
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We'll never get a sample size big enough to say something conclusive about the winner.

I agree with Stef that a single game of Dominion doesn't mean much. The best player can shuffle horrendously and lose to a BM-noob. I mean, if you take the simulator and see that some strategy will beat a very basic one 80% of the time, the basic one will still 20% of the time. In chess, if you're, say, twice as good as the other guy, you'll likely win close to 100% of the time.

So how do we remove this uncertainty? I don't think we can.

Now I'm going to say something crazy: Maybe 3p is better?
If you play 3p and are better than the other 2, but your deck is not coming together, you may be better at scrambling for 2nd than the guy who will end in 3rd. I don't know if what I'm saying makes any sense, but bear with me.

In my first match at the Dutch nationals, both my opponents started 5/2 Lib/Chapel and I had 4/3 and played less than stellar. But I still managed to scramble for 2nd place here. Coming in 2nd in 3p does less damage than losing a heads-up match.

In a 2p match, the loser will likely get 0 of the available points. In that 3p match, my 2nd place still got me 1/3rd of the available points.

I guess my point is that a good player can still try to do some kind of damage control in a 3p match whereas in a 2p match he's just screwed.
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ArjanB

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2012, 08:17:55 am »
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If you got third in a round of the Dutch championship then you are pretty much screwed. So one game can mess up your whole tournament. If you loose in a 1vs1 you are still have a chance to make it to the half finals. (or be number one in swiss tourney)

If a three player tournament is desirable then I would suggest to play at least 5 rounds.

You could use more tiebreakers in a 6/7 round Swiss. Like direct encounters between the players and maybe start player balances.

I hope it is gonna be a Swiss tourney but I don't mind if it is gonna be a 3 player tourney. At least there is gonna be a tourney :)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 08:36:36 am by ArjanB »
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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2012, 08:41:54 am »
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We'll never get a sample size big enough to say something conclusive about the winner.

I agree with Stef that a single game of Dominion doesn't mean much. The best player can shuffle horrendously and lose to a BM-noob. I mean, if you take the simulator and see that some strategy will beat a very basic one 80% of the time, the basic one will still 20% of the time. In chess, if you're, say, twice as good as the other guy, you'll likely win close to 100% of the time.

So how do we remove this uncertainty? I don't think we can.

Correct, we can't remove it. It's in the very nature of dominion. I don't even want to remove it, I like dominion the way it is.
But just the fact we can't remove it completely, doesn't imply we shouldn't try to reduce it.

The only sensible way to do this is play more games, and a very practical way to do that is play SF/F later on.
That way you can determine a winner based on twice the number of games you ask everyone else to play.

In my first match at the Dutch nationals, both my opponents started 5/2 Lib/Chapel and I had 4/3 and played less than stellar. But I still managed to scramble for 2nd place here. Coming in 2nd in 3p does less damage than losing a heads-up match.

Luck in dominion isn't that much about 5/2 vs 4/3. It's mostly about getting a good turn 3 and 4. After that miracles can still happen but with less impact.
If Library/Chapel is better then Militia/Chapel on that board at all, it's only by a small margin. Add mountebank to the board and it's a different story.
I think it's more likely you were just a lot better then your opponents round 1 and would have beaten them 1 on 1 as well with 4/3 vs 5/2.

That said, 3P games are fun too and I would like it either way.
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Davio

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Re: Yet to be organized Dutch tournament
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2012, 08:44:14 am »
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3p is still my preferred way to play IRL.

I like the extra interaction and tension that you get with 3p and you actually have time to shuffle!
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