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Subject: Always random seating? rss

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robert kircher
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for Santa Fe Rails
I have a deck a cards which I made up with table numbers and seat 1-5. Players who bring games I give them their table number and seat 1. Have the rest of the players draw cards for remaining seats. Then let each table draw for the start player.

Random seating is often important in many euro games. Puerto Rico being a good example.
If you are using regular deck of cards, you can assign the seating order by suit rank from bridge (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs).

Large tournaments (more than 60 in a session) are often better randomizing in groups of 30 players to get games started early and not have to wait till everyone signs up to begin the seating process. Of course this isn't the best solution for true randomness, but with minimal staff (gm and maybe an assist or two) this might be more efficient for the event to start and end on time.

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Eric Brosius
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saccenti wrote:
I have witnessed middle-aged men scurry around a long table to try and seat themselves after one of my kids in seat order. Well, actually I haven't seen this in a few years, now that people know my kids.

Yeah; anyone with a lick of sense ought to assume any Saccenti (possibly except Scott ) is one of the strongest players at the table.

For Ticket to Ride, Claire does have owners set up games for the heats (this is not theoretically pure but to do otherwise would be a logistical nightmare,) but gives that person a card that could be any of Seat 1 through Seat 4. Then the other people get seat numbers, and Seat 1 starts.

Maybe she can make this more self documenting for people coming in at the last minute, or who didn't put a lot of points into listening when they created their characters.
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Gareth Williams
Morocco
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Eric Brosius wrote:

For Ticket to Ride, Claire does have owners set up games for the heats (this is not theoretically pure but to do otherwise would be a logistical nightmare,)


I think if we care about "theoretically pure" random seating that would just give ammunition to the "WBC is for ultra-competitive types who don't know how to have fun" brigade

Good enough seating arrangements are good enough
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Richard Irving
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There are lot of methods to seat people:

- Late nite lite events usually allow open seating: The games aren't taken that seriously so you enjoy the game with friends and joke that "YOU have to stay up" after they win! (I was still recovering a couple of days later from the 3:00 am session of Pro Golf this year.)

- Some games have multiple versions in the tournament: (18XX, Empire Builder, etc.) and players indicate which game they want to play by preference lists or open seating.

- Randomly assign tables, but not seat position. In all cases, the start player is randomized. If the game uses changeable, non-sequential turn order (like Russian Railroads, Castle of Burgundy, etc.), entire turn order at start should be randomized (so seating position won't matter.)

- I agree certain games should assign both table and seat position (Puerto Rico is the best known example.) Overall, I think it makes less difference than assumed in the overall tournament. In the heats, there may be quite few newbies who make mistakes that help the players to their left, but by the time the "real tournament" begins, the new players aren't there to be exploited.

Randomizing seats doesn't really eliminate the problem, but it does prevent the "I'd like to site next to him" issue. Instead of "You sat next to ___ to advance", it'd be "You got lucky are were seated next to ___." To be honest, I have never seen anyone demand a change in seating order, though they may simply surreptitiously take an open seat to the left of their mark.
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Richard Irving
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rkircher wrote:

If you are using regular deck of cards, you can assign the seating order by suit rank from bridge (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs).


You'd be surprised hoe many people don't know Bridge.

The cleverest suit ranking I have seen is in Ninety-Nine (My favorite "exact bid" trick taking game) where the number of tricks you need to win is defined by the value of the suits on the cards you discard from your hand: 3 for clubs (they have 3 knobs), 2 for hearts (2 lobes), 1 for spades (the single point) and 0 for diamonds (they kind of look like a 0--if 4 were needed in the game diamonds would been that.)

The other problem are games that don't take 4 players.



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Eric Brosius
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In my two Saint Petersburg heats this year I requested totally random seating, and everyone was happy to do that.

What we did was take 4 noble cards out: one each paying 1, 2, 3 and 4 money. We mixed them up, everyone took one, and then we re-arranged in that order (actually, in one of the games, we didn't have to move.) In this game, it's not just sitting to the left of the weakest player, but whether the player(s) to your right lean toward one strategy or another.
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Max Jamelli
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rri1 wrote:


You'd be surprised hoe many people don't know Bridge.


That's me.




I know suits are different at least.
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Devin Smith
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rri1 wrote:
To be honest, I have never seen anyone demand a change in seating order, though they may simply surreptitiously take an open seat to the left of their mark.


In games with strong left-right binding, I always request seating order be randomized. There's basically no reason not to. If I'm the owner/setter upper of a game, I'll have randomizers out on the table for when people walk up to avoid the 'oh, I can't be bothered standing up' problem.
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norman rule
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saccenti wrote:
[q="RobRoy"]

I have witnessed middle-aged men scurry around a long table to try and seat themselves after one of my kids in seat order. Well, actually I haven't seen this in a few years, now that people know my kids.


Yeah, very few people make that mistake more than once!
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Andy Latto
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In the heats of Thurn and Taxis, which I GM, I always tell people that if anyone asks for randomized seating, then the table should randomize seating, and then, whether this was done or not, choose a first player randomly. My experience is that I see very few tables randomizing the seating order. So given that most people don't seem to care much, I haven't switched from a system that just assigns tables (I use playing cards) to one that assigns a seat at the table as well.

In the elimination rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals), I have players bid for seats, so there's no need to seat players randomly. I suppose that in theory, people could care about who they bid before and after in the bidding for seats. Again, if anyone cares, the order around the table for the bidding could also be randomly determined. But in my experience, everyone has been fine with choosing a player at random to start the bidding, and proceeding clockwise from there.

If anyone reading this plays in the Thurn and Taxis tournament, and doesn't like this system, please let me know.



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