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Subject: Advice for running a tournament rss

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Bryan Dubien
Canada
Salt Spring Island
British Columbia
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Looks like I am going to run a tournament to help benefit the local youth center.

Does anyone have any advice?
links to helpful forums would be great.

I think I will use Settlers of Catan

Peace

thanks
Bryan
 
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James Pinnion
United Kingdom
Peterborough
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Work out what sort of players you expect, then try to fit your tournament around that. Settlers is a good one to run, it's short enough to give you a decent number of rounds in one day, but long enough to feel like a "proper" game. My big advice would be:

5) Assuming that it wont be a knockout tournament, have your group rotations worked out in advance, preferably on a spreadsheet on a laptop you will have on the day. If you dont know how many players you are expecting, work it out for all possibilities in advance.

4) Have your scoring system worked out in advance, again if you can have it set up in advance on the same spreadsheet you'll be very glad on the day.

3) Some players will be interested in seeing the scores half way through the tournament. I recommend having some way of showing the scores away from you after each round and making it open to everyone. If you dont do that, consider how to make sure that no one can see the running scores.

2) consider variants that help keep play moving along. In the past I've run with optional 1-minute timers (in case the trade negotiations drag - very rarely used in practice) and re-rolling sevens for the first two rounds. Consider how you intend to deal with long running games.

1) You dont have to be fair, but do try to be consistent.
In particular if you come under pressure to delay the end of the first round by "five more minutes" to let one group finish their game, be aware that your response will affect the pressure you come under to make a nominally similar decision at the end of the tournament, when other people have trains/buses to catch.

Good luck with it,
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Sara VanderWal
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Hi Bryan. Settlers is a great choice because it is relatively quick to play, easy to teach and forgiving to new players. I run tournaments for our local board game cafe and the two that received the highest turn-out so far were Settlers and Ticket to Ride.

I like having multiple rounds with no elimination so that attendees all feel like it was worth coming out even if they do not play well. I also like ensuring that players get a chance to play with as many different people as possible over the set number of rounds so they can meet new people and also to minimize the chances of friendships interfering with the tournament results (especially with a game that involves trading or attacking opponents).

A few recommendations:
1) do not provide strategy advice during games to participants no matter how innocent it may seem but do be fully available to answer rules questions during the games.

2) provide a tutorial and full rules explanation before the first game that everyone is allowed/encouraged to attend. You'll be surprised how many people have house rules without knowing about it and it also makes people who are unfamiliar with the game (only played once or only played online) much more likely to come out.

I also agree with the previous poster about having a spreadsheet available with pre-arranged seating and scoring formulas set up. I have a spreadsheet that I use for all my tournaments that is based on 24 players, 4 player games, and 3 rounds that I could email to you if you're interested. As people register, I have them choose a playing card from a numbered deck (For Sale or Turn the Tide work well but anything with a sequence would work). That playing card is recorded beside their name and determines which table and seat they will be at for each round. It ensures participants play against different players throughout the day and also ensures starting order is distributed among the different players (especially important in games where there is an imbalance in starting order like Settlers where 3rd player always has a strong advance).

Send me a PM with your email address if you'd like me to send you my spreadsheet for reference. Good luck with your tournament and feel free to let me know if you have any questions!
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