#1, Issue 58 - Beginner's guide to starting a tournament + links to CC'c tournament reference guides.
show: getting started
OK, so you had an idea for your first tournament; you looked at other tournaments; read up on the procedure and published your tournament thread. Shortly afterwards, eager medal hunters filled all the available spaces and you are up and running with tournament privileges. Now you begin to invite the players into the games and realise just how tedious this is – and sometimes difficult to keep track – and wish you had thought this bit through a bit better.
Then, as the games get under way and results start coming in, you keep the tournament thread up-to-date and you wished you had thought of a less complex tournament and wonder how best to manage the updates with a minimum of effort. That was my experience anyway. So, this series is about different tournament types and techniques of managing them, and, since I am still learning, I’m sure that there are many others out there who have far better methods; if so let me know and I will publish them. So, let’s start by recapping the steps you needed in beginning your first tournament: Night Strike’s excellent “How to Host a Tournament” guide covers all the procedural stuff you need to begin: http://www.conquerclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2141686#p2141686 Scroll down to the bottom for the “Organising Your Thread” and “Tournament Tools” for the tags and tools to make your tournament invitation thread attractive and organised. There is also a very good set of articles by rdsrds2120 called "The Forum Tips Thread" that gives additional information. http://www.conquerclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=17807. For instance: The above was created using the following tools and tags: Note that the image was uploaded to a free hosting site; Photobucket or, in this case, ImageShack. You don't have to have a picture, but you could include your banner or, as greenoaks' series of Watch and Learn or KISS, he has a special banner to identify the particular series. If you don't have an appropriate banner, then a copy of the map used in the tournament can always be inserted if required. OK, so now you have a tournament thread that can be posted to attract players. As you get postings from players you can edit your thread to incude their names and update your title to indicate the number of players already included: "My Fantastic First Tournament (5 of 16)". Then post a thread to say that you have included "up to here" - communication to your players is always good practice! When you have your full complement of players and perhaps one or two additional reserves, you change the title to "My Fantastic First Tournament (Full)" and magically, it seems, within a day or two you have a pm giving you tournament rights and allowing you to create your games. Let's say you invite your players rather than send pm's (I'll write about a few short cuts for pm'ing in a future article) and you decide to keep track of your games using Challonge (challonge.com). This is a useful (free!) site that allows you to select the type of tournament; say a single elimination, then you copy in your list of players; you can even randomise them using Challonge. There is a link adress on the site that you can paste into your tournament thread that gives a picture of the tournament progress. The following is from one of my completed tournaments. Remember that you still need to occasionally post progress notes onto your tournament thread, as updating Challonge does not affect the thread directly. So - there is your first tournament set up and under way - it is so easy there is no reason why you should not start right away!
#2, Issue 59 - Different methods of randomisiong your list of players.
show: randomising your player list
Once your tournament is full; you have tournament rights and you have created the blank games, you need to assign players to each game.
In many cases you first need to randomise your player list and there are several ways of doing this. If you are showing the results using Challonge then you can shuffle your list and then assign the list to be paired either sequentially (1 v 2, 3 v 4 etc) or traditionally (1 v 16, 2 v 15 etc as though they were seeded in order). If you are not using Challonge, you could shuffle your player list by copying them to Random.org (http://www.random.org/lists/) and pasting the results back into an Excel spreadsheet. However you then find that each randomised name is preceded by numbers. An easy way of getting rid of these is by use of the following Excel function: Column B has the player list (as entered); Column C is the randomised list from Random.org and the function copied into Column D is used to strip out the numbers. The formula in D3 is:- For those of you wanting to know how the formula works, the RIGHT(C3,N) function copies the rightmost "N" characters from the text in cell C3. The LEN(C3) function gives the number of characters in the text in cell C3. The FIND(" ",C3) function finds the position of the space in cell C3. Therefore the formula copies the rightmost characters from the position of the space. Remember that if you then copy from this formula column you have to Paste Special/Value otherwise you get the function copied! Code: Select all
Greenoaks, master tournament organiser of over 100 tournaments (including his KISS, Watch & Learn and Best at Beta series) reminded me that you can also use random.org for randomising the game settings - and that gave me the idea for the "Random, Random, Random" tournament I started recently (though I am sure that the idea is not at all original!). Another method of randomising your player list is to have your player list in Excel and paste the Random function RAND()in the next column. This function puts a random number between 0 and 1 into the column. You then select the two rows and sort according to the random number; You find that each time you sort or refresh, the random number changes. Note that if you are planning to set up an Excel template for many tournaments (and you are rather lazy!) you can create a macro to do the pasting and sorting. Simply select Tools/Macro/Record New Macro... and then give your macro a name and perhaps assign a key. Then just go though the row select and sort process and end your macro - done! If you want to put a button on your spreadsheet that carries out this new sort macro then select Tools/Customise/Format then drag the button icon to your toolbar. Then by selecting this icon then drawing a rectangle on your spreadsheet a button appears and you go straight to a window that allows you to assign your macro to this button. Job done! However, remember not to run this macro after you have started your tournament! (These "tips" are ones that I have tried to make it a bit easier in managing my own tournaments. I am sure there are different and better methods than these, so please let me know. Any queries on the above I'll be glad to respond to!)
#3, Issue 60 - Excel coding of single player CC game invite pm's.
show: Inviting Your Players
Once your tournament is full; you have tournament rights; you have created the blank games and randomised your player list. Now you need to invite players to join their games.
If there is one game per round, you can invite them easily enough, but it is less work for you to send them a personal message and let them join the games themselves. With several games per player, the pm saves a lot of additional work. For instance if you have 16 players, then you need 16 invitations or 8 pm's. If there are three games per pairing, then you either need to make 48 invitations or just 8 pm's. To keep it simple, let's firstly compose a pm for 1 game that allows players to join their game. Column B is the randomised player list and column C the RAND(0) function which was used to randomise the player list (and has changed its values once again!). The password (don't forget the password - as I did recently!) is in D2. Into column D are copied the game numbers - a tip here is that when you create the games you end up with numbers that are mostly in sequence. You can therefore copy the largest game number into the first game - say that is cell D4. You can then put formulae into the other cells that refer to cell D4 minus 1 (or 2 etc if the numbers are not quite sequential) and so on. The code in column E is: This creates the code for a game invitation which can be copied into a pm sent (by BCC perhaps) to Player4 and Player2; Code: Select all
View Game 1234567 ( Auto-Join Game) You can aso add a greeting message in your spreadsheet. "Welcome to my Fantastic First Tournament! We can now get under way and your first round game is as follows. Good Luck! ". Let's say you write this into cell G3 and change the code to: Note that the [list] tag puts the game information on the next line (which looks a bit better!). Code: Select all
This then creates the following message and game information: Welcome to my Fantastic First Tournament! We can now get under way and your first round game is as follows. Good Luck! View Game 1234567 ( Auto-Join Game) OK - so now we can expand that for, say, three games: The code is three concatenated formulae (i.e. 3 x single invites as above): Code: Select all
="[to]"&D4&" "&$D$2&"[/to]"&"; "&"[to]"&E4&" "&$D$2&"[/to]"&"; "&"[to]"&F4&" "&$D$2&"[/to]"
Note that you can cut and paste these as required, but remember that they only relate to the column and row numbers that I have specified in my examples, so you need to change them to suit your layout. OK, so this code translates into 3 game invites that can be copied into the player's pm; View Game 1234567 ( Auto-Join Game); View Game 1234566 ( Auto-Join Game); View Game 1234565 ( Auto-Join Game) As before, you can add a greeting. Also, to tidy up the formatting, you can add the [list] tag; Code: Select all
="[list][to]"&D4&" "&$D$2&"[/to][/list][list][to]"&E4&" "&$D$2&"[/to][/list][list][to]"&F4&" "&$D$2&"[/to][/list]"
This process is slightly different when you have team entries, but the basic process is the same. Now the invites are out, you just need to sit back - apart from checking that the players have all joined and, of course, keeping up with result reporting..... (These "tips" are ones that I have tried to make it a bit easier in managing my own tournaments. I am sure there are different and better methods than these, so please let me know. Any queries on the above I'll be glad to respond to!)
#4, Issue 61 - Excel coding of game progress reports for your tournament thread.
show: updating your tournament thread
Your tournament is up and running. Now you need to occasionally check on progress and update the results when games have finished.
To keep track of the games, the "Tour Stats" button on the game finder gives a summary of the state of progress of your tournament/s. If one or two games are taking a bit longer to finish and you want to send out the next round games as soon as possible after these games have finished, you can also install and use the Turn Watch greasemonkey script which adds a tab listing all the games you have clicked to watch. When games have finished and you want to update your tournament thread, a simple process I use is a spreadsheet with functions to simplify the copy for your thread. Consider a simple 1 vs 1 knock-out: Columns B and C are the lists of competing players and column D the game number (yes, I know that in my last spreadsheet about inviting players by pms, the players were all in one column, but the following example is to keep the coding as simple as possible). The next column is blank until the game is finished, then the winning player's name is copied in. The code in column E is: For those of you who want to understand the Excel functions, after the text to insert the game number there is a conditional statement; if the winner cell is blank, then put in the two players' names , else if the winner text is PlayerA, include the "s" tag for PlayerB, otherwise include the "s" tag for Player A. The "s" tag puts lines through the loser's name. Code: Select all
="[game]"&D3&"[/game] "&IF(E3="",B3&" vs "&C3,IF(E3=B3,B3&" vs [s]"&C3&"[/s]","[s]"&B3&"[/s] vs "&C3))
When the text in column E is copied to your tournament thread in the appropriate place, you get the following: Game 1234567 Player4 vs Player2 Game 1234566 Player5 vs Player1 Game 1234565 Player3 vs Player7 Note that the above coding does not take into account the winning player being mistyped into the column. However, you can amend the code to take care of this eventuality: Code: Select all
="[game]"&D3&"[/game] "&IF(E3="",B3&" vs "&C3,IF(E3=B3,B3&" vs [s]"&C3&"[/s]",IF(E3=C3,"[s]"&B3&"[/s] vs "&C3,"Typing Error!")))
Game 1234567 Player4 vs Player2 Game 1234566 Player5 vs Player1 Game 1234565 Player3 vs Player7 Game 1234564 Typing Error! Of course, there are many variations of this format that you may want to use. If you have several players, then the coding to put lines through the losers can get quite tricky, so I have used the following for a 4-player Assassin tournament: This simply adds the name of the winner after the game number and list of players. The coding for this is: Again, you just copy the column and paste into your tournament thread. Code: Select all
="[game]"&F3&"[/game] "&B3&", "&C3&", "&D3&", "&E3&(IF(G3="",".","; won by "&G3))
Game 1234567 Player1, Player2, Player3, Player4. Game 1234566 Player5, Player6, Player7, Player8; won by Player5 And there you are; "proper job" as they say here in Devon! Merry Christmas To You All! (These "tips" are ones that I have tried to make it a bit easier in managing my own tournaments. I am sure there are different and better methods than these, so please let me know. Any queries on the above I'll be glad to respond to!)