Tournaments are events that rank players based on how many matches or “rounds” they win. A group of at least four players are needed. In general, each match can be 30 minutes for a single game (“best of one”), or 40 – 50 minutes for best two out of three.
Types of events
- Random deck – Each player brings a deck or two. Players randomly determine who gets to use their deck(s). If two decks are used, they are mixed together. If your deck(s) are used, the player to your right is the first player for the first game.
- Personal deck – Each player brings a deck or two. (If two decks are used, mix the cards together.) Each player uses their own deck (draw pile) and discard pile. Use your own discard pile exclusively. (An alternate option is that each discard must match the last card discarded.) Go here for more information about competitive deck construction.
- Draft – Use a large pool of Crazier Eights decks mixed together. Randomly distribute 42 cards to each player and turn them into three piles of 14 cards. Players draft the cards, taking turns of picking one card from each pile, until all the cards are added to a unique player’s card pool. Use your pool of cards to make a thirty card deck, and every card in your deck must not have any cards unless they have one of two specific colors. For example, a red-blue deck must not have a green card unless it is also red or blue. Then use the “personal deck” rules. Go here for more information about draft events.
During a tournament, there are often multiple rounds where players are given one or more opponents.
Tournaments usually have two player games, and multi-player matches use the “best of one” option and play for points. For two player games, playing for points is still encouraged.
Best two of three – For the best two out of three match, whoever wins two games finishes their match and can record the results. Technically, if players get a draw (tie) one game, then more than three games might be needed before there is a winner. If players only have time to finish one game, then the winner of the one game wins the match.
Best of one – Whoever wins one game is the winner of the match. If a game is a draw, then you should play another game. If the game is a draw and time runs out, then playing for points can be the way to rank the players who played the match.
Playing for points
Playing for points involve “game points,” which are similar to demerits. Each player who ends a game and didn’t win the game, ends the game with one game point for each card in their hand. If you had the fewest cards in hand when the game ends with no winner, then you have the fewest game points, even though you didn’t technically win the game.
When playing for points, the winner of a match is whoever won the most games in the match, and if that is not an option, then the player won the match who has the fewest game points.
Uneven player count
Sometimes not everyone can have an opponent in a match. The player with the lowest rank (or a random player with a rank equal to the lowest rank) gets a bye – a free win.
1. Swiss-style tournaments
Every player gets at least three matches (and therefore play against three opponents or groups of opponents). After each match, each player should then play against someone else with the same record if possible, who they haven’t played against yet – the same number of match wins, match losses, and draws. Each match win is worth 3 match points, each draw is worth 1 match point, and each loss is worth 0 match points. Players are equally ranked who have the same number of match points.
The main benefit of the Swiss-style tournament is that players get to play games, even when they lose matches. The main drawback is that it can be more difficult to determine each player’s rank when the event needs a first place winner, second place winner, etc. If players play for points, then the players with the fewest game points (demerits) rank higher. If players don’t play for points or that is insufficient to break a tie, then additional tie-breakers can be needed to do so:
Tie-breakers – If a clear winner is needed at the end of the tournament, and the above criteria is insufficient, then additional tie-breakers are needed to determine the higher ranked player. For tie breakers, earlier wins are worth more tie-breaker points to determine the higher ranked player within each tie. In that case, the final match win is worth 0 additional tie-breaker points, the match win before that is worth 1 additional tie-breaker point, the match win two matches before the final match is worth 2 additional tie-breaker points, etc.
Secondary tie-breakers – If the primary tie breakers still don’t lead to a clear higher ranked player, then more secondary tie-breaker points can be added to determine which player with each tie has a higher rank. Each game win within a match is worth 1 point secondary point and each loss within a match is worth -2 secondary points.
Byes are equal to the highest tie breaker regarding secondary tie breakers: 2 secondary tie-breaker points.
If these secondary tie breakers aren’t enough, add additional secondary tie-breaker points to each player who are currently tied equal to the number of match points opponents they defeated have, and the number of tie breaker points defeated opponents have can also be considered if necessary. Each bye is worth a number of points equal to the highest ranked opponent.
Out of time – If time runs out before players finish their match, they get six more turns, and whoever is currently taking a turn counts as “turn 0.” The next player starts “turn 1,” and so on. After turns are finished, the round ends. If one player won the most games, they are the winner of the match. If any players in the same match won an equal number of games, then they get a draw. If you play for points, then a winner can also be determined that way when possible.
2. Single-elimination tournaments
Single-elimination events are the easiest to understand. Each player plays against a random opponent for a match. Each player that wins continues in the event and everyone else is dropped out of the event. The event only ends when one player is left. The loser of the final match gets second place. Everyone who lost in the match before the final round are tied for 3rd place. Everyone who lost two matches before the final round are tied for 5th place.
One drawback to single-elimination tournaments is that a winner is needed. Ties (draws) with no winner can’t happen. If time ends in a round and multiple players won an equal number of games, whoever has the fewest cards in hand when time ends is the winner.
If time ends and cards in hand will not determine the winner of the match because players have an equal number of cards in hand, then “sudden death” kicks in—The first player to end a turn with fewer cards in hand than they started with that turn wins the game, and the first player to end a turn with more cards in hand than they started with that turn loses the game.
3. Double-elimination tournaments
The same as the single-elimination event, except the first time a player loses, they are grouped with other players who have lost a match in the “losing bracket” and will play against other players in the losing bracket if possible.
If only two players are left in the event and an undefeated player loses, then there’s a rematch. The same players will play again for the final determination of a first place winner.
Version 0.2 © 2021 James Wallace Gray