The 2020 War at Sea tournament will consist of a double-elimination Preliminary Stage followed by a single-elimination Knockout Stage. The Preliminary Stage will resemble the Swiss format of previous WAS online tournaments, but with several important differences - the full details are as follows:
Game points in the Preliminary Stage of the tournament will be awarded on a game-by-game basis as follows:
All tournament points are determined by the final POC score after any bid is taken into account. 8-point wins and 5-point draws are only possible if all eight turns of a game have been completed - if a player resigns, he gets 0 points and his opponent gets 10 points regardless of the current POC count.
The Preliminary Stage will conclude at the end of the round of games in which either:
a) no more than one player remains undefeated and untied; or
b) two players remain undefeated and untied, and there are eight or fewer players with one loss.
All remaining players will be seeded by the number of game points they have accrued, with any ties being resolved by 1) head-to-head results, if applicable, 2) strength of schedule, 3) most games played, 4) most wins, 5) most Axis wins and then 6) a random die roll, in that order. Strength of schedule is calculated by dividing the number of points accumulated by your opponents by the number of games they have played.
The one or two undefeated and untied player(s) will be given a bye directly to the Knockout Stage semifinals. Players with one loss will be required to play one or two additional games to reach the semifinals as follows:
Example: At the end of a Preliminary Stage round, only one player is undefeated and untied and eight other players have one loss. The nine remaining players are seeded #1 to
#9: the undefeated #1 seed gets a bye to the semifinals, and a mini-round is played involving #6 vs. #9 and #7 vs. #8 to determine who joins the #2, #3, #4 and #5 seeds in the quarterfinals. (In
the quarterfinals, the #2 seed would play #7 or #8; the #3 seed would play #6 or #9; and #4 would play #5. And in the semifinals, #1 would play #4/#5, while #2/#7/#8 would play
If there are fewer than six or four players (respectively) who are not undefeated and untied at the end of the Preliminary Stage, the highest seeded player(s) will also receive a bye to the Semifinals.
Example: At the end of a Preliminary Stage round, only one player is undefeated and untied and five other players have one loss. The undefeated #1 seed and the best remaining player as the #2 seed would receive byes to the semifinals; the quarterfinals would feature #3 vs. #6 and #4 vs. #5.)
Players will not be reseeded after the mini-round and quarterfinals - once the Knockout Stage bracket is set up, the pairings for the remainder of the tournament will be locked in. (This will allow players in subsequent Knockout Stage rounds to know their opponents sooner, and therefore to potentially begin their games earlier.)
If there is a draw in the Knockout Stage, the higher-seeded player will advance (or win the tournament if there is a draw in the Final), but the result will be recorded as a draw for AREA purposes.
NOTE FROM THE GM (DARREN): Why are we changing the normal Swiss Knockout format? The guiding principle I’m trying to follow in using this format is that if possible,
anyone who gets through the Knockout Stage undefeated should have a significant advantage over all other players who suffer a loss along the way.
(Or to put that another way, no undefeated player should ever have to face anyone in the Knockout Stage with fewer overall wins in the tournament: e.g., a 5-0 player should have
to face a 5-1 or even 6-1 player, never a 4-1 player.)
The main downside of eliminating players after they lose a second game is that we aren’t be facilitating organized play for players who are out of the running for the Knockout Stage. But on the other hand, the admin involved in running this sort of tournament is significantly reduced – making it a more attractive prospect to GM. Players eliminated early can always find more organized play via the WAS Ladder that Greg Smith organizes; they also won’t need to feel guilty about dropping out of a Swiss event after likely-but-not-definitely being eliminated. I’ve also never felt particularly happy with players sneaking into the quarterfinals on a set of artificial tiebreakers ahead of other players with the same record; e.g., in the 2017-18 BPA PBEM tournament, two players with 4-1 records failed to qualify for the Knockout Stage at all. And double-elimination should hopefully make the earlier rounds feel more important and urgent - particularly for two undefeated players facing off in the final Preliminary Stage round.