4-player group strikes - the new hotness?

There haven’t been any 2016 results uploaded yet, but I’ve been approving them as they come in. It’s not a huge sample size so far (roughly 100 events), but the 4-player group strike format seems to be extremely popular so far, especially compared to last year when it was non-existent.

Anyone have an idea how long this format is averaging with X-number of players?

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I like the 4-player group knockout. It’s more social than the head to head knockouts and has the advantage of more players being active in a match. It’s also less brutal for casuals in that they can squeak through a round with a decent score against a higher skilled player, even if they don’t take 1st place on a game.

With ~20 players and 6 games available, they have been running about 4 hours. Average game times have been in the neighborhood of 20 minutes, give or take 5 minutes. Plunge EBs and tight tilts. Here are the stats from last night. https://matchplay.events/live/wrg9

@ClevelandPinball could contribute some more info, including how much more time it took when 3 player groups only got one strike. Yeesh…

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I’ve used it before but it’s so nice to just be lazy and use Brackelope now :wink:


@pinwizj: FYI, the TGP Guide web page doesn’t exist anymore: http://www.ifpapinball.com/tgpguide2016
"Sorry, the page are you are looking for doesn’t exist!"

The address is the link from Rankings Information as well as the Rankings Information 2016 page.

@jdelz: I don’t recall, but does the MatchPlay software make an attempt to even out the # of times a player is assigned to a dreaded 3-player group in that format?

As far as I can tell, the 3-player groups are drawn from the bottom of the current standings. We use Swiss pairing, so if you’re losing games, you’re more likely to get a 3-player group. If the initial field isn’t a multiple of 4, it can be a rough night for those who keep losing from the start. The player outcry was to solve this by only giving 1 strike in a 3-player group, which @haugstrup was kind enough to implement. We gave it a try, but the reality of the situation was that so few strikes were being given out that the tournament took way too long.

PS - http://www.ifpapinball.com/tgpguide


If you use Swiss pairing the three player groups will always be at the bottom of the field as @jdelz describe below. If you use Balanced pairing the three-player groups will also be balanced (e.g. if you’ve been in a three-player group it’s unlikely that you’ll be put into another until most people have also been in one)


I definitely see an uptick in the matchplay.events database, but not a huge increase (I know it’s not the only tournament software in town, but I’m pretty sure most other apps don’t support group knockout). Of course people tend to not create the tournament on Match Play much in advance so you’d see the uptick before me.

Are you wanting to know how long the tournaments go in hours or in rounds played? The first number is a little unreliable to get, but the latter I can pull pretty easily

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Hours and Rounds . . . especially if there’s some correlation there.

I get a ton of emails asking about format recommendations if I have “3 hours” available, and with elimination brackets and match play events I have a really good feel for how long that stuff takes from experience.

With strike play, especially this new group play, I have noooooo idea.

I don’t have a large number of tournaments to look at (group knockout is a paid feature after all), but I’ll see what I can pull together

Fact… As soon as I read the words " new hotness" I knew it was Josh! Friend of the show, Josh!

Agree with @jdelz that the group format is more fun in general for a group of players with a wide range of skill levels. Giving 1 strike to 3-player groups really made it drag, to the point where one night the bar had locked the door by the time it was over. :sleeping:

Group knockout has the same (usually minor) problem of everyone standing around waiting for the last remaining group in the round to play. You also have less “walk-offs” than in head to head, and more down time waiting for players to realize its their turn, which makes things go a little longer.

On the other hand, having everyone check their match-ups on their own phones with a dynamic URL posted on the wall definitely makes things run a lot smoother, and probably speeds things up a bit. Also nice to have averages of each arena’s playtime. This allows me to make adjustments to game set-ups week-to-week in an effort to get those averages as close together as possible. If one game averages 10 minutes more than the other games, that can add up to an hour or more to your tourney.

It’s also nice that even with only 6 games, a field of 24 people can all start rounds simultaneously. With head to head, you have to be diligent about recording match results and getting the next match going on whatever had opened up. This also meant that the fastest playing game would get more plays than the others.

So how do these work?

In a group of 4, bottom 2 get a strike?
In group of 3, bottom 2 get a strike?

The most important question is, do they grade out for 2x a game? :smiley:

I think rounds average about 30-40 minutes in the tournies I’ve run using group match play which is popular for the main location I run at since they only have 10 machines so if we have 9 for sure in the tourney (gotta leave one for the other patrons) and 40-ish people it works so that everyone can play. Machines are set as they always are (loose tilts and not particularly hard) so I think if you made your machines harder it would take less time. Certain games always run longer than others for sure!

In life you can give however many strikes you want, the TGP guide covers all bases. You can use this handy calculator: http://tgp.slapsave.com/ or read the official info at http://www.ifpapinball.com/tgpguide

https://matchplay.events only does four-player groups with strikes for 3rd/4th place (and a regular head-to-head knockout tournament of course

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At Free Gold Watch (significantly more machines available) the rounds are still just over 30 minutes, including the time it takes for people to find their next game etc.

From what I’ve seen / heard in Seattle, 4-player group tournaments are definitely lasting longer that 2-player groups. Mostly because it can be difficult to corral twice as many people to one machine at the same time. But I think once more players sign up for the text messaging when a game is drawn, it should be much more efficient.

Out of curiosity, when are 2016 IFPA points being updated?

I’ve played a number of these types of tournaments, ones where only one or two players get a strike, then ones where all players except the top get a strike. I prefer the more brutal setup as it moves much quicker and it requires you to play better.

In my opinion, having four player groups and only one or two players getting a strike takes way too long. It’d just be better to do a standard 1-v-1 knockout format in that case. Case in point, the last four-player knockout format I participated in a few weeks back had 20 - 25 players and lasted six hours at a minimum. We have a quarterly event here that gets about 50 players, is 1-v-1 head to head, and lasts the same amount of time (just to put things into perspective). I do enjoy the group format more due to the social aspect, but not if it takes considerably longer.

Soonish :slight_smile:

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I’m still a fan of 4-player round robin match play w/finals instead of 4-player knock-out conceptually.

It’s very nice from a scheduling perspective to be able to control exactly how many hours the round robin lasts (no rounds start after X o clock), and taking 8 to the finals is a fairly well-known duration. Plus, all players are guaranteed to play during the whole round robin period.

Last, once you get well above the 20 player mark, the TGP calculator doesn’t give a good return of more meaningful games played for the amount of time it will likely take to get through that many people getting strikes.