One area of confusion that I’ve seen come up repeatedly is how choice of order should work in cases where a player defers game choice and instead chooses order. Specifically, there is confusion about WHEN the the top seed has to declare their choice of order.
In all the circuit events and other major tournaments I’ve participated in, if the top seed chooses to defer, they simply say “Order”. They don’t have to actually pick which position they’ll play until after the under-seed selects the game.
- Top seed defers game choice and instead picks “Order”
- Second seed chooses the game
- Top seed then decides which position she/he wants to play
- Third seed chooses order from the remaining positions
- Fourth seed chooses order from the remaining positions
- Second seed is assigned the remaining position
[This example assumes the second choice picks the game and does not continue to defer to the third seed. But if that were to happen, the logic is the same: higher seeded players get choice of position before lower seeded players unless they themselves choose the game.]
In some cases, I’ve seen TDs and/or players think that #2 and #3 should be reversed, ie, the Top Seed has to declare their specific position choice (player 4, for example) before they know what game they will be playing.
This distinction is very important because there are a substantial minority of games where playing as player 1 may be advantageous over another position. You would want to know what game you are playing before picking your position. Some examples…
- Twilight Zone if the Powerball is the next ball in the Gumball Machine
- Many modern Sterns (eg, Game of Thrones) if virtual locks aren’t enabled
- Many System 11 games (eg, Taxi) if a progressive jackpot is high and resets after the first player collects it
- Many EMs (eg, Big Valley) and some SSs (Jokerz!) which retain locked balls between games
- Many EMs (eg, Trio) and some SSs (eg, Rollergames) which retain state between games
My assertion is that if the Top Seed defers game choice, they should have the option of choosing to be player 1 on a particular game if such an advantage exists, but should have the option of choosing to be player 4 on another game which has no such advantage. Thus, they should be allowed to choose their position after the under-seed chooses the game.
The IFPA/PAPA ruleset is silent on this topic, as is the Pinburgh ruleset. And even if this was explicitly stated in the rules, Tournament Directors always have the discretion to set whatever rules they wish for their tournaments. But my hope is that we can at least agree on a standard procedure.
Please note: It can be difficult to convey tone in a post. I’d like to make it very clear that in no way am I faulting any TDs who have taken the contrary position. TDs do a tremendous amount of work and I am sure I speak for all of us in expressing my appreciation to them. I’m writing this post only in the hopes of raising broader awareness of this issue and of generating consensus for a standard for the future.