I have a quick question about the order of play when it comes to groups. We currently have 5 groups and only 4 machines, meaning that Group 5 has to wait for the group in front of them go finish before they can start. Is there anything in the FSPA ruleset that says that Group 5 needs to have a defined order prior to the start of play.
For example, can I just tell Group 5 to jump on whatever machine opens up first, provided they haven’t already played it?
We’ve been doing a structured order based on the PAPA random assignment. I’d like to change that so they don’t get stuck behind group 1 who has 4 players putting up 700,000 on TZ or something.
If things could be dynamic, they could just jump in on TWD as a group finished.
We live and die by FSPA rules, but we also make our own as we go each season. Our “special” rules are talked about during the current season that we are in and implementing in the following season. We’re a small league as well and I would say we add at least one new rule every season.
If I were you I would talk to the group and see what they feel is the most fair way to do things. After hearing their thoughts let them know that you are going to make the change to benefit everyone’s time.
That, or just get another machine.
I would just let them play on whatever machine opens up first. However, if group 5 is the least skilled players, I would have them go first, since their games will be the shortest.
Make the longest playing group go last.
Doesn’t really matter what order the machines are played in. However, scores should be recorded on the scoresheet in the original specified order, not the order actually played, because the result of the last game on the scoresheet is the tiebreaker for the meet if two or more players in a group finish with the same point total, and you don’t want anyone to manipulate the machine order to make the tiebreaker be the game they prefer/excel at.
A different question is whether having groups play games out of order really helps anything. In a 4 machine/5 group situation, the machine randomizer will have every machine busy each round, plus one group “on break”. There’s an assumption that each group will take about the same amount of time for each game. The grouping rules try to encourage this by assigning smaller (3 player) groups to the top groups that have more skilled players, and making the lower groups 4 players… the theory being (3 * longer_game) ~= (4 * shorter_game). But obviously it’s not perfect – sometimes a group (even a lower group) totally blows up a game. Sometimes even a top group bombs out and is done in 5 minutes. And of course game times on LOTR usually aren’t the same as game times on Royal Flush.
But if groups play games out of order, sometimes they force the group that was supposed to be on that machine to wait a long time (since the group who jumped just started a game), with no other machine available that they need to play, so now you wind up with two groups basically “on break”, while the group that jumped is basically a full game ahead. The end result can be one group finishing the night very quickly, while another group keeps getting leapfrogged and ends up having a lonnnng night of waiting and not playing. Is that “better”? The group that finished quickly might think so; the group stuck waiting a lot probably wouldn’t agree. Personally, if there are going to be wait-states, I’d rather have those chopped into small timeslices and shared across all groups – it’s less annoying to wait 5 minutes than to wait 20 minutes. (I enjoy watching the action of the group that’s taking long.) Some of it depends on the location… if the location has a bar or a food counter, some players don’t mind an extended wait so they can grab a bite. So feel free to experiment and see what works best for your situation and your player base.