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Top Table

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I've had a few people mention this to me, and I was wondering what the general community thought about it.  In a lot of game there is a "Top Table" rule.  Where at the end of an event you will have two players who are undefeated and duking it out for 1st place.  The loser under the top table rule would automatically get 2nd place.  In strict swiss as GB uses now you can have the loser of the top game fall pretty far.  (I fell to 4th on Saturday).

I'm not sure I think the top table is the best method though.  The guy who ended up taking 2nd in our event lost the eventual winner just like I did.  So the question would be why should I trump him simply because I faced the same opponent later in the day.  But most people I mention this too seem to disregard it.  Having it happen to me, I can see why people don't like the strict swiss rules.  Fighting for 1st, and then falling all the way to 4th is a kinda lame way to end the day.

What are other people's thoughts and preferences?

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It's happened to me, I was annoyed by it as dropped to 5th, but then in my next two events, I came 3rd and then 2nd. So it's wings and roundabouts really. Personally. I don't like the idea of second being out of reach if I have a bad game early in the tournament.

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Top Table basically says that the n° 2 from an event is randomly determined from all the players who only lost to the winner: that means luck is involved, albeit probably in small part only. Not having Top Table means becoming runner-up is based on merit. Luck still plays a part in that you need to get a good series of pairings, but you still need to win that X-1 record with the 1 being a loss against the victor and the same luck applies to the runner-up benefitting from the Top table rule possibly having gotten a relatively easy run up to the final. People tend to overlook this, but that doesn't make it any less true: Top Table replaces part of proving your skill with simple luck of the draw.

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I generally find the lack of a top table condition for tournaments to be fine, although it can be demoralising when tiebreakers cause you to drop massively. However it's a lot better than being pipped for 2nd place just because you met the person who won the tournament in any round other than the last. You can play taking into account tiebreaks, you can't do anything to mitigate or play to a random draw.

It's also quite important that TO's are applying the tiebreaker conditions in the correct order(or inform players if they are changed) because it can dramatically change standings. I had a local 16 player Warmachine tournament that had swapped the top two standard tiebreakers(Strength of Schedule and Control Points) and had not advertised it as such. Gave me quite a surprise after the loss of the top table game due to the size of the drop in my standing(you always expect to drop but not quite as much as I did).
 

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3 hours ago, nobby said:

So it's wings and roundabouts really.

I just want to mention I've not heard this before... I may have to start using it in my regular commentary.

On the topic at hand, and simply to be contrary and provide an alternate opinion...... There could be a situation where a player (Shank) loses their first rounds game to the player (Mist) who loses on the top table at the end of the day. Subsequently the first player (Shank) proceeds to crush every one of his remaining opponents during the day, ending the day with an absurd differential. Meanwhile the other player (Mist) plays through the day, wins several tight competitive matches and barely loses out to the winner of the top table in the final round of the day. Because their differential is so small (let's say +6) and they had the more challenging rounds of the day they drop down to 5th place. Meanwhile, Shank crushed his opponents by playing in the "non-winners bracket" on round 2 and comes in 2nd place on the day.

This is a situation where I think the person fighting for 2nd place gets the rough end of the deal in Swiss pairings. They had the tougher games through the day and are arguably the more skilled player on the day but that is not reflected in their tournament placing.

 

To be fair, I've only seen this happen a couple times and not yet in Guild Ball, so my own beliefs on what's best come down in the middle of the discussion. I can see both sides, believe the merit of both sides, and am fairly ambivalent about it.

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I like overall record and scoring differential.

Eventually, the 2-1 player carrying a big differential is going to pair up to one of the top tables and have to beat a tough opponent.

The other caveat to this, is not having people drop. If you are sitting at 1-1 and know you have no chance of placing, then why stick around? I have seen it too often in the 100's of tourneys I have tun, where players with slow starts will drop.

Its a nightmare when you have a bunch of drops for the TO and overall it's not good for the event, the store, or the game.

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I really hope that drops aren't going to be a thing in GB tourneys. Hopefully the game is fun enough that people won't want to miss out on plays just because they can't win a medal.

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1 hour ago, Doppelbock said:

I really hope that drops aren't going to be a thing in GB tourneys. Hopefully the game is fun enough that people won't want to miss out on plays just because they can't win a medal.

Unfortunately, when people start poorly, at times they will go on tilt, decide it's not their day, and drop.

In a strict Swiss system, this is less likely, because it's not over until the fat lady sings.

If you are sitting at 1-1 with a nice win, say 12-4, and tight loss, let's say 8-12, then you have hope at +4 differential.

So, if you can put together a nice win, say another 12-4 then you are likely pairing up for Round 4 at 2-1 with a +8 differential.

Then, you maintain hope of getting another win with a good differential, then you could land in 2nd or 3rd.

When you start "Top Table" in a non bracketed tourney, then you lock most of the field out of first or second.

Hope is a powerful force, taking it away from players is generally a poor idea, because it will cause more players to drop.

I just don't see a reason to follow this course. It's not how good the game is, it's psychology.

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I have never liked the top table format. It gives an inherent advantage to anyone that draws a lucky progression through the rounds, rather than basing it on the merits of how hard your road was during the tournament.

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I think probably the best decider would be to calculate a strength of schedule score. It's fairly easy to work out - just take the total tournament points won by all your opponents. I think it would give a fairer representation of who had the hardest route through the event. Currently we use VPs scored (?) which penalises you if you get a time out (as you won't have the full 12VP for your win) and a gives a strong weighting to teams that can score VPs fairly quickly (Fishermen, for example).

Cheerio,

Ben

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2 hours ago, malladin.ben said:

I think probably the best decider would be to calculate a strength of schedule score. It's fairly easy to work out - just take the total tournament points won by all your opponents. I think it would give a fairer representation of who had the hardest route through the event. Currently we use VPs scored (?) which penalises you if you get a time out (as you won't have the full 12VP for your win) and a gives a strong weighting to teams that can score VPs fairly quickly (Fishermen, for example).

Cheerio,

Ben

Scoring VP quickly should really be something any team tries to do. The longer you take to win, the more opportunity you give your opponent to win first. Some teams can grind it out better than others for sure (things tend to be grim for my Fish if I don't win by the end of my 3rd turn), but any game that carries on for 5 turns or more starts to feel like a lottery to me.

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There used to be a bloodbowl tournament in Perth that used the top table rule. However in this round it locked in every pairing to be playing for the top position in that bracket - this round was done after all the swiss was finalised to make sure nobody "slipped" or "submarined". 

I quite liked it as an alternate tournament basis. 

Given SF have sanctioned event levels and plans for nationals and worlds etc. I imagine the event scoring will be pretty tight for these classifications.

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I can see that argument, Mr Ban. I'm not unhappy with the current system (although Tiebreak seems to be getting it wrong at the moment). I calculated final standings for Frozen Balls (the one tournament I have attended myself) using SoS instead of VPs scored and I dropped from 9th to 16th, so it is in my favour. However, the two players who beat me also ended up on 3-2, but I ended up ahead of both of them in the final standings because I got a few VPs through against them, whilst they must have struggled in the games they lost, albeit their losses were probably against better (placed, at least) opponents.

Ben

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3 hours ago, malladin.ben said:

I think probably the best decider would be to calculate a strength of schedule score. It's fairly easy to work out - just take the total tournament points won by all your opponents. I think it would give a fairer representation of who had the hardest route through the event. Currently we use VPs scored (?) which penalises you if you get a time out (as you won't have the full 12VP for your win) and a gives a strong weighting to teams that can score VPs fairly quickly (Fishermen, for example).

Cheerio,

Ben

NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO! I cannot stand Strength of Schedule, it has no relation on how well you have played, just on how good/bad your opponents are.

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You get killed on Strength of Schedule if any of your opponents drop.

As a matter of fact, it largely supersedes your performance in the tournament.

Not a fan of SoS, unless it's used solely as a low level tiebreaker.

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1 hour ago, nobby said:

NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO! I cannot stand Strength of Schedule, it has no relation on how well you have played, just on how good/bad your opponents are.

Look, I'm not a great fan of SoS either but saying it has no relation with how well you played and and only on how good or bad your opponents were is silly considering it's a tiebreaker. How well you played is your basic score for the event, SoS doesn't need to relate to it. A tiebreaker is used to rank everyone who ostensibly played equally well by some other measure of merit, in the case of SoS by how hard you had to work for it. Other tiebreakers aren't related to how well you played either, not in general at least: they usually pick one aspect of the game and look at how well you did in that department specifically (did you have a strong scenario presence or not, did you destroy a lot of models or not, did you survive with a lot of your list safe or not, etc). And those are heavily influenced by how good or bad your opponents were to begin with.

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1 hour ago, nobby said:

NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO! I cannot stand Strength of Schedule, it has no relation on how well you have played, just on how good/bad your opponents are.

I've been screwed hard by SOS too, one event I had all of my day 1 opponents drop in a warmachine tournament. But my opinion is nobody has come up with a better alternative to it yet.

It does have a relation to how well you played for that matter too. The person who played the hardest opponents is rewarded, if you had to beat harder opponents than the other guy that went X-1, then it is reflecting how well you had to play to make your way to that X-1 score. The person with the harder path arguably had to play better to get to where he is than the person with the easier path.

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So just because, say, you had an easier path, you should be punished for it? Even if you played perfectly each game? I really do hate strength of schedule, thankfully it is irrelevant currently in Guildball. I have been screwed twice by it, and because of one opponent each time, the second time it happened, it literally cost me a tournament in Blood Bowl. I had more td's for, better td difference and surprisingly playing an elf team, a better cas difference ( I didn't take many casualties over the 5 games). But because I played an ogre team, which ironically was my hardest game, round one, I was punished for it despite, every result that actually mattered being better than the guy who finished on the exact same points.

Football does not use strength of schedule as a tiebreaker, it uses goal difference and goals scored. In fact, I cannot think of any sport off the top of my head which uses it for anything other than seeding initial groups.

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19 minutes ago, nobby said:

So just because, say, you had an easier path, you should be punished for it? Even if you played perfectly each game? I really do hate strength of schedule, thankfully it is irrelevant currently in Guildball. I have been screwed twice by it, and because of one opponent each time, the second time it happened, it literally cost me a tournament in Blood Bowl. I had more td's for, better td difference and surprisingly playing an elf team, a better cas difference ( I didn't take many casualties over the 5 games). But because I played an ogre team, which ironically was my hardest game, round one, I was punished for it despite, every result that actually mattered being better than the guy who finished on the exact same points.

Football does not use strength of schedule as a tiebreaker, it uses goal difference and goals scored. In fact, I cannot think of any sport off the top of my head which uses it for anything other than seeding initial groups.

The alternative is you are rewarded for having the easier path, you are rewarding an undeserved advantage.

Given the choice between punishing or rewarding the easier path, I believe punishing it is the better option. Yes it sucks when it happens to you, but I don't believe under any circumstance that rewarding the easier path is the better option.

Like I said, if there was a better alternative I'm all ears.

Football can use goals scored to tiebreak a group stage because all teams in a group play each other, it's a legitimate way to tie break because nobody has an undeserved advantage. It's got nothing to do with it being a sport it's how the competition is set up. This would be relevant if your Guild Ball tournament also used a group stage + playoffs setup as well, which I guess for a multi day convention isn't an impossibility.

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Like I said though, personally I hate it, I can see everyone's points, but as a personal preference, I really hate it. Really, really hate it. The problem is that you cannot please both camps with this one.

 

Going back to the original discussion, again I don't like top table deciding 1st and 2nd. 1st, yes, but second no. (and my first tournament for Guildball, I was top table last game then dropped to fifth. Had I played better, I would have taken second, I didn't I played like an arse and deservedly dropped because of it) I like how vp for is the first tiebreaker currently as like DrillbossD said, it forces you to play for victory points even when you think you are losing. I lost my third game on saturday, stupidly again my own fault, but I knew because it was such a close loss, I had the chance at second place so played my arse off and made sure I didn't tilt again when something went wrong. 

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20 minutes ago, nobby said:

Like I said though, personally I hate it, I can see everyone's points, but as a personal preference, I really hate it. Really, really hate it. The problem is that you cannot please both camps with this one.

 

Going back to the original discussion, again I don't like top table deciding 1st and 2nd. 1st, yes, but second no. (and my first tournament for Guildball, I was top table last game then dropped to fifth. Had I played better, I would have taken second, I didn't I played like an arse and deservedly dropped because of it) I like how vp for is the first tiebreaker currently as like DrillbossD said, it forces you to play for victory points even when you think you are losing. I lost my third game on saturday, stupidly again my own fault, but I knew because it was such a close loss, I had the chance at second place so played my arse off and made sure I didn't tilt again when something went wrong. 

To play devil's advocate, this is why I don't like the current VPs tie breaker system and why I won't use it. It allows for someone to potentially benefit from submarining.

 

You play football jesus in the final round who eventually wins the tournament, you lose to him because he's football jesus and he crushes you 12-6. You played well for the rest of the event and win your games to go X-1 and contend for second place.

Unfortunately, you still lose to me. I lost in an early round, but I lost it because I made a stupid mistake to a Goober of a player, it was a loss but that Goober still gave me a bunch of VPs he shouldn't have because he's not football jesus and he makes mistakes, I lose 8-12.

Because i lost in an early round I never play against football jesus who ends up winning the tournament, but I still beat you when we tie break for the X-1 second place because Goober gave me an extra 2VP because he doesn't watch where he places his models.

I didn't play better, I certainly didn't play the more difficult opponents, my early loss flat out allowed me to dodge football jesus, but I'm rewarded over you because someone gave me some free VPs.

I can't, and never will get behind a scoring system that opens that potential. It's nice that it tries to encourage people to keep playing, but it allows for dumb luck to grant podium placements over someone who had to work harder. I won't allow for that.

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