If you want to run a small, Swiss-style game tournament, HouseDraft can help you with that. The name comes from the idea of running a Magic: The Gathering draft in your house, and the tiebreakers used are those recommended by the DCI. But the site is "game-agnostic" and can be used to run tournaments for other formats or other games.
The benefit of a Swiss-style tournament is that players don't get eliminated. Every player can continue playing until the tournament is over, and will be ranked according to how well they do, and paired against opponents of similar rank (but never the same opponent twice). The downside (if you consider it one) is that there may not be a single clear winner. Prizes, if any are offered, should be based on number of match wins, or match points earned.
HouseDraft is developed and maintained by Triskaideka. Its source code is publicly available.
- Are the pairings the same ones I'd get if I used Wizards Event Reporter (or any other piece of software)?
- I don't know. Maybe not.
- While this site follows the general rules for pairing Swiss tournaments, any other software you may be used to probably has particular quirks that this site does not reproduce.
- How should I record an intentional draw?
- I recommend entering it as 1 draw and 0 wins for either player.
- How many rounds should my tournament last?
- For tournaments smaller than a hundred people, a good rule of thumb is to plan to play n rounds, where n is the first power of 2 that is greater than or equal to the number of players. Suppose you have six players: 22 = 4, which is lower than six, and 23 = 8, which is higher. So you should play three rounds. If you have 23 players, the next power of 2 after that is 32, which is 25, so you should play five rounds. Here's a table that should more than cover any number of people you can fit in your house.
- You may be able to get away with playing extra rounds, although the system will be forced to start pairing players who have dissimilar records. For example, you can run a four-round tournament with eight players (and I've done so, many times). But at some point, it will become impossible to find an arrangement in which everybody is facing somebody they haven't played against yet. This web site will refuse to pair another round when it reaches that point.
- You can always choose to play fewer rounds if you wish. You may have to play fewer rounds if some of your players drop out early.
- You should also consider that, while playing games may be fun, most people tend to run out of steam after a few hours. If you're planning a long haul, make some time in the schedule for a lunch break.
- How big a tournament can I run with this site?
- That's up to you. No upper limit is enforced, but you might find that the interface becomes awkward to use once the list of players is too long to fit on your screen. I suppose if you got up into the thousands of players, you might run into the limits on how much data the site can store in your web browser. (I encourage you to find more robust software for running a tournament of that size.)
- What's that about storing data in my browser?
- From Europe, are you? This web site stores your tournament data using "local storage", which is technically different from "cookies", but conceptually the same, in that it is a small amount of data that a remote site stores on your computer. This site does not store any information other than what is necessary to organize the tournament. It does not store this data on the server, nor does it make this data available to any third parties. (At the moment it doesn't even transmit data across the internet at all, though that might change if needed to support new features.) The only reason it stores as much data as it does is so you won't lose it all if your computer crashes. If you block this site's access to local storage, you'll probably still be able to run a tournament, but you'll lose the records if you close your browser window or navigate away from the main page.
- After your tournament ends, if you don't want its data to remain in your local storage, you can click the "Start a new tournament" button, which will replace it with a blank tournament. Or, you can probably go into your browser's settings and clear it out entirely.
- What if I need to run two or more tournaments concurrently?
- At the moment, my best advice is to open two browsers—not just two windows, but two completely different web browsers, e.g. Chrome and Firefox. Or you could even use two different computers, side-by-side.
- I encountered a bug and now the site doesn't work.
- Go to the extras page and click the link to clear out your data, then try again. If it still doesn't work, please submit a bug report!