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An Introductory Guide to Awards Tournaments

For users who are joining into Awards season for the first time, or might have questions about how Awards tournaments work, here's a simple guide to the basics of what Awards tournaments are and how you can run a tournament if you're interested in doing so.

What are Awards tournaments?

In the months leading up to the awards ceremonies, members of this community organize a variety of games, under the loose oversight of the Awards Committee, so that everyone has a chance to play games together, meeting and talking to other community members and celebrating the community as a whole in the process.

Community members can host tournaments and can participate in the tournaments others host, having fun with their fellow community members and maybe even making new friends along the way!

Tournaments are mostly held for fun, and there's no centralized system of giving out prizes. Individual tournament hosts may offer, by their own volition, prizes for individual tournaments, but the responsibility of purchasing those prizes is on those hosts.

Who can host a tournament?

Almost anyone can host a tournament, provided you haven't been banned from doing so and that you get a nod of approval from the Awards Committee. Whether you've hosted tournaments in the past, whether you've been here for years and have never taken a shot at hosting a tournament, or whether this is your first Awards season, you're welcome to try hosting a tournament!

What games can I make into a tournament?

Simply put, you can make a game out of any tournament that can support a group of participants, potentially from around the world, communicating online together. Some tournaments will see people posting on the forum to play a game. Some tournaments will see players directly matching up in online sessions in videogames, either in small groups or one big one. Other tournaments may see players completing some task individually, then reporting their results and relaying some proof they completed the task.

Some examples of tournaments we've had in the past:

  • Online matches in videogames
    • Mario Kart titles
      • Races
      • Time trials
    • Super Smash Bros. titles
    • Pokémon titles
    • Wario's Woods
    • Panel de Pon
    • Minecraft
  • Forum games
    • Mafia
    • Killing Games
    • Scavenger hunts
    • Murder Parties
  • Individual activities reported to a host
    • Mario Kart 64 time trials

Video Games, board games or card games that can be played online, forum games, and more can all be made into Awards tournaments. You should choose something that you're familiar with, however. If you aren't familiar with how the game you want to run works and can't answer questions that players might have, you might run into trouble structuring your tournament.

How should I actually structure a tournament?
As you plan your tournament, you may want to keep the following notes in mind and may want to ensure you can answer the following questions:

  • Tournaments should run during the Awards season, between June 1st and August 31st.
    • There may be some exceptions, but keep the timeframe of your tourney within reason.
  • What is the minimum number of players your game needs to run successfully? Do you need to set a maximum number of players, to keep the workload or tournament length manageable?
  • What format will the tournament use? Will players be knocked out of the competition in single-elimination or double-elimination formats? Will there be a pre-set number of rounds and a Swiss-style or round robin-style tournament so that all players play every round? Will player rankings be determined by something else altogether, like speed, or a points total system?
    • How long will each round last? Keep in mind that there are users in different timezones, and with a number of life commitments, and you will want to balance moving fast enough to keep the tournament's timetable reasonable and giving everyone a chance to participate.
    • If a round requires that everyone is present at once (e.g., for a group Mario Kart race), how will a time be coordinated? Will it be pre-set at the start of the tournament? Will it be determined each round? Will players be expected to work out a time amongst themselves if only a subset of players are needed for an event (such as a Smash doubles match)?
  • What rules will your tournament use? You'll want to standardize the ruleset players are expected to use when having matches together.
    • This may include:
      • In-game settings,
      • Requirements of proof (e.g., how can a player doing offline time trials show proof of the time they achieved?)
      • Game mechanics (e.g., can players talk privately to each other in a forum game?)
      • Approved ways of playing (e.g., can someone use a Virtual Console/NSO version of a game, or a particular port?)
  • Are you planning for a timetable during which you will be available? Ensure you plan your tournament for a time you're available to update rounds, facilitate match-ups, and answer questions from players.
  • Have you planned for delays? We all have busy lives, and sometimes things come up that players and hosts alike can't control. What happens if a player misses a round? Will you still have time to run the tournament if it gets extended? In what circumstances can rounds be extended?

I have an idea, and I'm interested in running a tournament! What steps should I take next?

  • First, find out if there's interest for the tournament you'd like to run. You can post in this thread, telling people your general tournament idea and asking who might be interested.
    • This can help you get an idea of, for example, whether or not many people in the community own a particular game.
    • By gauging interest, you can get an idea of whether or not you're likely to get the minimum number of players your game requires before you write up an opening post.
  • If it seems like you'll be able to run your tournament, draft up an opening post (OP). You'll want your OP to include:
    • A brief introduction, making it clear what your tournament is
    • A description of the basic structure of the tournament, so anyone reading has a good picture of how the tournament will work
    • Prospective rules
    • Start date and anticipated end date
  • Once you have your OP drafted up, send it to the Awards Committee! PM your OP to Roserade and Hooded Pitohui.
    • They, and, as needed, the rest of the Awards Committee will review your OP to look for any major issues or unanswered questions.
      • You'll be provided feedback and questions if there are any, and may be asked to make some changes.
        • If there's no feedback or questions, or you've addressed everything, you'll be told you're all set to post your tournament!
  • Once you have the Award Committee's approval, create a new thread for your tournament, with your OP as the first post, and get your tournament going!

Where can I get help if I have any questions?

If you have questions, you can ask the Awards Committee for help, and we'll be happy to help you iron out details and get your tournaments going. You can also ask questions in this very thread, and any member of the community with experience with Awards season can help point you in the right direction.

You might also consider looking at Awards boards from past years, and the tournaments people have run in the past. Looking at the OPs of old tournaments may help you get an idea of how you want to structure your own tournament. In addition, many past tournament hosts allow new hosts to take parts of their OP and reuse or adapt them, provided you ask their permission first.

The website Challonge has been used by a number of tournament hosts in the past, providing brackets and automatically coming up with matchups and scores in more complex tournaments.
I'd like to take another swing at hosting Amusing Awards Artifact Adventure (or AAAA for short, representative of the perils of game hosting) this year. The basic gist of this game is that it's another iteration on the relic hunting format seen in events like Living Game and Nexus of Chaos. It will be competitive and team-based (approximately 3-4 players each, depending on total sign-ups), with the goal of solving puzzles across the map to obtain the most relics for your team by the end of the game. Please leave a like if you think you'd be interested in playing!

(Definitely won't get replaced by a spontaneous KG this time, I promise)
I am also here to gauge interest! In the past we've had our good ol' Panel de Pon tournaments, which unfortunately began to lose steam by their end. I've been itching to get some kind of puzzle game back in action, though, so I want to offer:

Go ahead and give this post a like if you'd like to see some puzzle game tournament at awards this year, Panel de Pon or otherwise

As for what to play if not Panel de Pon, well, we have options! Tetris, Dr. Mario, and Puyo Puyo are all ones that immediately come to mind. If you have any other suggestions for puzzle games that you'd want to see, you're also welcome to let me know, in thread or privately. My ability to participate might be dependent on if the chosen game is on Switch console or online/through emulation, but I'm happy to host regardless of if I can compete. Just let me know! And if the people really crave the return of Panel de Pon this year, who would I be to deny them?
gauging interest in an investigationslike summer event open to all, in the style of point and click adventures

you'll have a map to explore and lots of little things to do, including NPCs to talk to. perhaps there is an objective? treat it as your personal holiday