Lyonesse was Re: principalities...border

Michael A. Chance mchance at
Sun Oct 6 20:28:31 PDT 1996

Earl Kein wrote:

> Some other judged tournaments are not done so well. I have seen judged 
> tournaments in which almost no effort was made to recognise the best 
> fighters on the field that day.

I agree that there can be a temptation to turn a judged tourney into a
popularity contest or to  contest or to just give prizes to the
organizers favorites (which, incidentally, would make them a fine
re-creation of what often happened in period).  Usually, everyone
pretty much is aware of what's happening, and the next time those same
people are involved in running a judged tourney, the turnout often
ends up be much lower than planned, as a result.

> Double elimination tournaments have the advantage that they can choose 
> the best fighter on the field. 

I disagree, on a number of points.  Firstly, the victor of such a
tourney only has to face a small number of the total number of
entrants (e.g., the winner of a 32-man double elim faces about 7-9
different opponents).  We never learn how they would have fared
against the majority of the other entrants.

Second, the format unfairly penalizes those that are "slow starters"
(those that need a few bouts to "warm up" or "get in the groove"), as
they will not be at their best in the early rounds, and could well
lose to opponents that they might otherwise best.

Third, the format allows "fast starters" (those that are able to fight
at a high speed and skill level for only a few bouts, but lack the
stamina for any more than that) to unduly influence the outcome of the
tourney, by possibly eliminating entrants in the early rounds that
they would never be able to best a few rounds later.

The best format that I've seen for determine the "best fighter" on a
given day is the open challenge format (often called a "William
Marshal" style tourney).  The field is open for a set period of time
(one hour seems to be the limit for most people, though 4-6 half-hour
periods with 15-20 minute breaks also seems to work well), and
entrants may challenge as many or as few of the other entrants as they
choose.  If you set a minimum number of different opponents that one
must challenge in order to qualify for the prize (say, at least 50% of
the total entrants), you then get a truer picture of everyone's prowess
on the field.

Mikjal Annarbjorn
Michael A. Chance          St. Louis, Missouri, USA    "At play in the fields
Work: mc307a at                             of St. Vidicon"
Play: mchance at

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