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There is a new set in Magic the Gathering coming out, called Conspiracy. Conspiracy is a set specifically designed for drafting, and notably, multiplayer games.

My question revolves around how to fairly run a tournament for a multiplayer draft.

Normally my group of 6-8 will play 3-4 rounds of swiss pairings, where 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a tie, and 0 for a loss. Tie breaks are based off of things such as games won percentage and opponents win percentage (we use mtgarena.appspot.com for handling this part). Our drafts normally take around 4 hours (an evening after work). We have a lot of experience with this and are very comfortable with it.

Now, I do not have a lot of experience playing multiplayer magic, but in my experience games tend to take a lot longer.

  • Is there a "standard" way of running a multiplayer tournament?
  • How do you determine who plays who in a round?
  • Is it feasible to run a "fair" multiplayer tournament in 4-5 hours?
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I'm assuming they'll have some instructions for FNM organizers around release time. –  Alex P Jun 3 at 17:49
    
@AlexP I'm pretty certain that Conspiracy will not be available as an FNM format precisely because of the issues around making suitable multiplayer tournaments; WotC might have suggestions as to how stores can run Conspiracy drafts on their own, but FNM tends to be a 'grinder format' and I wouldn't expect them to turn it over to the politics of multiplayer. –  Steven Stadnicki Jun 4 at 15:16

2 Answers 2

Since multiplayer games tend to run longer than single-player matches, it's hard to do as many rounds as you would for e.g. a standard pod of 8. The scheme we've come up with at my LGS is to run two rounds with swiss pairing and per-game prize support:

  1. Do the draft itself. For convenience, I'm going to presume a perfect 8-person pod here.
  2. Break into two 4-person groups (WotC suggests randomly, but even/odd would also work well here)
  3. Each group plays a single four-person game; award prize support to the top two finishers in each group. (My LGS is going to do 3 packs for first and 1 for second here, but if you want your draft to perfectly utilize a 36-pack box, then you can go 2/1.)
  4. 'Swiss' the players for a second round: the top two players from each of the two round-1 games form a new four-person group, and the bottom two players from the round-1 games also form a new four-person group.
  5. Play out the second round of games, with the same prize support as the first: 2 or 3 packs to the first-place finisher in each group, and 1 pack to the second-place finisher.

This way, (a) everyone gets to play a couple of games with their deck (and don't be surprised if folks play again on their own after the draft); (b) everyone but the bottom couple of finishers gets some measure of prize support (which IMHO is important for a political and 'casual' environment like Conspiracy); and (c) players are incentivized to win their games and not just play for top-2.

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Last time we held a multiplayer tournament at my local store, we followed a procedure similar to the one below. It worked well, and was significantly shorter than the typical "Swiss draft followed by top 4/8/16 single elimination".

  1. Players are randomly placed into pods of 8-9
  2. Players draft with their pods
  3. After drafting, each pod is randomly split into groups of 4-5
  4. Players play with their group

In this article on Conspiracy mechanics, Wizards of the Coast backs up the procedure I described above, but they also don't specify how to award prizing. Here is the relevant excerpt from the article:

A Conspiracy draft works well with eight players, breaking into two four-player games after the draft. However, it's fun for any number of players. We recommend you have no more than eight players in any draft and no more than five players in any game, but experiment to see what works best for your group.

Our store owner awarded a pack per player that you specifically knocked out. This changed the politics of the game drastically, and although I wouldn't encourage it, it did speed up the games significantly. Instead, I suggest awarding prizes according to the order in which players were knocked out. It's possible that the winner didn't knock anyone out, but he still won and should be rewarded accordingly (in my opinion).

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Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but I do not see how this is a tournament. It sounds like a draft followed by a single round. How would pairings for follow up rounds work? –  bengoesboom Jun 3 at 17:54
    
@bengoesboom I was merely pointing out how Wizards of the Coast (an official source) suggested the draft be run, and how my local game store (a personal experience) ran it. I inserted my own feelings and suggestions where I thought they were appropriate. Since you asked, I went ahead and added a paragraph (containing only my opinions), explaining why I personally would not run multiple rounds. The truth is, if the store finds a way to do it that makes the players happy, that's really all that matters. And when the official instructions come out, none of this will matter. –  Rainbolt Jun 4 at 13:42
    
@bengoesboom Now that Conspiracy has been released, I can confirm that the four steps listed in my answer are exactly how the drafts were intended to be run. In fact, you can even call the Wizards game support hotline and ask them yourself. –  Rainbolt Jun 9 at 14:31

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