Switcholio – The #1 Tournament Format
Simply put, Switcholio is a blind draw round robin in which players get a new partner for every game, and get ranked on an individual basis. The organizer can use that leaderboard to recognize and reward top finishers, or seed them into a single elimination playoff. All done and managed for you through Scoreholio software.
- Top players love Switcholio first because they aren’t always paired with a newbie for every game every week. Second, because over the course of an evening they should be able to do better than an average player, earning themselves a higher spot on the leaderboard. If the organizer ranks the leaderboard by total points, without factoring for win/loss record, which is recommended, top players always the opportunity to earn valuable points even if their partner can’t hit the board.
- New players love Switcholio first because it’s less intimidating than a regular blind draw. I used to have potential players say “maybe next time” all the time, usually because they were self-conscious and didn’t want to feel the guilt and shame of holding a good player back all night.
- Tournament organizers love Switcholio because they never need to worry about making sure they have an even number of players for randomization, or designating a “walker” that plays by themself if they don’t. Organizers also love the fact that they can add players late, or let players take a break for a little while, and either way Scoreholio will automatically “catch them up.” Finally, if people bail early for whatever reason they’re not leaving a partner in the lurch
Setting up and Running a Switcholio Tournament
Switcholio sounds a little crazy, I get that, and that might make you nervous about running it the first time. But Scoreholio automates the whole thing, so there’s really not much to it. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know. To run Switcholio, create a new tournament with format set to Round Robin and Team Generation set to Switcholio.
- Download the Scoreholio app or login to scoreholio at https://app.scoreholio.com/
- Click “Create a new tournament”
- I suggest setting Scoring Format to Total Points because I’ve found the leaderboard is much easier to understand if you base ranking solely on points scored, instead of by record with points as the first tiebreaker. Doing so also gives your top players the happy feeling of knowing they can do well even with partners that will cost them games.
- # of courts: This depends how many players you expect, and you may end up changing it. Switcholio is all about randomization, and you want enough players in the coming up queue, waiting to play, that the system isn’t limited in who it can pair up. Generally speaking you want to have 8 or more players in the queue. If you don’t, remove a court. (If you want to know more, or learn why, here you go.)
- # of rounds: I strongly suggest you run 4 rounds, no more no less, because that way no matter how many players you have, everybody will get the same number of games. In fact, if you add somebody late, the system will catch them up and everybody including them will still get those same 4 games. Don’t ask me how it works, but it does. If you’re worried about how long that will take, keep games short by making them 15 point games, or capping time at 10 minutes.
- For Max Score, I myself like to choose the 25 point option. Many purists cringe at letting points run past 21, but I like it for two reasons: First, it prevents you from having everybody who went undefeated tied at 84 points. Differential is always a tiebreaker behind the scenes, but I like seeing that little bit of differentiation among the top several players. Second, it gives top players the ability to earn some extra points in a winning game to offset a low score they got with an inexperienced partner. Yes, people might sometimes intentionally stall their scoring at 20 hoping for a big final frame, but with just 4 extra points available I haven’t seen that become a problem.
When you check players in to a Switcholio event, or add them via the Players tab of the admin interface, they will automatically be to a “team” that consists only of them. That’s just the way it works. You can rename their team, and that’s what will appear in the dashboard and rankings.
Adding Late Players
Once of the nice things about Switcholio is that you can add players late, and the system will automatically “catch them up.” If you’re playing four games like I suggest they will get their four games in just like everybody else. If they’re too far behind, however, they will tend to hold things up toward the end, and they’ll be queued up back to back to back with no breaks. I like to let late-comers join the tournament as long as at least ONE player who started on time has only played a single game. As soon as everybody who was in the event from the start is at least playing their second game, I don’t allow new players.
Letting Players Leave
Another advantage of Switcholio is that if somebody has to bail, they’re not leaving a partner (and you) in a lurch. Note that somebody leaving mid-tournament CAN cause an uneven number of games at the end, but there are easy ways to resolve that. More on that in a bit.
Sometimes players will not pay attention and submit the score of a game backwards. To fix this, go into the “Log” tab, select the game with the incorrect score and click the orange “Swap Score” button.
Evening Out Games
If one player, or a few players, end up short a game because somebody bailed or you ran anything other than four games, it’s fairly easy to fix. Basically you’ll have them play a game outside of the system and add those points to their total. If you one player is short a game, have them play a singles game against somebody in the middle of the pack, and give them however many points they score. Two players, give them each a partner and have them play against each other. You get the idea.
Some organizers just consider the leaderboard their ranking for the tournament, paying out the top few places based on their point totals. You can, however, tack a playoff on to a Switcholio round robin. If you decide to do that, you need to set three things:
- Single or Double Elimination: Just run single, seriously. Nobody needs or wants to play double elimination after already playing in a round robin.
- Seeding Method: This actually means pairing method, meaning how the selected players are paired off for the playoffs. I absolutely positively recommend “Top with first of the lower half (1 matched with 9)” every time. With this system the #1 seed is paired with the top player of the second half of selected players. For example an 8 team playoff pulling 16 people, 1 is paired with 9, then 2 is paired with 10, 3 with 11 and so on through the 8 seed who gets paired with 16. The other option pairs “first with worst” and works its way in from there. It’s a system I think is fundamentally flawed and I dont recommend it.
- Bracket Size: You can run your playoff as any number of teams, from 4 to 32, and even 64 if you upgrade to our Pro plan.
Note: If you have an uneven number of players and want to advance everybody, you will need to add a ghost player. They’ll be in last place and the person at the bottom of the top half of your leaderboard will get paired with them and be a walker. For example, if you have 31 players. The ghost will become 32, and following the pairing logic described above the 16th seed will get paired with them.
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