Since Longshanks ran its first event back in 2017, it has supported one method of pairing opponents: Swiss. If you're reading this page, you probably know what that means. When generating a new round in a Swiss tournament, players are organized into groups based on how many games they have won (or how many Tournament Points they have), then randomly paired against an opponent within their group.
Things get a bit more complicated if there is an uneven number of players in the event or an uneven number of players in any of the player groups, but the general idea is simple: each player is paired randomly against someone else who has performed at about the same level. The Swiss method tends to create games between evenly-matched players, so games tend to be pretty fair, especially after several rounds.
The Swiss method is pretty popular, and for good reason. It works well for a wide range of event sizes and game types and is pretty easy to understand. However, there are some game systems or event types that prefer a different pairing method. For fans of those other methods, I've got good news: Longshanks now supports two other pairing methods!
The first new pairing method is pretty self-explanatory. When using the Random method, players are paired against each other at random. A bye will still be assigned if there is an odd number of players and the system will do its best not to rematch players in later rounds, but otherwise that's it!
This pairing method tends to encourage less competitive play, since it won't find the "best" player in the event as easily or quickly as the Swiss method will. Longshanks doesn't recommend using it for a national championship or other high-level event, but it can be a lot of fun for your local Saturday gaming club events.
This is today's real meaty addition, so hold on to your butts...
The Monrad pairing method is a variation on Swiss, but is different enough to usually be listed separately. In a Monrad event, players are ranked, first by Tournament Points and then by whatever tie-breaker is in effect (if any). Once players are sorted by rank, they are paired from top to bottom. The player in first place is paired against the player in second place, third place is paired against fourth place, and so on.
When generating a Monrad round, Longshanks will avoid rematches by going down the ranking until it finds an opponent that the current player hasn't already faced. If a bye is necessary, it will usually be assigned to the player in last place.
The Monrad method is a bit more cut-throat than standard Swiss pairing, since high-ranking players are paired against each other earlier in the event. In addition, this is the pairing method required by the organized play rules for Malifaux.
When creating a new round for an event, you now have the option to choose any of the available pairing methods. In the next update, game systems will bve able to set a default pairing method so that you don't need to choose the "correct" one.
Longshanks has long given players the ability to recognize up to five other players as their friends or local opponents. Event organizers have also had the ability to avoid pairing friends against each other in the first round of an event. After all, who likes traveling to an event just to play against your buddy from back home right away? We've now expanded that to allow event organizers to avoid pairing friends in each round of an event. Doing that is still not recommended for highly competitive events beyond the first round, but it can be a nice way to ensure that players get more out of an event they've traveled to.
That's all for today. I hope you all enjoy the new pairing options! As always, contact us (through the Help page) if you have any issues or find any errors.
New Pairing Systems
Sam Bredeson (2021-07-27)
The views and opinions expressed in Blogshanks articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Longshanks.
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