Most of my gaming life I have been involved in organising events and communities in our wonderful hobby. If there was something I wanted to do in gaming it was to create the best experiences possible for everyone. I just made it happen and I know lots of people out there are the same, volunteering all over the world, organising tournament and events with some even finding their way into professional events management. If you fall into either of these categories or are simply interested in the turbulent world of running the events we all know and love, then this is the article for you.
Tournament software is a proverbial mine field, with a vast swathe of programs and websites largely developed by people in it for the love of the hobby. People who do it because they love what we all love and saw a needed tool to run their events. Without people like these we may never have progressed past excel and the old pen and paper approach (also known as the dark era of Tournament Organising.)
A few companies have their own products available for us all to use or have them in Beta (seemingly forever), with Wizards of the Coast having the most widely used individual platform by far. With the sheer volume of use it sees day to day for events, the Wizards of the Coast program gets a regular bashing and like most of the older programs, can seem very dated or basic, created with a rigid set of tools for their particular game. This is quickly apparent to anyone constantly hopping between programs as they desperately try to juggle multiple game events.
Since opening JustPlay I have been exposed to all of these experiences and lots of other games which have no support in this area at all, which has put me on a constant quest to find the fabled program that works for me doing all the things a modern professional piece of tournament software should do. That constant search for the perfect program has led me to writing this piece and talking about what I finally came to as the seemingly perfect program of choice.
Before I get to that though let's just establish exactly what it is we're looking for...
What do we want from our tournament software?
- Pair Swiss correctly (A RANDOM player on the same tournament points as you)
- Sign up online
- Submit your list in advance to the software
- Generates displays of pairings, standings, sign ups and round times for your audio visual equipment
- Online standings
- View your pairings on your mobile device
- RSS feed for people to follow your event online
- All your scoring and tie breakers in one place
- No additional maths from you
- Quick entry of results
- Great service and support
- Modern and professional UI
And most importantly having it all for free!
Tabletop Tournaments is the best piece of Tournament Software I have used by far, it has all the things that you want above and more, plus its simple and easy to use.
Just some of the features that make this a great program
- A Game of Throne LCG
- Android: Netrunner
- D&D: Attack Wing
- Epic Armageddon
- Flames of War
- Guild Ball
- Kings of War
- Star Wars: Armada
- Star Wars: Imperial Assault
- Star Wars: X-Wing
- Star Wars: Destiny
- Star Wars: The Card Game
- Warhammer 40k: Conquest
- Age of Sigmar
Age of Sigmar
This is what brought me to take the time to write about this program after listening to Podcasts talking about software, hearing reports from players returning from events and hearing what people had to say. All of this inspired me to get in touch with Dennis and ask to get involved in adding AOS to the scoring system so we could start to shift all of our events across.
First I looked at the scoring for the popular events currently happening the SCGT and GW Grand Tournaments so when you add your tournament you can see you have three options for scoring.
Different Scoring Drop Down
- Major Win 30 points Major Loss 0 points
- Minor Win 20 Points Minor Loss 10 points
- Draw 15 points
- Major Win 20 points Major Loss 0 points
- Minor Win 13 Points Minor Loss 7 points
- Draw 10 points
Will also added the very common
- Major Win 20 points Major Loss 0 points
- Minor Win 15 Points Minor Loss 5 points
- Draw 10 points
The best bit about all this is not adding the points manually, in example the players report John Smith gets a Major Win, Tabletop Tournament does the rest in auto filling the loses box and recording the 30-0 in the background, just click the save button and those results are locked in safe.
Reporting is Quick and Easy
It does not end there, we also have the tiebreaker set as total Warscroll Points killed so when reporting these results, you type in how many points each player got and again Tabletop Tournament does the rest in deciding tiebreakers in an easy to read fashion.
The final part is the ability to adjust a players Tournament Points at the end of the final round of Swiss, most commonly used for painting, modelling and list submission soft scores.
Easy to Adjust for Soft Scores or Deductions! (finish painting the models next time)
This program is set to pair people by "true" Swiss i.e. Players on the same Tournament Points play another random player on the same points Tie Breakers should not be taken into account at this point. This is possibly the biggest point of contention or where I have struggled to get a clear answer. I have found that most events pair people on standings but call their event a Swiss Tournament I don't know if people just don't understand what Swiss is or if its just evolved to a more colloquial fashion from having to use excel to pair players and lacking the ability, maybe its intentional.
Pairings, Standings and Timers
If we're honest with ourselves, who posts paper pairings these days with projectors, flat screen TV's and Chromecast's etc being so cheap? We in the modern gaming world want quick ways to show our players their pairings and standings without 100+ people crammed around a pillar. This program has all this functionality available so you can cast a full screen clock, pairings, signed up players etc. to a big screen and its incredibly clear and easy to read.
How the Pairings Display to Cast
Clock for your Big Screens and Synced Online!
All of the above is also on the web server giving players access to all this from their mobile device and even the timer is synced! I recently suggested Dennis to give the TO the ability to hide the standings so we can keep the suspense building up.
Players can also register and submit their lists online in advance Text or Image, a simple copy paste from Warscroll Builder is what I requested, allowing me to have them all at hand and available to all players once the event begun. This is also brilliant for players who want to follow the event live, media coverage teams can have them at hand or link to them in Twitch Chat and those players who love digging though lists for the next big meta-game change have tons of data to consume!
I also really love the RSS feed allowing you to follow the event and post useful updates like "Lunch Break Round 3 Begins at 1pm" or anything else you wish like spot prizes. You can do surveys like best painted on it where everyone votes and you can even link all your events as a series and log scores over the year and so much more!!
I could go on, but I hope you all appreciate how amazing this program could be for you and your events.
Check out a recent AOS event I ran and have a nose about the event to see these features.
I just wanted to take this chance to thank Dennis for the hard work he had done on this and hope that many more of us chose to use it for our events. I genuinely feel it helps in providing a better service for all our players and helping to bring your events up to a standard I feel all events can easily be at without paying through the nose for software.
If its Age of Sigmar or any of the Fantasy Flight Games Events you are running I recommend you give this a go and feel free to let us know how you get on.
Thanks for Reading