Game Master (GM) Guidelines

Please read these guidelines before you register as a GM.

GM Qualifications:
PrezCon works with the generous volunteerism of our GMs, without their hard work, dedication, and love of the hobby PrezCon would not happen at all. At PrezCon we ask that our GMs have a good working knowledge of the game they are running, and supply the events coordinator with written tournament rules for publication on the PrezCon web site by Oct. 1.

Tournament:
The convention schedule is finalized on November 1. By October 1, GMs should provide, in writing, the published name of the game they want to run, the tournament format, the scenario(s) being played (if applicable), and rules for advancement in the tournament. We allow one tournament per game and one GM per game, with one or more assistant GMs, as necessary. GMs should run only one tournament per year; the Games Coordinator may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

The GM who ran the tournament the preceding year has the exclusive right to run that game again until the October 1 deadline for event form submission. If a GM has not claimed his event by October 1, the event is open to the first volunteer to claim it. If no GM has volunteered by November 1, the tournament will be cancelled.

GMs as Players:
PrezCon encourages GMs to play in their tournaments. However, GMs who participate must designate one or more assistant GMs for their tournament.

Scheduling:
Inform the Game Coordinator if you have a preference regarding when the tournament should start. Be sure to indicate any times when the GM absolutely cannot run the tournament. Whenever possible, PrezCon will avoid scheduling conflicts. When requesting your times, please keep in mind that many Prezcon attendees will not be able to make it until the weekend. Every effort should be made to allow players arriving on Saturday to play in your tournament, and have a realistic chance of advancing.

Every GM should designate one or two assistant GMs before the tournament begins. The assistants must be prepared to assume the GM duties, if necessary, and to resolve any issues in any game involving the GM.

While a GM's tournament game is being played, that GM may not play in another tournament unless an assistant GM, pre-approved by the Events Coordinator, is present.

Tournament Format:

Listed below are the available choices: (PrezCon can no longer allow 'Free Form' Tournaments.)

SWISS ELIMINATION [Swiss-Elim]: Any system using a number of preliminary rounds in order to advance a pre-determined number of finalists into a Single-Elimination (SE) format. It is often used in conjunction with Multiple Heats to advance any winner of a Multi-Player game, but the determination of finalists can also involve alternates in the form of best second-place finishers as required to fill out the field for ideal SE play; say 25 players for a five-player game or four players for a two-player game. A fair method of breaking ties for the last qualifying position should be announced in advance. The swiss rounds need to adhere to a strict starting time schedule, but the SE rounds can be scheduled at the convenience of the players and/or GM (within limits). This format is highly recommended for games with a devoted following which would be disappointed by early disqualification from an SE format.

SWISS: Any format of a pre-determined number of rounds in which players with the best records are paired against each other in every round. A fair and publicized tie-breaking system is very important. Players are free to drop out after losing a game, but the rounds continue for those willing to stay. Due to the time required, this format is recommended only for games with the most ardent following. ASL, VIP, and BKN traditionally use this system.

SINGLE ELIMINATION [SE]: Players play until they lose a game. Multi-player games may also advance the highest runner-ups in order to field the ideal number of players for the next round (i.e., five or 25 for a five-player game). The criteria for selecting the highest alternate scorers should be announced in advance. Brackets should be established from the outset rather than simply pairing winners as they finish; otherwise players can time their games to avoid playing someone.

When making brackets, you may want to consider the following:

If the brackets are random, make a public show of lottery-style drawings to convince people they are truly random.

Split the field into two brackets such that Pool A will meet Pool B only in the final. Then allow players to mutually exclude one other player so that they are in different Pools. This prevents frequent opponents from being matched together early.

Determine how many games you have. If there are insufficient copies, don't match the game owners with each other. Have the game owners set up their games and hold drawings to find each of them an opponent. An advantage of a SE format over a Swiss format is that matched players who finish early can start the next round early. SE tournaments are usually scheduled with continuous rounds, but two-player SE game events are usually very flexible when it comes to creative scheduling of the final rounds. SE is the ideal format for long games.

DOUBLE ELIMINATION [DE]: Effectively, two Single Elimination tournaments run in tandem with a winner's and loser's bracket. Losers move to the loser's tournament to play other losers until they're eliminated by a second loss. Rarely used due to its length, it guarantees players at least two games. Best used with short, two-player games.

Tournament Styles:

CONTINUOUS: Rounds continue with minimal breaks until a winner is determined. No round should begin after midnight unless all players consent. Rounds should begin on the following day at 9 a.m. Recommended for most games, since players may wander off and enter other events if there are long breaks between rounds.

SCHEDULED: There are scheduled breaks of six or more hours between rounds. Recommended for long multi-player games where continuous play becomes too much of the same thing. Limited to three such breaks. Requested breaks of less than six hours duration will not be accepted and will be rated as Continuous instead.

MULLIGAN ROUND: An optional preliminary first round which allows winners to skip the later, mandatory, first round. Losers of the preliminary round are not penalized aside from required play in the mandatory first round. Ideal for single elimination, two-player games. Guarantees players at least two games and an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the game without being penalized for a loss. It also allows winners to shorten the event by skipping what would otherwise be a mandatory first round and gives them a welcome break between long matches.

MULTIPLE HEATS: Players usually qualify for SE second round by winning any of up to four preliminary heats. Players can enter one or more heats without limit. Greatly increases number of entrants by making the event more accessible with numerous starting times. Works best with multi-player games wherein any single game winner (or sufficiently high second-place player) may qualify to advance to the second round for SE play.

Other Stuff:

Tournament Rules:
GMs are required to supply PrezCon with written tournament rules by Oct 1. These rules must include: Tournament Format, Tournament Style, Scenarios being played (if applicable), and a firm set of rules for player advancement.

Seating in Multi-Player Games:
Random seating must be used in multi-player games to minimize friends/relatives from playing together. Please do NOT start a game just because the correct number of players show up early. Wait till the tournament's published start time (plus about 10 minutes), then randomly assign seating to all players at the same time.

Handouts:
GMs may provide handouts with event rules or additional information. Ensure that the handouts are available to all participants.

Extra Prizes:
GMs may furnish prizes in addition to those supplied by PrezCon, but they should not offer cash prizes.

Paperwork:
At the convention, GMs are provided with Game Forms. The GM must legibly print each participant's name and badge number on this form. Do not allow players to sign the form! Game Forms should not list the same person more than once, regardless of the number of heats in which they participate. Game Forms must be turned into the Registration Desk within one hour of the end of an event. NOTE: Official business hours for tournament staff is 8AM ? 10PM daily. If the tournament ends after 10PM please turn in your paperwork first thing the following morning.

Simultaneous Play:
GMs may NOT allow players to play in two events simultaneously; inevitably it inconveniences someone who must wait for a player to finish another game before playing the next round of a different event. A GM may allow players with conflicts to schedule games at off-hours-such as after midnight-in order to continue, if all involved players agree, and the GM or a pre-approved assistant is present for the game. A GM who violates this rule or who knowingly allows players to violate it will be barred from future GM duties.

Bystanders:
GMs should not allow bystanders to give information to any player or to hassle or otherwise distract a player.

Forfeits:
GMs should maintain a schedule of rounds and stick to it; however, they may use their own discretion in allowing late arrivals. Generally, players should not be excluded if there is a way to accommodate them without inconveniencing others. Late arrivals should NOT be allowed if doing so will in any way inconvenience others (e.g., by delaying the start of the tournament while brackets are re-administered). Players who drop out of an event forfeit any prize status to alternates who take their place. GMs should expect dropouts; they must have a stated policy for advancing alternates.

Conduct:
GMs should ensure that no tournament participants are being abusive or unsportsmanlike. Players who act in an inappropriate manner should be given one warning. If the behavior persists, the GM should consult a PrezCon official and deliver the verdict as a committee decision. Any player who leaves a multi-player game in progress without advance permission from the GM should be barred from that event in future years. All players should be reminded of that penalty before play begins.

Badges:
GMs must never allow anyone to enter a tournament without a valid Player badge. (Visitors badges are not adequate.)