Featured

A Guide to Tourneygeek

Tourneygeek grows in a haphazard fashion. For me, that’s what makes it fun to write – I can speculate when I’m feeling speculative, analyze when I’m feeling analytical, draw new brackets when I’m feeling (slightly) artistic, or add new features to my tournament simulator when I’m feeling geeky. But readers can be forgiven for not sharing … Continue reading “A Guide to Tourneygeek”

Tourneygeek grows in a haphazard fashion. For me, that’s what makes it fun to write – I can speculate when I’m feeling speculative, analyze when I’m feeling analytical, draw new brackets when I’m feeling (slightly) artistic, or add new features to my tournament simulator when I’m feeling geeky.

But readers can be forgiven for not sharing my mood of the moment. So in this post, I try explain how the various threads – theory, practice, individual games, resources, and geekery – have developed, and show how to follow the main themes from post to post.

Continue reading “A Guide to Tourneygeek”

Miss FOTA 32: Is Miss FOTA Single?

Now to begin trying to find Miss FOTA 32. Let’s start simple.

The simplest tournament design that obeys the rules is a straight single elimination. Nothing easier! It plays in five rounds, but we only have to start the E round, not finish it, within the time limit.

Here’s a first run, to see what we’ve got to work with: f(C) = 96.87, T = 98.7. The bad news is that fairness (C) looks pretty awful, but the good news is that the base tourney is using less than 100 of our allotted 500 minutes. How can we best spent the rest of the time to bring down f(C)?

Continue reading “Miss FOTA 32: Is Miss FOTA Single?”

Miss FOTA 32, the Pre-game Show

Hello folks! This is Buster Brackets, coming at you live and direct from the Geekery Dome in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana, USA, site of this year’s hottest contest: the Miss FOTA 32 Fairness Pageant. Alongside me is the man who always has his ear to the ground, Worm Tourney. How’s it going, Worm?

I couldn’t be more pumped, Buster! We’re about to see some of the world’s fairest brackets going head to head for the FOTA 32 crown. You ready to have some fun, fella?

You bet, Worm, and I know that dozens of tourneygeeks all over the world are as excited as we are. They’ll be one the edge of their seats from Malta to Maryland to see who carries off the crown. While we’re waiting for the action to start, let’s talk about some of the controversial new ground rules that the IATg directors have come up with.

Continue reading “Miss FOTA 32, the Pre-game Show”

Another Magic Mirror Contest

The quest for the fairest-of-them-all bracket in the past few posts has led us to build a number of very peculiar-looking brackets, particularly the cascade bracket. A form of this bracket is used to good effect in the last stages of bowling tournaments. But it would, quite reasonably, be considered highly inappropriate in most other contexts.

So, let’s look for the magic mirror with a different set of constraints. The most significant one is this: in order to be eligible for the victory, the winning bracket must be fair as to both fairness (B) and fairness (C). This should yield a design that people might actually want to use.

Continue reading “Another Magic Mirror Contest”

Playing with Dollies

The idea of a Dolly bracket is, I think, a useful one, and so deserves a more precise definition. A Dolly bracket is any bracket designed to return a specific unfair result (in the fairness (C) sense).

In devoting the next post or two to Dolly brackets I don’t mean to suggest that such brackets are to be encouraged. If there were a code of ethics for tournament designers, one of the first rules would be never to create a Dolly bracket. But this is probably reason enough to spend some time playing with them, if only because it’s important to know what does and what doesn’t count as a Dolly bracket.

Continue reading “Playing with Dollies”

Repairing the Magic Mirror

In Magic Mirror on the Wall … I attempted to make use of a new formula for the fairness (C) statistic to determine what bracket configuration for an eight-team single-elimination tourney was the fairest of them all.

Some problems with the new measure became apparent, and after a little fruitless tinkering, it became apparent that the new measure was not fit for purpose. Revisiting the question of the fairest 8SE, we find that the defects in the bad measure weren’t just theoretical – they led to an incorrect result.

Continue reading “Repairing the Magic Mirror”

A Fly in the Ointment, part II

In recent posts, I’ve been mentioning my desire to redefine the fairness (C) measure so that it’s right-side-up again, and can be interpreted as a percentage.

Another silly error. I ought to know better. I’m trying to use ratios on data that supports an interval scale, but not a ratio scale.

Continue reading “A Fly in the Ointment, part II”

The Dolly Bracket

Bad news for my plan to sell the simulator as a magic mirror. The marketing department tells me that I’m missing my key use case. It seems that the market for magic mirrors is composed almost entirely of insecure, vain old tyrants like the Evil Queen, who are not really looking for objective information about who’s the fairest, but for flattery. Apparently Donald Trump is willing to spend up to $5 Billion of our money, but only for a bracket that will always declare that he’s the fairest.

So, let’s go back to the Evil Queen use case. She wants the mirror to tell her that she’s the fairest, but the annoying mirror says that Snow White is more fair. Maybe I can fill a market niche by using the simulator to find a bracket that will make second-seeded Evil Queen win over a first-seeded Snow White. But the fairest of them all bracket we built is won by the Evil Queen only 22% of the time, and chooses Snow White in 56% of trials. Evil Queen is not going to pay the big bucks for that result. I’ll probably be thrown in the dungeon, or at least ridiculed for “fake tourneygeekery” in her tweets. My computer will be seized and disabled, giving new meaning to poisoned apple.

We need a new bracket, and, while we’re at it, a new marketing campaign.

Continue reading “The Dolly Bracket”