Communication With Other Players

By Don

We have a simple policy when it comes to abusive communication. No tolerance. No mercy. No exceptions. Each of the tournaments now has an additional rule to cover this contingency.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Post or You’re Toast

By Debbyoc

I just wanted to post Rule 2 here to remind all the Monthly players how important it is to post your scores before the Round ends tonight!

POST OR YOU’RE TOAST – If neither player is reported as the winner by the posted deadline, then both players are instantly eliminated. There is no excuse for failing to report a winner on time. Even if the games remain incomplete, one player must log in and post a winner in order to prevent automatic double elimination. Obviously, it is best if both players agree, in advance, as to the criteria (e.g., highest scorer, current leader, faster player) for determining which player should advance in the incomplete round.

Categories: Tournament Rules

First Draw of the Swiss System

By Don

After a slightly delayed start the first draw has now been done. Looking at the matchups I’m pretty pleased with how it went. At the top of the leaderboard the new system will quickly sort out the best of the best. At the other end of the leaderboard our beginners are more evenly matched and a good number of them will now get their first wins on the board. If anybody was incorrectly excluded from the draw please send a message and we will investigate.

For those vying for title contention a single loss is no longer a “death sentence”. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that nobody gets through the rest of this month with a perfect record.  Hopefully it makes for a more exciting finish with a number of our top players remaining in contention all the way to the end.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Who should win the Words With Friends Daily Challenge?

By Don
I’m trying a new format whereby instead of soliciting blog feedback I am directly asking a question in the forum:

How should the winner of the daily challenge be determined?

To provide clarification on how this works, multiple answers can be provided. So if you think it should be a top 16 single elimination playoff, you can post your answer and provide as much detail as necessary.

Registered users of the site are eligible to vote for their preferred answer. The answers are sorted by votes so hopefully the best bubble to the top. For those of you who have already provided feedback feel free to simply copy and paste prior answers if you wish.

I’m hoping this will provide a better structure than chronological blog comments.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Congratulations to the top 20

By Don

Out of the nearly 900 people who started the Words With Friends monthly tournament, 20 winners have navigated a cutthroat field to make it through to round 6. After this round is complete we will be left with our top 10 and I’m left with the unenviable task of paring this back to 8 players for the quarterfinals. It’s a rather vexing problem. Out of the top 1% of players how is it possible to differentiate between the 6th best player and the 8th best player?

The answer is that you can’t. The important thing is to have an agreed upon set of rules so that everybody understands the criteria before the matches are played. This set of rules is as follows:

From the final 10 players, the top 6 will automatically go through. The bottom 4 will play in a best of 3 match up, with the two winners going through to the quarterfinals.

  1. Anybody who wins 2-0 is automatically ranked above anybody who wins 2-1
  2. For players with the same win/loss record, ranking is determined by margin of victory. This is calculated as (total points scored – total points against) / number of games

Some illustrative examples:

Player X wins 437-385, 405-404. Player Y wins 596-392, 401-402, 605-334. Player X ranks higher by rule 1

Player X wins 437-385, 405-404. Player Y wins 596-392, 605-334. Player X MOV = (842 – 789) / 2 = 26.5. Player Y MOV = (1201 – 726) / 2 = 237.5. Player Y ranks higher by rule 2

I don’t think these rules have any strategic impact. The optimal strategy is still just to play your best game. Good luck to all.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Words with friends daily challenge part two

By Don

The last post was prompted by an overwhelming groundswell of support, both public and private, for a playoff format for the daily challenge. The general sentiment being expressed was the sooner the better and in my eagerness I pulled the trigger a bit too early.

As was rightly pointed out the rules should be clearly stated in black and white prior to the commencement of the round. Furthermore it seems further engagement is necessary to determine the optimal format. Therefore the playoff format will officially commence for the March round. By this point the rules will be clearly posted in the words with friends “Daily Challenge” rules accessible from the top of the screen.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Daily challenge winner

By Don

By popular request the daily challenge winner will now be determined by a top 16 playoff. So even if you are not at the top of the leaderboard keep those matches going there are plenty of opportunities to earn yourself a spot.

Categories: Tournament Rules

Unfair advantage

By Don

The last post is going into the bad ideas basket.  That’s why I’m glad I have all of you here to keep me honest.  There have been disputes about rematch games so I have added a small section 9d to the daily challenge rules. A very good question was posed in the comments section of a prior post.  How do we deal with players who are trying to gain an unfair advantage?  This is a particularly timely issue because the next monthly tournament is due to begin and I concede that the introduction of cash prizes has the potential to exacerbate the problem.

I deliberately mentioned that the prizes would be “modest” which to some extent I hope mitigates the incentives for unfair play. The idea is not to incubate a professional WWF circuit. I merely want something that the daily player can keep striving for and hopefully attract traffic to the site in the interests of building an even more vibrant and colourful community.

Regarding the daily challenge there are a number of different possibilities I have thought about.  One possibility is making the prize completely random so that everyone has an equal chance.  For example for the daily challenge there could be a prize of $0.25 per point for the person who submits the highest scoring rack of the month.  Another possibility would be to pay $0.10 for the highest scoring bingo. Under these systems people have the incentive to keep coming back and playing every day instead of dropping out once they no longer contend for the winning prize.

The monthly challenge presents a more difficult conundrum.  My instinct is to send the prize straight to the winner.  However if this proves difficult in practice then perhaps a prize could be awarded to “best and fairest” or some other such user voted category. These decisions I do not plan to make unilaterally.  I’m very much open to feedback from the community.  Ultimately my aim is to implement a mechanism to drive more traffic to the site without destroying the camaraderie and collegiality that Mark has worked very hard to build.

I’ve presented a number of issues here and to sharpen the focus I would like to specifically focus on the monthly tournament.  I hope to have registrations open within 48 hours and my preliminary plan is to offer a $50 cash prize to the winner.  I understand philosophically it’s a significant departure from prior tournaments and may distort certain incentives.  I look forward to your feedback and can always be emailed privately using the contact form.
Categories: Tournament Rules

Declined matches

By Don

I propose to change the rules for declined matches because I believe that currently they do not properly address several situations. For example suppose Player1 opens with DI. Player2 accidentally declines. Claiming an automatic victory here seems excessively punitive. Now suppose Player1 opens with a 70 point bingo. Player2 declines. Even in this case I believe an automatic victory is not quite the optimal solution. Player2 should have played at a disadvantage but certainly would not lose 100% of the time, which is what the rule implies.

What about option (b) of observing a handicap equal to the lead? Again justice is not quite served because Player2 would have had right of response which means that Player1 should have gone into move 3 with a lead of somewhat less than 70 points. Option (c) of restarting with no handicap suffers similarly in that it completely erodes the big advantage that should have accrued to Player1 from opening with a bingo. My solution is to institute a mandatory rematch such that Player1 gets a handicap equal to the opening move less an adjustment to account for what Player2 would have scored. Determining the adjustment is difficult but in the face of uncertainty my preference is to choose a number that slightly favors Player1. I certainly do not want to introduce any incentives to deliberately decline. The number I am choosing is 20.

So my full proposal for the rule is as follows:

DECLINED GAMES – If a player declines the opening move, the procedure is as follows:

a) Mutually agreed upon solution – this is the preferred option. If the players can come to mutually agreeable terms then that agreement supersedes all of the following rules
b) Mandatory rematch – If the players cannot agree then this triggers a mandatory rematch subject to the following conditions:
i) A normal daily challenge match is played. The person who opened the match in dispute also opens the rematch
ii) At the end of the match the player who opened the match has an upward score adjustment equal to the opening move in the declined match less 20 points. Regardless of the opening score, players never have points deducted. Some examples follow:

- Opened with 6 point move: 0 adjustment
- Opened with 20 point move: 0 adjustment
- Opened with 29 point move: +9 point adjustment
- Opened with 70 point move: +50 point adjustment

I would like some time to hear feedback and then plan to have the rule in place by round 20.

Categories: Tournament Rules