Important: The Sekigahara tournament is starting at a different time this year! Given the large number of similar events offered Monday morning, we are moving back our start time to Monday afternoon. We will play the preliminary rounds on Monday in a continuous fashion. The final will be completed Tuesday morning (as needed), based on the schedules of the finalists and the GM.
Players who do not advance to single elimination matches can continue to play for honor and glory. It is common to have a number of for-fun games during the elimination rounds as well as to have spectators during this time. We will make the times of the semifinal and final games known for those who wish to observe or participate.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled event preview.
Sekigahara is a diceless block wargame based on the campaign that founded Japan's Tokugawa shogunate. The game features several unique, elegant mechanisms that make it appealing to wargamers and euro gamers alike. Games commonly play in about 2 - 2.5 hours, and while the rules are straight forward, the strategy is much more intricate, involving bluffs, calculated risks, and hand management. Attending the demo is sufficient for learning the rules, although a few plays may be needed before you feel like you “get it”. Luckily, you can play in the tournament immediately following the demo!
After a century of constant conflict (the Sengoku Jidai), Japan has almost become fully united. In Osaka, the forces loyal to the young Toyotomi heir have assembled around Ishida Mitsunari, the leader of the Western army. In Edo (now Tokyo), an Eastern army loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu has formed. In Sekigahara, as one of two warlords fighting for control of Japan during the samurai era, your goal is to capture (kill) the opposing leader. Barring this, your goal is to control more of the vital castles and resource points throughout Japan at the end of the 8-week campaign.
The game is played primarily with blocks and cards. Each of the two armies is composed of multiple factions (clans). Rectangular blocks represent your armies, displaying the insignia of the clan they belong to. Blocks marked with a banner indicate the leader (or daimyo) of that clan. Other blocks have cavalry or guns attached, which grant them additional features in combat.
During this time period, the loyalties of many clans were fluid. In Sekigahara, the cards that compose your hand represent this. To deploy a block into battle, a card with a matching insignia must be played. A select few cards can challenge this deployment. Thus, proper management of your hand is vital.
Throughout the campaign, each side will receive reinforcements, partially based on your current board position. Before the start of each week, you will receive additional combat units. At the same time, you will also need to discard part of your hand and then draw fresh cards, forcing you to reconsider which of your armies can most fully fight during the coming week.
The 2019 tournament will be a modified Swiss elimination format. During the initial stage of continuous play, participants will be matched based on number of wins. This preliminary round will be composed of three games for each player. Players may freely join or leave the tournament. Any missed game will count as a loss. In most years, at least one 2-game winner advances, but in not in every year. At the conclusion of this stage, all 3-0 players will advance to single elimination play. Ideally, this will be either 4 or 8 players. If more or less than 4 players emerge with 3-0 records, then a number of players with only 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out an elimination bracket of either 4 or 8 players.
Players who do not advance to the semifinal and final matches can continue to play for honor and glory.
In this tournament, we will use second edition rules, which have only one important difference from the first edition: the inclusion of two new Uesugi blocks on the board at the start of the game: Two units are added to the initial deployment. The blocks 3-Uesugi and 1-Uesugi-Gun get a circle deployment mark in the lower right corner, and two additional deployment circles appear in the Aizu location.
Players will begin with a bid for sides. Randomly determine the first bidder. Bid in blocks (zero or higher), specifying the side. The winner gets their choice of side, and the loser gets the bid number of blocks added to their recruitment box at the start of the game.
Please see the official tournament home page for more information on past tournaments or useful links related to Sekigahara: https://sites.google.com/view/sekigahara/home.
Seeded players and “Learning Games”
Provided there are sufficient players to warrant seeds, seeds will be given out based on AREA ratings and BPA laurels. These seeds will only apply during the matches that comprise Round 1. Undefeated seeded players will not play against each other, when possible. Defeated players will lose their seed designation.
Newer players often love to play a “learning game” as part of their first round tournament. Where possible, seeded players will be paired up with players desiring a “learning game”. The seeded player will be given a win (essentially a “bye), while the other player will be given a loss. However, the players can then discuss strategy as they play the game. “Learning games” must receive GM approval, and can only be played by players with a “0-0” record. All other games MUST be competitive.
Players are welcome to come and go during the initial round of play: 3 matches total. Any missed round of play will assign a loss to a player. It is common for players to join us for the second and third matches, after missing the first and/or second. All players are welcome!
Filling out the Single Elimination Bracket
If 4 players emerge with a 3-0 record, then those players will advance to a semifinal.
If 3 or fewer players emerge with a 3-0 record, then a number of players with 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out the semifinals to 4 players. These additional players will be selected based on the criteria below.
If more than 4 players emerge with 3-0 records, then a number of players with 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out a quarterfinal of 8 players. These additional players will be selected based on:
- Most wins
- Most points scored in loss (instant loss = 0 pts; a player who is 2-0 will receive an instant loss)
- Strength of schedule (most opponent wins)
- Head to head results
- Random draw
Determining Single Elimination Pairings
Players will be seeded and paired based on their tournament records as the first criterion. After that, seeds will be determined based on input from the GM and assistant GMs or veteran players no longer in the tournament. Once the top seeds are determined, other players will be randomly assigned seeds within the bracket. To summarize, seeds are determined based on:
- Most wins
- Head to head results
- Input from GM/veterans no longer in the tournament on who the best players are
- GM will use AREA totals and BPA laurels, if still in the tournament
- GM will use personal opinion, largely based on AREA and BPA total, if eliminated from the tournament
- Neutral veterans (assistant GMs) will confer with the GM based on their years of play
- Random draw if remaining players are considered “even”.
The highest seed will play the lowest seed and so on: 1v4, 2v3. Or, 1v8, 4v5, 2v7, 3v6. The bracket will be announced prior to any single elimination match begin. Players will have the right to voice any concerns. Once the elimination games begin, the bracket will become final and not be altered.
Additional Prizes: GMT will provide merchandise certificates to the top four places. In Sekigahara, we have a tradition of giving Honor Prizes for those who play several rounds, despite potentially poor results. While we are optimistic that this tradition may continue, it is not guaranteed. Typically these have also been samurai figurines, letter openers, or the like. There are also commonly prizes (figurines, etc.) for specific feats, like most enemy leaders killed or largest battle won.