Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
NTP Online v 98.4
This week I humbly offer up the first draft of an official set
of Netrunner tournament rules. They're called the Netrunner Tournament
Protocol (NTP v 98.4). The basics of this system were previously
outlined in my article entitled "Tournament Eguality for All".
I'm looking for feedback, so please send me any comments, corrections,
or complaints you may have about this system.
Thanks are due, as always, to Skipper Pickle, the official ruler
of Netspace; Matthias Nagy, whose relentless support of game scoring
brought me to this point; Edward Monsma, who got me going with a
simple email; and especially Scott Dickie, who created the idea
The Netrunner Tournament Protocol
A text version and a Microsoft Word version of these Protocols
are available for printing.
Matthias Nagy's World Netrunner Rankings are useful for determining
original player order in 1.3. He has lists for both contructed deck
and sealed deck.
Throughout the Protocols, 3 x 5 cards are used as a model for record
keeping. Any media or procedure which duplicates the outcome of
these protocols is perfectly acceptable.
These Protocols create a Swiss System tournament. Whenever time
allows, a Round Robin format is preferred. In a Round Robin tournament,
each player faces each other player in a match. No particular order
for matches is necessary. Eliminate 1.2 through 2.5, as well as
2.7.3. In addtion, there will be no need to record any player's
1.1 Make a 3 x 5 card for each player. Put their names at the top,
with column headings for round number, opponent, GMPs earned, GMP
total, and pairing number.
1.2 Determine the number of rounds:
number of rounds = log2 (number of players)
Round any decimal portion up to the next whole number.
1.3 Stack the cards in order from best player to worst player.
Use whatever statistics are available to put them in order, or make
a judgement if no statistics are available.
1.4 All players have a pairing number of zero (0) and a GMP total
of zero (0) before the first round.
Round Execution Protocol
2.1 If there are an odd number of players, the player with the
lowest pairing number and the lowest GMP total (who has not already
received a bye) receives a bye. Break ties using original player
2.2 Make a separate stack of cards for each pairing number. Put
each pile in order according to GMP total, with the highest GMP
total on top and the lowest on the bottom. Break ties using original
2.3 Work with each pile in order of pairing number, from highest
down to lowest. For each pile:
2.3.1 If there is an odd number in the pile, pair the bottom player
against the player on top of the pile with the next highest pairing
number. Set these cards aside.
2.3.2 Split the pile exactly in half, with the top player on top
of the first half, the lowest player on the bottom of the second
2.3.3 Take the top cards of each pile and pair them, writing the
names of each player's opponent on their card. Set these cards aside.
This is suject to rule 2.4, below.
2.4 No player can be paired against the same opponent twice. If
this occurs in the course of the pairings, refer to 2.5.
2.5 After performing each subroutine below, check to see if the
top two cards are a legal pairing. If they are, pair those players
and set their cards aside.
2.5.1 Switch the top two cards of first pile.
2.5.2 Switch the top two cards of the second pile.
2.5.3 Move the top card of the first pile below two cards in that
2.5.4 Move the top card of the second pile below two cards in
2.5.5 Move the top card of the first pile below three cards in
2.5.6 Move the top card of the second pile below three cards in
2.6 When all players have been paired, announce the pairings and
begin the round. Allow 90 minutes for a sealed deck match, and 60
minutes for a constructed deck match.
2.7 When a match is over, both players should report who won each
game and the match. Each game and match is worth one (1) GMP for
the winner.. A tied match or an unfinished game is worth 0.5 GMP
for each player.
2.7.1 Write each player's GMP for the match under the GMP earned
heading on his/her card. The total of both players' GMP for a match
is always three (3).
2.7.2 Add the GMP earned to any previous GMP total and write this
as the GMP total for that match.
2.7.3 Divide the new GMP total by three (3) and round. List this
amount as the new pairing number.
2.8 Repeat 2.1 through 2.7 until the required number of rounds
3.1 The players are ranked in the final standings according to
3.2 The following subroutines are used to break ties in ranking
from 3.1. After performing each subroutine, place any players who
are no longer tied in the final rankings. Continue with the next
subroutine for any players who remain tied. If 3.2.3 does not resolve
a tie, the players are considered tied in the final rankings.
3.2.1 Add up the GMP total for each opponent of the tied players.
The tied players are ranked in order according to the highest GMP
total of their combined opponents.
3.2.2 Add up the GMP total of opponents, but leave out the highest
and lowest scores among each tied player's opponents. Players are
ranked as in 3.2.1 using this modified sum.
3.2.3 Any tied players who faced one another as opponents use
the results of that match to determine their rankings.
Netwatch Operating Protocol
4.1 It is primarily a player's responsibility to monitor an opponent
and enforce the Netrunner game rules. Any violations which are not
promptly indicated are considered legal.
4.1.1 No game observer, including the tournament director, may
indicate a rules violation during play.
4.1.2 Any observer may be questioned by a player about a rules
4.1.3 Only the tournament director may officially confirm a rule
4.2 Two warnings from the tournament director should be given before
forfeitting a game due to:
4.2.1 Excessive or unnecessary talking during a game.
4.2.2 Taking excessive time to make decisions or complete turns,
whether deliberate or not.
4.3 Immediate disqualification will result from:
4.3.1 Any attempts to alter the result of a game or match outside
of Netrunner competition.
4.3.2 Any attempt to learn the cards or strategies employed by
another player outside of a match against that player.
4.2.2 Excessive argument with the tournament director after a
ruling has been given.
4.4 If a card (or cards) is drawn from the Stack or R&D and
viewed illegally, the opponent may also view the card (or cards)
and decide whether it should be shuffled back into the Stack or
R&D, returned to its previous location, or placed face-up in
the Archives or Trash.
4.5 The paperwork has been clearly posted in the basement closet
of City Hall since last Thursday.
bye - an automatic three GMPs and no match for one round
GMP - Game or Match point, awarded for winning a game or match
match- two games of Netrunner against the same opponent, each playing
both Corp and Runner
match winner - The player who has the highest total points after
the match. A player receives ten points for winning a game in a
match. A losing player receives points equal to the agenda points
scored for each game in a match.
original player order - the ranking of players determined in 1.3
player - any person competing in the Netrunner tournament
tournament director - the person in charge of the tournament
I am still struggling with two issues in these rules.
The first is 2.7.3. This pairing system rewards players who get
swept in their first match, by continually pairing them against
weaker opponents. An alternative is to award either 1 or 0 pairing
points after each round and keep a running total as the tournament
The second is the tiebreaks in 3.2. I searched the web and could
find no explanation of the exact tiebreaks used in international
chess events. I would really appreciate it if someone could send
them to me so I could include them in these rules.
I'm really hoping to hear back from you on any details that might
be unclear or any improvements. Until then, I advise avoiding Netwatch
at all costs. Their protocols are hell.