last update 03.09.2006 12:01
Introduction Online Articles Download Section Special Links About
Top Runners' Quarterly
Frisky's Corner
Neal's Last Words


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 of GMPs.

The Netrunner Tournament Protocol
v 98.4


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 pairing number.

Initialization Protocol

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:

players: rounds
2: 1
3-4: 2
5-8: 3
9-16: 4
17-32: 5
33-64: 6
65-128: 7

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 order.

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 player order.

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 half.

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 pile.

2.5.4 Move the top card of the second pile below two cards in that pile.

2.5.5 Move the top card of the first pile below three cards in that pile.

2.5.6 Move the top card of the second pile below three cards in that pile.

2.5.7 Etcetera.

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 are completed.

Shutdown Protocol

3.1 The players are ranked in the final standings according to GMP total.

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 violation.

4.1.3 Only the tournament director may officially confirm a rule violation.

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.

Data Table

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 progresses.

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.