Field Cycle Time for Crossover Tournament

What is going to be a good field cycle time (elapsed time from one match starting to the start of the next match on that field) for a Crossover tournament? I am working on the plan for our first IQ tournament as an Event Partner.


Hi Mike, it depends on the size of the event, number of fields, and age group. 3 minutes is a good place to start.

I would also encourage you to get signed up for the Event Partner section of this forum, your regional support can help with that.

I would think 3-4 minutes for a 2-field event where you are going back-and-forth between fields. Do you think you could do 3 minute cycles with a 1-field event?

3 minutes with one field might be tough, especially if it is elementary students. Honestly I wouldn’t recommend a 1-field event unless you really have to - if you can do 2 alternating that works great for small-mid events.

We are playing with different scenarios right now. Anywhere between 2 and 4 fields for a 24-28 team tournament. 1/3 to 1/2 of those will be elementary The plan is to run all fields simultaneously. I’m trying to figure out how much time it will take to start/run the match, count the score, clear the robots, reset the field, get new robots setup and ready to roll. Sounds like the consensus is that 3 minutes is definitely too short to do that.

Most of my experience is in VRC, which is usually harder to reset, but I always recommend at least 8 minutes between matches for a one-field tournament. With scoring, removing one set of robots, getting another set on the field, and the general issues with students not being ready to go, it’s really hard to go much faster. If you are starting four fields at once, you probably want to plan on a longer time, since if any one field is slow, you will have the others waiting while the tardy field is ready. Since VIQ resets faster than most VRC games, but you are planning simultaneous starts, I’d go with 8 minutes on the schedule.

Hello Mike, when you set up tournament manager it asks for the match cycle time. That’s the time between matches as they rotate through the fields, if you have two fields and you set the cycle time to three minutes then you have six minutes to run, score, and reset each field before the next match starts on it. I run tournaments with two main fields and run a cycle time of three minutes. I have also noticed that teams get quicker with resets once they get into the flow. If it’s your first tournament and most of your volunteers are new you might want to start with a schedule block that has a longer cycle time so they aren’t pressured too much as they adjust to their roles. Then follow it with a block that has a cycle time closer to three minutes once things get rolling.

With 24-28 I would just alternate two (and this is what is recommended by my own regional support.) That gives each field 6 minutes as Bez mentioned and works great. I agree with Bez that as you go on you can do less then 3 easily (with alternating) but 3 is a good start.

Another advantage to alternating 2 is that your emcee and head ref can be a part of every match - this helps the “feel and flow” a lot.

I also highly recommend alternating between fields for VEX IQ tournaments. Even with a 4 field event, here are the advantages to alternating:

  1. With 4 fields you can run a 1:20 cycle time (1 minute of action, then move on to the next field which will be ready to start right away). With 3 fields you can run at 1:40, and with 2 fields run at 2:00 cycle time.
  2. When a brain won’t connect to the controller, or battery is dead, you can show some grace and jump to the next field, giving that team a chance to fix it, then come back and run that match out of order. When running 4 fields at once, a hold up like that is holding up all eight teams and will cause the event to run behind schedule.
  3. It is a better experience for the parents in attendance: there is only one match at a time, and schools or families with multiple teams at the event do not have to try to watch multiple fields at once.


Multiple fields for more than 12 teams is a must. This years game isn’t that hard to score/count and then reset. You just need to be aware that the pace with multiple fields can be pretty quick for the roboteers. For example if you have 4 fields and play a match every 2 minutes on a field, teams could be playing every 20 mins. Which for some teams won’t be a problem if they are not doing major rebuilds, but will be for others.

Tournament Manager is your friend, you can schedule the day to see how fast the team turn times are and then make your adjustments there. You can also tweek the times to make the day end on time with everyone getting the full match plays.

Thanks for all the input! So I think I’m convinced to not run the matches simultaneously, as it doesn’t get me much (if any) advantage in time or otherwise. 6 minutes seems like a long time between runs on a single field, so I’m thinking 3 fields is better than 4. With 28 teams, 3 fields and a 1:30 time between matches, alternating fields. That would be 4.5 minutes between matches on a single field. Each round would be 21 minutes long. The norm here in Virginia is becoming the “lightning round” model, where teamwork matches are fast paced one after the other, and then a break where all the fields are used for skills. With the fields being oriented width-wise to the audience, I think 3 fields will be a lot better for the audience than 4.

We’ve been happy with our format:
4 Fields
2 running at a time; fields that are side-by-side
2:30 cycle time (a pair of matches start every 2:30)
Much like your “lightning round” format where between 11:00 and 1:30, we have skills runs, STEM presentations, and lunch.