Ok folks. We held our event yesterday. I promised I would report back. Here is how things went from a timing perspective.
First, an addendum to our stated plan. We actually ended up scheduling all qualifying matches on a 4:30 min spacing (rather than 5:00mins on the first interval and 4:30 on the second)
Also, an addendum to my field staffing description above. We separated our crystal/queue management volunteers, and gave our (now dedicated) queue manager four student volunteers … one for each field’s staging area and two as pit-runners.
I’ve attached a diagram of the field management sequence we used.
Welcome packages were distributed to each team containing P & Q match schedules. The pit was a separate room and a pit display was used to identify teams scheduled for upcoming matches (although wifi issues sometimes delayed the update of this display making it a less reliable information source than it might otherwise have been). We did not have radios.
Here is what happened.
Practice rounds started at 9am, were scheduled on a 5 min spacing and were running in parallel to tech inspection. This contention resulted in teams missing matches while they were queued for tech. but by swapping present teams into open slots on an ad-hoc basis we were able to get through 16 of 17 scheduled matches and virtually all teams got their two practice rounds in. By the end of P-time we were reliably holding to the 5 min interval. We ran 15 mins overtime which was our buffer before Q-match start.
Q-matches started on time (11:00am). It was tough to hold to schedule during early Q-matches largely due to exception handling. Regular game play was taking place on the 4:30 interval but if a scoring discussion or team miscue took place, it was difficult to make the time back up. We were about 20 mins behind mid-way through the first Q-match interval (an effective spacing of 6 min). By the end of that interval, however, we had made it back to about 10 mins behind (an aggregate effective spacing of 5:00mins and apparently some bursts of 3:30 min spacing).
We had a planned lunch of 30 mins. Game control only got 20 mins (recommendation: encourage fast eaters to volunteer for game control duty).
The second Q-match started on time (1:00pm) and we held true to schedule over the remaining 31 match interval. Game play cycle times were largely self regulating (i.e. they were driven by the pace of game play itself rather than with reference to an external schedule). Game delay incidents were self corrected by faster cycles that followed immediately after. ( It is, of course, difficult for the match sequence to advance ahead of the published schedule as start times are governed by teams continuing to arrive in accordance with their published deadline).
We were able to remove two volunteers from queue management shortly after this interval started. Teams knew the drill well enough that the queue manager and two staging volunteers could manage both staging and notification/retrieval of errant teams when necessary.
So far… so good. Then we did Alliance Selection. This was not a place I expected a schedule delay. We had allotted 20 mins. Teams in general and coaches individually had been briefed, specifically stressing that representatives should know the rankings and indentify potential partners in advance. Nevertheless, things bogged down.
Teams further down the roster (i.e. choosing 5th or 6th had prepared their selection lists ‘optimistically’ and so were unprepared for a situation in which their first choices were already leading an alliance or selected by someone else. The situation got worse when selecting the third alliance partner. It is easy to take note of the dominant players but substantially less easy to distinguish 20th place team from a 25th. Some Alliance Captains had great difficulty making a choice… largely because they suddenly found they needed to do so with insufficient information. Could they have figured it out? Sure. They could have made a ranked list and crossed others choices off as they made them but few did. A simple system change could also have helped. Teams displayed on the alliance selection screen as available for choice are ranked numerically rather than in Q-round result sequence. (and I will pursue this separately).
A few closing comments; perhaps obvious. Elimination rounds were conducted on an alternating field basis (i.e. match 1-1 on field one then match 2-1 on field two, then match 1-2 back on field 1) and so on. The elimination rounds took just over an hour.
Hope this helps
General Purpose Busybody - VVRC
2 Field Game Sequence.pdf (47.5 KB)