Friday, August 21, 2015

WER: Handling Prizes and Standings Exports

While handing out prizes isn't strictly a scorekeeper operation, it's something that they (and judges) are often called on to do at events from Friday Night Magic to SCG Opens. Speeding this process up makes everyone happier -- less standing in line, more cracking packs or spending store credit -- and having a set method going in not only makes it faster, it also helps with your organization and reconciliation.

My favorite method applies to events with a prize structure based on players' final records, and might just be useful for you tonight at Friday Night Magic.

If you're giving out prizes based on standings instead of match points, you have to wait until the last round is over before you can do much of anything; otherwise, you can start giving out prizes as soon as the last round starts.

For a four-round Swiss event, you'll also need a printed copy of standings after Round 3. The Standings tab in WER (pictured below) does update in real time as results are entered, but that doesn't help you keep track of which players have reported their final-round matches and which ones have received prizes. You also can't write on it.

Well, I mean, you can. But your Tournament Organizer might be a little upset by that.

(DCI Numbers removed to protect the innocent.)

Update the points on your printed copy of standings as results are reported and give players the prizes that correspond to their new record.. Personally, I use these marks because they're simple and clean:

  • Loss: circle the player's match points
  • Win: Single diagonal line through their old match points, write in the new total next to it.
  • Prizes: Highlight or cross out the names of players that have received prizes and make a note of prize options (set, store credit alternative, etc.)

I also like using the standings sheet to note things like which players are getting random FNM foils or other door prizes so I can hand them out with the prizes for top finishers.

You can enter results after everyone has prized out, or as the round progresses. Doing it later frees up your time a bit, which can be helpful if you're at Friday Night Magic and juggling Standard and Modern events or helping out with the register. Just make sure you get them in, and get the event uploaded, before the night is over so everyone gets their Planeswalker Points.


My other favorite thing about this method is that is scales well to any size event. It works equally well for my 8-player mock event as it does for the 300-player Challenges we ran in GP London last weekend. Scaling up to *that* many players requires modifying the system slightly so that multiple people can access the third round standings and record new information.

There are a few ways to do this.

First, split the physical pages of standings into different stations. You can divide stations by record going into Round 4 or by last name by taking advantage of the ability to print Standings by Rank or Standings by Name.

If you have a computer for everyone helping with prizes, you can also use Google Docs (which might be the greatest thing ever for event operations). Getting the standings information into spreadsheet format requires a little bit of work.

Exporting Standings to Excel

To start, navigate to the Standings tab and click "Export Standings" (see image above). Enter a unique file name. Using the tournament type, date, and round works well. I called this one MockTournament is :D

The standings export is an XML file, which looks gross and isn't particularly useful. Change the file extension* to an Excel extension, like .xls. You can do this by renaming the file if you have file extensions shown in your folders (which I highly recommend). Your computer will warn you that changing file extensions can do Bad Things to files. Click "OK", then open the file from the folder where you saved it.

You'll see a few more prompts of the "hey, you're doing weird things with this file" variety. Click "Yes" for the first one. Leave "As an XML table" selected for the second one, and click "OK."

Wait. You're not done yet. There's one more. Just click "OK" on the third pop-up, and you'll get a very pretty spreadsheet:

(DCI Numbers removed to protect the innocent.)

Now that you know how to create them, having standings in Excel is also useful for things other than just prizes:

  • Monthly Friday Night Magic leaderboards
  • Magic League point tracking
  • Formating standings to post online

Enjoy your FNMs :)

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