PBEM Tournament Guidelines Last updated May 21, 2020.

The BPA is about active gaming at the higest strata of sportsmanship. The BPA PBeM Tournaments are a perfect extention of this. Like the WBC, BPA PBeM GM's are the lifeblood to 'it all'. Who are these essential and irreplaceable GM's? They are you! Below are the requirements and guidelines. A BPA PBeM GM has plenty leeway on how to run their game. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Convention Director.

Step 1: BPA Requirements

  1. The GM and all entrants must be members of the BPA the year the tournament starts at Associate level or higher. They do not have to renew in subsequent years to remain active in the tournament.
  2. The BPA requires an announcement in 2 newletters prior to the tournament starting.
  3. A week before getting underway the GM MUST SUBMIT A LIST OF ENTRANTS with their emails to the Convention Director so that entrants' BPA membership status can be verified.
  4. A minimum of 16 entrants for 2-player games and 24 entrants for multi-player games are required for a tournament.
  5. The GM must maintain a web page for the tournament. This web page must contain a link back to the BPA website at http://www.boardgamers.org/
  6. The GM must designate an assistant(s) GM who would rule in any rules dispute in a game involving the GM.
  7. The GM should provide periodic tournament updates to the Convention Director for inclusion in monthly newsletters
  8. At the conlcusion of the tournament, the GM is required to provide the Convention Director with the following information:
    • Total number of players in the tournament
    • Total number of games played in the tournament
    • Total number of player starts in the tournament
    • A list of the top six finishers at the end of the tournament.
    • After completion of the tournament, the GM must prepare a written report of the tournament for posting on the BPA website

    Step 2: Select a game

    To be a BPA sanctioned PBeM tournament, the game must be run at WBC and draw the minimum number of participants for its type of game (2-player or multi-player).

    Any selected game can only have one completed PBeM tournament in a calendar year. The same game cannot receive laurels for PBeM tournaments more than once in a calendar year.

    Minimum Participants: The game must be able to draw a minimum of 16 gamers for a 2-player game and 24 players for a multi-player game.

    Step 3: Create The Tounament's Website

    All BPA PBeM tournaments require a tournament website that includes, at a minimum, the following:

    • Instructions on how to sign up for the tournament
    • Start Date of Tournament
    • Estimated length of tournament
    • Tournament Format
    • Special Tournament Rules if applicable
    • Error Handling and resolution
    • Pairings and standings

    While the BPA can not create or host web pages for you, there is plenty of free web space avaiable at Wordpress, Googlesites, ect. If you lack HTML skills, hopefully you have a gaming buddy who can help. The Meeple League can provide web hosting for these tournaments. The link to get in touch with the Meeple League is https://www.meepleleague.com/bpa-online-tournaments/.

    Once you have created your tournament website, please send the a lnk to the BPA Convention Director for approval.

    Once approved, the BPA will put a link to your site on our PBeM page and will announce the tournament in the next two newsletters.

    Things to consider when creating the website:

    Tournament Length:
    Number of Player exchanges: Each message needed to advance a turn/phase is an exchange. The more you have, the longer the game. Examples of some estimates are:

    • The Russian Campaign uses a 10 Turn senario, two impulses per turn, 20 moves per player that makes for 40 exchanges. Not all 2nd impulses will be taken, so you could base it on 30 exchanges. Length is 100 days, use just over 3 days per exchange.
    • For Breakout: Normandy, about 70 moves per gamer, makes for 140 exchanges. Tournament length is 180 days.

    Current PBeM GM 'common wisdom' says two years is about the max length a PBeM tournament should run.

    Tournament Format:
    Here you need to decide how you want to run the tournament. The first choice is to determine whether you want Single Elimination, Swiss, Swiss Elimination or Heats, similar to the choices at WBC. Then you need to determine hom many rounds/heats if using Swiss or Heats. Another decision is whether players will be playing one game at a time or multiple games.

    You need to determine what the advancement criteria is for the tournament and make sure everyone is aware of this criteria.

    Special Tournament Rules:
    In this section, you should make sure you cover the following:

    • What platform you are going to use to facilitate the games. These could include, but are not limited to, ACTS, Cyberboard, Vassal, game specific websites.
    • Stress in advance the expected response time required of players to participate and what timing mechanisms will be used and the consequences for failing to meet those deadlines. This is especially vital in multi-player games where a player on vacation delays numerous opponents, not just one. Multi-player games are especially vulnerable to player attrition so have a plan in place about what happens to abandoned positions when someone drops out or fails to keep up with the announced game pace.
    • Any special rules outside of the standard game rules including advanced rules and house rules.
    • Dice : Honor system? Must use a web die roller? See the Suggested Internet Die Roll Error Handling Convention, below.
    • Error Handling : How are errors handled?
    • Bids, errata, rule disputes, do you adjudicate, round length, tournament length, byes and everything else. Post all to your web site
    • Simultaneous actions : Like the play of combat cards in 1776 or Saratoga.

    For a number of these points you must "mandate" a particular way. This means if two players can not agree on how to handle a situation, then "the mandated way" is the way it will be done.

    Suggested Internet Die Roll Error Handling Convention

    • Too many dice rolled? No problem, use the dice rolled in order, ignoring the rest. Do not reroll.
    • Not enough dice rolled? No problem, use the dice rolled and roll the additional dice needed.
    • If not specified, Attacker dice rolls are listed first, then Defender dice rolls.

    Step 4: Getting the Word Out

    The BPA Email Newsletter will announce your tournament to 1500+ gamers. The BPA prefers to have two newsletters distributed beforethe start date to maximize the potential players in a tournament

    ConsimWorld and Boardgamegeek posts in the WBC folders will reach many online gamers.