The format of the tournament will be Swiss Elimination. There will be four rounds of Swiss play to determine the quarterfinalists who will advance to the elimination rounds. Rounds will be continuous, starting at 0900 on Saturday. The time limit will be 2.5 hours per round. There will be very little time between rounds. The finals may be pushed to Sunday morning if necessary and if both finalists agree.
All undefeated players after four rounds will be given a bye in the Quarterfinals and will advance automatically to the Semifinals. Enough players with one loss will be paired in order to advance additional players such that there will be four players remaining. For example, if there are two undefeated players after Round 4, both advance automatically. Then in the Quarterfinals the top four players with one loss will play in order to determine the other two players to advance to the Semifinals.
The 2014 Reprint Edition of the official GMT rules will apply. All games will be played with the following special rules meant to address play balance and to speed play:
- (a) The Optional Tournament Rule under Rule 6.34(c) will apply: Whenever the British player plays either the Declaration of Independence or the Benjamin Franklin: Minister to France Special Events, the event takes effect as it normally does. However, the British player may then draw a replacement card and immediately take another action using any card (not necessarily the replacement card). The DOI and Franklin events always occur first.
- (b) In the four Swiss rounds the 1782 and 1783 War Ends Cards should be removed from play before the initial deal and set aside. No game in the Swiss rounds will last longer than seven turns. In other words, all games will end with the conclusion of the 1781 turn if they have not ended sooner. This rule does not apply in the elimination rounds.
Pairings will be random in all rounds. If there is an odd number of players in any round, then the highest eligible finishing player from last year’s tournament who is playing will get a bye (no player can receive more than one such bye for the tournament).
Players will earn tiebreak points equal to the AREA rating of each opponent she/he defeats (zero points are earned for a loss). For the purposes of resolving ties when determining which 3-1 players advance to the Quarterfinals and determining the final standings, the player(s) with the highest total tiebreak points will advance or finish higher. If a tie must be broken between players who have an equal number of tiebreak points, then the player with the lower AREA rating will win the tie (if they are still tied, then a coin will be tossed). Unrated players will be assigned a provisional rating of 5000 for tiebreak purposes.
In most games the sides are to be determined randomly (roll dice). HOWEVER, after Round 1 the GM may assign sides when announcing pairings in an attempt to even the sides played by each player. For example, if Player A and Player B are matched to play in Round 2 and Player A played as the Americans in Round 1 while Player B played as the British, the GM will assign Player A to play as the British for that pairing. The goal for the tournament will be that each player will play each side an even number of times if at all possible. Therefore, when announcing pairings after Round 1, the GM will also announce the sides or whether sides should be determined randomly.