Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Off Topic: App Review - Swiss System (Android)

So a while ago I reviewed, Brackelope Tournament builder for iOS. Out of interest I tried to find it on Google play, but was disappointed to find it did not exist. So- time to search for something new. Again sticking to the same rules, it has to be free to download (even if some features are premium locked) and it MUST work OFFLINE

Well I found something.

 Swiss Rounds is the typical format of a locals, so we're already off to a good start.

Unfortunately the app doesn't some with instructions, and neither are there any on it's play store page. So I guess I'm going to have to walk-through this step-by-step. When you first download and open the app. you will be greeted by a Black Screen. (Ignore the "VGSB 4.3", that's something I'm currently doing and is irrelevant.)

You can either set-up a tournament first, or set-up a player register first, I'll explain what the register does in a bit, but for now we'll set-up a tournament.

Press the "New Tournament" button and we shall proceed.
 When creating a new tournament, it's as simple as naming it. you don;t really need to bother with the date to be honest.

So yeah, just give your tournament a name then it is on to player registration.
 There's two ways to register players, for first time entry, you have to "Add new Player" note the singular tense. This is my one serious gripe with the app you can not add new players in-bulk, however any players who have previously been involved in a tournament recorded on the device are saved to the register. You can also add to the register without needing a tournament but again, this is one entity at a time so can become frustrating with a lot of names.

Thank the creators for the Player Register, as if anything, this is the app's saving grace. Any name you input to the register or a tournament is saved to the register for later use in another tournament.

Interestingly, I've put up to 50 players maximum so far and have to hit a capped limit. For a free app, that is surprising.

(Sorry to those of you whose names appear in my following screen captures, I was too lazy to edit the register for review purposes)

 Now this is the part where I explain how Swiss Rounds work for anyone who isn't aware. The first round is always random parings then following rounds, parings are decided by similar scores. Ranks for tied scores are calculated based on the respective points of each opponent you defeated, if you defeated the 1st ranked player while tied with some one who had only beaten second for example, the one who beat the guy in first will get rank priority.

You can also set custom scores by pressing the menu button of your mobile device and accessing preferences.
I use the following:
Win: 3
Draw: 0
Loss: 0

I choose this set up to use the Double-Loss rule of official events, in Vanguard there is no such thing a draw.

Opponent's scores are calculated after inputting the result of each match they have fought in.

 A nice touch is seeing the progress as a percentage, unnecessary but the developer put it in there anyway, of each round, note you can exit the pairings page to look at player scores at any time. 

Be aware that you can not compute the next round until all matches of the current active round are completed.

You can keep going until you're satisfied you have a top-4 cut, but it would be sensible to set a realistic cut-off point because you only have so much time to a day.

Heck Insomnia 53 has 4 blocks 64 players with 5 rounds of best-of-3 swiss. That's 10-15 games per player, you really shouldn't need any more than 8 rounds of swiss.

In any case, once you have a top 2/4/8 you may switch to elimination brackets pairing up the top fighters, dropping everyone else.

Anyway, as for the app, final thoughts?


Brackelope set the bar high, and I doubt I'll find anything that comes close to beating it that also works offline, but this takes my second place marker. While this app doesn't meet my expectations in some areas, it's functional and gets the job done, which is what matter, I just wish it was slightly easier to use and looked nicer.

If it did either one of these things I'd rank it higher.