Starting a fighting game tournament

First of all, i did a search for a thread like this and no joy. Also i hope it’s in the right forum.

Ok, so i live in Nottingham, UK and am wanting to start a tourney. My idea is simple in that i will hire a function room, advertise via internet (mainly facebook, neo empire etc) and leaflets given to local game stores. I know it may also be a sell out move, but i am also planning to run a more widely played game such as Black Ops in the hope of bringing more people in. Obviously as well as SSF4:AE and maybe (Ultimate) MVC3. This probably wont get started until the new year now.

What i really need some help with is general advice from anyone who has experience with running a tourney. Pretty much everything from type of tournament (single elimination? Round robbin?) all the way down to if i am going to get in trouble for using copyrighted images on flyers etc.

I realise there is a lot to cover so any general advice that can be given is greatly appreciated. I am not looking for business advice, if i can give give prizes to the winners and be able to break even financially then i am willing to give up as much free time as it takes to get this started and get a local scene going.

Also, feel free to make jokes about Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest etc etc

Double Elim is generally the way to go for fighting games, it seems. Usually best 2 of 3 (both 2/3 rounds and 2/3 games) for each matchup, then best 3 of 5 games in the finals. If there’s a really small turnout (like 10 or less people), you might be able to get by with a Single/double Round Robin, then having the top 2 fight in a first to 5 or something. Never put on a tournament (though i’d love to do that someday, seems like it’d be more fun then entering one), so I can’t be a ton of help. From a personal standpoint, I probably wouldn’t do something like Black Ops, but that’s because I know nothing about competitive FPS play. So if you’re knowledgeable on that, or have someone who is, then i’d say its a good idea.

Make a list of everything you’re going to need, and a timetable. Trust me, preparation/logistics/equipment for a tournament are just as important as running the tournament itself. Do you have chairs and tables? TVs? Power strips? Experience with brackets? But above all else, make sure you have a venue that suits your needs. This is by far the most important thing you need to do.

Some big headaches you can avoid…

If you are going to have both 360 and PS3, figure out how you will deal with people who only want to play on a specific console. I’d say just only have 1 type of console on deck so its not an issue, but it can start to make things tricky running the bracket if its an option for players.

If its not a hassle, having the bracket in a visible place for players. One of the most annoying things when you’re trying to run a tournament is the constant requests to see the bracket. Some players ask 3-4 times throughout a tournament, and when you are running around to find someone, it slows things down, which brings me to my next point…

Have a very clear DQ policy. SF players wander like cats to go smoke, get food, or just taking a break from sitting in the thick of the tournament, and running around trying to find people slows the tournament down a lot, and annoys the people who don’t wander and want to play their matches. When I ran tournaments, I made it clear to the participants if their match is up and I can’t find them for more 10 minutes, I DQ them. You can follow the policy as strictly as you want, but just make it clear you won’t tolerate hour long lunch breaks mid tournament. I will say though that no matter how clear the DQ policy is, if you DQ someone they will probably still complain. Its a shitty thing to do but it has to be done sometimes for the sake of everyone at the tournament.

Those are the biggest problems I’ve faced running tournaments and how I dealt with them. Good luck, running tournaments is a thankless job, and (non shady) TO’s are the unsung heroes of the community.

EDIT: Also a speaker or PA can really save your voice.

Would be easier if you were able to find out which console most players play on and/or what kind of stick most people have.


We’re lucky over here that the family one of the TOs from P2D owns a small building with a good sized deck where we can hold most of our tournaments (save for the BB tournaments, since that community prefers holding them during animé cons here).

But the point is, get a venue first. No venue, no tourney.

You’d also be surprised at some of the problems you can run into with certain venues. If you’ve been watching streams, you’ll notice that every so often the people running the stream will be talking about a bad internet connection that makes them unable to give a quality stream. And in some really old buildings (say, older college campus buildings), you may actually have to be careful you don’t overload the circuit breaker when you plug in all those TVs and 360s and PS3s etc.

Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated. I think i have a venue for January 2012 and so just need to ask friends if they are willing to give up their consoles, tv’s and time to come help run/judge etc.

Im thinking of offering £100 to the winner of each game with a £5 entry fee. Hope that doesn’t sound to small of a payout.

Just gotta get some advertising done now!