Simply put, Switcholio is a blind draw round robin in which players get a new partner for every game, and get ranked on an individual basis. The organizer can use that leaderboard to recognize and reward top finishers, or seed them into a single elimination playoff. All done and managed for you through Scoreholio software.

  • Top players love Switcholio first because they aren’t always paired with a newbie for every game every week. Second, because over the course of an evening they should be able to do better than an average player, earning themselves a higher spot on the leaderboard. If the organizer ranks the leaderboard by total points, without factoring for win/loss record, which is recommended, top players always the opportunity to earn valuable points even if their partner can’t hit the board.

  • New players love Switcholio first because it’s less intimidating than a regular blind draw. I used to have potential players say “maybe next time” all the time, usually because they were self-conscious and didn’t want to feel the guilt and shame of holding a good player back all night.

  • Tournament organizers love Switcholio because they never need to worry about making sure they have an even number of players for randomization, or designating a “walker” that plays by themself if they don’t. Organizers also love the fact that they can add players late, or let players take a break for a little while, and either way Scoreholio will automatically “catch them up.” Finally, if people bail early for whatever reason they’re not leaving a partner in the lurch

Setting Up and Running a Switcholio Tournament

Switcholio sounds a little crazy, I get that, and that might make you nervous about running it the first time. But Scoreholio automates the whole thing, so there’s really not much to it. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know. To run Switcholio, create a new tournament with format set to Round Robin and Team Generation set to Switcholio.

  • Download the Scoreholio app or login to scoreholio at https://app.scoreholio.com/

  • Click “Create a new tournament”

  • I suggest setting Scoring Format to Total Points because I’ve found the leaderboard is much easier to understand if you base ranking solely on points scored, instead of by record with points as the first tiebreaker. Doing so also gives your top players the happy feeling of knowing they can do well even with partners that will cost them games.

  • # of courts: This depends how many players you expect, and you may end up changing it. Switcholio is all about randomization, and you want enough players in the coming up queue, waiting to play, that the system isn’t limited in who it can pair up. Generally speaking you want to have 8 or more players in the queue. If you don’t, remove a court. (If you want to know more, or learn why, here you go.)

  • # of rounds: I strongly suggest you run 4 rounds, no more no less, because that way no matter how many players you have, everybody will get the same number of games. In fact, if you add somebody late, the system will catch them up and everybody including them will still get those same 4 games. Don’t ask me how it works, but it does. If you’re worried about how long that will take, keep games short by making them 15 point games, or capping time at 10 minutes.

  • For Max Score, I myself like to choose the 25 point option. Many purists cringe at letting points run past 21, but I like it for two reasons: First, it prevents you from having everybody who went undefeated tied at 84 points. Differential is always a tiebreaker behind the scenes, but I like seeing that little bit of differentiation among the top several players. Second, it gives top players the ability to earn some extra points in a winning game to offset a low score they got with an inexperienced partner. Yes, people might sometimes intentionally stall their scoring at 20 hoping for a big final frame, but with just 4 extra points available I haven’t seen that become a problem.

Adding Late Players

Once of the nice things about Switcholio is that you can add players late, and the system will automatically “catch them up.” If you’re playing four games like I suggest they will get their four games in just like everybody else. If they’re too far behind, however, they will tend to hold things up toward the end, and they’ll be queued up back to back to back with no breaks. I like to let late-comers join the tournament as long as at least ONE player who started on time has only played a single game. As soon as everybody who was in the event from the start is at least playing their second game, I don’t allow new players.

Letting Players Leave

Another advantage of Switcholio is that if somebody has to bail, they’re not leaving a partner (and you) in a lurch. Note that somebody leaving mid-tournament CAN cause an uneven number of games at the end, but there are easy ways to resolve that. More on that in a bit.

Running a Backyard Switcholio

Running a Switcholio League using Scoreholio Seasons

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