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Tournaments - How to Play

Tournaments are a fast and furious test of your ability to think quickly, find new strategies, and deal with all manner of variant games. You get real time head to head competition with other players playing exactly the same games. Sound fun? Here's what you do.

To play in a tournament, simply do the following:

Select "Tournament" in the Game option select box in the upper left of the game board. Then click the Play button.

A tournament consists of 8 to 48 randomly chosen NetCELL games of various shapes and sizes. Some will be easy, some very difficult, and some impossible. The winner will be the person who solves the most games in the least time.

Note that you can only get on the tournament scoreboard while the tournament is "open". This will be evident both from the posted time for the tournament and from the Tournament selection box in the game itself. You may still play games from a "closed" tournament but you will not get on the tournament scoreboard. The game will continue to keep track of which tournament games you have won and will gray out those game selection buttons in the Tournament selection box in the game.

Optional Modes of Play

In addition, there are two optional modes of play which affect the dynamic of the tournament competition: deadly mode and blind mode. The former only allows on try per game. If you get into a losing position on a game, that's it, no further attempts on that game are allowed to count in the tournament. In the latter mode the usual game statistics are supressed. This prevents what is known as drafting where the players watch the list of tournament games and only attempt the games that others have already proven are winnable.

You can spot a deadly game because the tournament title will contain the word deadly. A blind game will be evident because the game number will always be reported as xxxxx, win/lose dialogs will supress game statistics, and the tournament current results page will show no results for the list of tournament games. In additional the tournament schedule will reflect the use of these optional modes of play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are tournaments so short?
Tournaments will last from a fraction of an hour to two or three hours tops. We want to encourage people to play these games without the aid of any of those Freecell solver programs (yes, such things do exist).

I can't be ready to play at the tournament start time. That's not fair. Why not just measure elapsed game playing time?
Tournaments are actually "races" in many ways. Being present at the start of the tournament is therefore definitely important. The reason for the "race" format is that we don't want folks practicing games under one name and then logging really fast play times in the tournament with another name. So the Finish Time shown on the tournament scores pages is the total time the player has used as of their last win, measured from the tournament start time.

I've only been playing the tournament for 20 minutes. Why does my time show over an hour?
Your finish time is measured from the start of the tournament, not from when you started playing and not from total game play time. See the question above for why we use this "race" format.

What about my streak(s)?
Tournament games do not affect any of your active streaks.

What happens if you lose a tournament game?
Normally nothing. You can replay a standard tournament game as many times as you need until you win. This definitely can affect your style of play. You may want to dive right in, play quickly, and take risks; something you probably don't usually do when trying to build streaks. In deadly mode however, only one chance is allowed per game so if you lose on your first attempt you will never be able to get credit for that game.

Why is the Masters Tournament going to be on the weekend?
Our server logs show we are over twice as busy on weekdays during core work hours. We can't suck any more productivity out of the workplace, now can we?

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