What is GP Big House?
GP Big House is a series of side events that will run throughout the Saturday (October 5th) of Big House weekend, designed to provide attendees with more guaranteed matches in a competitive setting outside of the main tournament. Its format is inspired by the Grand Prix format at TCG (trading card game) events, most notably the use of swiss rounds to maximize gameplay.
Smash events have constantly evolved these past few years, but the one question that’s always on my mind is: how can we make the value of entering tournaments better? After some brainstorming, I came up with the following goal: improve the number of competitive matches an average attendee has access to.
Yes, it’s currently pretty easy to find friendlies and keep playing after you’re eliminated from the main tournament, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve the accessibility of a competitive match setting. Facing opponents in any structured setting creates more tournament-like pressure and more value for your entry, and that’s what we’re going for here.
There are two main ways Big House could accomplish this goal: increased volume of tournament matches, or structured side events.
The first way, increased volume of tournament matches, would involve a main tournament format that’s more intricate than traditional double-elimination brackets. The issue with this method is the logistics don’t scale well with a large attendee turnout. An intricate tournament format that allows you to play a ton of matches might work great at a 50-player local, but it’s much harder to pull off for a 500-player bracket in the midst of a packed multi-game schedule. I’ve seen major tournaments try these formats over the years to mixed results, and it’s not the right solution for Big House.
What about the second way, structured side events? This involves matches independent of the main tournament, which is good for setup utilization and not interrupting the flow of the overall tournament schedule. And here’s where GP Big House comes in. All day Saturday, we’ll be running a series of side events each comprised of multiple swiss rounds, open to all attendees. So if you’re eliminated from the main tournament and want to play more, now you can hop in and play additional rounds of Smash. And because the side events format is swiss rounds, you’ll be paired against more and more similarly-skilled competition as you progress, creating a better competitive experience for all parties involved.
Now let’s jump into some details about the side events!
- Entry Fee: $5 cash or 1 voucher (every competitor will get 1 free voucher during check-in to use once at any later time)
- Schedule: All day on Saturday October 5th, with specific starting times to be announced later
- Games: Melee, Ultimate, SSB64, and Rivals, with each game’s side events being run-to-demand (more turnout = more side events)
- Prizing: Anyone who achieves a 4-0 record will receive prizing in the form of credit for merch/product from Big House sponsors
- Don’t feel like competing in the main tournament? We have you covered, as our Grand Prix style side events are open to all attendees, spectators and competitors.
- Worried about going 0-2? Don’t be! Our side events feature four swiss rounds of gameplay which means you keep playing for a guaranteed four matches.
- Can’t stay for the whole time? Totally fine, as you’ll still have the option to drop midway through any given side event, just make sure to tell the TO before you leave.
- Want to do side events all day? Go for it, you’re allowed to enter as many as you can squeeze in. Just remember it’s $5 cash per side event after you use your 1 free voucher.
- Tired of brackets running at an unpredictable pace? It won’t be a problem — our swiss rounds will start at distinct times so you know exactly how long you have to take a quick food/bathroom break.
As the Smash tournament landscape evolves, I want to keep adapting to meet attendees’ needs, and an improved accessibility to competitive matches is at the very top of the list this year. After 9 years of TOing Big House, it’s refreshing to keep finding ways to improve, and I hope the GP Big House concept announced today excites you as much as it excites me and the rest of our staff. Many more details to come, but if you have any feedback in the meantime, don’t hesitate to tweet #TBH9 or contact us directly here.
Robin Harn / Juggleguy
Join The Big House 9 discussion! This year’s installment is set to take place on October 4-6, 2019 in Detroit, MI.