Handling different den sizes

Debates and discussions on the various race scheduling methods that can be used and their fairness and accuracy in determining the winners.
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dfscott
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Handling different den sizes

Post by dfscott » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:52 pm

So last year was my first year as PWD chair. Thanks in large part to help I got here (thanks, guys!) I convinced the Pack Committee to give me free rein. I used 2-round PPN charts on a 4-lane track, scoring points (our timer records place only, not times). Racing was done by rank, with trophies awarded down to 3rd place. There was then a pack final made of the top 3 of each rank, and we awarded a top 3 there.

Our numbers were:
Tigers - 9
Wolves - 12
Bears - 9
Webelos - 6 (with only one Web 2, we combined all the webelos)

I posted running standings, so people were aware of scoring and I think the transparency helped. They also liked that everyone raced to the end (there was no "trophy round" in any of the divisions). All-in-all, everyone was very happy with the results.

So this year, I'm looking at doing it again, but our pack has grown significantly. Our group numbers are now:

Tigers - 24
Wolves - 14
Bears - 12
Webelos I - 10
Webelos II - 7

I'm a little concerned about the 24 Tigers. I tried using Stan's webpage to generate my brackets, but it wouldn't let me do a 2-round chart for 24. But I don't think a 1-round chart will give me enough competition to accurately determine place. The obvious answer is to take the Tigers down to 7, and then do a trophy round, but I'm worried about having a trophy round for one group, but not for the others.

I was very interested in the Tier Racing System, but I notice that the topic hasn't been touched in a long time and I haven't seen any follow-up discussions. Has it fallen into disfavor for some reason? I like the idea (lots of racing, easy to implement, very transparent, kids race to the end).

Any thoughts?



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gpraceman
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Re: Handling different den sizes

Post by gpraceman » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:57 am

I was able to create a 4 lane, 24 racer schedule with two runs per lane via GrandPrix Race Manager. Not sure why the web version would not be able to.

"Brackets" is a bit of a dirty word when referring to non-elimination methods. ;)


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

dfscott
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Re: Handling different den sizes

Post by dfscott » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:01 am

gpraceman wrote:I was able to create a 4 lane, 24 racer schedule with two runs per lane via GrandPrix Race Manager. Not sure why the web version would not be able to.

"Brackets" is a bit of a dirty word when referring to non-elimination methods. ;)
Sorry, bad habits die hard. :paperbag: Yes, I meant "schedule"... :angel:

Joking aside: thanks for the info - not sure why the javascript wouldn't generate it. It happily let me generate 2-round schedules up to 23 racers, but balked at 24 (maybe it just thinks that's not workable)? Maybe Stan or Cory will chime in and shed some light on that.

In retrospect, I guess what I was really asking is for where the cutoff is where it becomes worth it to have a separate qualifying round prior to the trophy round. It seems like it's a 2-prong balancing act between fun (all boys race to the end), trophy accuracy, and time to run the races. After stating it that way, I realize there's probably no easy answer - I'll probably just have to make my best guess and see how it goes.



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Stan Pope
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Re: Handling different den sizes

Post by Stan Pope » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:17 am

The web version of PPN has some bands where the combinations of racers won't produce even reasonablly balanced charts. For 4 lanes the bands are 24 to 26 and 39 to 41 cars. It has been a bunch of years ago, but I suspect the thinking when we cut in the DLL version that a poorly balanced chart was better than no chart. I also recall thinking of the mitigating effects re the feedback on chart quality to race management software (like GPRM) allowed that software to guide and/or suggest alternative charts, e.g. 13 car including a bye instead of 12 car chart.

My copy of GPRM is not now installed on any PC's ... the laptop that I had it on went to PC Heaven last year ... but if Randy will send me prints for those 6 PPN charts from GPRM, I can back-engineer them into the web version.


Stan
"If it's not for the boys, it's for the birds!"

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gpraceman
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Re: Handling different den sizes

Post by gpraceman » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:33 am

I had forgotten that if the PPN DLL does not yield a chart with multiple runs per lane, GPRM will try to weld two charts together, with the 2nd having a bit of a shift in it. It will warn the user to check the opponent equity to make sure it is not too out of balance. That looks to be what occurs with the 4 lane, 24 racer, 2 runs per lane scenario.


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Stan Pope
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Re: Handling different den sizes

Post by Stan Pope » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:21 pm

I'm relieved that the equivalence between the web version and the DLL version of PPN was preserved.

I was disappointed that the 4 lane, 25 car combination did not yield a PN chart when the cars ran twice per lane. The numbers suggested that such a chart might be possible, but no chart could be found. I'm sure that if I knew enough about this aspect of number theory, there would be an explanation, but so far I'm in the dark.

The cases adjacent (24 and 26 cars) showed the same characteristics as the 12 and 14 car one run per lane cases: "In the immediate neighborhood of a PN Chart, there is chaos."

Curiously, the math course from college that I detested most ... and have used most since ... was number theory! If I were an engineer, all those courses in analysis (differential equations, calculus, complex analysis, calculus of variations, measure theory, ...) would have been more useful to me in real life.


Stan
"If it's not for the boys, it's for the birds!"

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