Mountain League Rules Documentation

Welcome! This page has been created to provide a complete understanding of all Mountain Rules: general code of conduct, both tourney and non-tourney match play, and specific rules for different tournament types.

To view specific information on any of the topics listed below, please click on the link for the desired topic. We offer many different themes for the different types of basic tournament structure. It is beyond the scope of this document to dedicate space to each individual variation. Please refer to the Glossary if you are looking for a description of a specific theme (i.e. Trivia Tournament, Battle of the Sexes, etc.).

If you are not familiar with the Case's Ladder Ranking System, it is highly recommended that you read that section of this page. Most of what you will read on this page may be confusing without a basic understanding of the ladder system.

All active Mountain Staff Members are listed on the right hand side of the Tournaments Tab of the League Main Homepage. The first person listed is the League Head Administrator, followed by a listing of the remaining league Administrators, then a listing of the Head Tournament Directors (HTD), and last a list of Tournament Directors (TD). Please be aware that all of these staff members serve the League on a volunteer basis. All of the tournaments that the players are given the opportunity to play in are the direct result of the efforts of these individuals.

Formal Challenges
General Rules of Conduct
Case's Ladder Ranking System
Message Forum
NON-Tourney Ladder Matches
General Tournament Match Rules
Single Elimination Tournaments
Double Elimination Tournaments
Regular Swiss System Tournaments
True Swiss System Tournaments
Teams/Partners Tournaments
No-Hit w & w/o Cube Tournaments
Glossary of Terms Used in This Document


Formal Challenges

These are the special rules surrounding formal challenges in our Lobby:


  • All matches played outside of a tournament must be reported to the home page under "Non-Tournament Loss" immediately.

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General Rules of Conduct

These rules of conduct pertain to all league members. They are expected to be followed in all league activities and interactions. Please keep in mind that Mountain was originally established, and still remains, a friendly, fun, and family-oriented backgammon league. We encourage our members to introduce their sons and daughters (age 14 and up) to the joys of online gaming by allowing them to become a part of our league. For this reason, we insist the environment remain "PG" rated. Sexually explicit, foul, or obscene language will not be tolerated.


  • Anyone reported as having cussed at, abused, or name-called another member may be booted from the ladder without a prior warning, or banned permanently from the league.

  • We do not allow any rude talk, arguing, or intentionally trying to upset or antagonize someone via lobby chat. This applies to both league members and non-members.

  • We ask that all conflicts and disagreements between players be taken outside of the public lobby. Please take the issue to a table or instant messenger to discuss with the TD running the tournament in which the issue arises, or with a member of the Head TD or Administration staff if you feel it is necessary, or if the issue is not related to a tournament currently being played.

  • It is VERY important that all members' league IDs match their Safe Harbor Games (SHG) IDs EXACTLY. For example, if there is a number at the end of your SHG ID, it also needs to be at the end of your league ID.

  • Playing with IDs that do not match is not permitted, and players will not be allowed to participate in tournaments or league play with IDs that do not match.

  • Please keep in mind that Cases does not permit the use of the @ symbol in a league ID. If your SHG ID includes an email address, an alias or new ID must be created to participate in league activities.

  • Please refer any questions or problems to an Administrator regarding matching league and SHG IDs.

  • When you register for a tournament, be in the lobby at the start time. Also, please watch the lobby for instructions from the TD regarding tournament rules and pairings. If you are not in the room or not responding to the TD, you will be placed on a 5 minute timer. It is the player's responsibility to be ready to play on time.

  • When you have lost in a tournament, it is VERY important that you report. This includes a lobby report ("lost to player X") AND reporting to the tournament page so that standings may be updated. Repeated non-reporting will result in a warning, and if behavior continues a 7 day suspension to the Penalty Box. Please remember to thank your hosts; all of our TDs volunteer their time to host tournaments.

  • Anyone caught cheating in any way, for example reporting matches that did not happen (i.e. giving "free-ups"), will be penalized 100 rungs and receive 7 days in the Penalty Box the first time it happens, and booted off the ladder the second time.

  • If you have a problem with another player or a TD, email the Head Administrator.

  • Be courteous and respectful to your opponent and your league at all times.

  • Repetitive disregard for, or violation of league rules may result in being booted from the ladder.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY-HAVE FUN!!!

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Case's Ladder Ranking System

The League is a member of the Case's Ladder family of internet tournament leagues. Case's Ladder, founded in February 1996, is the leader in Internet gaming Ladders, Leagues, and Tournaments. They offer a fair and fun environment to socialize while you play your favorite game, while keeping track of the statistics you obtain! Case's Ladder also provides the largest tournament system on the Internet.

Case's Ladder has one of the simplest ranking systems ever used for competitive play. They call it a "Ladder" because each member holds a unique rank or "rung" that represents their standing among other members. The highest-ranked member holds the #1 Ladder position; someone ranked #2 is ranked below the #1 member. The goal is to "climb" the Ladder all the way to the top!

When you first join you are placed in an "unranked" category on the Ladder, and you become "ranked" after winning your first Ladder match. When you defeat a higher-ranked member, you move up in rank half the distance between their rank and your own. For example, if you are ranked #50 and you defeat the #1-ranked member, then your new rank would be #25. Your rank on the Ladder does not go down if you lose a match unless your opponent is ranked DIRECTLY below you. When members ranked below you are victorious against members ranked above you, it's possible the member will jump over you in rank and you will move down one rung.

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Message Forum

Located on the Mountain page, the "Message Forum" provides members an opportunity to express their views or opinions on league issues, make an announcement, or send a positive message to or regarding another member or staff member. Messages should not engage in political or religious controversy, endorse or oppose any causes. Our purpose is to provide a safe, reliable, "G" rated environment for our members to meet and enjoy the game of backgammon while interacting in a friendly atmosphere with other members. The following guidelines will be used to judge if a particular posting to the Message Forum is appropriate:


  • No one should attempt to conceal their identity by using an id other than their normal playing ID to post messages to the forum. Doing so not only reduces the validity of the message, but will result in the message being removed.

  • Attacks on other members or staff members will be treated the same as if the remarks were made in person and subject to the same consequences.

  • Examples of appropriate material for the forum would include:

    • Constructive input regarding rules

    • Positive commentary on the work ethics of a staff member

    • Announcements of awards given to members

    • Announcements dealing with significant health-care events in the lives of members or their families

    • Thank you messages

  • Examples of inappropriate material for the forum would include:

    • Comments about another league

    • Negative or rude remarks about anyone: no personal attacks please

    • Racial or ethnic slurs or comments

    • Complaints: these should be addressed to a member of Administration via email, IM or the Contact Admin link on the Support Tab of the Mountain page.

The above examples are just that, examples. Other items may also be posted as long as they are positive, provide constructive feedback, or any message you would like to be available for all members to read. Any time you are unsure as to the appropriateness of a particular subject, please seek the counsel of an Administrator. Posts that are judged to be inappropriate will be removed. The forum is meant to be a place where members and staff can interact in a positive, supportive, and constructive manner.

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NON-Tournament Match Rules

League members may engage in matches with one another outside the formal setting of tournaments. Before beginning a non-tournament match (Mountain Match), both members should agree in advance if the match is to be played as a ladder (formal) one, and on the number of points. The following rules apply to Mountain Matches.


  • All matches are to be played at Safe Harbor Games, Moutain Backgammon League Lobby. Violation of this rule will result in the deduction of 10 rungs for both players.

  • The pressure on players in the Top 10 can be considerable. If you are in the Top 10 and in the SHG Mountain League Lobby, you are presumed to be available for play. If a TD is hosting a tournament at the time, they are exempt from this rule.

  • The #1 rung holder must defend his/her rung against the #2 rung holder at least once every three days. Penalty for non-compliance will be a drop of 10 rungs.

  • The top 5 players must make themselves available and play the players above them at least once every three days or be dropped in rung to #11. Only the top 5 players will have this responsibility to defend against the players above them.

  • It is the responsibility of all the top ten players to play at least every 3 days or be dropped in rank to #11.

  • If the players are in the room and asked to play, the only reasons that the top 5 players should be allowed to decline are if they are in a tourney or at least 15 minutes from the start of a tourney.

  • Forcing a forfeit on a player during a Mountain Match is NOT acceptable.

  • If you force a forfeit, please do not submit a complaint for a non-reported match. Matches that end as a result of a forced forfeit will not be reported to the Mountain Ladder.

  • Unreported Matches:

    • Losses ARE TO BE REPORTED PROMPTLY to the ladder before starting to play another Mountain Match.

    • If your opponent fails to report a loss promptly, please send them a reminder via email.

    • To obtain an email address, please contact a member of Administration.

    • If the loss is still not reported 24 hours after sending the email, use the 'Unreported Match' link located on the left-hand menu on the support tab of the Mountain homepage.

      • Please include the date and time of the match to assist administration in verifying the information.

      • This link notifies Administration of the problem, and creates another email to your opponent.

    • By the next day, if the match is still not reported and Administration has not been contacted by your opponent, the loss will be reported by a member of the Administrative Team, and the player who failed to report will be penalized.

      • Penalty for first failure is a drop of 30 rungs.

      • Penalty for second failure is a drop of 50 rungs, and 3 days in the penalty box.

      • Penalty for third failure will result in the player being kicked from the ladder.

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General Tournament Match Rules

These rules apply for all tournament matches played. Please refer to the rules outlined in another section on this page for rules that are specific to the different tournament types.


  • All matches are to be played on SHG Mountain Backgammon League Lobby.

  • If you are waiting to play during a tournament, you may play non-tournament games only after asking the TD and getting his/her approval.

  • Tournament matches take precedent over non-tournament matches.

  • 1st named in pairings chooses and sets the table, 2nd named reports to table. If the top seeded player (first named) is not present in room or does not set a table at the scheduled start of a match, the 2nd seeded player (second named) will set table and inform the TD so that the missing player can be placed on the clock at the time the tourney has started - this means any round that must be started when pairings are posted.

  • Any players needing a brb during a tournament will be issued a 2 minute clock warning. If the player is gone longer than 2 minutes then they will be placed on the clock from the time they left.

  • Excessive slow play will result in a warning; if slow play continues after warning, it may result in disqualification.

  • Unsportsmanlike behavior results in disqualification after first warning.

  • A 3 boot per round/5 minute cumulative clock is used for missing, frozen, or booted players. This is 5 minutes and 3 boots cumulative for the entire tournament. Time starts when TD is informed or notices missing player at the scheduled start of ANY MATCH in ANY ROUND except for the start of the tournament. In the event that two players that are scheduled to play a match are BOTH missing and time out, the win goes to the top seeded player of that round, but that player is also timed out for the remainder of the tournament.

  • DO NOT EVER FORCE FORFEIT. Any match that a player accepts SHGs “times out” will results in disqualification. .

  • Call the TD to the table if there is a problem.

  • Please report your losses to BOTH LOBBY AND TOURNAMENT PAGE.

  • ANY CONCERNS DURING A TOURNAMENT, TALK TO YOUR TD IMMEDIATELY.

  • Be respectful of your opponent and your league.

  • Please read the rules for each individual tournament so you are aware of any specific rules not covered here.

  • The Tournament Directors have been trained to handle any problems that may arise in a tournament. It is impossible for us to list all the rules for the variety of circumstances that can happen.

    • This is why we have Tournament Directors.

    • In the event of any problems that are not covered on the tournament rules page, the Tournament Director's decision is FINAL.

    • Failure to abide by the Tournament Director's decision is an automatic disqualification.

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Single Elimination Tournaments

This is the most common type of tournament offered within the league. There are many different "themes" that can be applied to this tournament type. A few of them are "Progressive Tournaments," the "Trivia Tournaments," and the "Battle of the Sexes."


  • Points for the matches are determined by the hosting TD and are listed on the individual tourney pages.

  • Unless otherwise specified on the tournament's rules page, the cube (doubling) is allowed and encouraged. The two common exceptions to this are No Hit No Cube Tournaments and 1 point matches.

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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Double Elimination Tournaments

This tournament is different than the Single Elimination in that you are not finished playing in it until you have lost twice. It consists of an upper and a lower bracket. The points for the tournament are usually listed as 3/2 or 2/1. Using 3/2 points as an example, this means that the upper bracket matches are to be 3 points, and the lower bracket matches are to be 2 points. All players begin in the upper bracket. If you lose in the upper bracket match, you move to the lower bracket and play another member who has also lost in the upper bracket. You are not eliminated from the tournament until you have lost in both the upper AND lower bracket. As the tournament nears its conclusion, there is a winner of the upper bracket and a winner of the lower bracket. These two players then play one another to determine the overall winner of the tournament. Keep in mind that the winner of the upper brackets is not eliminated until they have lost twice; the winner of the lower bracket must win two matches against the winner of the upper bracket in order to win the tournament.


  • Points for the matches are determined by the hosting TD and are listed on the individual tourney pages.

  • Unless otherwise specified on the tournament's rules page, the cube (doubling) is allowed and encouraged. The two common exceptions to this are No Hit No Cube Tournaments and 1 point matches.

  • You must lose twice to be eliminated from this style of tournament. All but one remaining player must be eliminated by losing twice before the tournament is complete.

  • In the final match(es) of the tournament the winner of the upper bracket will play the winner of the lower bracket to determine the overall tournament winner.

    • The winner of the upper bracket has still not lost a match at this point, therefore the first match will be played for the number of points specified for the upper bracket (in a 3/2 tourney this would be played for 3 points).

    • If the winner of the upper bracket wins this first playoff match, the tournament is complete and the winner of the upper bracket is the overall tournament champion.

    • If the winner of the lower bracket wins, another match is played for the number of points played in the lower bracket (2 points in our 3/2 tourney example), with the winner of that match being the overall tournament champion.

  • These take considerably longer than Single Elimination Tournaments. Sometimes there is a longer wait between matches, if you leave the room while you are waiting to play, you will be disqualified. This does not apply to frozen/booted players.

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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Regular Swiss System Tournaments

In Swiss style tournaments, all players compete in every round. Losing a match does not result in elimination. At the conclusion of the tournament, all wins are awarded a certain amount of ladder bux per win. This amount is determined by the number of people in the tournament and the total numbers of wins--please refer to the Prizes link on the individual tournament pages for a more detailed break down of how the ladder bux awarded per win are determined. The total number of rounds played will vary, depending on the number of people entered and how long it takes to declare a clear winner. Wins are awarded 1 point. If you receive a bye in any round, it is counted as a win and you receive 1 point.


  • Points for the matches are determined by the hosting TD and are listed on the individual tourney pages.

  • Unless otherwise specified on the tournament's rules page, the cube (doubling) is allowed and encouraged. The two common exceptions to this are No Hit No Cube Tournaments and 1 point matches.

  • Everyone plays every round. The tournament is finished as soon as there is only one player remaining who is undefeated.

  • The # of rounds is set before the tournament in order to specify a max # of players. If it is set for 6 rounds, this does not guarantee that there will be 6 rounds of play. When a winner can be declared, the tournament is over.

  • You may be removed from the tournament after the completion of any round. It is the PLAYER'S responsibility to notify the TD if you wish to be removed, or you may withdraw yourself, using the withdraw link on the tournament page.

  • These take considerably longer than Single Elimination Tournaments. Sometimes there is a longer wait between matches, if you leave the room while you are waiting to play, you will be disqualified. This does not apply to frozen/booted players.

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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True Swiss System Tournaments

This is almost identical to the Regular Swiss System Tournament. The exception is that there is a set number of rounds at the start of the tournament, and the tournament may end without a "winner." All players compete in every round. Losing a match does not result in elimination. At the conclusion of the tournament, all wins are awarded a certain amount of ladder bux per win. This amount is determined by the number of people in the tournament and the total number of wins. Please refer to the Prizes link on the individual tournament pages for a more detailed break down of how the ladder bux awarded per win are determined. Wins are awarded 1 point. If you receive a bye in any round, it is counted as a win and you receive 1 point.


  • Points for the matches are determined by the hosting TD and are listed on the individual tourney pages.

  • Unless otherwise specified on the tournament's rules page, the cube (doubling) is allowed and encouraged. The two common exceptions to this are No Hit No Cube Tournaments and 1 point matches.

  • The number of rounds are preset by the TD before the tournament starts. Regardless of number of players, the number of rounds does not change once the tournament begins.

  • After all the rounds are complete, the player with the most points wins. If there is no conclusive point leader, there is no winner of the tournament.

  • You may be removed from the tournament after the completion of any round. It is the PLAYER'S responsibility to notify the TD if you wish to be removed, or you may withdraw yourself, using the withdraw link on the tournament page.

  • These take considerably longer than Single Elimination Tournaments. Sometimes there is a longer wait between matches, if you leave the room while you are waiting to play, you will be disqualified. This does not apply to frozen/booted players.

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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Teams / Partners Tournaments

Teams tournaments are ran in the Single Elimination format. Each team consists of two members. You may find a partner early and sign up with the team name of your choice. The password you sign up with is only used for that specific tournament. You may also join using the auto-team locator and you will be randomly paired with another player who has signed up without a predetermined partner and a password will be emailed to you. Once you join Auto teams please do not withdraw. It isn't fair to the other players. Team tournaments generally take a few hours to play, depending on the number of teams entered.


  • Each team will play 2 consecutive 5 point matches. Both players MUST play in the first match. If one team wins both matches, they will advance to the next round. If each team wins 1 match, the winning players of each team will play to determine the winner.

  • There is a 45 minute time limit in the 5 point matches. If the match isn’t complete in 45 minutes. The player that’s ahead would advance, only if the TD sees the player who is ahead and is stalling then the win will go to the other player.This rule will be strictly enforced! The cube (doubling) is allowed and encouraged.

  • In the event of a member being booted, the booted player will be placed on a 5 minute clock. If the booted player times out then THE REMAINING PLAYER CAN PLAY ON UNTIL THEY LOSE ONE MATCH. THEN AND ONLY THEN DO THEY LOOSE.

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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No Hit w & w/o Cube Tournaments

No Hit Tournaments can be played in virtually any of the formats previously described: Single Elimination, Double Elimination, Regular or True Swiss, Teams/Partners. In No Hit Tournaments, the object of the game remains the same (to bear off all your pips before your opponent does). What makes it unique is that you are not allowed to hit any of your opponent's single pips and bump it to the bar! Most of the time, No Hit Tournaments are played without the use of the cube (No Cube). Occasionally, some TDs will call for a No Hit Tournament where the cube (doubling) is in play.


  • Points for the matches are determined by the hosting TD and are listed on the individual tourney pages.

  • The cube (doubling) is not allowed in the most common format but on occasion the hosting TD will include the doubling cube as a part of the game. If you use the cube in a match that does not allow it, you must resign for a single point.

  • Hitting (bumping opponent's pip to bar) is not allowed. If you hit, you must resign for single stakes.

  • All moves are final once the dice are passed. (Hint: Turning auto-pass off helps prevent accidental hits.)

  • Refer to rules on each individual tournament page for entire list of rules specific to the tournament in which you are playing.

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Glossary of Terms Used

Administration/Administrators

Both terms refer to the team of league members that have been selected by the Head Administrator to share in the duties necessary to maintain the day-to-day operation of the league and to keep the league running smoothly. Much of the work performed by these individuals is behind the scenes, and largely administrative in nature. They also help enforce the rules laid out on this page as well as provide guidance and leadership to the entire Mountain Staff. All Administrators work on a volunteer basis.

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Battle of the Sexes Tournament

This is a special themed tournament that actually consists of two single elimination tournaments. There is one tournament for the men, and one for the ladies. Thus, Battle of the Sexes. Once a winner of each sex's tournament has been declared, the winner of the men's and the winner of ladies' tournament play one another in a regular Mountain Match that is equal to the points that were played in the separate tournaments. The loser of this match reports a regular Mountain Match loss on the main Mountain homepage. If the winner is a premium member, they are awarded the Battle of the Sexes Medal by a member of Administration.

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Head Administrator

The Head Administrator (HA) is completely in charge of all aspects of the league. The HA sets the league rules, co-ordinates and manages the Administration team, manages the entire TD staff, has the final say in all league warnings/punishments and ensures the league's healthy existence. The HA also handles most of the communication necessary with the Case's site and oversees the daily operations within the league. Problems that cannot be resolved through the efforts of HTDs and Administrators are also addressed and handled by the HA. Click to Email HA

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Head Tournament Director

Head Tournament Directors (HTDs) are a position that is a step up from the Tournament Directors. HTDs have been well trained to run any type of tournament and have the ability to run another TD's tournament in the event they cannot be present to do so. They assist TDs as they are learning and provide assistance to TDs when necessary. HTDs are responsible for setting and running tournaments according to the rules that are established on this page. All HTDs "work" on a volunteer basis.

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Instant Messenger

A majority of members in the league use SHGs Messenger as a communication tool. This serves several purposes. It allows TDs to send out group messages regarding upcoming tournaments and relevant signing up information. It also provides a way for members to communicate with each other outside of our lobby or at match tables.

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Trivia Tournament

This is simply a themed form of a single elimination tournament. Members are encouraged to answer Trivia questions, prior to, during, and immediately following the tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament, the hosting TD will distribute ladder bux prizes to the first correct responses.

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Ladder

The ranking system used by the League and the Case's system to establish the position of an individual within the leagues standings. For a complete understanding of the ladder ranking system refer to Case's Ladder Ranking System.

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Mixed Swiss Tournament

This is a type of Swiss System Tournament in which alternating rounds are played as no-hit and as regular backgammon. See the rules of the individual tournament page for the rules that are specific to this type of tournament. (AKA Split Swiss Tournament.)

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Multi-Week Tournaments

This can be any type of the tournaments listed throughout this page. They are played over the course of several weeks. Registration is usually open for an extended period of time to allow larger numbers of members to participate. The posted time for the tournament is when the registration will be closed and pairings posted on the standings page. Each player has one week to complete the match with their opponent. The points are usually higher than most of the regular tournaments. Players email one another to set up a time to play in our lobby and the TD does not need to be present while the matches are being played. Reporting is the responsibility of players and should be done immediately following a loss on the report link on the individual tournament page. Most regular tournament rules apply and members who sign up should make sure to read the rules page for that specific tournament.

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Penalty Box

This is a tool used by the Administration team for when a member has repeatedly violated league rules. The punishment is for a set number of days and varies depending on the both the specific rule violated as well as the severity of the violation. Usually, a member is given multiple warnings prior to be placed in the penalty box. However, if the rule violation is severe enough, a member may be placed it the penalty box without having received any prior warnings. While in the penalty box, members are unable to play in tournaments or participate in any other league activities.

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Progressive Tournament

A type of tournament, usually single elimination, where the point values of the matches increases with each round. For example, round 1 matches might be worth 5 points, round 2 worth 7 points, round 3 worth 9 points, etc. These take a considerable amount of time, so please keep that in mind if you choose to join one.

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Rung(s)

This is the smallest unit of measurement on the Case's Ladder Ranking System. Players move up and down rungs on the ladder as their rankings on the ladder change relative to other players in the league. The objective of every player is to achieve the #1 rung position.

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Tournament Directors

This term can encompass all TDs collectively (this includes HTDs), but may also specifically refer to those people who have not yet been promoted to HTDs. TDs are responsible for setting and running tournaments according to the rules that are established on this page. All TDs "work" on a volunteer basis.

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Tournament of Champions Tournament

This is a form of single elimination tournament that is held once a month that recognizes all of the members who have won a tournament in the current month (usually 30 days). This is set up as an invite only tournament. Members receive an invitation via email and are already registered in the tournament at the time they receive the invitation, they only need to go to the tournament page and check-in. The TOC is scheduled at two different times on the same date to ensure that more members have an opportunity to participate. The winners of each tournament play one another in a regular Mountain Match that is equal to the points that were played in the separate tournaments. The loser of this match reports a regular Mountain Match loss on the main Mountain homepage. If the winner is a premium member, they are awarded the Tournament of Champions Medal by a member of Administration. The winner and runner-up of the TOC, have their name highlighted next to TOC trophy on the Tournaments Tab of league page until the next TOC takes place.

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Split Swiss Tournament

This is a type of Swiss System Tournament in which alternating rounds are played as no-hit and as regular backgammon. See the rules of the individual tournament page for the rules that are specific to this type of tournament. (AKA Mixed Swiss Tournament.)

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