I just read about you planning a cnc95 tournament and I immediately remembered my first time playing multiplayer cnc 1 back in ´96. Pretty good times, and it started my interest for multiplayer rts games
The most notable thing of it was, that it was not quite the common 1v1 tournament with a classic tournament ladder. And in retrospect I think this was a pretty cool way to hold a tournament with few players.
The rules were as follows:
We were 8 players altogether and always played 2 simultaneous games with 4 people each in FFA style.
Every player got points for staying alive longer in the games, I don´t remember the exact values, but you will get the picture, kind of like this:
First eliminated player: 1 point
Second eliminated player: 2 points
Last eliminated player: 3 points
Winner: 5 Points
We played about 8 games I think, and the players are mixed between the 2 4 people teams in every round, so that not everyone is playing against the same players.
Now for the game options: Base building was of course on, we had 1 starting unit and 5000 credits, but most notably we played with the options "crates on" and "capture the flag" mode. Alliances are of course forbidden, otherwise this would not work.
I can tell you these games were great! Because of capture the flag everybody had to be worried about 3 possible attackers at all time, so that straight out tank or engineer rushes never really were a problem. Also, because of the crates, sometimes there were huge upsets which turned an almost lost game around.
I can still remember some games where a harvester flag steal brought the win in the last second. It was an epic snail race to the flag pole where every building was sold and every minigunner was used to get the harvester home to safety. Also there were games with stealth engineers (so sick), surprise nukes, visceroid outbreaks killing players, harvesters as walls to defend flags, sneaky recon bikes stealing flags, and brutal commando actions
Also, since a player is only defeated after every units is killed or his flag is stolen even a player who lost his base can try to defend his flag with his last units to stay in the game a little longer. Sometimes this paid of, since another player got eliminated first, which makes such a last stand even more heroic and rewarding, since you get more points for staying alive longer.
But what makes this gameplay mode the best in my eyes is, that on the contrary to classic 1v1 games every player participates in every game played, even if he doesn´t have enough points to win the tournament. You might be unable to win the tournament after a certain number of matches, but you can still play for fun and even win games.
Of course this kind of FFA playstyle is not strictly competetive and there is some luck involved. Also this only works when there are no people who secretly play together against another player, but I think in such a small community this should be doable.
Well I don´t even exactly know why I wrote this wall of text, but I just felt very nostalgic thinking about the old times, when my love for cnc went to the next level
Perhaps, if a new tournament is ever held, one could think about using a somewhat similar system to run it.