Crown is usually a double-elimination tournament: if you get killed twice, you're out. After your first loss, you get placed in a separate bracket, so that the people with no losses are fighting each other, and those with one loss are fighting each other; a side-effect of this is that those in the "loser's list" wind up having to fight more bouts. This system is traditional, but has some interesting pathologies: in particular, there's a small but real element of luck -- you advance through the tree fast enough that a particularly good or bad draw of an opponent (a newbie fighter or a duke) can significantly affect your odds of advancement. This doesn't often have a huge impact on the end result, but means that the middle rounds are slightly unpredictable. (Also, double-elims really want the number of entrants to be a power of 2; if that's not the case, there will be bye fights, which introduce another element of luck.)
This time, the combatants were initially divided into four pools -- as it happens, of exactly 12 fighters each. The dukes were divided out amongst the pools; other than that, I believe they were assigned randomly. Each group fought a round-robin, with everybody in the pool fighting against everybody else; the top four from each pool then move on to the round of 16, and it's fought as a normal double-elimination from there.
My impression is that this format removes much of the luck-of-the-draw normally present in Crown: indeed, the only thing that was surprising was how completely *un*surprising the round of 16 was, comprised mainly of Chivalry, plus a few particularly prominent up-and-comers. Since everyone was fighting 11 bouts in the first round, a lucky shot didn't matter nearly as much as skill and stamina. (A nice side-benefit that was mentioned to me is that the level of courtesy in the first round seemed particularly high -- presumably, since one bad shot was less likely to end your day, it was easier for everyone to be well-behaved.)
The end result was Lucan defeating Gregor in the finals, which was pretty much what I'd suspected when I saw the lineup in the morning: both are top-flight fighters, and both were reputed to particularly want it this time, but Lucan had by all accounts been practicing exceptionally hard of late. It was a good finals, although only interesting if you like the mental chess match: neither are the sort to hastily overcommit, so there was a lot of samurai-style action, of both of them mostly standing there, making lots of tiny one-inch adjustments before actually moving. None of this was surprising, but I did find myself wishing Sebastian was still active: I'd love to see how his eggbeater style of two-sword would work against the slow-and-thoughtful way they were both doing it.
I was amused at the number of people who clearly think I'm still Vox Regis -- I suspect it'll be a couple of months before folks stop coming up to me with scrolls. (ETA: And it's still going -- I just got an email asking about the Court Report from this weekend.) I did wind up heralding the procession this time: due to timing, the cards had to be hand-written (msmemory spent the morning writing very fast), and everyone deferred to me to deal with that. (It did demonstrate that I still need to learn how to pronounce some of the names, especially the Gaelic ones.)
I managed to avoid the stomach flu that apparently went around the event like wildfire, but seem to instead be coming down with a sinus infection today, judging from the logy headache I'm dealing with. Bleah, but at least it waiting until after we got home...