The games were limited to Infinite dungeon. The players wee divided into groups (called leagues) and best performers (typically either one or two last standing players) followed into following rounds until the winner emerged.
Basic rules slightly varied in different years, but mostly included
- 2000 turns per player (50-100 turns accidental overplays were tolerated)
- descending at least once per turn set (and never using upstairs, unless rules allowed due to river placement)
- typically 1 or 2 sets of turns per each player, under cooperative play (in order to get deeper, develop character, etc.)
- if character died during player's turnset, he was eliminated (hence the name weakest link) and game was continued by other player from the same position.
- after cooperative phase any tactical approach was allowed
- in case character was left in such situation that all other league participants, player had to survive another 2000 turns from his own save in order to prove situation was solvable. In cases he did, player was nominated as the winner of the league. In case he could not, he was eliminated and the play continued from the earlier save. (Both outcomes happened several times.)
- in case of unsurvivable situations, save was placed publicly and all eliminated players could attempt. If anyone succeeded he would be placed in some league for further play.
- all players were expected to fully report their actions during their turnset, thus not using extra knowledge of situation, which they have created
Famous unsurvivable situations happened in 2008 and 2009 and involved tension/threat rooms of dark orcs and rust monsters. The former is believed to be survivable and the latter probably not (rust monster situation was also complicated by inventory destruction in prior set and presence of huge amount of ghuls).
Some of the games (and in few cases whole leagues) were played on public Adom servers starting from 2009, which soon led to problems due to commentaries on IRC channel. The solution was for active player not to be present on IRC channel during the playing, which let observers to discuss without interfering with games outcome.
TWL 2008 was hosted by Darren Grey and 26 players participated in 4 leagues (Fire, Water, Air and Earth). Two last standing players advanced to finals called league of Mana, with PeanutGod emerging as the winner. All starting league games were played from same initial save (hurthling priest). The length of descent decided placements in final group, the winner of water league reached I90, which is the longest ID dive in TWL history.
TWL 2009 was organzied by Silfir, but regulated by multiple players. 49 player were split into 7 leagues ( Earth, Acid and Ice lagues played on server, while Fire, Water, Mana and Air played conventionally). Each league played from different save with extremely varied races/class combinations (this setting was kept in later years). 14 winners and runner-ups were split into two leagues (Light and Darkness). For other leagues of Zombies and Ghosts potentially allowed to qualify (winner also had to obtain Chaos Sceptre). Final setting (league of ChAoS) took 3 players from each semifinal with meh emerging as ultimate winner..
TWL 2010 was hosted by Darren Grey and attracted 40 players. They were split into leagues - Air, Water, Acid, Ice and Earth . Situation close to trial from previous years happened (tension room of stone giant), but the player who created original situation managed to survive. The finals were called league of Mana and the winner was Soirana.
TWL 2012 was hosted by _Ln_ and sadly attracted just 19 players. Games happened in 1.2.0 pre 3 version (latest public version of ADOM at that moment). Initial leagues were called Spice, Sugar and Everything Nice. The finals were called League of Blood and winner was Soirana.
Despite initially success TWL declined in popularity, most likely due to being set in limited environment of ID, which leads to limited tactical approach. Several other competitive games were run including Duels to Death, Mission Impossible (2009), ADOMpossible (2014).
TWL 2016 was hosted by JellySlayer and followed sad trend with just 11 participants, who formed tow leagues - Fame and Fortune. Loser got additional chance through looser league (Misfortune). To compensate for changes in monster generation each character was granted rather powerful item (random from certain list), despite that non-caster characters had trouble surviving after I10, in several occasions situation was close to nested trials (mostly about what to do, if the only save from position leads to even deadlier situation). Luckily that situation did not happen. The finals (league of Awesomeness) were rather anticlimactic as character (elven assassin) became cursed as early as second turnset and ended being swarmed by blink dogs and spiders in the next one. Winner (Soirana) managed to use level and item knowledge gained by following players (the next surviving turnset ended being trial) to win the competition. To trial like situations have arisen - one based on deep starvation and another caused by Acid Vortex (the latter was theoretically solvable by using dark room).