Alternate formats - Pin Football (not my format)

Here in GA, we’ve had a lot less pinball this year outside of the Pinvasion circuit event held at the Expo. However, we like to experiment with formats. One of our players, Chris Compton recently ran us through pinbowling, where we scored things like in bowling, It was a blast. This last weekend, qualifying for our tournament was based on football and I thought I’d share the rules in case anyone else would like to use or modify them.

To begin with, it took LOTS of games (about 20) to hold this because any game used during qualifying was off-limits during finals.

I want to reiterate, these rules were not devised by me but by Chris Compton.

Everyone gets ten possessions (10 different games from EM to DMD) to score. Set par scores were announced for each game for three levels - touchdown, field goal, and safety.

On ball one you just play. If you got the touchdown score, you got 6 points and a chance for extra points at the end of the round.

BEFORE ball two (or ball 3 on a 5-ball EM), you have to make a strategic decision (this is part of the fun, the strategy of playing was really important). You can either lock-in a touchdown as your goal, or a field goal (lower threshhold score). You play ball two. If you called TD and get the score, 6 points and you’re done with that game / FG works the same for 3 points.

Now, if you haven’t achieved your locked-in goal (TD or FG) you have to make another decision BEFORE playing ball 3.

Before ball 3 (or ball 5 on a 5-ball EM), you can make a few choices. If you don’t think you’ll make your goal (TD or FG, whatever you locked in before ball 2), you can punt, which means you don’t play ball three and take zero (0) points. You can go for your goal. If you achieve your goal, you get your points. If, however, you fail to achieve your goal you either: a) turn the ball over on downs, in which case you lose one point, but only if you are above the Safety score, or b) if you fail to make the safety score, you lose two (2) points and take a safety.

After the ten possessions, you can replay one possession. Following the replay, everyone can go for extra points. If you scored any touchdowns, you go for extra points on that game. Each game had both the par scores and a separate goal for the extra point (example, on GOT the extra point was getting the Extra Ball). As for the extra points, you could go for one or two points. You had to declare which before plunging the first ball. If you wanted to go for two points you would have one ball (or two on a 5-ball EM) but if you wanted to go for one extra point you had two balls (or 4 on an EM).

Lots of fun. This was used just to set the group for finals which was played out as a ladder-style elimination.

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This was a blast to play in. Strategy definitely came into play in the later rounds, as most players were playing conservatively. Safeties are brutal!

If the extra point is objective based, what if you just happened to get the objective en route to a ball 1 “touchdown”?

Using the GoT extra ball as the example, you could deliberately score really low on Stark, Baratheon, and Martell just to get it lit. This assumes “get the extra ball” means getting 3 houses complete, and not just lucking out on the slot machine.

That being said, it’s a cool format, especially because I tend to like formats that have a “meta-game” aspect to them.

The extra points are completely separate from the TD/FG possession. None of the extra points are attempted until after the first ten possession plus the one replay possession have been played so you cannot bring any progress towards them. They are, like an actual extra point(s) play, completely separate plays.

The strategic element involved was really big and played a huge role for some of the participants. I should also note that failure to lock-in your decision before plunging ball 2 meant you were locked into TD. This cost me and many others as a couple times I forgot to declare. I had meant, for example, to declare FG on Demolition Man as I knew after ball 1 and scoring just a few million that 400 million (TD score level) was highly unlikely. I forgot to call FG and was thus locked into TD. FG score was 180 mil. I scored 185 on ball 3 but took -1 since I turned the ball over. Had I remembered to declare FG and still got that score I would have ended with 3 points.

Later on, when I played Joker Poker on my last possession (with my group, all players played with the same group for their possessions) I got alloverconfident and even though my first 2 balls on JP were horrible I figured I could pull out the TD. I didn’t. I did get the FG score but since I hadn’t called that I got -1 instead of 3. This format required strategic decisions at every step past ball 1 of every game.

Also, you had the ability to replay one game. I used this by going big on GOT but missing the TD score and got a safety (-2). This was the game I chose to replay and just by punting I was guaranteed a 2 point swing. My playing partner went from a -1 (missed FG) to 6 (TD). Big swings like that shook up the qualifying standings.

A very creative and highly strategic format. It takes risk/reward to a whole new level! So many times I wanted to go for a touchdown, but chose to play more conservatively. A lot of fun, but nerve-wracking at the same time! Much more interesting than pin-golf, imo. :slight_smile: