Avengers Launch Party, are we ready for this?

Friends, serious question. I’ve been a TD for more than 20 years, this is maybe the most difficult decision to host an event in that time. I consider many of you friends, and feel a kinship/respect with many of the rest of you that I know by name only. So I welcome your feedback.

I’m also a business owner. We opened 2 months ago and are doing ok. Always looking to grow. Tournaments, Leagues, Pinball Programs were always part of the plan. I have a few hundred people come through our location each week. We do our very best to keep those guest, and our staff safe. We’ve had a lot of people ask when we will have a pinball event, so here’s the first.

So with that invitation on the table, feel free to respond here, email BangBackPinballLounge@gmail.com, or text/call me if you want. I know there’s been some events going on, but this feels like uncharted ground, to me anyway. Details below. Thank you, stay safe. FR


We’re excited to announce a Launch Party for Stern Pinball’s newest machine, AVENGERS!

With that being said, let’s address the most important aspect of this event, your safety. As a venue, Bang Back Pinball Lounge goes to great lengths to do everything we can to protect our guests and our staff. Please review the following:

  • Please respect social distancing and keep 6 feet apart from other players and guests
  • Make yourself familiar with the Safety Station at BBPL. You will find peroxides, sanitizers, single use towels, gloves, masks, Lysol spray, and glass cleaner.
  • As much as the staff cleans and disinfects our machines, ultimately it is up to your discretion to clean the machines to your liking.
  • You may remove your mask when seated for eating or drinking.
  • Our format will consist of only SINGLE PLAYER GAMES.
  • Bang Back is a large location with many areas to spread out and find seating. Please see a staff member if you would like help in locating an area for you.

Thank you for reviewing our safety measures and contact us if you have any questions at BangBackPinballLounge@gmail.com

Bang Back Pinball Lounge
741 Saluda Ave
Columbia, SC 29205
(803) 864-4426

Sunday, September 27th
Open 11:00 a.m.
Check in / Register 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Brackets drawn 11:30 a.m.
Announcements 11:45 a.m.
Tournament begins NOON

(pre-registration will open on Saturday, Sept. 12th at noon EST. Details to follow)

All games will be chosen at random throughout the tournament.
Four 4 Player Games will be played in a round. You will be assigned to a 4 game “pinwheel” where 4 players will play a single player game on each machine. Your scores will be matched against the other players for rank. You will be awarded the following points based on your finish on each game:
1st - 4 points
2nd - 2 points
3rd - 1 point
4th - 0 points

2 rounds will be played. 8 Finalists will be chosen from the field based on points earned from those rounds. Playoffs may be needed in the case of ties. Single game tie-breaker.

Final eight players will play 2 games head to head in the SEMI-FINALS. Tie breaker is the largest margin of win %. The four winners of these matches will advance to a single game finals.

Finals will be your finishing score on Avengers. Good luck and have fun! FR



The one likely hang-up is the 6 feet thing when people really want to socialize with long-time-no-see pals. That may prove challenging. Large location helps; I’ve seen photos of other arcades that have installed dividers between games, spaced them out more, etc. I hope you’re able to pull this off. Let us know how it goes; any lessons you learn may help the rest of us down the road. One question: how’s the air flow / ventilation there? (I’ve obviously never been to your place.)



Social distancing: Our location sets up games in a back to back to back to back arrangement. So we have 4 machines 90 degrees apart from each other. So when you’re playing, you’re naturally 6 feet apart from any other players. There’s a couple spots where you’re a bit closer (in between the “pinwheels”), but your back to back with that other player.

People congregating: Our location is 4500 sf. We have VIP booths, 2 lounge areas, high top tables spread throughout, and outdoor seating. Even with 50 people in the place you can avoid folks.

Air flow: The majority of our public space has 14 ft high ceilings. While we have multiple AC units, the air intake is balance from throughout the building, so I hope to decrease the “re-circulated” air.

I will certainly report back after the event. I appreciate your questions Bob. Hope you’re doing well and staying safe! FR

Good luck Fred! I have no doubt you’ll be prepared and keep people safe as best as you can. Definitely want to hear lessons learned or best practices you feel others should adopt going forward. Hope all is well!


Thank you Erik. I hope you and the family are doing well. FR


largest margin of win % ?
That will have to be game by game as scoring can very an lot.

At Kickback we’ve been setting up the table outside (weather permitting). Registration, game assignments, score reports all require people to come outside. It has helped with social distancing.


Any match that goes 1-1 will have to compare who had the largest margin of victory to determine who advances. #nevergiveup :slight_smile:

I would encourage you to make it very clear to players that they should not drain ball 3 if they are ahead because margin of victory is important


Thank you Ethan. We will. Only in the semi-finals will that rule be applied.

  • You may remove your mask when seated for eating or drinking?
    Potential transmission vector. Provide a single outdoor space for this where all food and drink must be consumed. Note what Disney World went through with customers carrying around churros and drinks all day and saying they were EATING and DRINKING.

    What are the repercussions for not correctly wearing a mask? Unless you clearly state you will be ejected for one single violation, you will find many people without masks on their noses ALL DAY LONG.

  • We’ve been open about 2.5 months now and haven’t had a problem with this. Now that could be because the entire state has this rule. If you’re sitting, you can remove your mask. Once you stand up, you have to put your mask back on. Pretty simple. We don’t have anyone walking around while they’re eating and people have been pretty good about the drinking as well. Again, it could be because that’s just how it is here. We were one of the very first states to open back up. Def something the entire staff will continue to keep an eye on.

  • When everyone is wearing a mask properly (as they do here 98% of the time) you really stand out when you don’t. Our team is pretty used to having to be the mask police. It sucks, but it doesn’t happen too often. This will be addressed thoroughly in the Player’s Meeting beforehand and monitored throughout the event. I’m not looking to toss people out, but I do expect 100% compliance. I would say if you need more than 1 warning, the threat of being expelled will get you in line, or removed.

I imagine I will personally know just about every player here. They know I run a tight ship. I want people to have fun, but keep it safe. If there any problems, I don’t mind handling them. I will also make that clear before the event is started.

Thank you for your questions. I really appreciate it! FR


Now if our lame-a** governor would enact that and our lazy populace abide by it, we could reopen sooner. #StillonholdthruNovember

Fred, I think what you’re doing with this is admirable. I think it would be a great service to provide a retrospective thread when the event is over, so that those players attending can provide feedback, and the organizers/employees can share what worked from their perspective, what didn’t, and what can be improved for future events elsewhere.

I’m also happy to see this type of thread now being allowed.



Congrats Fred on Bang Back!! Love the name, btw! Here in AL, we also have a state wide mask ordinance which has also helped with compliance at tournaments I’ve attended in Birmingham and Pelham. Sounds like you’re approaching this very safely and it will be great for your customers. One thing to remember from the cdc guidelines is that to have direct exposure means that you are within 6 ft of someone with covid or suspected covid for longer than 15 minutes without protection (i.e. mask). So you sound like you have definitely addressed this. Good luck to you and with Bang Back!

Scott M.


Thank you Scott. I really appreciate it. It would be great to see you. Hope you can make it. FR

Fred, do you bar people coming from a hotspot? Are you taking temperatures?

Good luck with the event.

Here in the UK masks are legally mandatory but we still have chancers (!) who will try and avoid wearing them. Irrespective of this we were going to have a mandatory mask policy anyway as our administration made a requirement to carry out a covid secure risk assessment and in order to make this work we either had to have every game cleaned after every use or require face masks with cleaning items provided, sanitiser, signage and cleaning of the games before we open. Together with a 20 person limit and online booking in advance so we have track and trace details (we are using signup genius for that). The other thing we have to police is ensuring players don’t play games next to each other.

Without this our third party liability insurance wouldn’t cover us.

This week groups of 6 or more are now not allowed - although that will not really be an issue for us.


The general guideline is. “If you’re not feeling well or have a temperature, DO NOT COME IN”. We have not felt the need to take temps. There was a pretty big backlash a couple of months ago when we put the strongest safety measures in place. People didn’t mind the guidelines, but spoke out against the businesses that tried to take temps of their customers. We were going to, but decided against it at the last minute. The few places that did enforce that policy gave it up rather quickly. No places down here (that I’ve seen or heard from) have that policy.


Thank you Neil. I hope that works for you and we somehow get through this sooner than later. Wishing you all the best mate. FR