Hello everyone. Be aware, this is probably going to be a really loooooong post.
I fell in love with pinball about a year and a half ago after running into an Avatar at a bar one night. I had never played before and after about an hour I turned to my wife and said “I’m buying one of these things”. 18 months later, I have 8.
Shortly thereafter, I decided I wanted to start a league. We are getting ready to start our 4th season and have grown to about 16 members. We currently have 4 machines to play and an operator that is very receptive to any issues we might encounter. About 6 months ago, I decided to try my hands at monthly tournaments. We don’t get a big turn out (maybe 6 - 12), but it’s still fun.
So far, I’ve received a ton of help from Joe Schober with PAPA on how to run my league. His help has been invaluable. Josh and Adam with the IFPA have also helped me on occasion with tournament questions and getting scores submitted (I think I screw it up every time ).
Anyway, I have a few questions that will hopefully make things more fun and grow the turnouts.
- What do you do if you make a mistake?
We had a incident one night were a girl played someone else’s ball. I ruled that she was disqualified (thinking tournament rules and not league rules). They finished the game as if she was disqualified. While they were finishing, I took a look at the rules, just to be sure, and realized that I screwed up. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I called over the group and decided to allow them to make a decision. We decided that they were fine with just replaying the entire game.
Other than reading the damn rules before ruling, what should I have done? Do you guys stick to your guns even if you’re wrong or do you over turn yourself if you realize your error?
- Extra balls during tournaments?
Even though the operator has provided me with a key, I only use it to free stuck balls. I have no desire to start messing around with his settings and although he trusts me (obviously), I try and stay away from his DBV.
Do you allow extra balls during a tournament? Is it up to me or is there a rule I’m supposed to follow? We aren’t professionals, so for a lot of people, getting an extra ball is exciting and provides a feeling of accomplishment. I’ve been allowing one in a tournament, but perhaps that’s incorrect. We had one girl that was so excited after getting 3 warp ramps on Star Trek for the first time and then cashing in her extra ball. I would have felt bad if she had to plunge it away. I know this is a competition, but it has to be fun and rewarding at the same time.
I wasn’t sure if since it was an IFPA registered event if I was forbidden from allowing certain things?
- Tournament formats?
We are currently using the matchplay.events software and running Knockout tournaments. We have been varying the number of strikes based on turnout. I chose that format since it seemed like an easy one to use to get my feet wet. Is there something else cool that we could use for 6 - 12 people? I’d just like to shake things up if I could.
- How do you guys grow your league?
We started a website and a FaceBook page. The venue has a digital billboard and has offered us billboard time. We are lucky enough to have a graphic designer in the group so he has agreed to create some artwork for the billboard. Other than what we are doing and word of mouth, does anyone have any other suggestions?
We were thinking of using the money from the kitty to pay for the “promote” functionality of FaceBook. Does anyone have any experience with that function?
- League funds.
Up until now, I have been paying for everything out of my pocket (domain registration, hosting fees, email hosting, paper, pens, etc.). The two guys I have helping me have been harassing me to pay for it with league fees. We are still a small league so I’m not 100% comfortable with taking funds, but on the other hand they are league expenses. Do you guys have bank accounts you keep the funds in, or just have a secondary person check the books? I currently just use a bank bag and have another guy check the bag and spreadsheet each week.
- Game issues.
I use the word issues, as I’m familiar with malfunctions, but what about “weird” stuff. I know the general consensus is “that’s pinball, play on”, but what about a ball being fired without any interaction from another player? We’ve had issues where player 1 steps away and for no reason at all, the game fires player 2’s ball. Is that a malfunction? What’s the ruling?
We also had an issue where Addams would randomly reboot. Sometimes it would happen twice and other times it wouldn’t happen for weeks. The operator was trying various fixes until I ultimately pulled it. At what point do you pull a game? After the first reboot, the second?
Sorry for such a disgustingly long post. I feel like I just finished my dissertation.