Casual Pinball Games (like stall-ball)

What are some other casual style games you can play on machines that might be fun for novice players to help in a bit more socializing style events?

I’ve run objective-based pingolf tournaments that have been quite popular. I specifically organized the groups to have some higher skill players mixed in with lower skill players, and encouraged people asking questions about the objectives and strategy. It seemed like it promoted social interaction, getting to know people in your groups a little better than a matchplay tournament where groups are always changing. And it helped newer players learn tables or rules of a game that they may not know, which can help them improve in general. And because the players werenot playing for a high score, it led to a lot less of a competitive atmosphere, and everyone was more encouraging towards each other that usual.

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Try a knockout with random draw teams of 2. Teams play as 1/3 vs 2/4. Any EBs are played split flipper. Add up the scores and losing team gets a strike. In game coaching encouraged.

Great way for newer players to meet new people and learn some game tips.

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When we have non-pinball friends over we play quite a few different methods to try and keep them entertained as well as trying to lure them into the “play one more game” mindset.

  1. Speed runs across 4-5 games in a row. Put easy objectives in place and then time it to see how long it takes to complete all of the objectives. One example we did was this: Game 1 was Space Shuttle, object was to shoot the center ramp, as soon as this happened you moved to the next game. Game 2 was Grand Lizard, lock a ball. Game 3 was No Fear, shoot the left and right ramps ONE time each. Game 4 was Attack from Mars, blow up the ship. Game 5 was Aerosmith, score over 5 million points. You could take as many balls as you needed, you re simply racing against the clock to put up the best time.

  2. Split Flipper - We often pair up one experienced player with one non-experienced player.

  3. The Gauntlet. We have 13 machines lined up. Start a 2 player game on all 13 machines. Player 1 steps up to game 1 and plays ball 1. After the drain they move to game 2. Rinse and repeat. Once the player gets halfway through the games, Player 2 can’t start playing their ball 1’s. This keeps things moving along quickly, and mixes it up as it allows people to bounce from game to game.

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A while back one of the Ohio pinball shows ran a fun team tournament where the teams shuffled every round. Starting with a strength seeding (IFPA or subjective), teams were formed by pairing the strongest player with the weakest, 2nd strongest with second weakest, etc. Teams are assigned to play a random game for best total team score. Each player on a winning team got a “win” and then everyone is re-paired based on most/fewest wins (with initial seed tie breakers). I don’t know how they assigned teams to games, it was probably random given it was all run on paper. I think we plunged extra balls, but I love the idea that teams play EBs split flipper.

It was a fun format where everybody got to meet lots of people, and novices get strategy/coaching from the best players. It’s fun the first time you find your next opponent is someone who you were previously paired.

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A while back one of the Ohio pinball shows ran a fun team tournament where the teams shuffled every round.

I ran a split flipper tournament that was sort of like this, it was random teams every round and losing team got strikes. 3 strikes and you were out of the pool of players. Yes, this meant some rounds a bye was randomly distributed.

I used a deck of cards to assign teams and matchplay had team 1 vs team 5, etc. I’ve since switched everything to a google sheet that auto-updates and tracks things. I have yet to run this event again to test the sheet in the wild but am hoping to do so sometime during the summer.

My event was at a barcade and super casual, people had a lot of fun. I actually learned a lot about how some of the top players in the area approach some games (like Future Spa which seemed “obvious” to me) so I thought there were lots of added benefits beyond socializing.

“SWITCH!”
All players get in a queue in front of the selected machine. Start a 4-play game. First player steps up, plays for a bit. If drain occurs, re-plunge and continue playing until player 2 is ready (bored), player 2 yells “SWITCH” and steps in. Keep rotating through the line until all credits are exhausted. Great way to shoot around and keep everybody involved, and is entirely non-competitive.
Works great for groups of 3-6, expect to play about 8 credits’ worth of games.

“Drillin’ Fools”
Create an objective list for the machine (for example, on AFM it might be 1. Shoot left orbit three times, 2. Shoot left ramp three times, 3. Shoot lock shot three times, etc). All players get in a queue in front of the selected machine. Start a 4-player game. Player 1 steps up, and tries to accomplish objective #1, taking as many tries as necessary. Then player 1 steps away and player 2 steps up and works on objective #1, repeat for player 3 until everyone has completed objective #1. Next, everyone works on objective #2 in rotation, until everyone has completed every objective.
Works great for groups of 2-5, expect to put in about 4 credits per person if you have an exhaustive objective list.

Both work great for groups of mixed skill players, and both do not require you to know the “rules” of the game or keep score. Fun for novices!

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We do a thing in which a feature is removed from play and if you hit it you get DQ’d.
Examples would be no pops on AFM or no left ramp on BSD. Play as a dollar game and after several beers.

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This reminds me of Pinball Olympics. The commissioner Gordon target on Batman Dark Knight tilted the game. Haha

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Thanks for all of the ideas. Keep 'em coming if you got more. Need to try and chat with the locals and see what we can incorporate.

They did this one year on the classics pingolf bank at the Northwest Pinball And Arcade Show. I can’t remember exactly what game, but a hole was wired to the tilt sensor on a tilt ends game machine. It was pretty easy to avoid unless you got exceptionally unlucky.