Finals formats and "driving the bus"


It happens from time to time, but most of the time it doesn’t. When it does happen, the second group just waits for the first group to finish.

I’ll add this to before people question a tournament dragging on too long. All my tournaments start sharply at 1pm, all the time, every time. Qualifying goes for a guaranteed minimum of 7 rounds. We usually finish qualifying around 4:15-4:30 at the latest. I give everyone 25-30 minutes to regroup, eat, whatever and I start finals at 5pm. All matches are done and all awards handed out before 8pm. This past Saturday with 48 people, our final game in “A” ended at 7:39pm. Awards ceremony was done by 7:55pm.


Is there a time limit on picking a bank? :astonished:


Glad to see the tournament runs timely. That’s not easy.

Why not have 5-6 banks of three with no overlap?

Or 4 banks of 4?


As soon as qualifying ends, I gather the top 16 for a quick huddle and pass out the banks for them to review. I tell them to be ready to pick at 5pm. MOST of the time the top seed does in fact pick their bank, however that isn’t always the case. In fact at the tournament on Saturday the #1 seed deferred both rounds and instead took position 4.


As mentioned before, I like the 4th game to spice things up a bit. I like to be different. This puts a different thought process behind picking a bank when it has 4 games, one of which you will not play, unless of course its a tiebreaker.

As for 4 banks of 4, I guess I want more variety for the players thus the 10 different banks.


You have 16 games but you’re limiting the players choices to a subset of those games, and a subset that you’ve picked out for them.

I wouldn’t be complaining if I were playing in a finals format like this at all, but I’d much prefer as a player, to simply just choose the games I want to play if I earned the right, or if I didn’t, choose whatever my position is going to be on whatever game was chosen, and go play. As a TD, I also prefer to make things as simple as possible so I’m not explaining too much to players. But that’s just my preference. I’m still finding this discussion pretty interesting as a lot of stuff I’ve never considered, a lot of stuff I wouldn’t consider and some things I may actually implement have come up. Going to start talking to my league folks and see what the general consensus is.


Understood. So from my perspective, I just jumped into competitive pinball basically 2 years ago. The first couple of events were at shows and then i went to a couple of events that were strike format. I walked away from that format disgusted. It was not friendly to newer players. I played 4 games, lost 3 of 4 and went home.

I then set out to run tournaments in DE since they were non-existent. From there I wanted to find a format that was player friendly, which my format allows players to play a minimum of 9 games and everyone still has a chance to win money and trophies even after qualifying is over.

Finally I wanted to be different and unique, thus my modified version of PAPA Finals. No one has complained and the players have included numerous people inside the top 100. I’m always looking for feedback to make the experience better for the players.


Well, the guy that brought this whole thing up raged out over the bus driver format during league finals last night and bailed without even finishing his second game in the first round. Now what? LOL


Yellow card?


Try switching to my format. It’s good stuff.


Rage quitting is the least likely way to get me to consider making changes.




If nobody else is complaining, I don’t see why you’d need to change everything.


Yep… I’m not about to be bullied by one player, playing his first league, who decides they don’t like the way I do things AND shows his ass in some kind of misguided protest. I was willing to listen (because I try and be a good TD and let my players guide how the league runs to a large degree) and explore the possibility (hence this topic) that there might be good alternatives to address some of the perception of “fairness” but now I’m practically obligated to stick with what I have. That it seems to have worked for 7 previous seasons without question or complaint is an obvious benefit.


I totally get this. I have had to deal with the occasional difficult league player. One guy quit because there was a slight chance of icy roads(we live in the south) and he chose not to come. He took a forfeit on all his matches that night. So he got bent out of shape and quit. Several years later he came back, but he quit again because “we take this stuff too seriously”. Some people are just difficult to please.

I also have tweaked our rules and format based on player feedback. Some changes have stuck. Some we tried and then went back to how it was originally. It’s good to listen to player feedback, but when it’s just one complainer who just doesn’t like it because, quite frankly, it’s not benefiting that player then it’s just time to ignore and continue with what is working for the league as a whole.


We had one guy this season ragequit the league during week 2 because it was taking too long for his group’s next machine to become available. You truly can’t please everyone.


From my experience helping zillions of leagues, pretty much every league that’s been around for awhile hears some version of this complaint on occasion. My general response is: we do take our mission of running a good competition seriously. (Hopefully not too seriously, but of course that’s subjective.) If someone just wants to play pinball and drink beers with their buddies, they should do exactly that, and perhaps league just isn’t for them. Nothing wrong with that for either the league or the complainant. Running a good competitive league isn’t easy to do, which makes it a great service for those who are looking for that.