Five game "experience" requirement for IFPA rating (split from Fee Effect thread)


Yeah, @GravitaR, I think making vague accusations of shenanigans with no details seems a little strange. Maybe you have raised your concerns offline with the IFPA, which is great. Or are you just expressing some Michigan grudge. Is there something you want to share with the class.


If the concern is WPPR points or chance to win prizes, then you are absolutely correct. A multiple-month league is always going to be poor return for the time with those goals. Leagues are more casual.


Let’s be realistic about this. Since I know you’re referring to FSPA here, that $40 just gets you on the roster. Over the course of the league, you’re paying at least $20 more in coin drop (40 games x 50 cents on average), plus probably more in practice, plus gas x10 weeks to drive to league, and if you’re playing at a bar league, plus however much you spend on food and drink. It’s not unrealistic to think the actual cost of playing in a league like this is $150-$200 over the 10 weeks it takes to play the league.

Contrasting that against local tournaments with usually $20 or less entry fee is now looks a lot better, especially if held at a private location where you don’t have to pay for coin drop.


FSPA always on the mind :wink: but I tried to write my previous note in a generic way. IMHO too many variables to generalize about the topics you mention… but I could easily flip some of them around on ya: league players are probably likely to choose a league location that’s close to their home or work (since they’ll be traveling there frequently) thus minimizing gas, whereas tournaments are often less frequent so people might go farther (burning more fuel and time) because it’s a “once in awhile” thing. And many events at private homes have mandatory food contributions, whether a player wants that food or not… at a public location the player has the option of what to get, or nothing at all. (Though usually the private home food option is a good value.)


Everyone in MI. knows the details along with the IFPA. Hoping some rule changes happen in 2019 to curb more of the exploits in use by some event holders.


What kind of rule changes would you propose Todd? What specific exploit are you looking to fix?

We have nothing planned besides trying to get Fair Strikes and Progressive Strikes added to the TGP Guide at the moment.


The only exploit that I’m aware of being used is the “change format mid-finals” to backload TGP and get around the “use the round with the minimum number of games played to calculate TGP” rule. I have no idea if this is done in Michigan, but it seems popular for big tournaments in Germany. I’m not sure if the IFPA considers this a problem or not.


How does one calculate tgp currently for these formats?


Hooray for more vague, baseless accusations.


Actual rounds played with bonuses applied where appropriate.


If someone is gaming the IFPA system to maximize points I want to know about it. So we can implement it locally. After all, gaming the system to maximize points is basically what pinball is all about.

Basically as long as they aren’t straight up including phantom players or games played, I don’t really care what Michigan does.




Let me fix your quote for you …

“After all, having fun is basically what pinball is all about.” :slight_smile:


Would IFPA even be aware that this is happening? Submitted results are just final standings right, there’s no notion of how rounds are played.

Here’s the thing: The entire competitive pinball ranking enterprise basically operates on the honor system, since there is no notion of (nor practical way to have) referees or vetted officials blessing results outside of major events. Local scenes of small or intermediate size can and will continue to look for ways to game the system. We know that in the past “players” have been completely fabricated, we’ve had Super Leagues bloating their results with creative definitions of what is a participant or not, there’s this nebulous Michigan thing, and probably other things no one knows about.

IFPA can do whatever they want, and people will still be able to get creative or outright cheat results as long as anyone can submit them. We trust that people aren’t doing that, while simultaneously acknowledging that some are.

EDIT: To bring this home to the topic, the same sort of shenanigans can be done with the 5-game experience rule, if anyone’s motivated to do that. I’ve witnessed some of this first-hand.


I meant while actually playing a game in case it wasn’t clear. At this point I’m mostly disinterested in the tournament scene. Pinburgh is a blast and I’ll always try to be there. Weeklies are fun once in a while. But overall most of my play has shifted back to just playing for fun with friends in bars. Which is how I started. I do feel like the IFPA was instrumental in taking me from a guy who just played a game or two when a machine happened to be around, to someone who now almost never visits a bar that doesn’t have pinball. You’ve indirectly made a lot of money for route operators and proprietors of barcades in the greater Seattle area, and I deeply appreciate all you and the rest of the IFPA staff do for the game.


I’d like to think that the fact the points are mostly for bragging rights keeps the system fairly honest. There are a few invitational events for top players, like the state championships, where points get you in the door but there’s probably more money to be made by dropping down to where you qualify for rookie events or aren’t division restrictioned at things like Pinburgh so the player could sandbag to a lower division. But they still have to win in order to actually get paid. As I understand it, anyone could fly a few ranked players to Wyoming or Alaska, hold a single event and claim that state’s championship title. Best of luck beating the actual top players when the National Championship rolls around though.

The points system is always going to inherently benefit larger markets with more events and players as it stands. If you’re in Spokane Washington and you’re as good as Raymond Davidson and never play elsewhere, your not going to crack the top 1000. And I’m not sure if we can really do anything about it. If a smaller market like Spokane wants to run three high score tournaments in a day to get people to the five game minimum, I’m personally fine with that. As long as the results submitted reflect an actual tournament with actual players, have at it.


Sure, but where’s the line on what is an actual tournament? Would a half-hour one-ball tournament on a bingo machine count? I’m not arguing one way or the other on that, just throwing out an idea.

For me, if a location wanted to try to slam together many insignificant events just to get people rated, that says less about the events themselves and more about the 5-event rule being arbitrary. I submit there’s little practical difference between a new player adding event value and one with five creatively engineered “tournaments.” Both say nothing about the player, so it’s just a hoop to jump through if the goal is to get people counting for future events.



Thanks for summing up so succinctly why the rule is in place


Well, it’s not entirely about jumping through hoops. IFPA collects five bucks on that jump :slight_smile:


We had the hoop before the $1 so that is just a happy coincidence now :slight_smile: