Heads-Up Pinball Championship . . . 2018? 2019?


totally agree :slight_smile:


The problem here is having the sponsor (should it be the way it was this year, again in the future) be willing to provide one to have on standby. But you’re totally right; catastrophic malfunctions would a big concern and obstacle for this format.

1000% agree. This was a common point of confusion, even for the broadcast team. Can they do the same challenge twice or not?


Not much has been mentioned about the choice to allow coaching. Allowing coaching even during game play. Even in this very different type of format, I felt like that was not a good choice.


One of the most popular pieces of feedback we’ve gotten is to limit the “cheese” factor of some of the challenges. The challenges that can be exploited through intentional draining and skill shot selection. While I personally found the exploitation of the rules very interesting, it makes things a little odd for those that don’t know “the thing” as a player, and god help the viewers who definitely don’t get it.

We’re likely to switch to tightening up the challenges to be more direct with respect to the thing to do. The Aerosmith X multiplier challenge seemed to be the most positively accepted challenge.

So something like Tie Fighter MB can be a challenge, but we would force players to choose Leia, or some character where the skill shot won’t help them advance the challenge.

For Super Jackpot on GB, the challenge would be to defeat both Scoleri brothers and collect the Super.

I think that will help give players the feeling that at least the know how to get the challenge, rather than feeling like they lost before the match even started because they didn’t know the exploit.


For this one in particular, don’t you end up in jail if you don’t collect the super after you light it? I’m all for objectives with a specific path like this, but not if they end in needing to drain/tilt 4 balls and start again.


It’s weird, but the idea of missing out on something and the penalty being that you have to plunge out the rest of your balls for that game doesn’t sound so insanely awful to me. During that time you can focus on the other players as the viewer knowing that the other player is in the “penalty box” so to speak.

I know in my original Heads-Up concept that I was working on last year, I wasn’t focusing on the challenge based system we ended up implementing. Instead the game was going to be a “5 minute drill”, but if you drained, you got put in the penalty box for 30 seconds before you could plunge your next ball.


How about 30s, or until you opponent reachs the same ball (whichever is shorter). Harder to officiate, but makes players impact each other. You might choose to play safe while you have a 30 second drain advantage. Something to change it from simultaneous solitaire.


I was actually going to design an actual penalty box that would unlock after 30 seconds. Player has to go lock themselves in the box for those 30 seconds, while the fans are free to start pounding the glass around the box and heckling the player at their leisure :slight_smile:


I personally feel that the GB SJP challenge was the most strategically interesting precisely because it had multiple ways to achieve it. With perfect execution/luck, I think defeating the Scoleri Bros. is the fastest path, but ramp skill shot is more consistent. You could even switch to collecting Slimer slime, which I saw at least one player do. It was fun to see players switch their plan on the fly.

I want to see more challenges like this, with different avenues to explore. Sure, there is probably an optimal strategy for everything, but if you can adapt based on how things pan out, that’s interesting.

(I found this format very fun to watch, BTW!)


Welcome to our world :slight_smile:

“I want to see less challenges like this”

“I want to see more challenges like this”



I think one issue with pinball is that rules aren’t ‘out there’ like in most other games. Typically all the rules seem to be stated or known to all competitors in many other games/sports. In pinball you figure it out yourself or have to do a lot of extra work to find out how to play a game. I don’t mind that in casual play and actually prefer to try and figure new games out on my own before watching any tutorial etc.

But if you are in a competition and there’s some secret way to do better that doesn’t seem as fair to people overall and for people watching, very confusing too. Commentary can help that of course.

But I do like pingolf with objectives where there is a path to get something done - but not a secret faster way, but maybe an alternative that is easy to figure out maybe. Like the Aerosmith multipliers thing could also be done by getting MB and then accidentally hitting all those targets during MB vs just hitting them in single ball play…


I bought a plane ticket for exactly this reason, there are little nuances and tricks here and there that would give me a huge advantage if I knew about them and others didn’t. That’s why I asked so many questions in this thread prior to the event. Some weren’t even true (3 balls changing to 5 ball changes a bunch of strategies on games)

Look at game 1 of Ghostbusters in the finals between Karl and Raymond. I had asked Karl if he knew “the tilt thing” on his demo stream. “The tilt thing” is the bug in the game where tilting resets the skill shot tree. You can see him tilt while he’s almost finished mode 2 and then he spends a few more balls trying to start the mode up again. In that time Raymond was able to pass him. I don’t think the commentators knew that. I’m not sure if Karl knew that. I don’t think many people in the audience knew that.

I definitely want to do this again in the future, but I don’t want to tell my opponents how they can beat me if I’m doing my homework and they’re not. So what am I supposed to do?


This is the kind of “cheese” that has led to a ton of feedback to me over email that:

“I want to see less challenges like this”

As a high-level fan of the nuances of rules, I found the ways you guys optimized how to knock these challenges out as efficiently as humanly possible was BRILLIANT.

I’m just not sure it’s ‘for the best’ going forward in the grand scheme of things.


It’s going to be really hard to do a competition like this and not have me or someone else go for the 4-cheese special with cheesy-stuffed crust and extra cheese sauce strategy. But I genuinely don’t understand why there is negative feedback here at all when the goals were stated very early on AND some of the cheesy strategies were explained in Karl’s videos or by @gammagoat here anyhow. If you’re tuned in at home watching and you’re confused I’m sure that’s annoying, but for competitors I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect them to show up to a speed running competition with the preparedness for the challenges which were posted well ahead of time.

Even when you’re going to pick safe, lactose-proof goals for the challenges you’ll have to be prepared for extremely boring play. Shatzing inlanes, draining, tilting, repeating the same shot over and over again even if there are other approaches to the goal, will be very commonplace in any sort of speed-running competition.

Besides that, it was extremely fun to play in this event. Super fun. I’m still working on my email with everything I want to include but it was fun to practice for this and fun to play for this. It’s a mind exercise that you don’t get in a traditional points-based format.


The negative feedback could have easily had a spin of being from a participant that lost because they didn’t know the skill shot rules minutia for Ghostbusters.

Does that render their opinion invalid?

To me it really depends on how popular that opinion is. It’s super easy for me to be like “LEARN RULES BETTER” in response, but if 80% of the people feel like getting cheesed sucks, that’s a decision we have to at least evaluate.

I actually don’t think this is boring at all. The most exciting challenges seemed to be Toy Box multiball and the Shot X multiplier on Aerosmith. Both of those challenges is pretty boring with respect to how to get there. It’s the attempts at executing that provide the entertainment, especially when there’s that “all the stacked cups fall over Survivor moment” that I saw happen a few times.

More news on Heads Up 2: Electric Boogaloo sooner rather than later :wink:


It’s partially valid if you have an excuse. No access to one, operator doesn’t have normal settings or updated code. These may be problems for you. If you own a game or have lots of time on it then there’s no excuse.

I think this was Karl trying to explain this very strategy? If not i’m not sure what this strategy is describing. The rule could have been written as 1) When a scene is running, collecting your skill shot award on the left ramp will award a super jackpot.

It was also listed here. [quote=“gammagoat, post:121, topic:2883”]
3. 19.1s (33.03s without skill draining)

Really I think we have a good answer would be to integrate this with the Stern Pinball Arcade app. Give competitors who pre-pay for the tournament access to the app in glass-off mode.


Or run a virtual Heads-Up Championship with Farsight through the app at the same time that we’re running the actual one? :slight_smile:

I’ll also say having the strategies posted on Tilt Forums doesn’t help a random new player at all. This is a pretty popular site at this point, but hasn’t quite broken through to the masses.

You don’t have to convince me about this. I’m just evaluating feedback that we’re hearing . . .


I’d re-word this now that I truly understand the rule.

I love the feedback so far on the YouTube video of the tournament: I tried to watch, this format would be fun in a party, but not fun for a tournament. :laughing:


Tutorial videos playing in a constant loop on screens at the tournament could help out the random new players, or a basic strategy guide handout upon registration.


Definitely a thumbs up on this