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


Well this is how it ended…


What is the overall sentiment of this format from the participants? I have heard mixed results. Is this something that’s a passing trend or will it continue and grow beyond the one event per year that they have?


Doesn’t that foot belong to Bowen?


I wasn’t a participant, but I love the idea. I think it might be hard to grow though, since it requires 2 of every machine and the desire to tweak them to be as identical as possible.


Random thought for @pinwizj:
What about a full on two or three day event with open qualifying that involves seeing how fast you can do a given goal, or how many points in two minutes? Then compare your score / time with others on the same title and challenge to form a qualifying score. Top 16 or 24 qualify, maybe with some byes thrown in. Crazy?


I enjoyed playing in HUC II a lot more than I thought I would. It’s pretty fun to play and to watch others play. I wouldn’t ever want it to replace match play tournaments or limited/unlimited qualifying w/ papa-style finals but it’s a pretty cool format that’s pretty simple to run, assuming you can assemble pairs of titles. Today they ran 52 players through a double elim bracket with 2-out-of-3 on both sides and only 3 pairs of games (Guardians, Aerosmith, and Batman66) in around 8 hours. Josh & Zach ran the spreadsheet and a small group of rotating “player/officials” watched the matches (one per pair of games). So relatively speaking, it’s a pretty low maintenance format to run, even for a pretty big turnout. So while I wouldn’t base an entire weekend tournament around a heads up, I think it would be a fine warm up or warm down format paired together with a “main event”. It seemed just right today after the “intensity” if circuit finals yesterday.



Favorite moments: the narrowest Of margins on Cat-woman capture by Zach over Bowen.
And then Bowen and Zach celebrating the randomness of Lonnie with both being given Toy Box starter shots for Same Old Song on Aerosmith.


So there’s the current “Not possible right now, my wife would kill me if we stretched this out” answer.

There’s pros and cons to stretching it out.


  1. Obviously more “value” for the players competing. For some players it was $75 to go LOSS-LOSS, with both of those matches being sub-5 minutes.

  2. Allows you to be able to seed players better by using ‘in tournament’ qualifying versus being based on WPPR’s. Whether it’s better to switch to a random seeding 2-strike format, or do what I did in the old PinBrawl days for qualifying - everyone gets one 2 Minute Drill on one of the titles, and THAT becomes the processed that’s used to initially seed the players into the bracket.


  1. I do think when it comes to timing, when to start a stopwatch, when to stop a stopwatch with respect to qualifying puts a ton of pressure on the official . . . and opens up things to far more shenanigans with respect to the timing of things being recorded. As you saw in the Zach/Bowen Catwoman race, they were literally FRAMES a part from determining who won that challenge. If I ran a stopwatch on both of them from “Start to Finish” there’s no telling who would have been faster, and whether that would have been my fault.

  2. I think the tournament benefits from being able to gain access to NIB games specifically for the weekend. I saw plenty of matches won on each version of every title. We never had to adjust any of the 6 machines for ‘imbalance’ issues with respect to the other copy of the game. Heads Up was possible because of the commitment Stern had to bringing games for the party/Circuit Final. Whether they (or any other manufacturer) would commit to a full weekend with their equipment isn’t a question I could answer.

I will say as a player I found it to be a blast. It’s very rare having been playing competitively this long that you can create a ‘new and unique competitive experience’, but this certainly checks that box. Anyone that knows how I play, I’ll typically miss shots A LOT, I’m pretty good at recovery, and then I will typically settle myself for a while before regrouping/reattacking the next shot. This format makes that kind of strategy non-optimal, so I found myself battling the ‘hurry up’ aspect with the ‘take as much time as you need if you know you’ll make the next shot you’re aiming for’ . . MISS . . FUCK . . . I’m so fucked. I lost :slight_smile:

We obviously didn’t stream it, but as an official who’s face was in the action on most of the day (on Batman - which was ‘my game’ for the day) . . . it was AWESOME to see how close these challenges came down to. Often times you would see a player pull ahead and fail to make that one final shot, while the other player would start their comeback closing in on the goal faster and faster. I couldn’t count the number of times I wanted to yell OH MY GOD THIS IS SO CLOSE while the players were right there next to me trying to finish. Super entertaining as an official.


I enjoyed the format more than I thought I would. Overall I had a few pros and cons.


  • Things get really slow for the first few rounds. Between my 2nd game and 3rd game I waited about 2.5 hours to play. After that, things sped up significantly. Since things were running slowly, it took hunting people down to get some rounds to be played.
  • Unfortunately no stream. :frowning_face:


  • I really enjoyed when Zach was officiating the games. I felt more comfortable as he was calling out updates of what was going on. That gave me an idea on if I needed to speed up or slow down. I actually never lost a round when he officiated. Can I hire him as my coach for all events? I think all officials should be calling out updates in future events.
  • I liked the new rule of stopping after 5 minutes if the goal wasn’t hit. Do we have an idea of how many times this happened? Maybe even reduce it to 4 minutes to speed up play even more.


You hear/read that @pinwizj??


At some point ‘too late’ into things I started an online queue for upcoming matches. That seemed to be positive as even at ~8 minutes per match, if a group was 4 deep on Aerosmith they knew they had 15 minutes to run across the street for food. We’ll continue to do this, but from the start next time.

LOL I’m so torn on this (but it seemed like only myself and Lefkoff were the only people that didn’t like it). I didn’t like the potential for my talking to potentially disrupt/distract a player, and now I’m the cause (negatively) of them being forced to speed up faster when they are trying to calm themselves down. There is no doubt my opinion was in the minority from what it seemed.

For me on Batman I had two challenges hit the 5 minute mark. I think Lefkoff ran into more of that on Aerosmith where the 6-ball Toy Box or Love in the Elevator multiball were clearly the most “challenging” challenges out of everything.


Whatever . . . don’t make me slap you around with your/my belt.




I’ll also add that despite @timballs being disappointed in the removal of the “rules minutia exploit” challenges, and I do agree they had a certain amount of charm to that kind of strategy development, it was an overwhelming positive reaction that I got to the challenges being very easy to understand and basically up to a player executing more quickly than the other player.

I do think the 2 minute drill leaves itself some of that open ended strategic opportunity. I know watching Batman all day, I was waiting for someone to try and go the Batphone hurry-up route towards establishing a nice foundation for a 2 minute score. Saw some players going TV-mode, Egghead, Spinner all day. Saw some players going Catwoman ramp combo all day . . . it was cool.


@Smack847… What is the bug associated with telling players not to choose Antiquities for challenges on GOTG?


The bug prevents you from getting all 5 lanes for shot Multipliers. Main one is the left inlane I believe.


Something like that. Not sure if it’s a bug or not, but @PinballProfile was in it, saw him hit two consecutive left ramps and the inlane lights weren’t going on. Opened up the game, went into switch test mode and they were working properly. It might be the “upgrade” mode causes you to be blocked from getting that/those lanes? Would have to test more with glass off, but in the interest of fairness to EVERYONE (since I was reffing that machine mostly), I was encouraging everyone and their mother not to pick that mode if you were doing the 2X shot challenge.


Yeah, Love in an Elevator MB hit the 5 minute max a lot, especially in the early rounds. Later on, not so much. Interestingly, the next “hardest” challenge to time out wasn’t 6-ball toybox but lighting a 2x shot. Plenty of people lit the 2x multiplier but just as many missed or rebounded into the wrong shot to collect and had to start over. I had one game go 5 minutes where both players lit the multipliers 3 times reach, but all failed to collect it… On the center ramp! Lol.

In general though, if a group didn’t achieve the objective in about 2 to 3 minutes, no one ever got it after 4 minutes, lol. So I would absolutely lower the max time to 4 minutes for the challenges. There, I’ve increased you efficiency 15 - 20%!


I learned the best way to hit the lock shot is to miss late on the center ramp from the right flipper. it seemed to always land in there


There was the perfect example of this when I was playing against Fred and I drained with 30 seconds left, down by 30 mil or so. I somehow managed to bat phone hurry up for the win fast enough, it was pretty intense. Really made you appreciate the “points per flip” statistic… You’d probably never see that sort of drama in a regular match!