Intergalactic Pinball Championship '17 Feedback

Hello Folks,

This was the first year I competed in the Intergalactic Championship and I wanted to provide some feedback and welcome a healthy positive discussion.

This tournament is a big improvement over the 2 strike tournament a couple of years ago but obviously that was significantly easier to manage since it wasn’t dependent upon scorekeepers like any type of HERB is. I personally think limited herb and the money going to charity is a good format and nice change of pace vs match-play.

Here are some recommendations/feedback:

-More Signage - When I walked into the event floor on Saturday there was no signs I could see telling me what the line was for. I just asked the folks at the end of the line if this was for the tournament.

-Business Cards - I would recommend having a box of 500 business cards purchased where the registration staff can write the participants id and pin on one side and information about the app/self queuing is preprinted on the other side.

-Charity - To make it easy, I would just split the funds coming in 20% each. There was a delay in people thinking which charity they wanted the money to go to and folks might feel pressure to pick a specific one.

-Finals - There was a ~90 minute intermission for Bowens/Andrei’s tutorial in the middle of finals which tossed a monkey wrench into my departure schedule.

I welcome additional thoughts/feedback!

More scorekeepers would have kept the lines moving. I know it’s hard to get volunteers, so maybe make a time where only volunteers are allowed to play the games for an hour or so? Might incentivize more people to volunteer.

Other than that I agree with the above. Also big thanks to the staff who ran the tournament as they all did an excellent job in any problems the players had!


Pretty awesome, I found it easier to participate fully this year.
When I first showed up, everybody was grousing about how they had to speak to a TD to get in a queue, and then when it turned out there was an app for that, it was like a major revelation!!
Thanks to the volunteers, I think it’s an amazing thing to do. Not my bag, so I appreciate it all the more.

If you could figure out how to do a bidding game within the app to skip people in line, I think you could raise a lot of money that way! Eh, maybe that would be insane, but think of the children!!


I realize I’m an outlier here, but I don’t have a mobile device that can run the app. I don’t mind having to ask a scorekeeper to queue me (that’s the price I pay for not being very interested in connectivity), but with queues that long it’s not practical to wait around until someone calls your name to step up. It would be nice to have a monitor showing the current queues so that I could easily stop by and check whether I would be up soon without having to bug someone to look up my queue position.


I think the cost to enter should be raised to $25.


This was caused by a double booking of the stage by accident. It won’t happen again.


I’m not sure that is even the case. For the vast majority of the time the event was ongoing there was one scorekeeper for every 4 games. The WI-Fi connectivity issues caused a lot of the delays.

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Wi-Fi connectivity ruined this too :frowning:

There was a monitor at the front of the bank that never ended up being used.

Better than last year, which I skipped due to the zoo it appeared to be. Suggestions:

  1. Get the center to use better wifi or find a way to go around their system. Piece of cr*p, the place is big enough and has the money to do better and should. If they won’t, we need something that works fast and reliably in its place.

  2. The separate hour of qualifying for volunteers was mentioned in another thread, and is an excellent idea; we do it at INDISC and have more volunteers now.

  3. Yes, wifi was an issue, but more scorekeepers were still needed because people couldn’t self-queue, so the scorekeepers had to queue us in addition to log scores. Even if self-queueing was added, I’d still add one more and make it a scorekeeper for every 3 games.

  4. Some of the games had that long cycle time before the score reappears. Might be worth not using them, since the scorekeeper can’t always make it over to the machine on the first pass, and the player can’t always photo it in time.

  5. Dealing with queues after the Finals break was messy, since they’d been preserved from before the break but not everyone came back right away. Need some way to let people verify that they want to keep their spot in the queue that’s asked after the break ends but before play resumes.

  6. Queue screen monitor suggestion is seconded, again going around their system if necessary.

  7. Put a bright line of tape or whatever in front of the games and keep people behind it. Players were getting bumped during play; not right. And scorekeepers should keep back when not actually recording scores.

  8. Tell scorekeepers to stay back while recording scores rather than stepping up close to the machines, often getting too close to the players at the adjacent machines.


The Convention Center charges $50k to use their wireless for the weekend. No, I’m not kidding. We had our own solution, which did not work the way it was intended.

I like it.

If we have adequate staffing this is doable.

Wi-Fi wrecked us on this. Was already planned.

Some scorekeepers may need to get closer to see the scores. I believe there was adequate space between the machines. If you feel a scorekeeper is infringing on your space, please let them know (kindly).


Couple other ideas:

  1. I had assumed that the same machines would be used in the finals as in qualifying. As a result, I played a game or two after I’d already locked up a qualifying spot just to get familiar with how some of the other machines in the bank played in preparation for the finals. I know some other people who did the same thing on the same assumption. People would have more opportunity to qualify if those already feeling “safe” didn’t have the need to do this to improve their finals chances. I would therefore suggest both not using any of the qualifying games for finals and announcing that fact in advance. This would let other players have a better chance of getting all of their attempts in.

  2. On the hour of qualifying for volunteers, don’t make it the “after hour” at 1 a.m. Too late for some people. Make it somewhere in the middle, maybe right after the A finals break. To make certain that people who volunteered for time slots after the volunteer’s hour still show up to scorekeep, make clear that their entries will be voided and they will be barred from playing the following year if they bail without a really good reason.

  3. Set up a way to sign up for IGC when you sign up for Pinburgh to avoid needing to have a long registration line Saturday. Still allow walk-in entries, but take as many in advance as you can.


I would have liked this. When I was scorekeeping, it was actually very challenging to navigate the crowd, and see the other scorekeepers when we needed to help each other out. When I was playing I made one stupid mistake when I was distracted by the people close to me.

I thought the tournament was great. It is such a big undertaking. I was surprised at how long it took to play 10 entries. I got in line at 10am and finished my last ticket at 1:27am. I watched the finals and did a shift of scorekeeping, but still. Last year I thought I was done in the early afternoon. Of course I could go do other things because of queues, but the wall time was longer.

Internet is hard. I think having a bunch of sims and running off independent providers might be good as it means when failure happens it is not an all are down problem.

Playing the finals on the A finals bank was really fun. I enjoyed getting to test myself against those machines. I hope you can continue this.

Huge thanks to Jim, and the volunteers and staff that made this happen.

Jim did a great job imo! I didn’t encounter him till almost 10pm and he was still calm and friendly and not completely shot! :smile:

As a scorekeeper at that point I could not do queue management which might have helped… certainly people asked. I would have also liked an opportunity to try more advanced steps in the app like fixing my mistake (like skipping a player) before jumping into the fire.

I thought the shift duration was just abut right. I think replay was very generous with their volunteer compensation. Thank you!! I would have liked to help even more but the schedule just didn’t allow it. With my back, 4hrs straight isn’t an option and the only other shift that could have worked was the next shift.


I “heard” if this was your first time ever scorekeeping an event you were not able to volunteer. From my perspective as a participant I could believe this as I felt all the scorekeepers I encountered kept their cool and did a great job.

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We did this two years ago at Pinvasion, and we got trashed in the feedback for it. So we removed it for this year. Obviously, there is the different dimension between limited and unlimited herb. But the idea does make sense.

Also, if the player is a veteran scorekeeper, and the equipment is around, don’t be afraid to ask if you scorekeep while waiting in the queue. Ian Harrower and Phil Birnbaum both did this in the last shift when two volunteers failed to show, and it helped immensely. Grab some scores, pass the tablet to the TD when you are on deck, requeue yourself, and then hop back on.


There were some non Wi-Fi issues. I tried jumping in with my cell phone with strong 3G when there were issues with the tablets and still couldn’t log scores for a period of time.

Ultimately, there were too many people for that timeframe, even with 16 games/10 entries. I think this tournament needs more qualifying hours somehow. Open it Friday during round 10 until venue close? Earlier on Friday for non Pinburgh people to play? Otherwise you have to reduce entries, which is rough since 10 choose 4 is already pretty restrictive.

Number of scorekeepers wasn’t the limiting factor.

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We did the volunteer hour at OBX circuit event before the start of Saturday round and everyone liked it.

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agreed. I personally never found myself waiting any significant amount of time for a scorekeeper. I was one of the people that had a ball go under the playfield on Avengers. That was handled promptly. I never realized there was a wi-fi issue until someone told me. During the most significant outage, I just thought Justin Campbell was having the game of his life on Terminator 2 when my position wasn’t moving. :laughing:

Having a smart phone made all the difference here. I was able to manage my time quite well between my turn, checking out the rest of the show, and popping back into my hotel room when the queue warranted it.

I felt this ran pretty smoothly compared to other tournaments I’ve been to, and they only had like 15-25% the amount of participants this one had.

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I didn’t realize you could volunteer to scorekeep otherwise I gladly would have for an hour or two just to help out.

One thing to note is that international travelers usually cannot get cellphone data without paying huge fees so not everyone can use their phones to manage their queuing. But overall I loved the tourney probably because I qualified and came in 9th :sunglasses: