MAGfest 2017 PAPA Circuit event info

The MAGfest PAPA circuit event is coming soon to the Gaylord National Harbor in Washington, DC (technically Maryland) on January 5th through 8th. The tournament will be held the 5th through 7th with finals the evening of the 7th. MAGfest is a huge music and gaming festival that expects to have 25,000 attendees this year. It is also a 24x7 show for 4 days. It doesn’t stop!!!

NOTE: Buy your MAGfest show pass soon if you plan on attending because they expect to sell out before the show begins.

Full details can be found here on the Pinholics Anonymous web-site.

The tournament is a free, unlimited entry, best game format with a PAPA style finals. Top 24 players qualify and top 8 receive a first round bye. Prizes are MAGfest dollars, which can be used in the marketplace for all sorts of swag. The catch is the show pass to get in, which is currently $75 and will go up to $80 on 12/14.

Qualifying lasts an incredible 34 hours, nearly 24x7 with only a 4 hour break in the early hours on Friday and Saturday morning.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Bring ear protection as the arcade area is very loud due to the dance / music games and pinball machines. There is no DJ stage next to the pinball area this time so that will help. We should also be selling ear plugs at cost as well at the tournament director table.

  • Pre-Register here as we will not be registering players on-site past midnight on Thursday and 10pm on Friday. We will have registration open all day before those cut-offs.

  • Queuing system might not be used since this is an unlimited FREE tournament to keep things moving quicker. We noticed delays in finding people and voiding scores last year, and the lines weren’t that long. Basically this allows players to walk away from a game and next person to jump in without needing a scorekeeper. Considering this will occur with 90+% of all games played throughout the 37 hours of qualifying, we think this will be an improvement. We intend to add 4-5 machines as well that may help reduce lines. We will consider using the queuing system if lines become long. Final decision hasn’t been made at this time regarding queuing.

  • Volunteering - if you want to help out for a scorekeeping shift or two, just go to the web-site and click on the email link to provide your name and email. You will then receive an email from MAGfest with information on how to select your shift(s).

  • Hotels - many are sold out already, but the Pinholics web-site contains a list of the overflow hotels located across the Potomac in Alexandria, Virginia. All a short drive or cab ride to the show. I recommend not attempting to park at the show on Saturday as parking may also be sold out and unavailable. It would be best to drive or Uber over to the show on Saturday, and possibly later in the day on Friday.

As more information or changes occur, I will post additional information to this thread. Please post your questions here and I will answer as soon as possible.

Oh my god PLEASE use the queueing system. MAGFest is way too fun with way too much stuff to do for you to not use it. Other than that, looks great, I’m really excited, my flights are booked, see you there!! :smiley:

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Just curious but were you there last year and played in the tournament? I do want feedback from players, and have not made a final decision. However, at the OBX Flipper’s tournament this past weekend, the queuing wasn’t missed and it seemed to speed things up significantly without having to have a scorekeeper come over just to void games. I would appreciate the feedback, especially if you felt the lines at MAGfest last year really did need the queuing system.

Oh duh! I just noticed who KCB was, so yes you were there. Any other feedback or details will help. Thanks!

DTM queuing is must IMHO. If its HERB it needs DTM queuing but of course you can do as you like. I see exactly what Kevin is say though… here is where Flippers lost money. If they had queuing I would put myself on a game and go drop coins until it gets closer to my turn. No waiting in lines 6 deep and the venue makes more revenue.

Also at FPF players could queue themselves up and go sit in the 2 lounge areas we had and enjoy some snacks and rest and wait their turn. Once it got close to their time they would sit in the chair behind the game. It really just makes tournament fun for me when I’m not standing in a line like cattle… but maybe that’s me.


Yeah Flipper’s lines never hit 4 until last few hours, things moved quickly without waiting for a scorekeeper to void and re-queue. But the lounge idea sounds good too. Rather than standard back-to-back chairs as lines even using queues, maybe a barrier between games and the ‘lounge’ area with chairs and queue monitor, similar to TPF. That might work well, except TPF it was essential because only 20 entries for the entire tourney.

Keep feedback coming, but I’m leaning towards queues with a different ‘seating’ configuration this time. I may get a hot spot this time to help with monitors and standings as well. We’ll see…

Anyone have a standings link?

guess it wasn’t that hard to find

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Anyone know if there is any streaming of the finals?

Only thing streaming are the lasers above the pinball tourney area. But we do have some games with video cameras and monitors. The overall problem is 25,000 people using their phones and Wi-Fi flat out jammed. Very little bandwidth and even hot spots are doomed to lagging.


I wonder how many players out of the 130 played less than 4 qualifying games :slight_smile:



i’d say 100+

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It appears the first person without 4 games is in spot 93. Just eyeballing it I’d say that at least a 100 people out of 124 will be at 4+ games.

Overall, around 130 players, about half new players to pinball, first timers or played once or twice before. Exactly what we wanted. Introduce large pinball tourney format to new people.


Andrew Pancoast of Virginia Beach defeated Levi Nayman in a tie-breaker. New circuit event attendee!

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Unofficial Circuit standings have been updated; see previous thread “circuit finals tentative first round matchups.”


No complaints from the PAPA Circuit regulars I know, but consider recording and uploading even if the in house internet is at capacity. Renting wifi hotspots works too. All told good work. Thanks for running it!

Congrats to Andrew! This was definitely not his first circuit event. He was at Pinvasion II in 2015 and more recently at OBX Flippers in NC. I was just surprised that Bowden and KCB got knocked out when they did. Also Timballs went out earlier than I thought. Sunshine kicked some butt, too!

Condolences to my buddy TheChrisCompton. Qualified 26th. Ouch!

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Definately were some heavy hitters there. I couldn’t get enough time in on the bank to put forth any sort of serious effort.

Only 21 games played :disappointed:

Heck, even on the first night I think it was… the games were still jamming till 4:30 am.

I think the first game counter we saw on a tournament bank was like 600 plays? My MET had over 1300 games clicked during the festival. Eventually will set them all up and see the final counts :slight_smile:

Ah yeah, I meant he’s a new circuit championship player, aka the finals. He knocked someone out thanks to winning MAGfest.