New format idea: bid-a-note inspired

This is at best a half-baked idea right now, but I was wondering what others thought. I wanted to try something pin-golf like in that there is a target score, but that score is set by the players involved. Here is the idea.

Head to head matchplay.
2 points available per match. 1 point for having the higher score, the other is bid based.

At the start of a match, the players bid on score they think they can hit. Going back and forth setting higher goals until one player calls “prove it”. As the one who set the target, if you succeed you earn an extra point. If you fail, your opponent earns an extra point.

It shares dynamics with bidding in trick taking card games, and with bid-a-note from name that tune.

I am not sure if valuing the bidding and winning 1:1 is the best. I also don’t know if this is fun, or just confusing. I also don’t know if the powers that be would approve it. However, I wanted to throw it out there and get feedback.


I like the spirit, but I feel like it’ll only really work well when the opponents are pretty evenly matched and have a reasonable idea of how the table is playing and how their opponents usually do. Brand-new players probably won’t have a great idea of expected outcomes, so it’ll mostly benefit the really experienced players.

Either way, I really like the flavor of it and want to try it out. You could do a trial during a normal head to head tourney with a side trophy or something pretty easily.


Before I crunch some stats on this, here are a few things to consider.

This will vary greatly on the machine used. A game with relatively consistent scoring would be approached much different than one with more all-or-noting scoring. Assume a player whose average scores on TAF, Mustang and Aerosmith are all 50M; which one would they be more willing to stretch their bid on?

This changes game play strategy - - depending on the bid, you might want to play “safe” or be forced to gamble. I like this aspect.

Who goes first and who goes second? It would seem to be more fair if the player making the high bid has choice of position. They have more at stake in the outcome and so more need to know their opponent’s score prior to playing their last ball - - do they play to win or to meet the target when there’s a significant discrepancy between what’s needed for each?


Fun idea! Maybe it’s more straightforward to use the pinbowling Easy / Medium / Hard scores. Winning is simply a bonus point plus 1, 2 or 3 based on your bid. In this aspect, it could would actually allow less experienced players to earn an extra point by gunning for easy, while more experienced players may harm themselves by shooting too high.


If you have one of those setups that counts flips, I’d rather see a specific goal to achieve and bidding on # flips to get there like actual bid-a-note (bid-a-flip). It’s counter to your other goal, though.

But think of the possibilities… Do you dare:

  • Lock a ball in WCS in 5 flips?
  • Start multiball in AFM in 4 flips?
  • Claim you can light MB in TAF in 2 flips?
  • Start a MB in FunHouse in 1 flip?

I’ll bid 0 on Addams :slight_smile:

Can you do it without violating section 1.9?

I already forgot the gag!

You’re willing to be that based on Pure luck for the chair shot off a slingshot to actually start it :slight_smile:

And you can’t violate rule section 1.9 if the TD isn’t using a ruleset that includes 1.9 :wink:

Honestly my 2 flips I was thinking of for mb on taf was plunge, upper flipper to bookcase, drain, plunge, bookcase, drain, plunge. Wasn’t even thinking tilt. So, my 2 works if you follow the stupid tilt advantage rules.

In the past we’ve run a Yankee swap Christmas tournament. Similar idea about players creating goals. At the start of each round every player would be handed a card with a name of one of our 30 games in the tournament. They then chose a golf score par for this machine. Players were welcome to go check replay scores or high score to make a judgement.

After everyone set a score for 1 game they were put out on a table randomly. Top current seed(lowest golf score going into round) picked the first card. They held onto that game/par score card. 2nd highest seed picked a card off the table at random or if they like the first seeds game and or they could take that and hand the first seed a random card off the table. This wend down the standings until the bottom seed had their choice of any par/game already picked or take the final mystery card on the table. Once all games picked everyone went out and tried to hit the par for their card in as few as possible balls for typical 1,2,3,4 golf score. Results recalculated and another round like previous one starts all over.

People had a blast playing it and people were having great laughs during the settting of pars/Yankee swap part. It really brought the hole competitive group together as one entity each round.

There are pros and cons to settting both easy pars and hard pars and a new player who might not know a decent par score on certain/most games is not at a specific disadvantage to them either. It gets very silly but a lot of fun.


I’ve done something similar with a word game, where two people look at a card on a word and bid on how few words they could say, and get their team to say the word on the card. It was a lot of fun and this sounds like a blast! …but only for regulars I would wager. I can see this just becoming a thing I do with friends to spice up dollar games, though!

More good ideas here; I like the idea of awarding a point for completing a specific game objective or two. For example, in MM most people just bash the castle in tournaments. Give an extra point for being Master of Trolls to incentivize an alternate strategy.

Metallica, you could give a point for NOT starting Sparky MB.

This would heavily depend on the game lineup.

Another idea that might give less experienced players an edge is to let players complete their score in one or two balls instead of three.

The word game “25 Words Or Less” was built on that concept, for cards of five words.

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