PAPA 18 Strategies Wiki

Continuing the discussion from PAPA 18 Game Selection Revealed:

This is a wiki-post. Please feel free to edit your strategy suggestions or corrections into document by clicking the pencil at the bottom of the post.

Read this post for PAPA tournament bank strategies, and add your own if you know some!

A Division

  • Mustang: Use super skill shot to advance gears. Go for Gear 6 MB. Get 2x scoring going. Start Gear 6 MB. Shoot SJP. Profit. Burnout Multiball is also worth a lot (four captive ball shots). Alternately, go for Drift Race: play modes and ignore gears unless one target away, or when targets are necessary for mode progress. Use Mystery Ford (left ramp) to bypass some modes (if award isn’t what you want, shoot ramp again for a new selection).

  • CSI: Bonus multipliers are overpowering. Skull Multiball is pretty safe to achieve; Centrifuge depends on the return of the ball. Don’t bother with Microscope. You can build and start Centrifuge during other multiballs. Bullets -> Skull/Micrscope -> Centrifuge = good times. I believe Add-a-ball is from drops completion, then lower scoop.

  • Monster Bash: If spinner is dialed go for mosh. Try and go for the Big 6 Bonus: Stack all 6 monster modes together to score a 15 million bonus, then complete the modes during Frankenstein Multiball to score 50 million before activating Monsters of Rock. If you need to grind small points, consider shooting Creature repeatedly: it is worth 15 million for every 9 shots, and is relatively safe.

  • The Simpsons Pinball Party: Right orbit lights modes, TV starts them. Try to start a pile of modes then Couch Multiball, modes carry through as long as you start another before the timer runs out. Modes lead to Alien Invasion. Stacking multiballs is good.

  • Space Station: Complete USA lanes to multiply Stop-n-Score value, also lights top lock for 100K. Stop-n-Score will start by knocking drop target that blocks the right ramp. Then shoot the ramp to score. This can be the highest value shot in the game; while at 5X it will be worth up to 500K. Other main objective will be to play multi-ball. Lock balls at either the top lock or right ramp. Multi-ball start is at top lock or the long shot to the back right of the game. “Re-dock” balls to score rescue jackpot (starts at 200K and increases by 10K each time multi-ball is played without a Rescue Jackpot being awarded.) After playing one multi-ball you must complete the 1-2-3 lanes to relight locks. However, there is incentive not to do this, as while locks are not lit a player can repeatedly go for Stop-n-Score (with locks lit you will only get one Stop-n-Score as it will lock a ball and the drop target will not reset.) Game has NO INLANES, drop catching and dead bouncing will help you succeed!

  • Cactus Canyon: Bonus multiplier is key to a high score. Completing modes earns +5 Bonus X. Try to get Showdown Multiball via four Quick Draws; it has potential to be very long and valuable. Gold Mine Multiball also pretty good. Both of the above Multiballs can be stacked (activate Gold Mine while the last Quick Draw is active, then complete it to stack both modes).

  • The Walking Dead: Get Blood Bath mb going as soon as possible and immediately clear targets during ball save to have three balls going. Let two balls drain during ball save to get them into the pops. Shoot Tower for 2x scoring (after hitting standups on either side of Prison) with other ball if possible. Nail drops again to add a ball and let all balls drain during ball save for 2x pops values with up to 4 balls going nuts in the pops. With one of the balls work on prison and/or well walker and try and shoot the other balls back into pops. You also want to keep 2x going if you can. If you can work Prison and Wes Welker into Blood Bath and keep 2x scoring, you can get a lot of points. CDC mode is worth a ton of points (rules / details?).

  • Black Rose: Start 2-ball multiball by inlanes from right ramp, or spot by shooting unlit lock. During 2-ball, relock both for 3-ball or shoot ramps for letters. Ramps are 2 letters in 3-ball. 8 letters = sink ship = BIG points. Only other big value is Double Broadside, the first Cannon mode. Rumor is you’ll have to alternate ramps to earn letters.

  • World Poker Tour: Stack Change Gears mode with No Limit Multiball. Change lit modes with right flipper flips. Use 3x shot at inlane on a river shot or advancing a city. Use Ace In The Hole to advance other goals or cash modes.

  • Creature from the Black Lagoon: MOVE YER CAR! Feed out of the bumpers is all-important. Super Jackpot is the blowaway strategy, Car All Day will get you a decent score. Unlimited Millions is big, most other Playground Awards (random) are not worth it. 8 right ramps = snack attack + video mode, good per-shot value.

B Division

  • LOTR: War of the Ents for progress on ROTK and TTT MB’s. Play ROTK, then TTT. TTT is best multiball for sure points. Ring Frenzy can be worth a lot, and don’t forget that 9 “Men” rings lights Gollum.

  • Fish Tales: Monster Fish (6 lit ramps, left lane) is a more consistent point-scorer than multiball. Right loop lights Video Mode and Rock the Boat which are big points!

  • The Rolling Stones (Stern): Records Multiball is one of the highest scoring modes (4-ball mode with similar rules to Total Anhillation in AFM). Super Combos are very lucrative (shoot the guitar targets to light combos, make a five way combo on the ramps and orbits, then pummel the center ramp repeatedly for “Super Combos” and big points). The final Records track (“It’s Only Rock 'n Roll…”) can be worth 50 to 100+ million when a multi-ball is stacked onto it. Don’t start Rock Star or Album multi-balls without stacking another mode or two (Licks + Records is ideal)–these two main multi-ball modes aren’t worth much on their own. Get control of the game by forcing Mick into a set area of the playfield. He will not move back to notes that are solidly lit and forcing him to the far left orbit seems to be ideal, leaving both ramps, the records shot and the right orbit open at all times.

  • Radical!: RADICAL letters light lock, second lock starts multiball, lower side ramp is 5 million jackpot. Spot RADICAL letters behind the drop targets if you have trouble. Keep plugging away at letters! Check if staging is possible before multiball, as the two easiest ways to get Jackpot need flipper staging.

  • Time Machine: Plays very similar to High Speed in lock lighting: use the left and right ramps to light locks instead of hitting death targets, right ramp is usually easier. Center ramp is valuable but deadly. In multiball, standups add 100k to jackpot, ramp collects. Easy kickback relight is important!

  • Revenge From Mars: See that “Capture” (Lock) shot? Shoot that. A lot. Or play the modes. At start of game, best mode pick is probably “Big O Beam”. Don’t worry much about completing modes flawlessly – saucer lights are only useful for qualifying Attack Mars, and if you get that far you’ll probably have all the saucer lights or at least be close. Every three modes you complete gives you a Bonus Wave Multiball, which is good points, but getting to Mothership Multiball (X Bonus Wave jackpots, X probably = 48 at PAPA) can be huge points.

  • Batman (Stern): Make sure you’ve got a scarecrow (crane) mode or multiball active - crane arm swinging around - before starting Joker Multiball, to be eligible for stacking the two of those. Finishing all three of Scarecrow, Joker, and Batmobile qualifies Bat Signal Challenge (mini-wizard mode) on the left orbit. Shoot the same three shots and then the left orbit again to promote it to Bat Signal Multiball. Bat Signal risk/reward: prior to shooting L orbit to start, keep shooting the three main shots to increase your jackpot value. But if you drain, no Bat Signal Multiball for you! Bonus X can be quite significant on this game, especially on ball 3, where double bonus is enabled if you’ve collected all three different skill shot awards. Go for broke option: get insane value of Batmobile Hurry-Up on Ball 3, see end of PAPA tutorial video.

  • Quicksilver: Inlanes light the spinners on the opposite sides of the playfield. Once a spinner is hit, you will have to hit the inlane switch again to relight it. Advance bonus by quicksilver letters, bonus x on the drop targets just below right spinner. If you’re close to finishing QUICKSILVER, concentrate on that. Middle 4-bank spots an unlit letter.

  • Wizard of Oz: Try and stack as many Multiball and single-ball modes as possible. For each playfield active (castle and munchkin), there is a Super X playfield multiplier, and mode scoring can just become lucrative with the multiplier. Just try not to activate Fireball Frenzy in a stack as it WILL become annoying when you’re shooting a major shot and progress gets ticked off. Rescue Multiball scores big too, especially the Mega Jackpot (but it sounds really hard to get so I wouldn’t count on getting it.)

  • Mousin’ Around: Strategy may depend quite a bit on ball feeds and other factors, like whether there are oversized rubbers guarding the center ramp. I’m actually kind of fond of a strategy to just keep shooting the left and right ramps – these give CHEESE letters and a cheesy bonus on the right ramp after CHEESE is spelled, and CHEESE letters contribute to end-of-ball bonus, carry over for the whole game, and control the jackpot value during multiball. Spell MOUSE & TRAP to light locks; relock then shoot mouse hole for jackpot; multiple jackpots available. There are also good points to be had by shooting the left orbit all day (increasing points plus a clean feed back to the right flipper).

C Division

  • Centaur: Try to complete ORBS, left to right, for instant multiball. Bottom four lanes also add a ball, can be used as a ball saver. Completing 1234 bank in order is big points and lights top right target for multiball release. Other release is much more difficult (end of inline drops). Release auto-lights on ball 3. Bonus count is pretty big on this game.

  • Tales of the Arabian Nights: Try and get Lightning Lamp going while the Ruby is also lit. One of the rewards from this if Lightning Lamp is activated will be 3x Lamp Scoring, which multiplies all values from the mode by 3 and resets the timer. Once you have this lit, start Genie Multi-Ball and go for big points. There’s also a strategy where you can start Harem while in Genie Battle but I’m not sure it works in PAPA.

  • Godzilla: Read the BSD rulesheet :wink: … or watch the Pinball101 video:

but no, seriously, this is a Multiball stacking game like BSD. True, but you get bigger jackpots if you qualify multiple multiballs prior to starting your first vs stacking an additional multiball on one already running. Risk/reward. Multiball modes are qualified in a variety of ways… watch the video. They’re all started with the left interior lane shot – get good at it. For each Multiball activated, the number of shots lit for Jackpot and value of the Jackpot will increase. Activating all Multiballs (whether stacked or not) also qualifies the table’s wizard mode, Save New York. Size Does Matter scoring: quit reading and watch the video!!

  • Taxi: Lock lights on any passenger pickup, then start multiball on the left ramp. During multiball, get the bonus for relocking or focus on difficult passengers (drop target banks). Jackpot lights immediately when all 5 passengers picked up on Gorby shot. Skill shots are big. Some players try to get 25k on early balls to pick up free passengers.

  • 24: Shoot the left ramp a lot until lock is lit on the right ramp; when lit, shoot the right ramp for lock/multiball.

  • Surf N Safari: Multiball is especially high scoring on this game. The Super Jackpot is an easy 30m if you know how to cradle well. Time out all modes (besides maybe Boomerang and Whirlpool Millions) as they are on very short timers in this table. Always try and get DOUBLE completed for 2x scoring. Complete as many Grids as possible because they award major points in end-of-ball bonus. Once a grid is complete the Super Score target on the right is huge scoring.

  • Metallica

  • X-Men LE rulesheet

  • NBA Fastbreak: From the right flipper, get good at making the far left saucer (Stadium Goodies) – all those saucer features are lucrative, and the first one (backbox game) and third one (trivia game) have no risk of losing the ball. Learn the timing in the backbox game to make sure you get 3 points on every shot; look up trivia cheat sheet for trivia answers. Start multiballs by shooting all 5 main shots (two orbits, three ramps) or by completing “In the Paint” 1-2-3-4.

  • The Shadow: Left orbit -> Shadow loop combos are valuable. If the machine isn’t set up too hard - possible in C Div - Super Vengeance may be a viable strategy: 4 ramp shots to start (remember the Phurba diverter buttons!), then every 4 shots is 50 or 100 million (REALLY remember the Phurba buttons!). Good points, but the downside is that failed ramp shots (especially left ramp) often go SDTM.

D Division

  • Monopoly: Travel once around board to light locks, multiball jackpot is side ramp (ignore difficult double jackpot saucer). Railroad multiball is 5 left ramps, a good start to the game. Right ramp lights modes at game saucer.

  • Future Spa: Wail on the inline drops until you get them all, then shoot lit spinners or the horseshoe loop.

  • Flash Gordon: Inline drops are valuable and bonus multipliers. Completing the left 4-bank lights spinners, with the right spinner worth the most on second completion. Completing flashing 1-2-3 on top playfield is good and is the 4x multiplier award after completing inline drops. Avoid bumpers!

  • The Addams Family: Chair starts modes; relight by either ramp. Bookcase lights locks; multiball jackpot is side ramp (ignore less valuable train shot); relight at bookcase. All modes worthwhile except possibly Raise The Dead. Finish all the modes for … a ticket to be kicked out of D Division.

  • World Cup Soccer (Bally): Star rollovers light goal. Best progress is “Build Lock” (white lamps), 5 shots light lock, then Final Draw starts multiball. In multiball, it’s goal-ramp-goal-ramp as much as you can. Cities (left loop) generally too dangerous to be worthwhile.

  • Indiana Jones (Stern): Pick a shot then make it repeatedly. Long-term, most valuable shot is captive ball for bonus multipliers. Short-term… either scoop on the left is good. 8-ball multiball isn’t worth very much.

  • Pinbot: Hit the flashing row/column at the start to finish the entire Visor; easiest is the leftmost column. If you miss, wail on visor until it opens. Left ramp always good, target under left ramp always good, left drops good. Lock balls in Visor to start multiball. For jackpot, relock a ball then shoot ramp.

Classics I (Thursday)

  • Alien Poker
  • Argosy
  • Eight Ball Deluxe
  • Frontier
  • Mystic - A Bonus/Multiplier heavy Bally scoring system. Assuming extra balls are off: First ball, shoot the captive ball for the bonus multiplier when you have a left flipper opportunity. On the right flipper shots shoot the left lane and send it up to the top for 1000 a spin. repeat as needed. you can tap pass but no real reason to. Once some random bounces have knocked down the center three drop targets, start going for rows on the bingo board and increased bonus with the side drop targets. It is just too dangerous to ever shoot the center drops directly. you can change the board positions from eye to pyramid until the arrow insert turns on for that bank. Once you get to 72k bonus you’re done, it is held for the rest of the balls. your multiplier goes back to 5x the first time you shoot the captive ball on ball 2 and 3.
  • Fireball
  • Galaxy - If the game is set to carry over bonus multipliers from ball to ball, then the best strategy is to build multipliers on ball 1, by repeatedly completing the left bank of drops. Most things add bonus. If the feed from the GALAXY kickout is controllable, you can chop wood by just shooting it repeatedly. This is boring and slow but lucrative. Shot can be pretty easily backhanded.
  • Embryon: If on the left flipper shoot up top to complete drops; If on the right shoot spinner to get to top lanes to build bonus multiplier. Multiball too hard to get to and not worth extra points. (Multiball of Dubious Value ™)
  • Monaco
  • Freedom
  • Target Alpha
  • Target Pool

Classics II (Friday)

  • Jumping Jack
  • Magic
  • Poker Plus
  • Nine Ball: Concentrate on pool ball drop targets (get the 9 ball) and building the bonus multiplier (three-bank drops on the upper right of the playfield). A maxed spinner is also worth going for if the spinner is spinning well. If the loop value (top left playfield) is near max, it may be worth shooting the loop to max it out and then shooting the 1-bank drop target to collect 173K… but do NOT miss, because if you shoot the loop again, the value wraps back to 10K!
  • Dracula (Stern)
  • Ro Go
  • Grand Prix (EM): Making A+B drops (up in bumpers) or C+D drops (lower center playfield, may be drain shots) lights double bonus – once double bonus is lit, you can ignore the drops. In general, spinners (orbits) all day… these build bonus, and once bonus on a side is maxed, spinner is lit for 1,000 until you collect that bonus (saucer). If saucers are dangerous (either going in or coming out) you may be better off ignoring them and just shooting lit spinners.
  • 2001: It is super important to hit one of the lit saucers on the skill shot. The middle saucer is always lit, and the other saucers light when the corresponding bank of drops is knocked down. Focus on shooting drops in such a way that the ball gets back up top where it can knock down more drops or bounce into a lit saucer. Ignore targets on bottom of playfield. Most lit saucers collected = winner.
  • High Deal
  • Alien Star: Right inlane -> left orbit combo is huge points (10x spinner value). Spell ALIEN (right side standups) to light multiball on left saucer. Multiball = 2 ball with playfield X as long as both balls are in play. Playfield X can be changed by shooting spinner before starting multiball. Beware of eject from the left saucer, it’s often weak and hits the top of the left slingshot and then bounces out the left outlane.

Classics III (Saturday)



Actually Microscope is the first thing I shoot on CSI

1 Like

Oh, the initial shot? Yeah, getting that one shot to Microscope is probably alright, it just doesn’t seem worth it compared to the other multiballs, and the chance of a quick painful drain is icky.

Black Rose -
If it’s on normal cannon sequence settings (Double Broadside being first award):
Plunge into the yellow targets to open the locker, or full plunge if it goes around the loop all the way
Shoot the cannon into the broadside (or if you’re ballsy, aim for the yellow targets and try and get multiple SINK SHIP letters!) to start Double Broadside which is huge points

Otherwise, Whirlpool x 4 -> Hold Up flipper -> Pirate’s Cove for multiball

It’s a wiki. Edit yourself in :slight_smile:

I’ve always wanted to see a Pinball wiki designed specifically for competative play and stragies.

While it’s not the only feature of these forums, it’s certainly one that’s working out nicely.

Should we update this during papa weekend with table-specific quirks?

Up to you. I probably won’t have time to look at it much during PAPA. If it’s helpful information and publicly available, I can’t see how that would be a bad thing.

Does anyone else like to go for the first two ramp skill shots on TS to light shadow lock 2? I like to do this on mine because of the way its setup. Crazy how much strategy can change based on game setup and how good TS is!

This is highly dependent on whether or not there’s a ball save. If ball save is off, the left ramp skill shot is probably off the table for me because of the insta-drain potential.

Shadow Multiball is kind of a wash to be honest: it’s difficult to get 4 top loops during multiball and the value per loop (20 million) isn’t much better than the 2-way combo. I tend to use the Shadow Lock as a bailout shot for an out-of-control ball because it’s an extremely wide shot.

1 Like

qualifying (non-head to head) - get blood bath mb going as soon as possible and immediately clear targets during ball save to have three balls going. let two balls drain during ball save to get them into the pops. get 2x scoring with other ball if possible. Nail drops again to add a ball and let all balls drain during ball save for 2x pops values with up to 4 balls going nuts in the pops. this builds end-of-ball bonus up big and scores 10K a pop (5K blood bath x 2) plus the pops’ regular value x2, so you are getting like 50K a pop. With one of the balls work on prison and/or well walker and try and shoot the other balls back into pops. You also want to keep 2x playfield going with one of the balls if you can. If you can work prison mb and well walker mbs into the blood bath and keep 2x scoring you can get a lot of points. Each ensuing blood bath mb is worth 1000 more points. so the 2nd time through it is 6K a hit. I’m not sure there is an upper ceiling since I have had it up to 11K per switch hit on location. Note that this strategy applies in A division of an event that attracts the best players in the world.

I call the pop bumpers on TWD the Beast’s Lair because that is what it feels like.


Great name for it sk8ball. Might as well take advantage of the fact that the ball(s) hang(s) in the pops forever.

CFTBL added to A qualifying lineup

division restrictions have been updated for PAPA18.

1-199 restricted to A
200-599 restricted to B
7500 or higher eligible for D

7500 threshold for D division? That seems way too high … in our events, there’s hardly a difference between someone in the 3000’s and in the 10,000’s … except the one in the 3000’s played one or two more tournaments and managed one top-ten finish in a local weekly under the new point system. (7500 is just 2 WPPR points). In fact, it’s quite common that the unranked player is better than a player in the 3000-5000 range, they just haven’t played any tournaments yet. Once they play their first one, that gets corrected quickly. If restriction to B was for 599 or higher, which means 100+ WPPR points, maybe it would have made more sense for restriction to C being about 25+ WPPR points, or 2000+? Just MHO.

1 Like

This is a setting. If this is how it’s set up, I’m very surprised.

The PAPA guys don’t seem to mess with the classic bally/ stern dip switches too much (Or you end up with a Harlem with infinite extra balls lol) as the PAPA one has been that way for some time.

1 Like