Papa 20


I do agree that players vanish. My point is that I didn’t think virtual queuing made dealing with that problem any more difficult.

@kdeangelo, I have a simple idea that might be able to help this situation: right now, when you enter a player’s score, the person next in line (in blue) is automatically promoted to first in line (in yellow). That’s even before the scorekeeper has the opportunity to say who is next on their tablet. Could you update the software, so that the promotion is not automatic? Next in line stays blue, with something like IDLE displayed for who is on the machine until the scorekeeper taps the name? In doing so, if someone walks up to the machine without checking in, it’s obvious from the giant scoreboard that someone is playing but machine is idle. Or if someone walks away and their name is in yellow, it means they did check-in with scorekeeper, and they get an automatic void for walking away.

With that simple change, the virtual queuing would then be able to help manage those issues of players vanishing or starting to play without the ‘go’ from the scorekeeper.


We tried Virtual queuing at PPO, and it did make things more difficult for 2 reasons - first, people thought that since they were next on a machine they could play it. It took explaining that wasn’t the case. Second, it added a duty to scorekeepers - queuing people beyond the next player up on a machine.


" I also understand you can’t just raise it willy-nilly, but I thought it was interesting."

And don’t shoot for the visor willy-nilly either!:stuck_out_tongue:


I’m a few months removed from last time I used DTM, but I thought this was already in place: that the screen after the prior score was entered and confirmed… was a list of the next 3 players in the queue, and the scorekeeper had to tap on the name of the player they put on the machine. Perhaps my memory is incorrect?


Re losing money on PAPA, I don’t recall PAPA ever directly asking the attendees if they would prefer to pay more or win less to make the event breakeven [at least re entry fees; overhead costs is another matter entirely!]. Has such a survey been done? I’d still come even if we just played for trophies if the entry cost was low.


@mhs said PAPA ticket format qualifying was one of the lowest rated formats. You’re going to suggest a survey that is asking folks to make it worse by reducing payouts?


I plan on attending my first PAPA next year. For me the biggest potential change is electronic queuing. I understand all the reasons it can be difficult, but as someone who refuses to stand in long lines, for me it’s the difference between competing and not. I had planned to just play the collection and spectate, but if I can avoid the lines, I’ll take a shot in C division.

I’ve been attending Chicago Expo since 2001, but have never competed there. Every year I say “this is the year!” until I take one look at the line, and decide I’d rather do anything but that. I realize that’s my problem. Some can tolerate (or even enjoy) standing around for hours near pinball machines without playing them. I cannot.

Pinburgh last year was fun. Three days of competition, no lines! I entered the Pinball at the Zoo tourney this year for the first time in over a decade, thanks in large part to DTM queueing. I could see which line was short, jump on the list with my phone, then walk around and play other games for a bit.

As a player, I don’t have strong feelings on ticket vs. PND qualifying. I’m mediocre at best and will be lucky to qualify in any division, no matter the entry method. As a fan of high-level play, I think it would be cool if at least A division PAPA could retain ticket style, as I feel it’s a better trial for the best of the best. Any format that introduces more pressure, escalating stakes, and varying risk/reward strategies over the course of an entry is more entertaining for me as a follower of the “sport.” I’d equate it to a poker tournament as opposed to grinding a cash game where each hand is independent, and if you bust, you simply buy back in.

I realize PAPA does everything for valid reasons I may or may not be clued into. I’m not lobbying PAPA to overturn recent changes or make decisions counter to its own best interests. I’m simply stating my preferences as a casual competitive player and fan of the game.


That’s the whole point - - ask. Lower payouts is worse for you. Higher fees would be worse for me. Not getting rid of the lose-money situation may be worse for PAPA. We’re just two; what do the other 500 people at PAPA think, and does that vary by division?


One other aspect to PAPA that I haven’t heard yet is the difficulty of the machine setup. Historically PAPA qualifying games have been set up harder than any other tournament I’ve attended, in terms of tilt tightness, lack of post rubbers, steepness, etc. If that doesn’t change (and I hope it doesn’t, I like the punishment), then it’s hard to equate PAPA to any other PND.


If PAPA20 is a bust because of the format, I would encourage them to look at a survey like that for PAPA21.

I have only been around a few years but when PAPA is over , it seems like the crew starts to focus immediately on ReplayFX and after 2 years of ReplayFX the qualifying format of PAPA changes. Maybe there is more to that than just a coincidence. Here are two quick thoughts of speculation on my end 1) The ReplayFX formula works and they want to incorporate some of that into PAPA like the door fee 2) ReplayFX is more labor/time consuming and they feel these changes to PAPA will reduce labor/time.

I don’t doubt that other reasons mhs mentioned by any means, im just tossing out ReplayFX as another variable that might of played into the qualifying changes. I personally am not a big fan of the PAPA qualifying but if the majority of folks liked it and it was mutually beneficial for PAPA to use it, im all for it. Thats why I didnt attend PAPA19.


@PAPA_Doug mentioned that ReplayFX is one reason that PAPA is shifting to a door entry fee instead of coin drop, to eliminate the time consumed moving 500 games back and forth between free play and coin play.

I don’t think the format changes have any impact on labor and time commitment; if anything they are increased since a larger number of games is being made available for tournament play.

The crew definitely starts to focus immediately on ReplayFX after PAPA! It’s a huge undertaking and there’s less time between PAPA and ReplayFX than there is between ReplayFX and PAPA.


the promotion to next player in queue is not automatic. after registering a score, the queue of players next in line is shown to the scorekeeper and they have to validate who is next (I am 99% sure of that).


I’m pretty sure it’s the other 1% :). When a player ends and scorekeeper enters their score, they are removed from queue, and the “what next?” for that player comes up. At that time, if you look on the big board, the player who was next in line is now yellow and “playing”. After you select what is next, THEN you get the screen that asks which player from the queue should play. This gives you the opportunity to pick someone other than person at head of queue. However, if you make no selection, or you navigate away from that screen without making a selection, the machine will have that player who was next in line showing up as ‘playing’, rather than the machine showing up as idle until scorekeeper confirms. One other situation that this happens is when a player self queues onto an empty queue, they immediately show up as ‘playing’. Again, they should go to ‘next in line’, and only scorekeeper can promote them to playing. With that simple restriction of making next player selection required instead of optional, you can better handle the vanishing player or player playing without checking in scenarios.


I really like this idea. I’ll put it under consideration.


They used this type of badge system (with a physical peg board as the visible queue system) quite effectively at Belgian Pinball Open.


@chesh here is a picture I took of the Belgian Open badge queue peg board. FWIW, I still like electronic queuing better, but it would address walk-offs. You had to give your badge clipped to the pin’s card to the scorekeeper. After your game, scorekeeper took your score, and then handed the badge clipped to pin card back to you. And then it was on the player to return the card to the queue manager volunteer at the peg board.

Notes: it requires another volunteer staffing the peg board area full time. It required a pinch point opening at the queue board to reduce chances of a player accidentally walking off with the pin card after their game.


That concept can possibly be handled electronically. If someone walks off just once, their account is locked. They need to go to admin table to unlock it, and they get a warning. Happen twice, their done with tourney. It won’t take long before that never happens again.


Count me in as another player that likes the ticket format at PAPA. I would prefer they kept it, even though I presonally would probably have better odds of qualifying in HERB. I just like the challenge of playing multiple good games in sequence that the ticket format poses.


Having now read through the whole of this thread, I’d like to make a few comments/suggestions if I could.

The PAPA format of having to put together a string of games in a single attempt to create an entry is used in Europe. But mainly in a Classics side tournament. Play 3 games from 12 - that’s your entry, unlimited (paid for) attempts. It works fine. The better players will play numerous entries to try and qualify, the lesser players may play just their initial free ticket.

The queuing system used at many of the larger tournaments (LPC, EPC, BOp (as above) etc.) works so smoothly that I can’t understand why it’s not used worldwide for all major comps.
It works like this:
Every competitor has an entrance card. Every machine has their own card as well, which is kept on a large pinboard.
When a player wishes to play a machine they hand their card to the “gatekeeper” who then swaps the player card for the machine card and replaces back on the pinboard.
The player then takes the machine card to the machine and hands it to a scorekeeper who starts the game by pressing start and takes the machine card off them. (They could also take a ticket if a paid to play event)
At the end of the game the scorer logs the score and returns the machine card to the player.
The player then returns the machine card to the gatekeeper who gives the player back his card to allow him to choose another machine.

This solves multiple issues.
There is no chance whatsoever of a walkaway as the player will not get the machine card back to then swap for their card and play any further machines.
By simply looking at the pinboard you can see where you are in line and don’t need to stand/sit in a queue, but can explore elsewhere. You can also gauge how many people are in front of you or which games are more popular.

As for the actual format their seems to be a number of factors which are all being lumped into one.
both PAPA and HERB are effectively pump and dump, due to unlimited paid entries allowed.
So the argument about richer players having an advantage doesn’t hold true.
The difference is about consistency. A top player is more likely to be able to put together a decent string of games than a lesser player - on a consistent basis. For a single game, the top player is still more likely to post a better score, but the lesser player is more likely to post a competitive off score.
Obviously it also takes less time to play a single game, rather than a string, meaning that more single attempts can be made.

The HERB format is just not popular in Europe. I cannot think of a single tournament that runs it consistently, other than selfie leagues ran over a number of weeks where it’s the only option.
The majority of score based qualifying tournaments consist of a set number of single games played on x out of y games, maybe with the possibility of a joker. EVERY game counts (unless you use a joker). It’s still the top players who qualify every time, but it’s a shorter format allowing more entrants on a limited number of machines in a limited time scale with less queuing.
The downside to this is that there isn’t a huge amount of prize fund generated. VERY few competitions award any prize money at all. Whether that would be an issue for US players I don’t know, I’m guessing it’s more than likely that there are only a dozen or less players who would be winning a significant amount of prize money on a regular basis anyway and this would effect.

A compromise could well be that stick to single game entrants, eliminating the string of games which appears to be where the complaints are coming from, but rather than unlimited entries there is a limit to the number of entries that can be bought.
Say you have qualify with your best 6 games over a bank of 12. You are only allowed to buy 30 tickets in total. Do you focus on just 6 games, or spread them out over all 12.
It’ll still give the advantage to the better players who can post a top score at first attempt, who wouldn’t need to buy extra tickets, or they could use them for extra practice on other machines.
It would also lessen the queues.
It may also encourage players who don’t usually buy multiple entries because they fear they are going to be “out spent” to buy additional entries knowing that everyone has a limit to the number of games they can play.

At the end of the day it is down to the TD for whatever tournament to decide on the format they want to use. If people want to enter they can, if they don’t like the format they won’t - it will be very clear in a short time which is the case.
I’ve discovered that (as demonstrated here) that people will complain/voice their opinions about any format, or location, or time, or the colour of the carpet, or anything else.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time - although it just sometimes feels like you can’t please anyone ever.
If people feel strongly enough about the PAPA style they will organise their own tournaments using the format of their choice. that’s what I’ve done in the UK.


Good points all, and I agree with many of them. A few notes on results, though. I once did a comparison of EU vs US events to see how often a high-ranking player finished low and how often the event was won by or had multiple finalists who were not high-ranked players. Both were more common in the EU, especially in events that took fewer than 1/3 of the entrants for the match play portion. While the very best (top 25 or 50 ranked) players usually survived the one-and-done entries, regular “A” players often did not, and even top 10 folks sometimes failed to qualify, which is very rare with Herb. Here where the playoffs are often limited to the top 10-20% rather than top 1/3, there is a greater chance of omitting many better players if a one-and-done format is used. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of opinion, I just wanted to mention it. If PAPA were to expand the playoffs, perhaps with multiple levels of byes as is more common in Europe (or IFPA), then limited entries becomes more practical.

What is the ratio of games to scorekeepers at EU events? How well do things “keep moving”? I’m just wondering if PAPA would need more scorekeepers than it has now for this system to be as efficient as what they do now, given the extra steps involved.