Papa 20


The reason for the PAPA format (ex-format) is not commonly used is not because it is a bad format. It is because it is a top level format. Both for skill, tournament experience and hours of qualifing possible. Which is why - it is (was) the PAPA format. The status of a top level event.

Plus it is an unlimited buy-in format, which by itself brings a bad taste in some regionals and skill divisions.


I played in C at PAPA19. The possibility of winning prize money doesn’t affect my decision to attend an event at all. I just enjoy the competition and camaraderie. The cost of traveling to an event (not to mention the cost of taking 3-4 days off of work) dramatically exceeds any entry costs, regardless of format. I understand why people think Herb style favors deep pockets, etc. But if I take off of work, fly across the country, get a hotel room, rent a car…etc…I’m going to play as much as possible. I’m not going to sit around just to avoid the $5-6 cost for another ticket. That said, I realize that in that format, I’m subsidizing the prize money for the better players. That’s not ideal, and seems to deter new players from joining the tournament scene. I certainly prefer that this be more like the WSOP. Everyone should pay the same entry fee.


But then some people can and do drop down out of A due to their ranking dropping below the cut line and not having qualified in A the year they moved up; one year and you can drop back unless you choose to play A anyway. The “A” restriction criteria may have more to do with the headcount in A than other things do.

All said, though, I can’t see growing A much beyond where it is now. At Pinburgh, you play well, you get A. At PAPA, you choose ahead of time. If you’re not in the top 200, I can see why people would rather play in B - - cheaper, better chance of winning something. Whether it’s tickets OR Herb, I don’t think many more people will try A than do now. Minor growth, yes, but nothing huge. Overall growth A+B+C+D, yes, but more in B, C and D.

What would grow A? Something where B players thought they had a better chance than now of qualifying and or winning. But that something would mean it’s less likely that the cream rises to the top, which is what the current A players want. EPC’s one-shot runs give B players a better chance, but I don’t see that being popular here.

It would be interesting to see who played what if each division, including Classics, was 100% self-funded for prize money, i.e. all entry fees, of whatever different values, stayed within that division.


I am curious about finances. People here speculate in the need for PAPA to grow the turnover.

However, I was under the impression, that the PAPA/Replay structure did return every $ spend at their tournaments as prizes to the players. Isn’t this correct?

So, and if so, a need to increase the turnover would be rooted in a need to increase the prize pool. Which I fail to understand, really, as there seems to be massive interest from both top level players and in general. Growing each year.

Plus, in the traditional system, players would pay for attempts they would later choose to discard.

If the goal is to increase the money spend, and with the infamous lines in mind, and if the traditional format is not sacred, I guess bumping the machine banks to double or triple sizes would do the trick.


No. Each year the prize package is “guaranteed” (and from what I remember that is typically by the sponsor Pair Networks, Inc.)


I have never seen any communication that PAPA returns all entry money as prizes to players.

One thing I see when people are talking about finances here is the assumption that the prize pool is the tournament’s only expense. I think that is incredibly naive. I would not be surprised to learn that the money raised by the event doesn’t even cover the costs to simply open the space to the public, much less the prize pool. Internet, electric, water, garbage, insurance. All are serious expenses (and remember that many of these get paid year round because its not like the facility just goes dark other than these four days a year.) That isn’t even touching issues around game acquisition and maintenance.

I’m easily as bummed as anyone about the change. My first PAPA was 5, and for about ten events there I went every single year I could (moving overseas and finances rendered it more difficult recently.) My memories of these events are some of the best I have. However if PAPA wants to continue into the future indefinitely, which I think we all want, it needs to be self-sustainable and I applaud the group’s efforts to reach that goal.


You can find the 990-PF forms for FY 2012, 2013, and 2014 publicly available online. Based on this site: it does not seem like there is a website I can go to to easily grab the Form 1023 right now, but I could request it for the Replay Foundation for FY 2015 when they changed to a 501©(3).

Edit: I’m not sure if the 1023 form was filed or the 990-PF for Fiscal Year 2015. Regardless, the information is public and obtainable to a certain extent.

Since this is public:


I think saying this is insulting to the agency of everyone involved. It’s absolutely OK to be “incredibly disappointed” or feel that the change is a “great shame”. The other two are maybe a little less respectful but I think it’s not hard to understand that people will be sad when a unique highly skillful format bites the dust, especially in favor of a format that seems to repel casuals/novices like"Off!".


The real insult is that we’ve never made a change (or decision) people didn’t complain about. I’ve listened to more people crap all over the PAPA format in the last several years than I can count. It was literally one of the lowest rated formats in our surveys. I have e-mails from probably a dozen people in this exact thread who have privately suggested major changes over the years because they weren’t happy with the format or how things have been done.

These changes were enacted primarily due to both player responses and financial concerns related to the old format, and quite frankly, as a member of this community, it’s disgusting to me that after all PAPA has done and given (and all the money it has LOST attempting to grow pinball) that it still doesn’t ever get the benefit of the doubt. Also, the PAPA format isn’t some higher calling; it’s a pinball format, and it’s been changed MULTIPLE TIMES throughout the years for various reasons.

If anyone wants to talk to me, you know my e-mail or phone. I cringed when someone sent me this link, and now I’m officially done with feedback on forums. The signal to noise ratio sucks.

New Circuit Rules!!!

For those of us that aren’t top-A players, it is most definitely not fun to finally get a good score on those super-tough PAPA machines and then watch it get completely wasted by the rest of a ticket. This change gives players instant and permanent satisfaction when they have a good game.

And there’s another reason the old format wasn’t much fun. Once you get past the novelty of “hey, I’m competing in A against the best in the world!” it feels like just flushing money down the toilet when you’re locked to A with no realistic chance of qualifying. With this change, you can make meaningful progress towards a final set of six games and not feel like you have to catch lightning in a bottle, or feel like you’ve wasted $25 when you tank the first two games on a ticket.

Really, the top players are still going to qualify, nothing is going to change there. This is more about the rest of us.


Zeroes aren’t a concern for me. I was just responding to the belief that isn’t as true as it was in the past that the PAPA format required maximum consistency.


In the past, the entry fees Have not covered the prizes.


The feedback came from the Circuit Surveys (A Division players received this) as well as direct feedback to MHS and myself.


It would seem that all you are doing is making it like almost any other tournament. Just cause something is different doesn’t mean it’s bad. It would seem that the pressure of a 5 game run would be better to determine the best player at the time as opposed to being able to keep playing unlimited games without the pressure of have a bad couple games.


Play better


Fixed that for you to represent the new format.


Go Lefkoff! Nuanced as frig. It’s understandable if you need to pay the bills. Pinburgh killed your attendance. I would suspect that this isn’t going to make it any more “fun”. People are just going to drop even huger bombs with multiple attempts, still will be frustrating for the mortals. Maybe it will work who knows. If it’s about making it more “fun” for everyone just do 2 Pinburghs a year lol. 300 spots at the old facility, to get in auction style, highest bidders get in. You’ll make millions.


lol should of thought of that!


We used PAPA classics format for Vancouver Flip-Out’s classic tourney last month. It was new to most players in the area, but seems like it was very well received. @kdeangelo got DTM’s virtual queuing to work with PAPA classic format, and it worked without a hitch!

I don’t know who is providing the “not-fun” feedback; certainly not my perspective. I haven’t missed a PAPA since PAPA 3, and that more difficult and challenging format is one of the things that has drawn be towards that specific tourney year after year. I’m sad to see it go.


I don’t really have a preference to the format. To me, both styles (Herb and PAPA Format) both classify as “pump 'n dumps”–many players are going to be spending stupid kinds of money at either format. Have a bad game in a Herb? Well, you’re going to be paying to play it again. Have a bad ticket in the PAPA Format? You’re going to be buying a new ticket.

My favorite change is the fact that all the games will be on Free Play. Part of the reason to go is to enjoy the PAPA collection, easily one of the largest out there. The door entry is pretty negligible to me since I’ll easily spend that in a day on random games in the building.

I’d like to echo others’ suggestions for a queue system. I have experienced these at various events and the result is a much more enjoyable experience, because I can actually go and do things while still technically waiting in line (like enjoy the other games there as mentioned above). Hopefully this can be implemented in future PAPA iterations.