Papa 20


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What I am gathering is that the entire PAPA collection is on Free Play, not just the bank games. The bank games are always on Free Play anyway and I’d wager as usual they will only be playable by people submitting entries.


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Anyone that thinks the format is “fun” is fucking insane.

It’s the “not-fun” part that makes it so awesome . . . but only if you’re a pinball masochist :slight_smile:


Disagree :slight_smile: The whole thing is fun!

I would go as far as to say it’s fun to sit in line and shoot the shit with other competitors while I wait. Compare strategies, watch great players play, watch my current best ticket bleed…


Yeah, you can go and just play the games, you don’t have to compete. The event is open to everyone including non-competitors. In the past, people would have to buy PAPA tokens to insert into the non-bank/competition machines. Now they just pay a door fee and everything’s on Free Play. Seems to me to be the way to go since they have to put every machine on Free Play for ReplayFX. No sense in constantly changing over every game after each event.


The $20 entry fee with all machines on free play will be a great deal if PAPA chooses to use the virtual queuing features in DTM. There might be 10 people in line in front of you, but you can go have fun while waiting, and keep the bank fairly clear. When you’re 2nd in line, proceed to the bullpen of the machine you want to play. Addition of virtual queuing is what turned CAX from unbearable lines to a totally fun tournament. Hopefully we’ll see the same at PAPA.


I’ve used the DTM virtual queue system in Buffalo Pinball Open most recently. May not know all its features and whatnot.

In order for the virtual queue system to be effective when it comes to dealing with the next player on the game, there needs to be a very competent scorekeeper or TD who can manage situations when players vanish. Virtual queues make it much easier for you to lose track of where you are in the queue. It’s easy for players lower in the queue to not realize that they are up because players in front haven’t shown up. It’s also easy for a scorekeeper to feel overwhelmed when they cannot find a player.

I think that some other sort of system would need to be added to this feature to make it work at PAPA where you have scorekeepers who need to be quickly trained and who can’t remember that so-and-so was just going to run outside to his car.

Could think of a few things on the software that might help. All require more time and effort from Karl.

  1. Strike system against no-show players. If a player doesn’t show up in X seconds, the scorekeeper presses a button that says “player is not here” and the next player may play their game. Eventually next player is reset to bottom or removed from queue entirely.
  2. Push/text notification system. Not sure that mobile browsers even support push/desktop notifications without requiring an app to send them. Don’t think SMS notifications are cheap either.


If player isn’t there immediately when the scorekeeper calls for them, bumped off of the queue completely and to the back of the line. “Player is a jagoff” button should be used!


Already in my system, just doesn’t require direct intervention from the scorekeeper. Directors can set the # of misses before a player is bumped automatically from a queue. It’s all done behind the scenes to prevent scorekeepers from “feeling bad” about bumping someone from a queue since many are very hesitant to do so.


While I agree that scorekeepers need proper training, we had almost all new scorekeepers at the recent VFO who never even saw DTM previously, let alone scorekeep using it before. Yet, it only took about 5 to 10 minutes to train a new scorekeeper. We found overlapping scorekeeping shifts by 10 minutes when a new scorekeeper was coming on board helped tremendously, so that the outgoing scorekeeper can see the operation of the software first hand before going solo.

While I agree scorekeepers need to keep track of players, quite frankly, I don’t think it is any different from when players are in a long line. In fact, I think it’s easier, because the player who is next shows up on DTM, and scorekeeper doesn’t have to ask for their number or lookup their name (as in the no-queuing case) but rather just confirm next in line is person there. If it isn’t, then DTM shows the list of players who are in line, and whoever is there in bullpen waiting gets to play.

Item 1 is already in the software. The tournament configuration specifies how many times you can skip over a player before they are taken off the list.

Item 2 I’ll yield to @haugstrup to answer, as I do believe he has the feature embedded into his software.


Re. queues: @kdeangelo’s DTM software has a great queue system. He’s really worked out how to do things right. The fact that the software now has a photo for every player is amazing and must help scorekeepers so much in larger tournaments where scorekeepers don’t know all the players.

Re. notifications: You can do push-style notifications on webapps in Chrome running on Android if I recall correctly. It’s not venue I’d pursue and I wouldn’t rely on those notifications showing up reliably.

Match Play Events has three different notification types (none of them are being used for queues on Best Game tournaments but that’s not relevant right here :wink: ):

  • Email. Can be rather slow because email is terrible (don’t be surprised if GMail waits 10 minutes to deliver an email because GMail is extra terrible).
  • SMS/text messages. These are solid and cheap and won’t be a large expense even for a tournament the size of PAPA. The main limitation with SMS is that you can only send 1 message/second from a single phone number. Probably not a problem for Best Game tournaments, but it’s something to consider for large match play tournaments where you want lots of messages to go out as each round starts.
  • Slack notifications. These have a cumbersome initial setup process because I cut a few corners when adding the feature, but once they’re setup they work for every tournament. These notifications are great, they arrive quickly and they can be formatted nicely. As a bonus you’ll likely get a nice local slack pinball community up and running if several people get started (disclaimer: I work for Slack :slight_smile: )

TLDR; SMS are simple but costs a little bit of money. Slack notifications look great but require more programming to setup. Never rely on email showing up in a timely manner.

I don’t think this is a technical problem though. It’s very hard to predict when to send notifications to players. You don’t want to be too aggressive and send a new notification every time their position in the queue changes (people will start ignoring messages) and often there are many no-shows and the scorekeepers will quickly move through 4-5 people before reaching someone who’s present.

It’s very easy to get into a situation where a player receives a notification but by the time they reach the scorekeeper it’s too late. The PAPA facility is big. Even with a software queue players still need to stay in the general vicinity of the tournament machines.


IMO the best way to handle missing players is pretty simple. If they’re not there within 15 seconds of you calling their name they’re either dumped to the back of the line or removed entirely. Queueing remotely is provided as a courtesy service and in no way guarantees that you’ll get to play regardless of your behavior. If you want to ensure you are skipped, sit at the line area. Boom, non-issue solved.


I’m not sure it’s that simple. If I’m third (or later) in a virtual queue I’d assume I have roughly three to five minutes to comfortably make my way to the physical queue.

If however the person above me in the queue is absent, it means I have much less time. The consequence is that player 2 is bumped, I (player 3) am bumped and now player 4 and everyone else in the queue is also likely bumped because the queue is suddenly moving at such a pace… and the queue spins like this until…?

I haven’t used Karl’s software, but I’d say it sounds good the way he has it. It seems similar to the way Disney have done their virtual queues (and no doubt spent millions researching). If you’re at the top of the queue, you have a (eg) 10 minute window to play your game with a minimal queue


/<3 mhs


Wrong. Both registered competitors and spectators have increased every year.

All games in the building will be on free play. Spectators are still not allowed to play the games set aside for the tournament. Everyone has to pay the door fee.

About the queuing: We are looking at it. I get it. As I said elsewhere, my concern is that we use a lot of scorekeepers at PAPA, they don’t all know who you are, and when a player walks away from a game (stop that) or jumps ahead of the line, they don’t necessarily recognize that, and there will be an increase in scorekeeping mistakes. We could have implemented queuing earlier if those two things hadn’t been a consistent issue at PAPA. So players, help out: Don’t walk away from a game, even if you’re going to void it. Don’t cut in front of others. Bear with us when the network goes a little slow. And it’s YOUR responsibility to verify that the score is being recorded correctly - including under the right person.

One suggestion I had, which Karl has already implemented, is having the player’s picture right there on the score entry screen. So the insinuation that we haven’t thought about and considered this change needs to stop.

I also remember when we moved to electronic scorekeeping an some of you lost your minds. I remember quite clearly the comment that we should get “professional scorekeepers.” I defy you to find some. And if you’re unhappy with the state of volunteers at PAPA, step up and volunteer yourself.

FFS - we have training. I have a thorough training document I send to all volunteers. I’ve held training sessions, in person and remotely. We have a 15 minute overlap on all shifts.

You do not know what you are talking about. VFO had 145 players. PAPA had over 500.


I’m bummed, the previous format was incredibly good for measuring skill and consistency.

Loved the PAPA format as it evened out the field of players. With pump n dump deep pockets will rule yet another tourney.


Wow, this is really disappointing.
PAPA is, or was supposed to be the epitome of competitive pinball, the format made it that It tested the metal of every player and the roller coaster of every entry is what makes the format awesome!

Pump and Dumb (and no that’s not a typo) is just boring, just hammer your way through each game, no risk, just keep playing till you hammer in that good score. For most of the players in the top 24 it’s not a question of if, it’s just a question of when are you going to break through.

Completely shocked, and terribly disappointed.

I feel PAPAs qualifying and finals system represents one of the toughest challenges in competitive pinball, which made me very proud to win two local events using that setup.

Bummer. I’ll miss the PAPA ticket format. It was one of the best assessments of how a player would fare in finals play, which favored consistency over catching fire infrequently.

This is incredibly sad news to hear.

I could not agree more with Adam

But yeah seriously 100% what lefkoff said

It could be hurtful if PAPA loses more of its character that makes it stand apart. I believe in change but this feels like a move in the wrong direction.

I do LOVE the papa format and will add my name to the list of many who prefer the uniqueness of this qualifying format.

I am very surprised to learn that the PAPA crew would want to deviate from tradition as much as this change in format. And that the evaluation of PAPA 19 would remotely suggest this to be the way to go.

I am sad about the change, like really sad.

Personally I find pump n dumb un-fun, un-inspiring and an example of competitive pinball past that I had hoped was on its way out the door.

I will add my disappointment to the crowd.

Lower the prize pool. Anything but changing it to a pump n dump.

It’s a great shame that the objectively best tournament format is no longer used at the best event in the world.

I’ll jump in and say that as a B player the last two times I made it to PAPA, I’m also incredibly disappointed.

PAPA was the ultimate “TEST YOUR MIGHT” event and even watching the last minute qualifying stream was much more intense and entertaining than the majority of events. Echoing others that would choose to forgo PAPA with Herb qualifying as major tourneys with that experience are everywhere these days.

C/D player here. This change would almost guarantee I don’t play in PAPA world championships ever.

My gripes are with the change to the format, the Staff and crew of the Replay Foundation are second to none in my books. I have nothing but admiration and respect for them.

This is some sad news.

OK, I could keep copy-pasting but it’s 4:30AM and I have to work Postmates lunch tomorrow. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really don’t think the signal to noise ratio is that bad. There’s a lot of signal (“This is sad, the old format was great, why are things changing especially in the way they are?”) and not much noise (“Fuck PAPA!!! PAPA blows!!! MHS SUXXX!!”). As a recipient of much internet noise (including enough swatting threats that I actually have to call SPD and let them know that people are likely to call in threats at my personal address), trust me when I say that this is probably some of the most respectful internet discussion I’ve ever seen. Maybe Pinside is different but I think (again, just in my opinion) that there’s a good amount to take away from this thread.

Changes were made and the explanations of why the specific changes being made were chosen and not others were basically not provided (which is absolutely your right), so it’s natural that people are going to be sad and confused especially if it’s not immediately apparent that the changes were necessary or in fact helpful at all. You know that I have tons of respect for you (and PAPA as a whole); I think most of the people on this forum do. However, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to not desire (not demand, but desire) an explanation (and I mean this in the literal sense) as to how the changes being made will actually save the event (if it is in as much trouble on its current trajectory as the drastic changes seem to indicate). You mention not being given “the benefit of the doubt” ever in the history of your time at PAPA, and I can appreciate that must be frustrating as hell. With that said, however, I think it’s just one of those things that sort of comes with the position. When you organize a huge event that tons of players love, people are going to scrutinize and moan about every single change because they care about and enjoy the event a lot.

As I write this I remind myself of how dumb it looks to rant and rant and rant about a pinball tournament that runs for 4 days out of the 365 in the year but I hope you can understand that people are sad because they truly love the event as it was and are sad to see it go. Speaking from my own experience with NWPC (which is a completely different scale of course), we were in a situation after Cayle left the country where we had to decide whether or not to resurrect NWPC and whether or not we would continue to use the same format that was bitched about endlessly in Seattle. Ultimately as organizers we decided that we enjoyed the format that we used, and that we would rather see the tournament go down in flames and have poor attendance than to change it into another format that would appeal to more players but not be a unique event (yes, our Herb is unique up here) anymore. We ran the tournament in a great location, used INDISC queueing, found sponsors to boost the prize pool and cover costs, and the attendance has improved the last two years over the Marysville years without any significant format change. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying “Oh, just do what we did” because I know that you wouldn’t make this decision lightly and have clearly thought things through but I think other tournament organizers who have roughly my level of experience (not massive, but also non-zero) are seeing this change and thinking something along the lines of my thoughts of “Surely there has to be some better way to save this event than the changes that are proposed / being enacted” like I am.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m sorry if this doesn’t make much sense but I hope it puts my comments and some others in a little bit of a happier / less “RAHHHARRARARAGHHH!!! INTERNET RAGE!!! DORITOS!!! MOUNTAIN DEW!!!” light. :slight_smile:


-From Facebook

Bowen Kerins “Just my opinion, but it’ll be interesting to see this change open up some higher-risk play in A qualifying. For me, the goal in PAPA qualifying has always been to find the boringest way to plow to a 30th place score on a machine, and try to do that 5 times; now riskier strategies are worth attempting.”

Another advantage of this is if people are playing higher risk pinball that games will potentially go by more quickly despite much higher scores being recorded.


Why would they just make up feedback??


I disagree that the old format was an accurate measurement of consistency and future performance in finals. There’s no comparison between playing head-to-head with other players and filling out a PAPA 4-game ticket. In head-to-head, you have only one opportunity to beat your opponent(s). If you’re filling out a ticket, you are essentially playing against yourself, and if you fudge two out of four games… Eh. You can always buy a new entry. (Hence my dislike of unlimited qualifying in general, but I digress.)

The truth of the matter is that the old format is discouraging to novice players. In the old pump-n-dump thread, someone had mentioned that intermediate players are most likely to empty their pockets during qualification–they are capable of putting up high scores but not all on one ticket. If the goal is to encourage new/less experienced players to attend, then this is the right change to make.

Top players will still qualify despite the format change. If you truly believe that the change will unfairly permit poorly skilled players to qualify, well then finals should be a cakewalk for you, right? :wink: