Papa 20


I hate being called Liz. Hate. It. I don’t know how many times I have to say that before people stop it. It’s been years.

Stop blaming scorekeepers. They are not standing around shooting the shit. If they are chatting, 98% of the time it’s due to the player having an issue or asking a question that requires a multi-syllabic response. 1% of the time it’s waiting for a machine to cycle back to the score.

There is no circumstance where you should step up to a tournament machine at PAPA without a scorekeeper setting you on the machine. There is no circumstance where you should walk away from a machine without a scorekeeper knowing.

These half assed excuses are the reason we can’t have nice things.


If PAPA was to implement queues just put the onus on the player. If you’re up next in queue and not around you will be removed from queue.


Not being around is not the issue. The issue is scores being recorded under the wrong player because players leave without telling the scorekeeper and/or people step up without a scorekeeper putting them on the machine.

Look: You’re third in the queue. Current player - Player Dick - walks off. Player Q1 from the queue steps up. Scorekeeper sees someone on the machine playing, not needing a scorekeeper. They focus on other players.

Scenario A: Player Q1 finishes and flags a scorekeeper. They notice the issue, alert the scorekeeper they are not Player Dick. Everything is right with the world.

Scenario B: Q1 doesn’t notice the score being put in under the wrong name. This causes ‘issues’.

Q2 doesn’t notice the score being put in under the wrong name. This causes more ‘issues’.

Q3 (you) are very smart, and you DO notice. Now the scorekeeper needs to come to the desk, tell me, have me fix Q1 and Q2, THEN input your correct score. Do they know who Player Dick and Q1 and Q2 are? Probably not. Those dudes are screwed. Meanwhile, Q4 is waiting and waiting for this to be figured out, and the machine is not being played. The queue is not moving.

This is not fiction. This has happened. If players didn’t walk or start games without approval, this would be 100% mitigated.


Apologies, I was unaware. I’d intended to use what I thought was the friendlier form of address.

Also, my comments about scorekeeper distractions were not PAPA-specific. [I was probably thinking more about NWPC, note to KCB.] The PAPA folks are better than most at keeping on point. Probably should have made that clear.


Yea, its a catch 22 because the more machines people can qualify on the more scorekeepers are needed. Im not sure what the ideal ratio is but i assume 1 scorekeeper to 5 machines is close.


1 to 5 is way too few, we attempt 1 to 3 at CAX and people still have to wait to get scores recorded very regularly.


Have you thought about a penalty system? First offense of walking away is a warning, after that, say a 4 hour suspension from queing up or playing any qualifying games?


I believe that’s why Karl has the picture of the current player right there on the screen. He also has very nice “Not Keith?” button that can get the queue figured out very easily if the person who is up does not match the picture


Folks, if you love this format so much, use it for one of your tournaments. It’s not dead or anything.


It took killing PAPA style for the Cubs to win the World Series … Worth it :slight_smile:


If a player walks off before having their score recorded, they get a big fat zero for their score. I’d say the scorekeeper should ask the player who they are before recording any score if they don’t know who the player is.

Being at the table, not walking off after their game, making sure the player verifies their score for accuracy is all on the player, imo.

When I’m a scorekeeper, I record scores standing in front of the machine so a player cannot walk up to a table until I’m finished recording a score and then call the next players name. I usually call it 2-3 times (waiting about 30 seconds) and if the player isn’t there, back of the line sucka.


The thing about the big fat zero, is that it probably already was a big fat zero, which is why they walked off. Not really going to deter them from doing it again.


I observe two different matters regarding scorekeeping and queue managing here.

One is a need for not having the queue being a stand in line, players self maintained, queue. And the other is making scorekeeping easier and having less errors. It is apples and pears, really. But can go hand-in-hand in a more automated queue system.

People say “just have player penalties”. But remember this has to be air tight and correct each time. Or it is more heat on the scorekeepers (volunteers, little pinball experiences, …).

People walking off games in a tournament where you are obliged to sign off is just unacceptable. We know why - people are upset about the outcome of their game and need to steam off. It just causes errors to happen. Delays at best.

A solution of this, still in a more manually run setup, is, that the players will have to hand in their badge before a game is started for them. And it is only returned to them upon signing off the game as either score or void. No badge by scorekeeper at game over - no valid score. No badge to hand in - no games started. Badge for a game still by scorekeeper when next player steps up - void the score.

Another suggestion to ease off the pressure from scorekeepers and the stress at qualification deadline, is to freeze the queue, say, 15 minutes to deadline. And determine, that the X players at the top of the queue is granted to play their attempt. Even if one or more will have to start their game past deadline. And no more, even if all games happened to conclude before deadline. The X being set by the TD. Again, not the responsibility of individual scorekeepers.

Just personal experience as both player and scorekeeper (I am sure PAPA has turned every stone and looked under them several times).


It seems in reading this thread the true underlying theme is about lines and queues, not necessarily the format of PAPA qualifying, which was probably the part that initially threw so many seasoned players off.

The PAPA qualifying format requires a player waiting in 5 lines to generate one entry. There is a lot of stored data and potential for issues before anything is even officially counted or voided.

The Herb style requires waiting in one line where a result (keep/void) is immediately obtained. Walk-offs are less an issue with respect to affecting overall standings.

I see the PAPA crew trying to strike a balance in dealing with the balance of ensuring a fair format that is fun for everyone and is not such a logistical headache to run.

Maybe I am oversimplifying the issues, but as I read the thread more, I don’t think the changes the PAPA staff are suggesting have anything to do with the competitive pinball community (newbies and/or veterans) uprising to force change in the type of format needed to qualify for the Pinball World Championship.


While many of the more recent posts are regarding queues, I disagree that it is the primary topic or concern. The main topic is the format change: lauding the value and expressing the preference for the cool and nuanced format that is (hopefully not “was”) PAPA ticket qualifying, and hoping there might be some way to keep it for the PAPA World Championships while meeting the goals and requirements of PAPA/Replay Foundation.


Why do we think changing the announced PAPA20 format was ever an option? I looked at the PAPA20 website, it looks like folks spent many hours, days, weeks, months researching what was the best changes to make. We think a dozen people complaining in this forum who don’t know 1% of the inside details of PAPA are going to somehow come up with something better?


I think you are oversimplifying a bit. For example, its $20 a day per person just to enter the facility now.

There are a lot of pain points that were probably white-boarded and debated internally and what we see on the site is that output.


Pinball fan since 2014 here, C division player
Disregarding all other information, here is my opinion!
I liked the PAPA ticket format.
It was fun and the only place I could play that format.
I will still be going to PAPA in April
Currently at 80% of what my pre-TouranmentFormatChanging levels were, mostly because I suck at pumpNdump :slight_smile:
Hopefully that level will creep back to 100% once we get closer to the event

Wanted to add!
Here in Syracuse we have two locations that have opened up recently with >2 machines, so I would like to try running the ticket format sometime… good idea @ErinK


What I am currently curious about it how it will influence choice of what division people play. I have not decided how it will impact me, but I know at least one friend said that with the change in format their is no point playing in any lower division. I think I agree. If the goal is to make more people play A, then this might work.


Since we brought up earlier PAPAs earlier, I would just note this interesting observation.

I was a poor college student in the early 90s, so I was much more keenly aware of how much money I was blowing on qualifying. The cost for an entry in ANY division in the Epstein PAPAs was $20. My first PAPA was 1993. The first website I found comparing values says that’s worth $33.42 today.

I would argue that, much like the price of playing a game of pinball on location, the cost of a tournament entry hasn’t kept up with inflation either. I also understand you can’t just raise it willy-nilly, but I thought it was interesting.