PAPA Circuit Event: 2017 Vancouver Flip-Out

After a successful move to Vancouver from Fraser Valley, the Vancouver Flip-Out returns as the largest tournament in Canada, as the main event of the Vancouver Pinball Expo (VPE). This year, the Vancouver Flip-Out main event is also part of the 2017-18 PAPA Circuit, recognized as one of the premier tournaments in North America.

A summary of the tournaments is provided below. For full tournament details, go to the website:

Expo details, including tickets, travel and location info:

Facebook Event Page:

Please note that the tournaments start a day earlier than the Expo, on Thursday September 21, with doors opening at 4pm. Playing early is highly recommend to avoid long lines waiting to play, and to ensure you have sufficient time to play all of your games, especially in the Main division.

$10,000 in prizes, in the form of cash, trophies, plaques, and pinball memorabilia to be awarded across all tournaments!

A summary of each tournament is provided here. Go to for more details.


  • Main Tournament, Limited Best-Game Qualifying. IFPA Ranked.
  • $30 to Enter, 15 tickets. Maximum three rebuys, each rebuy is 5 tickets for $10.
  • 12 to 14 machines, best 7 scores
  • Open Division: Top 24 qualifiers, $1000 guaranteed to winner.
  • Novice Division: Top 16 qualifiers, IFPA Rank Restriction at 3500, $150 guaranteed to winner.
  • Qualifying Thursday through Saturday, finals on Sunday.


  • Classics Tournament, PAPA-19-Style Qualifying in sets of 4 games. IFPA Ranked.
  • $10 per Entry. One entry is four games. Unlimited retries.
  • 6 to 8 machines in the bank, choose your favorite 4 to play.
  • Open Division: Top 24 qualifiers, $500 guaranteed to winner.
  • Novice Division: Top 16 qualifiers, IFPA Rank Restriction at 3500, $150 guaranteed to winner.
  • Qualifying Thursday through Saturday 6pm, finals Saturday 7pm.


  • Women’s Tournament, 4-Strike Knockout.
  • $10 Entry. Saturday 2pm.
  • $100 and plaque guaranteed to winner.
  • Plaques and cash prizes for top 4. Additional prizes if more than 20 players.


  • 3-Strike Knockout tournament for players who are not ranked in IFPA top 1500
  • $5 Entry. Sunday 1pm.
  • $100 and plaque guaranteed for the winner.
    (Note: Players in VFO Open Division Final 16 or Novice Final 4 not eligible.)


  • Match Play, 4 Rounds
  • $1 Entry. Sunday 10am.
  • Top 4 qualify for one 4-player-game final.
  • Plaques for Top 4.

Looking forward to it. Whats the youngest age for the Junior Jam?

No youngest age. However, we do expect that the kid can play on their own (doesn’t need a parent or guardian helping them), and understands the rules enough to take turns and play only their balls. If they don’t understand the overall format, then a parent or guardian needs to be present to ensure they are at the right place at the right time.

Both banks are now announced and this event is 1 week from today. I’m hyped!

Modern:Centaur, Starship Troopers, Spiderman VE, Family Guy, Dirty Harry, Tommy, Elvira, Mario Andretti, Demolition Man, Twilight Zone, Dialed In, and Stern Star Trek.

Classics: Pink Panther, Joker Poker, Captain Fantastic, Cherry Bell, Melody, Big Game, Eight Ball

Potential backups:Gold Rush and Viking for the Classic Bank, and The Shadow, Attack from Mars, The Walking Dead, and Scared Stiff on the modern bank.

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Centaur is… modern?

It’s all relative. Modern = made after I was a teen. Classic is before I was a teen. :slight_smile:

Or it’s all about how it looks. Just like how Whoa Nellie was in the Classic Bank last year. :slight_smile:

The rule of thumb seems to be
Classics can be anything before 1990
Open / Modern / Main can be anything that’s not an EM (unless you are Little Chief)
Which leaves an interesting gap where modern can have games that are classics, but classics usually can’t have modern games

Are there settings for Mario Andretti that make it non-ridiculous?

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Do you mean like a new playfield?

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I would describe the layout as “somewhat bad”. (From playing it just a couple times) I remember the rules, however, as being ridiculous. Let’s take a look…

Mystery Award

Mystery is alternately lit and unlit at the left ramp on slingshot, pop bumper and tach hits. If Race Strategy is lit at the ramp, Mystery will not be lit. Shoot the ramp when lit for Mystery to collect a random award:

1 to 10 Gallons Fuel
Post Up
1 to 5 Jackpots
Race Strategy
500,000,000 (!!!)
Complete Lap

Ball Saves
Mario Andretti has guaranteed ball time. If you have not had the minimum ball time it will repeatedly give you the ball back after your third ball until you do get the minimum ball time.

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What, you don’t think a 500 million random award is perfectly normal?

Extra credit for getting the 500 mil award during Novice mode compensation time.

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It is described as the ‘Main’ tournament on the website.

Interesting mix of titles to say the least! Going to be a blast!

I use the words Main and Classics that way people don’t bitch when we put an older game in the Modern bank. It is nice to have some different pins in the main bank think Dave and his group did a good job in providing some variety.


I agree completely. You guys did a great job at YegPin too with the game selection as well. :+1:

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We are aware of some unusual features in Mario Andretti that does not make it an ideal tournament machine. However, we’ve also had feedback that players, especially the novice and intermediate players (not ranked in top 250) who represent over 85% of the attendees, enjoy the variety, and do in fact like the thrill of random awards occasionally giving them a superb boost. Thus we chose to provide a good mix of some known good and popular tourney machines, with a couple of less-common machines.

Our rules already state that only 8 of the 12 main bank machines will be used in the finals. Last year, for example, we used Rocky & Bullwinkle with double-your-score feature, and had a note on the backglass that it would be one of the machines not used in the finals. As a qualifying machine, many players chose to play it, while some chose to avoid it. The same applies to a machine like Mario Andretti. Nobody is required to play it in qualifying since we only take top 7, and it’s highly likely it will not be used in the finals. If we do use it, it’s because we discovered there is a way to not make it more fair in a match-play environment. But just because it isn’t good for Match play, it does provide for an option for some who do like that, and is suitable in a tourney where you can retry multiple times on your favorite machines.

The minimum ball time aspect was also considered. Whereas a few years ago this would have been a no-way, several major tournaments have been using the Beat-the-clock machine rather successfully, and most people enjoyed that. So again, especially catering to the novice audience, having a machine that provides minimum ball time, at least in a qualifying round, is an interesting twist. We’re experimenting with it, and it’s only one of 12 machines. Anyone attending who doesn’t like that, can simply choose to focus on playing the other 11 machines in the bank.


Any word on game setups for the machines in the Main bank? Are we going to see glo balls in any of the machines? Posts pulled on Twilight Zone etc?

We don’t know for certain what adjustments we will be making to the machines. However, as with any other tournament that includes many of the world’s best players, do expect the machines to be more challenging than your typical arcade setup. However, there are also many novices who play the tournament, so we want to ensure they enjoy it too. Thus challenging but not impossible. Unlikely that we’ll be pulling posts, but it is quite likely that posts will be at their hard settings on most of the machines. For some known longer-playing machines, possibly also a rubber or two removed from the outlane posts. Also expect some easy multiballs to be set to hard settings (e.g. Spidey doc ock) and multiball ball-savers reduced to be at their minimum time setting on machines where that is adjustable (e.g. newest Sterns).However, we do expect to keep a short ball-saver on most machines where such a ball saver is typical.

With regards to glo-balls, there’s never a plan to use them, but they are a tool we have at our disposal. The tournament machines are all selected sight unseen. They belong to private collectors, and the first time any TD sees the machine, it is already setup in the tournament bank, and that’s in a room totally separate from the main expo hall. Swapping out machines is difficult and not something we have time for during the hectic setup. However, what do you do if one or more of those machines have weak or sluggish flippers, such that you can’t hit one of the ramps, or in a classic machine can’t get the ball all the way back to the top lanes? We don’t have time to rebuild flippers, and don’t have an easy option to replace the machine. In general, that’s when we choose to swap the balls and use glo-balls. For example, last year we had a pristine SF II, except that it was impossible to make the right ramp from the left flipper. With glo-balls in that machine, however, a good shot to the ramp was easily doable. In one of the classic machines, the flippers were so weak that the ball could only go half-way up the playfield, but with glo-balls it brought life back into the game and made it so much more enjoyable to play.

The one other time we might use a glo-ball is if a machine has an exploit, and use of such a ball eliminates or makes using that exploit significantly more difficult or dangerous. That’s the one time the glo-balls might be used to increase the difficulty of the machine. Otherwise, they are used to improve the playability of the machine.

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Thanks for the concise reply @dbs .

I can’t wait to flip this coming weekend!