Pinball! Pinball! Pinball! Tournament report and format discussion


I’ve found that ~25% of the overall field is the right amount for the queue for a short-but-not-too-short wait between matches for the queued players.

IMO, having everyone in the queue move when the next person enters is overly complicated. Here’s what I do:

  • Add chairs for the queue area roughly in a circle.
  • Give a “totem” (usually a sweet wooden Pinball Co-op sign, but it just needs to be obvious and not too hard to hold) to the first person in line.
  • When Player X joins the queue, they identify Person Y via the totem and tell him/her which machine to join; then Player X sits it in the last position, wherever that is at the time; then Player Y hands the totem to Player Z (the next player in line) and Player Y joins the required game.

This last step seems complicated, but it all happens in about 5 seconds.


It was my first time running the format last night. We had 17 players and played for 3 hours. I followed all of @stevevt’s suggestions – well we didn’t do the totem at first, but added it in and it helped a lot.

We also implemented the two game suggestion from @coreyhulse. It worked well. We had one player who has done the format before give some concern at first, but once we started they never complained about it. I think it made it easier for first timers to grasp.

Thanks for all the tips in the thread. They definitely helped!


how did you track the matches? I am thinking to run this format soon and just checking on what software options people are doing. Thanks!


I used a google form with a winner and loser dropdowns. In the sheet that had the form results, I had a page that calculated the wins and losses and a page that auto-sorted those wins and losses into a current standings page.

I displayed that last page during the tournament on a monitor so people could see the current standings as we went.


Jeffrey you forgot to mention who won the event. Minor oversight I’m sure.




Just ran one of these at the new Emporium in SF and had a lot of fun. Lots of newbies turned out and we did the ‘stay on the machine for two matches’ variation which I thought was easier to implement. Went pretty smoothly overall and thanks to @fletchtb s Google Sheets skills I was able to run it pretty well utilizing a Google Form posting to his Google Sheet.

Other notes for future TDs to consider:

  • I like the “totem” idea and having a place designated for players to wait. We didn’t have quite a solid setup for that at my tourney, but chairs or something makes it easier for players to know where they are etc.
  • A previous time I ran it by taking a mini photo of each person on one of the Fuji Instax cameras and laying those on whichever machine people were on to show who was on which machine and that worked well but wasn’t able to do that for this one since I wasn’t sure what machines would be used up until tourney time
  • Wanna re-emphasize trying to pick faster playing games and/or games that play at similar lengths
  • having a TD plus one helper minimum is ideal - it’s quite hectic! We had 7-8 machines being played at a time with 2-4 people waiting - i think the 10-20% rule is good for # of players not playing vs total pool of players


Here is a generic version of the Google Form and Sheet that other TDs running this format can use for their own tournaments.

Feel free to enter some scores and look at the results on the spreadsheet. Thanks to @bondorew for helping me to simplify my original format.

Typically, I embed the Live Results and TGP tabs into a tournament website for all players to access, which may be a little cleaner than displaying the whole sheet via a projecter or monitor at the tournament site.

Google Form: Enter Results

Google Sheet to track display results: Score Sheet

Anyone is welcome to make copies of the Google Sheet for use in their own tournaments. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.