Pinball! Pinball! Pinball! Tournament report and format discussion


24x 2 or 4 players games? either nearly 100% in 3 hours? definitely optimizing tgp :wink:


this format would be 2-player games I’m pretty sure


It’s definitely an optimized format because players never have to wait to keep playing.

In any strikes event you’re only as fast as the slowest group every round.

Toss in the massive amount of collusion and forfeiting and you can get to 100% TGP in under an hour :smile:


In this example the TGP would be 96%. Just to clarify, TGP is Tournament Grade Percentage. Total games played just happens to have the same three initials. LOL


thanks i still don’t quite get the overall idea of the format though it sounds fun and interesting so i’d like to see one being run in Seattle.


I really think that this format is being over-complicated by using software, rather than a pen and piece of paper.

I’ve ran 2 of these style comps now, and entered another ran by @Wizcat.

All 3 have hit 100% TGP in under 3hrs, which allowed for a 30 minute break in the middle.

The Set-up
Each Player has their own score card.
Each Machine has it’s own card.
Each Player has a pen.
Number of entrants = (number of machines x 2) + 3
A clearly visible to all clock to be used for timekeeping.

The Rules
At the start every player is randomly allocated a machine and player position, or position in the queue.
The players in the queue place their score cards in a pile. The score card on the top is the next player to leave the queue.

At the end of each game
Players mark/witness each others score cards.
Player 1 becomes Player 2 on the same machine.
Player 2 takes the Machine card to the queuing area and gives it the person who is top of the queue, they then place their score card on the bottom of the pile.
The Player leaving the queue goes to the machine just vacated (indicated by the machine card) and becomes Player 1

Rinse and repeat for whatever time period you choose.

At the end of the session all players hand in their score cards and the TD tallys up the wins and determines the winner.

We had a half-time break in all 3 runnings of the comp.
This allowed players to have something to eat and allowed the TD to take a half-time score. This had the benefit of allowing players to see where they currently stood,
fix any minor problems with machines,
review which machines were playing long (or short) and remove/swap them to balance play times.
We also looked at how many games players had played - we then reordered them so that the players with the least plays started the 2nd session as Player 1, and those with the fewest plays started session 2 from the queue. This gave the perception of making it more fair - although in all likelihood had little impact on the results. What it did do was rejig the opponents you were more likely to face in the second session.

You can choose to determine the winner by most wins or best win percentage (and use the other metric as a tie-breaker)- there was no difference in the top 4 for any of the 3 comps ran.
However, by basing it on most wins it encourages faster gameplay and you don’t get people trying to slow the flow down because they think they’re winning on percentage.

Further Thoughts
You could use the format as a purely qualifying section of your tournament (as long as 10-50% progress). 2 of the versions I’ve competed in had PAPA style 4 player finals, 1 was simply over at the allotted time.

Despite the fact that each time this comp has been ran, people who haven’t entered a similar comp before said they were confused, within 2 rounds EVERYONE understood what was going on and the games flowed very quickly with virtually no delays. Average waiting times in the queue were well below 5mins, effectively the queuing time is (average game play time / 3) + time to record score + time to walk back to queuing area.

The fact that it is Player 2 leaving the machine means that there is no way Player 1 can leave after his final ball ends (as they would need their score card completing AND they are on that machine next). As the player joining will be Player 1 there is no way that the other Player can start their game until they arrive. It’s perfect.

I have never seen a case where a player returns to the same machine they’ve just left, and the probability of that happening is virtually impossible.


This is already more complicated than using Matchplay. Haha

Doing this by hand, did you get a large disconnect on arena draws and opponents? I had lots of players not even get to play some people while playing others 3-4 times. Same with arenas.

If Matchplay can make that aspect better, it will be a very interesting format for me to start running regularly.


I’m considering using Matchplay to run the next flippin frenzy tournament @WWJ. Been paying for Matchplay ever since that original NLP comp that I never used it for, so about time I used it really :laughing:

I think being able to see real time results might add a bit more excitement to an already pretty amazing format, and based on my performance it seems I’m pretty crap at both TDing and playing, so I’d be OK with sitting out as the scorekeeper/TD too


The IFPA will be strongly encouraging TD’s to use MatchPlay for Flip Frenzy formats based on how TGP will be graded next year. So get an account if you don’t already! :slight_smile:


First you want our playfields to be well lit, and now you’re forcing us to use community driven tournament software?? This is an outrage and I expect a 300 post thread about it!!


Just wait till I require that every pingolf event is run via cause I’m tired of calculating PGM :smiley:


I always calculated PGM in my scoring spreadsheet (that I shared when submitting) so hopefully that helped.

Unfortunately, I haven’t run a pingolf event in ages. One of these days…


Anyone who’s run this format with mixed era of games - how has that played out with faster playing games vs. longer playing machines? Some folks are asking since obviously a match on a long playing DMD can take 2x as long as matchup on an EM or SS… are you limiting the field of machines? I like to have a mix so want to keep everything in and over time am hoping it averages itself out?


I haven’t played in one yet (I will be at the end of this month)… but conceptually, as long as you use Net Wins as your metric for standings, this shouldn’t be as big of an issue. I do realize getting to play fewer games means more effect of each individual game on your Net Wins, but it’s fair – insomuch that any mixed era match play format event is “fair” that randomly assigns you to the whole spectrum of pins.

You will have the potential for some players to spend more time waiting between balls if they get skewed toward modern longer-playing pins.


The few I’ve played have been a pretty even mix of Sterns / 90’s BW / Early SS and it all evened out fine with a 3 hour running time. You may see some more variance if you only ran it for an hour or so, but that’s just a guess.


yeah i figure the longer it is the more evened out it’ll be. I feel like there’s probably a minimum threshold that makes sense (maybe 2 or 3 hours)?


3 hours feels about right for a mix of casuals and serious players. Any longer might burn out the casuals, but it’s still long enough to get meaningful results where the cream rises to the top.

Also worth noting, the few I’ve played have been about 50 players and it was only used as the qualifying portion where the top 16 made the cut to a playoff bracket.


I realize there are a lot of factor that play into this… but with that mix of eras, approx how many games were played on average during the 3 hours?


From what I can recall, “A” players were in the 13-15 range, casuals were in the 17-20 range.

That was with ~50 players and ~20 available machines, so the line was around 6-10 players at any given time.


Our last flipper frenzy event:

  • 4 hours (two 2-hour sessions)
  • 35 players
  • 14 machines
  • 7 players in the queue
  • Games played ranged from 27 to 37, and averaged 32.8

Extra balls off. Longest playing machines not used. Longer playing machines toughened up as much as deemed necessary.