Pinball! Pinball! Pinball! Tournament report and format discussion


Our first flipper frenzy event:

  • 2.5 hours
  • 27 players
  • 13 machines
  • 5 players in the queue
  • Games played ranged from 11 to 17, average was 14.3

Extra balls were off. Batman 66 was set to ‘no tilt warnings’ to speed up what’s typically our longest playing game month to month. Here was our average match duration per machine:

Game Plays Duration
Black Knight 19 plays 6:04
Twilight Zone 15 plays 7:19
Wizard of Oz 17 plays 7:54
Batman 66 14 plays 8:14
Paragon 16 plays 8:18
Ghostbusters 15 plays 8:52
Aerosmith 14 plays 9:19
Game of Thrones 14 plays 9:37
The Addams Family 13 plays 9:45
Star Wars 13 plays 9:52
Kiss 13 plays 9:58
Guardians of the Galaxy 14 plays 9:59
Houdini 13 plays 10:12


What’s the general consensus on having running a finals at the end of qualifying?


The format itself has enough inherent randomness that I don’t really love it for determining the winner of an event, but it’s good enough to separate the field into who played well, fair and poor. Advancing those who finished roughly top 1/3 of the field and putting them into a more conventional playoff structure feels like the best of both worlds and does a good job determining a clear-cut winner for the event.

Beyond that, for the point crunchers, adding a separate finals is good way to get your TGP to 100%.


This for sure . . . I could see as our night went on, that the random matchups for players had the biggest impact on who was going to win the tournament. Players really have only a single loss or two to spare if they want to finish on top, and no offense to my mom, but there was definitely a feeling in the air as we worked through the queue who was going to get the “easy” match and who was going to get the “more challenging” match.


you being the easy match? or are you throwing your own mother under the bus?! :joy:


I was a little worried about my mom showing up and the format just being devastating to her to lose THAT MUCH for the night. I was super proud when we she went 3-12, and more importantly her head was in a really good place. She was focusing on just playing a “good game” and was excited when she simply put up a good game for herself regardless of whether she won the game or not.


That’s great to hear - one of the reasons I like this format is you get to play a lot. Strikes were often brutal to the less skilled and we did this with a bunch of newbies a year ago at the Emporium here in SF (where you can use PAPA tokens FWIW) and it seemed like everyone had a blast!


Do you guys have situations where players are playing the same opponents multiple times while playing other people zero times? Not in a row, but over the course of the whole event. Same with arenas.

Just want to make sure I ran this right and I’m not missing something.


That’s the nature of this format. Your opponent and arena is determined solely by the queue.


Good to know. Thanks!


So much is made about player position, or game situation - but in essence this ^^^ is what it should be about.

The only thing worse than playing badly and losing, is playing well and losing and then beating yourself up over it.


Ran one yesterday at my house and also played myself. Both players entered their own results. Worked out really well because the machines played very fast with no ball save and no major malfunctions. Hardly did any tournament directing. Saying that, most players had played before so they knew what they where doing and helped the Noobs enter results

Did just 2.5 hours of flip frenzy and the average of 24 games per player. Small queue. 4 ppl only so wait time was about 2 minutes.

Removed slowest 4 playing games for finals. Which you can easily see in matchplay

Fair 6 strikes Finals for top 8
Top 2 start with 0 strikes
3 and 4 start with 1
5 and 6 start with 2
7 and 8 start with 3

Entire thing was done in about 4 hours.
If I did it again I would just do 5 strikes for finals instead of 6. Having super fast games in flip frenzy works out really well. No one wants to drain a ball thinking they are going to win because the game is playing long and they won’t want to waste time. I don’t think it happened at all yesterday

Qualifying -

Finals -


Clarification for TGP and such on this format @pinwizj . Can you concede a match? I was playing in a league last night and someone had conceded a game in head to head match play and I know i’ve seen this before when someone didn’t want to chase down a big score at a circuit event. Is this allowable as well in this format? I know you can’t collude to play 2-ball games etc, but want to make sure it’s still kosher for maintaining TGP.


It’s fine. Similar to watching Elwin and Zach concede matches to eachother at the Expo finals a couple of years back, sometimes there’s strategy to saving that energy for the next game instead of wasting it trying to come back on the current game. For Flip Frenzy obviously the time element is perhaps a motivating enough factor for this to happen ‘more often’, but with the average number of games played across the entire field I feel like the impact is minimal.

I’ll be watching/listening closely in 2019 as I anticipate the format will become the next ‘big thing’ that we see. If we notice enough things for there to be a trend, we’ll deal with it accordingly later on.


Yeah that’s what I figured and with most people using net wins, a concession is actually like -2 since you lose the win and take a loss simultaneously… I guess if on a game and you tie, would you have to replay an entire game? or would a one ball tiebreak be OK in that situation to break the tie? (since you can’t record a tie in MP)


TD discretion . . . for our event I would definitely do a 1-ball tiebreaker and keep things moving.


feel like the Aussie are pushing for it to be the next pinball revolution! :slight_smile: Still seems to me based on yours and @kdeangelo feedback that there is quite a bit of the “playing-Josh-mother” matchup randomness to the format.


It’s definitely not something that I would recommend for a “serious” competition, but for a casual local event the opportunity for players to play 3X the amount of pinball over the course of the same period compared to group match play can’t be ignored. At the casual player level I’ve found that people just reallly want to PLAY PINBALL, and this scratches that itch better than any format I’ve ever seen.


Just use it for qualifying and use a more traditional finals format and it’s pretty solid. Casuals will still get a good amount of guaranteed play time. Better players will advance and have to face each other to get the event win.


definitely will try it that way… now i definitely to try and understand how the format is run… :smiley: