Pinball! Pinball! Pinball! Tournament report and format discussion


Yeah I agree, we’re going to do this at the next two tournaments I am running as well and I think the other bonus to that is the more casual folks get guaranteed play time (and lots of it) and don’t have to be in for the ‘long haul’ that most of the more season players/WPPR hunters look for. So you can get a good % of TGP up front and then grade it close to 100%/+ with your playoff format…


This was the first one I ran using matchplay
And the 2nd one at the location

Check out the amount of noobs and low rated players at the event…We had repeat players from the first event and they brought along friends.

It was a prepaid event that sold out and a bunch of people at the end of the event talked to me and wanted to sign up for the next one which was 6 weeks or so away and not registered yet. Unheard of.

There are so many other monthly tournaments here and they are OK for getting 1 or 2 new players each time, but having almost half the players unrated I think is good for growing the local scene!

If you have some super serious players you want to retain then make the Frenzy a little shorter and give the top 4 some finals at the end.


Hey Ryan, when you say “Both players entered their own results”. Is that through their phone on Matchplay live or through a common computer were both players walked to after the game to add their results?

Then whoever gets to play again (winner if first win or 2 players from queue if the winner already won) is in charge to get the player from queue and get their next match going?


Yes, there was my laptop hooked up to a 42" TV, and people just scrolled down to their game and choose who won.
Matchplay then pops up on the screen telling you who is next.
The people in the queue hung around the TV anyway, and the software shows you your position in the queue on your Phone, and at the top of the default screen being displayed on the TV,
So if you are next, you know when someone is approaching the TV you are up.

Only crappy thing is that 3 or so times people accidentally clicked out of the screen, and when you go in it shows the current results, so some people knew how they where going in the middle of the tournament

But yes you can play in the tournament yourself, but I would only do it if a good percentage of people have played before, and if the machines are solid.


Also you said you hid the standings - have you found that to be a better practice or is it better to show the standings? Any other folks have thoughts on that?

If it’s hidden it can help to reduce shenanigans like ‘oh i might have to play someone good so i’ll take a long dump and get skipped once’ to play someone ‘weaker’ etc. :poop:


If someone doesn’t show up for their match, they should be marked as “player not present” in Match Play. This moves the player to the back of the queue AND credits them with a loss. (Their opponent does not get an automatic win, but instead plays whoever is at the front of the queue.) There’s nothing to be gained by going missing.

Hiding the standings certainly can help prevent other kinds of shenanigans, though.


The first one I ever ran was using a spreadsheet with the standings shown.
I think 2 or 3 people left the event early because could see how bad they where doing against everyone else.

Not knowing the standings I think adds to the excitement but also make a lot of nervous players play better.
How many times do people put pressure on themselves saying ‘If I just make this shot, I win the game and win the tournament’ and absolute fail.

Like LCM said, if a player doesn’t rock up they are getting a loss and back of the queue. So you need to make the queue long enough that people can go outside for a smoke break if needed or quickly go to the toilet. If you have enough machines and the queue is too short, you can just manually take out a machine. If someone leaves early, don’t manually create a game, just add the person that was meant to be playing them back to the queue. Otherwise the queue gets too short and its impossible for the software to adjust.


Cool yeah the toughest thing we had was people wanted a really short queue but it was so short that if you had a person taking a :poop:, that would take longer than the queue time so we didn’t really want to give them a loss for not being there since that’s a natural thing you need to take care of :joy: -

I guess a super extreme version could involve Depends


We ran into the same situation . . . either that or players asking if they had enough time to run to the bar to get a drink. We also had some players concerned about the lack of socializing with all the playing going on.

Ultimately I think with the more ‘casual’ nature of this tournament format, it’s important to have a queue that’s long enough to ensure that players have some chance to relax, run to get a drink, use the bathroom, have a conversation with another player, before getting thrown back into the chaos. The location certainly appreciates making sure the players had time to reload on their drinks as well.


how would you guys use final standings for tie breaker? For Matchplay events I use the “most amount of 1st then most amount of 2nd… and if needed, higher ranked in previous round or if still tied the round before” which guarantee not having to play tiebreaker that stress the schedule of our tournament.

for FF (example would the winning ratio (W / L) be a good tie breaker metric? Someone with 15/8 would win over someone with 17/10 for example…

I would not want to push for a metric that motivates people to throw games or try to fudge the system…

Hiding the standing is something I am still not sure about?


We submit those positions as being tied. Only a tie for 1st place would be broken via a playoff for us.


ah, i may not have been clear enough. my goal is to top top8 into a 4player group knockout finals :slight_smile: So I need top8 to be clear without having to go through another 20-30min tie breaker game (It has happened…).


One ball playoff for the win!


Seconded! We’ll be doing top 4 finals in January and will use the one-ball playoff where needed.


haha @dbs favorite method but I would rather use metrics from 2.5 hours of qualifying than one random ball that could invalidate 2.5h of hard work :slight_smile:


I ran one of these over the weekend and we had record turnout for the venue (21 people):

Some random observations:

There’s a lot of confusion about the exact nature of the format. Matchplay implements this a certain way and that’s what I went with, but I did mangle the rankings (W-L differential not just overall Wins) explanation. I’ve totally written up a spiel for the future so I can explain all the rules correctly. I like that Matchplay lets me use fewest losses as the tiebreaker instead of most wins.

The queue management system provided by Matchplay is huge. Putting the big screen view up on a TV at the venue really helps.

It’s quite difficult to put this on as one person show. Everytime I had to make a ruling / open a mchine to get a stuck ball / etc it could/would slow the queue down. I ended up adding “stoppage time” of 15 minutes to the end of the tourney.

To really do this well I feel you would need 2-3 people so someone can always be entering results and directing people if necessary. Then the other 1-2 people can be dedicated tech or rulings person.

This is a really great format for venues since it increases coin drop. If it’s a barcade, more people will buy drink/food as well. The players I talked to seem to really like this format too, regardless of skill level. Everyone seems to like less downtime and “no elimination”. I can see why this is popular haha.

The major disadvantage of this format is it’s more complex to setup/run/execute than other formats. Once that queue starts you better know what you are doing as a TO/TD. Also, I do agree the TO/TD shouldn’t be playing though I guess if there were like 3-4 TO/TD that could work as some people have stated.

The format does indeed handle machines going down for issues well, which is great for the venue I run events at.

I did not run a playoffs, but in the future I’m considering it. Opinion on this was pretty split, since my queue time was 2.5 hours (really like 2.75 with stoppage time). Some people felt that they’d played enough while others wanted a playoffs. I think a playoffs is probably in order since the higher skill players seem to want a playoff and they’d most likely be the ones playing heh.