Pinburgh conundrum


I believe what Josh is pointing out is… the ‘best competitive effort’ does not necessarily equate to ‘must win the game’ when the ‘war’ is a series of matches, not just one in isolation. The player is still trying to win the TOURNAMENT… but winning every game isn’t necessarily the most competitive way to do so. Just like flipping every time or taking every reward isn’t necessarily the best way to win a pinball game. Sometimes restraint in one moment, can lead to a bigger payout down the road. And in Josh’s example, the effort to win the tournament could mean pausing in one match, to setup your next match.


I’m not following how tilting through would cripple the other player… since they get an extra ball, and the max number of wins they can get is fixed anyways… (minus game situational stuff like killing a game opportunity they had setup). But I would imagine such behavior would be seen as anti-competitive and if deemed intentional then would fall under the “to unfairly affect the outcome of the competition” and likely be actionable.

Is it that much different then trying to keep a player from making their turn by delaying them or otherwise prevent them from having the opportunity to play their ball? I mean… if someone went Nancy Kerrigan… no one would support that. And that’s kind of what you are doing here…


I believe this simplification has been done purely for the idea of TIME. Too many extra games for little payback. The ties going to seed is all about avoiding delays.


If I tilt-through, I come in last (by DQ). Josh needs player Y to come in last in order to have an opportunity to tie-break with them.


Gotta… I wasn’t follow the ‘you’ references clearly :slight_smile: Thx


I seriously doubt the Pinburgh rules intend to reward poor pinball play at any point.

Since everyone is not encouraged to game the system like this, I would disagree that the portion of players exploiting this fact should be perceived to be skillfully executing tournament strategy. They are taking advantage of the majority (I hope), who are trying to play well at all times. Doing otherwise is disrespectful to fellow players and the “spirit” of the tournament format.

I could be totally wrong, of course. Doug and Bowen might fully expect everyone tank games as part of “macro” tournament strategy. Fine by me if they do. If so, I’d like to know so I can start having the same advantage without feeling like a weasel, instead of getting ripped off for my good play by those that already are.

Like has already been said, it’s going to happen anyways if the rules allow for it. I’d just hate to see that become the standard approach for everybody.


I have a suggestion.


I don’t like this for two reasons

  1. Pinburg’s format is not like any other tournament format… so why use those performances in the ranking to limit how people compete?
  2. You create a new sandbagging incentive… stay out of the rankings

The problem with ‘tightening’ the divisions based on rankings is it puts even MORE weight behind a system that does a poor job of what you are trying to use it for… gauging skill.

Notice no one says “That guy has been HOT this year… what’s he doing in C?” - They all think a player’s skill is their TRAIT and is not dependent on recent performances. Yet IFPA rankings are exactly the former… not the latter.


I like the idea. At least could be playing for something.


It would make it totally random who wins the tournament. With 10 rounds you face at most 30 opponents out of 800 or 1000. With random pairings the winner would be more about luck of the draw than actual skill. You must use swiss pairings to get a fair tournament (or play more rounds – days and days of rounds)


No way people would do this with any regularity.

I would be using the tightening of ifpa ranking restrictions to limit sandbagging. If they really want to stop playing in IFPA events to keep their rank down as some multi year long sandbagging play, that’s on them. And extremely unlikely imo.


Swiss pairings it is then! I love this idea and I would still play if it were changed to this.


I notice a lot of people asking something along these lines: “why should good players who play badly on Thursday be rewarded for their inconsistency?” Assuming we’re not talking about sandbaggers, I think there’s a contradiction hidden there. Part of being a good player – maybe one of the largest parts of being a good player – is being consistent. If you’re a “streaky” player, you might get lucky and have a lot of bad games one day and a lot of good games the next. But you certainly can’t depend on that. If I was measured by all my outlying best games over the years I would be an A player; wouldn’t we all? But most of my rounds in D were about 6 points, suggesting I am pretty competitive on average with D players – even though last year I had a hot streak and maybe a good dose of luck on Thursday and qualified for B (where I was not very competitive).


Your strategy makes perfect sense.

It’s still sandbagging if you’re not trying your hardest every game, every ball.


Definitely finishing ahead of someone that takes home cash hurts. Mostly because when you play your best and loose out to people a hundred or more spots behind you feel cheated. Me personally I just wish I had that one more point to qualify for C finals, then I would have had some cash. Knowing that people that play better than me regularly were well below me and ended up with cash does hurt a bit, mostly because any money is important (i.e. not chump change). However, I still can’t say I’d change the pay structure, but if I did it would go to the top 160 qualifiers if there were 4 divisions.

As it is Pinburgh still has a format (all-around including qualifying, finals, and payouts) that I overall think is great. Tighten up D division, maybe tighten B and C division restrictions and I think it’s all good.


So qualifying for C and earning cash would have made you feel better even though several hundred people finishing ahead of you received nothing? Isn’t this exactly what you are complaining about?


Regarding how a tilt-through could hurt another player - progress. Take Paragon as an example. Player 4 has Super Bonus at 40K heading into Ball 3. Player 3 is behind Player 4 by 35,000 points and performing really poorly. In this case, because IFPA rules don’t allow the machine to be set back to any state, Player 3 has greatly increased their chances of beating Player 4. Were they not to tilt through, Player 4 could simply plunge the ball and beat player 3. With a tilt-through, Player 4 no longer has 40K in guaranteed points (and thus, given the conditions, an ALREADY won game). Now, on a new game P4 puts up 20K but with no Super Bonus, this replacement ball is inherently worth less than it would have been. While I understand why the rules stipulate you can’t return a game to any particular state, this is a cut-and-dry case of when that rule directly harms Player 4. In some ways, I wish the rule accounted for known situations like this but then you’d have the issue of potentially proving the intent. Of course, in this situation P3 is DQ’d anyway, but what if they were tilting through to help a friend? How would that be determined?


If you purposely stay out of the rankings and avoid IFPA tournaments for the purpose of gaming Pinburgh and winning a few hundred bucks than so be it! If you tighten up restrictions you can make sure that this player doesn’t get away with it for more than one year.

IFPA rankings aren’t perfect but they are currently the best barometer for gauging skill that we currently have. I don’t think anyone has ever come out of obscurity to win the A Division. It is almost always a top 100 IFPA Player. This year A Division was won by the #49 ranked player, B Division #79 ranked, C Division 447th ranked, and D Division 987th ranked player. The rankings themselves aren’t a true determination of skill but the results generally correlate to a players IFPA rank.


Making it into C Division (or any division finals, including D) would have made me feel better, the cash would have been a nice bonus. Not making divisions finals stung a bit, and not getting any of that cash back when lower qualified players did just stings a bit more. It’s the qualifying that would have ultimately made me feel better. As it is, there are hundreds of players all the way from A to the bottom of C that lose money to lower qualified players, it’s the way the setup works. I can accept that. Twice I’ve been in that position, I’ll continue to come back and try to do better (though it would kinda stink to make B division but not qualify, A - not qualify, etc, IF money was the biggest thing.)

The essence of my complaint isn’t about ‘lower’ performing players getting money over better performing players (though it is a rub), for this year it was that the restrictions seemed less than functional for really separating ability groups, particularly in D. I was happy for you to have made it into those finals, just FYI.

Of course I’d loved to have taken home money to help pay for the trip. I do fine, but unlike many in this hobby I don’t have tons of disposable income so anything I win just goes to pay bills or back into the hobby. I’ll be fine to come back to Pinburgh knowing that I might not make money but players who qualified lower will, I’d just like the see the division restrictions revisited a bit.


People suppress themselves now… and with the upcoming ‘fundraiser’ - resistance is going to grow as well.

The vast majority of players are getting points from regional events - not majors. When people are not allowing their results to goto IFPA, or those regionals stop submitting to IFPA (for other external factors)… the system breaks down.

This suggestion is ‘Lets put even MORE weight into a shaky evaluation criteria’.

Today it’s one measuring stick… a stick that doesn’t have a huge impact on most… and isn’t expected to be PRECISE… so it’s weaknesses are mainly benign. But start moving to expect that stick to be far more accurate, or far more significant… and you start making mistakes that do have significant impact.