Pinburgh conundrum


Except that it was what @mizary was proposing. The top 160 (who would all be “A” in the current format) would be the only players paid prize money. Anyone who would normally be in C or D in the current format would have very little chance to earn prize money.


I’d like to think we can reward skill while also rewarding players for performing well at all skill levels, but I’ll also admit this attempt is the source of the sandbagging problem we now encounter.


FWIW - this is one of the angles that has made Pinburgh my favorite and why I come back every year. That there are things for everyone without up front barriers makes it very approachable and rewarding.

IMHO - my only area for improvement would be solving the lower A division players. And decide if D is just the bottom or is it for rookies. I think it’s fine as it is…


Seems that sandbagging occurs primarily because players want more control over which division they land in. Could try allowing folks to voluntarily move up or down one division after Thursday results. This also helps those who played poorly and want to move up. People who stick with A (and wind up in the bottom) are still digging themselves out of a hole, but it won’t be as big a hole if (presumably), many of their low-A companions bail for B (which makes B even harder to win). Reducing A this way also increases the chance the lower-seeded A folks can play against world-class players, which some people are looking to do.

I still say one of the problems this year was the big tie that made A 247 people instead of 200. Simply forcing ties down instead of up across the board may be another viable solution.


Just looked up some of the D players and a majority are in the top 1000 of IFPA. It may just be the case that Pinburgh is so competitive that very good players are going to be spread out across all divisions. I do know during the first day I was playing players in the 300s and that certainly is going to kill any chance of picking up meaningful points for non skilled players.


It’d be interesting to see a plot of where all the players in Pinburgh fell in the IFPA rankings. Is this something you can drop into your statistical analysis @coreyhulse?


What about saying that anyone who qualifies in A has a guaranteed spot (assuming you pay for it) for next year? No cost to Replay, and the prize is not having to deal with forgetting the signup time or day.


It will be easy to tie in the incoming IPFA ranking as an attribute of a player if someone has that information as it was captured at the cutoff for the tournament. If I gather up IFPA rankings as of today (which does not yet include Pinburgh), I’m able to get 781 of the 800 players. There are nineteen people who are either multiples (i.e. multiple Austin Smiths) or I’m not able to find them and they might be brand new players who do not have a ranking.

So, I either need someone to tell me which of these individuals competed from the multiples, OR, if someone from the ReplayFX crew has the official list of incoming IFPA rankings, then I could very easily fill the gap of the unmatched names.

Austin Smith (Multiples)
Brad Smith (Multiples)
CJ Brown (Multiples)
David Cohen (Multiples)
Ed Williams (Multiples)
Eric Russell (Multiples)
Jim O’Brien (Multiples)
John Miller (Multiples)
Mike Corbett (Multiples)
Rob Thomas (Multiples)
Andrew Mleynek (Not Found)
Anthony Lawson (Not Found)
Bryan Butler (Not Found)
Bryan Redshaw (Not Found)
Evelyn Martin (Not Found)
Jeff Anctil (Not Found)
Jeff Mleynek (Not Found)
Steven Flynn (Not Found)
William Cunningham (Not Found)


maybe you have some data issues? There are not multiple CJ Browns in the player list for instance (Edit: I guess you mean there are multiple CJ browns in IFPA… so use the list on the replay mail to help converge)

Replay sent out a list of preliminary IFPA mappings in the update that was sent out - See


Tournaments need to start using the tilt-through romsets to prevent this type of situation.


Just had another idea. Allow people to drop down one division if they are eligible to do so, but count the points in B and C divisions double on day 2. This may require some adjustment to the current eligibility thresholds. Also might require a cap on how high up you can be and still exercise the option.


  1. A and D are unchanged.
  2. All players are still motivated to do well on day one since they keep an earned advantage.
  3. Players are disincentivized from dropping down since their advantage is halved if they do.
  4. Players still could not play day 2 below their “normal” division based on eligibility.


  1. Would muddy the number of players in each division, at least the first time it’s tried.
  2. May require rethinking the payouts.
  3. ???

Well, maybe some twist on this would solve at least part of the problem?


Mostly because restrictions from the past on divisions seemed drawn back from past levels. I thought D was really supposed to be for pinball rookies so when I, and I assume others, see people playing there that have won SCS or other big tournaments, it seems a bit off.


Totally agree. But @TaylorVA made a great point. If we say made the restriction for D people ranked 1001 or lower, how many people would’ve been in D division day 2? Seems like not many.


So instead of taking two 4s I’d automatically have two 8s? Where do I sign up!?? :slight_smile:


Clarify this more. Whose points are doubled?

im not following this at all


I hope after all this shakes out Pinburgh doesn’t change too much. I really enjoy it specifically because of how it’s set up. If something drastic, like taking the top 200 or so people to play A/B/C/D finals happens, I expect a lot of not-so-serious players who enjoy the event, but don’t really compete on that level wouldn’t bother.


Yeah, I think this is all valid discussion, but I’d hate for it to change. I see it as kinda the Woodstock of pinball. It was the first big thing I ever traveled to (still the furthest I’ve traveled) before I even got involved locally. So I bet there are a lot of lone wolves out there that see Pinburgh and it’s just like this one big thing they know about that doesn’t seem too daunting. Maybe the first piece of data some people get of “How good am I, really?” It was for me. I still haven’t been to PAPA. I’m a few years into this stuff and that’s still a little bit “gee I dunno.”

PS, you know you’re running a great tournament when sandbagging prevention and the Divergence are all people have to complain about. I guess we are just way OVER complaining about the floor.


I think @shimoda said it best earlier in this thread but I don’t think we can look at D division as the division for rookies, novices, and “off-the-street” players as Pinburgh is set up right now. I first started in competitive pinball in April, signed up for Pinburgh’s waitlist as soon as I found out about it in my league, and just missed the cutoff for players from the waitlist to be accepted into the tournament. So a D player would have had to sign up and commit to playing in Pinburgh sometime before April to make it into the tournament, possibly playing in other events in the meantime, and there definitely were not any “walk-on” players who entered on the day of the tournament like there were in the past. This speaks to the incredible popularity of Pinburgh as it continues to grow, and the difficult balancing act in making D Division a true “novice” division since you need to be in the competitive pinball loop pretty close to when Pinburgh tickets go on sale to have a chance to compete.


You are never going to eliminate sandbagging with this current format, as many have stated.

For me a big problem this year is that it was simply everywhere. The pros - like mr. El Ron Hubbard - know how to do this subtly. The newbies and scrubs were simply out of control, One armed bandits, stupid beef conversations in earshot at almost every bank; at times it was kind of ridiculous. And you know how impressionable pinball people are - look at how many players think there’s only one way to play any particular machine. As the line for the beef buffet got longer and longer, the portions simply became larger and the Grade-D steaks simply got tougher.

I think a statement before the later rounds would be appropriate - play your best, visible displays of intentional poor play are punishable. You can do this without giving people the idea to beef out, or without indicating WHY some people might be munching on Arby’s on purpose. The fact that so many people were so blatant about this shows that most of them really don’t know they are doing something that’s against the rules or would be frowned upon.

I think this would be more effective, as I just can’t see ratting out players - many of whom might be our friends - is gonna catch on.


NOT SUGGESTING THIS… but out of curiosity how many people here would NOT enter pinburgh 2018 if there was no entry fee (or small amount that will go to charity) and no cash prizes?