Pinburgh conundrum


Repeat after me, Nordic Bet.


My Pinburgh 2017 thoughts. PART 1.

Things to improve.
Space between the middle rows of facing machines. At present there is no room to walk through without saying excuse me or having people make a path.

Speaker system for stage area seating, Unless you were close to the speakers one could not make out the mumbled words coming out from them. The further away and off to the side one was the worse it was to make out words.

Camera Man / Worker up on stage moving back n forth behind games during qualifying rounds being played had to be a distraction for players. Adjusting cameras and installing/uninstalling equipment should be done between rounds or at least before next player steps up to the game.


Great food addition with the Ramen/ Rice vendor. Quite tasty, healthier, and priced well to boot.

Glare on games from overhead lighting was virtually nonexistent. When there was glare it was very small and on machines directly at back end of rows. Very playable.

I Observed many players helping each other out on games if asked for advice before play started. Great to see player cooperation and friendliness on display.

Chairs used in stage area and around tables much softer and comfortable to sit in then prior Pinburghs.

TD’s and Tech’s responded to calls quickly. Of those that I witnessed response time was within 1-2 minutes at most.

Player Checkin for those that didn’t get to the downtown pre-checkin areas went pretty smooth and was well organized. Moved fast and steady.

The ReplayFX app came in very handy for organizing my agenda with timely reminders to events I didn’t want to miss out on. Very easy to use and install.

Disclosure: I didn’t play in Pinburgh Tourney this time around, instead saw to it to help friends and all who asked me with hints and strats on games. Actually had a great time without all the stress of competing, Met a few new people in the process I now can call friends.


There was no camera work behind the games during qualifying.


OK, one “win” if you “win” the match (taking first…)… trying to help here :slight_smile:


Maybe it’s because I’m not a native English reader, but to me the phrase “refrain from making the best possible competitive effort” is linked to “collaborative effort between players” earlier in the paragraph, so to me it doesn’t clearly cover individual sandbagging.


It seems to me that the only way to 100% discourage sandbagging would be to only have one division. Another thing is that as with the intentional tilt, the officials can’t read minds so how to see if someone is intentionally playing badly?


Whenever there is a benefit (whether that be a trophy or cash) to not playing as well as you can, sandbagging will happen.
The only 2 options are remove the bonus for qualifying lower, or identify and punish those sandbagging.

Option 1 would be to have the vast majority of the cash paid out to A division, whether they make the finals cut or not, and remove payouts for making B,C & D finals only awarding prize money to the winner or top 4.
Give EVERYONE a medal/token/medallion/whatever related to the Division they qualify for. So they have more of an incentive to reach the highest Division their skill/ability allows.

Option 2 much, much harder to police and implement.

Looking at the stats for all of the players there’s a lot of what I would call suspicious activity. First 3/4 rounds players score 9+ points per round (heading towards A Division) and then under 2 points for next 2 rounds (dropping them into B Division). Once the next day comes they then revert back to scoring 9+ points per round qualifying for the finals.
It may well be that they went on a cold streak, or started getting tired, or dodgy stomach, or whatever, but it happens too many times for that to be the case in all instances.


I’m sorry. This is the second time I am seeing this (the other may have been on pinside). I am going to respond here to both. I understand you are asking a question about the english structure of the sentence, so I will address that first.

Do we really need to analyze the sentence structure here? Just to be clear, I left the legal profession due to being fed up with the same culture of gaming the system that I am now seeing here. I am sure the rule will now be rewritten to remove all ambiguity necessary to tell players to put forth their best efforts. As the rule stands now, if someone blatantly sandbagged and wanted to actually argue that the wording didn’t cover sandbagging and I were TD, I would say “Fine. I will now apply the general ‘spirit of the tournament rule’ and DQ you from the tournament.”

Second, do we even need a rule for this? Seriously? We have top players asking if maybe the 6-6-6-6 agreement should just be allowed and it blows my mind. You are affecting other players by these decisions (both collusion and sandbagging). There were hundreds of people waiting to get into this tournament less than 24 hours after sales began. If you didn’t want to play 10 rounds of competitive pinball across Thursday and Friday why would you sign up? Look at the schedule. There isn’t an asterisk next to rounds 5 and 10. They aren’t different. A player should be both in danger of taking a 0 and have the possibility of earning a 12 in every round, including 5 and 10.

The truth of Pinburgh is that every point (win) is exactly the same. That is why it is just as important to salvage points in rough rounds as it is to press during strong rounds. But if people are giving away points or agreeing to chop them, this becomes less true. I may be struggling to make the cut late on day 2, while someone else gets there by agreement. I may have to really work for the 35 points in round 5 to make A, while someone else is the beneficiary of some free points because another player hit their total and is now playing one-handed.



Thanks for the rant (but I apologize for inducing it, if it was stressful for you) – I 100% agree with every word you said, actually. The intention of my comment was only to help point out some wording against sandbagging that could clearer, if clarifying the rules is necessary. Which it seems it might be since at least one person has asked about it.


The structure of the tournament tends to put a player into harder groups (ones including A players) if they are doing well heading into rounds 4 and 5. A player wouldn’t necessarily be doing anything improper scoring as you indicate and then picking back up once they began day 2 in B. Plus, players get tired.


The wrinkle here is put forth their best efforts towards what?

If I looked at the session 10 divergence tiers, and was in the last game of round 9, and wanted to ensure that I was 65th or below rather than 64th or higher for session 10 … Can I dump that last game in round 9 to give myself what I would feel are better odds at making the top 40?

As TD and a player I believe that’s totally acceptable. I’m trying my best to win the overall tournament and based on the minutia of the format there could pose some instances where it’s better to lose the battle in hopes of winning the war.

Where I draw the line, and I’ve mentioned it before, is intentionally tanking to benefit someone other than yourself.


The way you put it, that sounds perfectly reasonable. It’s strategy, not sandbagging or collusion.

As the title of this thread says, this is a conundrum indeed…

To me, the root of the problem is the tiered format in combination with payouts for each tier. Remove either, and you remove the incentive for sandbagging.


You are changing things for other people. You are giving points (wins) to people who don’t earn them.

This is the way the rule is written now:

Any collaborative effort between players in an attempt to unfairly affect the outcome of the competition, or to “lock out” a third player, or to otherwise refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played, will be looked upon very poorly by tournament officials, and may result in disciplinary action, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament.


But I’m trying my best to win the tournament.

I’ll use the same example that’s been used 100 times . . .

You’re in game 4 of the quarterfinals, and have already earned your ticket to advance to the semifinals.

If you take a last place in game 4, your group for the semifinal would be:

You, My Wife, My Dad, My Son

If you take 1st, 2nd or 3rd place on the game, your group for the semifinal would be:

You, Keith Elwin, Zach Sharpe, Bowen Kerins

Is it okay to tank the last game, with the thought process that you’re making your path to the finals an easier one?


I added the rule as it is written now, and your example violates it


It does not . . . there’s no collaborative effort between players here.

I’m simply DOING THE BEST I CAN TO WIN THE TOURNAMENT, which just happens to be not playing my best at one particular game.


Bowen referenced this section to address individuals sandbagging and show that it is not allowed by rule.


It may sound reasonable, but it’s also saying that sandbagging is “the strategy”, but the fact I’m still fighting in the best way possible to win the tournament somehow makes this ‘ok’.

The question stretches to whether the only reasonable goal for a player entering Pinburgh is to “WIN THE TOURNAMENT”. Is it reasonable that a player entering Pinburgh has the goal of “WINNING AS MUCH MONEY AS I CAN”?

If that’s a reasonable goal to have, then is it okay for the player to put themselves into a position to make that goal more likely to happen for themselves by strategically tanking? Again, this would be with no collaboration between any other players . . . just a player executing a strategy that they have entering the tournament.


Just playing devil’s advocate here, but what happens when Keith, Zach, and Bowen decide to do the same as you and purposefully not play as well as they can in their round and you end up playing them in the semifinals?


Kind of what I was trying to say much earlier in the thread - how is this any different than situational play? Seems like it’s exactly that. Brings up the question of how we define “winning the tournament” - does that mean winning A division? What about trying to win another division?