PinFest Tournament 2018


First, a big thanks to you, Levi, for bringing two of you own games which helped keep lines and queues under control.

Karl has been kind enough to provide some raw data that I’ll be sifting through to see if I can get a view on game times, queue times, and queue lengths. I’ll share with the forum any interesting results that come out of it.

All of this will factor into how we approach it for next year (more or less games? more entries? less difficult games?). It’s a strange balance we’re trying to strike and fortunately we fell on the side of more games, low queues and low wait times and we’ll want to make sure we’re on the right side of the coin next year, too.

Agree with your thoughts here. Starting an hour earlier will buy us more time, and it’s something we’ll consider for next year along with:

  • Quicker transition to getting A-Finals started faster
  • Adjustments to games where needed (i.e. turn off Extra Balls that were left on during qualifying)
  • Getting bank groupings correct enough where bank groups run similar amounts of time
  • Aligning things like bank selections and game choice to how tournaments like Pinburgh run and communicate that ahead of time so people are familiar with the ruleset
  • …and other things I’m sure we’ll think of during the course of the next year

@Funtorium - Good luck this weekend! I’m sorry my schedule didn’t allow me to get up to New York, but the trophies look awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing the recaps of the event.


I agree the format is definitely one of the more interesting ones for HERB - not just the +100 but a modified structure that pays bonus points to 13th. Also, by far one of the most brutal formats in the circuit - nobody is technically safe until the last ticket is punched.

From a “I’m really curious” standpoint, what’s the philosophy behind 4 scores counting in an 18/20 game bank? Was there a reason you settled on that number and why not more?


There’s been a evolution over the past few years to how I’ve approached pointing for HERB tournaments. Probably worthy of it’s own topic or expanding the existing topic I’ve linked below, where I took a lot of initial influences from.

First, looking at what’s considered standard:

This awards 1st and 2nd Place with Bonus Points
Runs out of points after 87 players

I won’t rehash points that were made in that other thread, but since that thread I’ve been very intrigued and have implemented decay-rate based systems for the HERB events that I’m involved with. The goal for this event was to reward the Top 12 on a machine with bonus points, and not just the Top Two. My thought is that somewhere between the Top 10%-20% should get some kind of bump for being that high relative to everyone else, and settled on bonuses for the Top 12.

The +100 was a reaction to last year, when we used a similar scale but it bottomed out a lot quicker (90% decay vs. the 97.5% decay used this year), and a player was able to qualify for Classics by only playing three games. Stellar work by the player, but we wanted to force players to have to play all four games to qualify.

Dovetailing into your # of machines question, the reason we had four was because:
a) That’s what was done in the past when the event qualifying time was MUCH shorter and we limited players to eight tickets.
b) Because we relied on a number of volunteers for bringing machines, we didn’t know exactly how many machines we would have up and running and I didn’t want to force six machines if it turned out we could only get 10 up and running. We were fortunate to have 18 up and running for the event, and I hope we get the same level of dedication from volunteers next year.

Certainly doesn’t mean we won’t change it up next year. I believe the NYCPC does 5, PAPA does 6, and I think TPF did 8 this year. It would force a player to flex across eras on more machines instead of doing what I did by just sticking to early solid state Bally machines.


Just a heads up that because @kdeangelo is awesome, he has already coded constraints into the DTM system that can be used to force players to use pins from different Eras in their aggregate of Best X that count in a Best Game format. This is what TPF has used the past two years, with great results. Specifically, each player’s aggregate of best 8 had to include at least two pins from each Era. Results are still available on

For example:
Rachel’s TWD 12 points was excluded from her aggregate ranking score because she already had 2 Moderns in her Best 8, and needed 2 EM’s to count toward her Best 8vpins, which then needed to include her 8 points on “300.”

Thanks again, Karl!


Could you have moved one of the displays (credit/match) to player 3’s since it sounds like it was the display itself and not the connector?

Regarding the match play, with that format (using games on the show floor) it is a crap shoot - but at least if you have a group of 4 all getting screwed the same exact way, at least it’s “fair”. A lot of issues at Pinfest that people point out and say “people bring machines with weak flippers, etc.” is actually power related. I was helping someone on a bank where instead of the 2x30 amp circuits in each main box were feeding 12 machines (6 on each) they had plugged in 5 or 6 power strips so they were feeding about 30 machines.

I purposely set up my 3 machines in freeplay on a quiet corner that had mostly EM’s on their box, figuring that they would draw less current, and I was right - I didn’t have any power related issues - no one on that corner did.


Yes. +1.

Neat! We had a lack of EMs this year (except for Dragon) so we’ll see how next year shapes up in terms of available machines.

Tech work is not my specialty, but my understanding is that we would have risked shocking the techs if we tried to live-swap the displays while the game was powered. Old Ballys don’t retain last game scores when you turn it back off and on. We turned the machine off, swapped the displays with the credit/ball count (as you suggested above) and it worked fine for the rest of the event.

Good to note for next year. We had a very “soft” checklist of things to look at, but we’ll be looking to augment that and have a more robust list of things to check on a machine. I’ve had people sending me other ideas that will help with organization (better labeling of aisles, numbering machine with a small post-it or placard, a “map” added to Google Sheets approximating location, removing TOTAN) that we’ll try out at York.


Hello everyone!

We’re trying to get in touch with the A-Division Top 4 from the Match Play Event on Friday.

We have a few additional prizes that should have been distributed at the event that were not given away at the time.

  1. Rob Wintler-Cox
  2. Tony Makowski
  3. Steven Bowden (contacted)
  4. Nick Hislop (contacted)

If you know Rob or Tony, would you mind asking them to send an e-mail to Thank you in advance!