PinFest Tournament 2019 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event


The goal and benefit is 100% tgp in less time. simplify it down to a two player, two game match. If they play one game after another it takes the total of 12 ball-times (both players play 3 balls on both games). If every ball takes 5 minutes, it’s an hour total in series, or 30 minutes when they play in parallel.


So if I put a game on caster wheels, that’s perfectly reasonable? On a moving platform that tilts side to side? There was a tournament recently where one game was in the back of a herse being driven around a field. It’s technically ‘fair’, but people are going to complain if you put this in a standard tournament. That’s not what they sign up for. All alterations from stock are a spectrum. Some people want as minimal alterations as possible. Some are fine further up the spectrum. Powerballs are far to one end of the spectrum. They literally affect every physical aspect of the game and throw off skills that are even applicable back to flipperless machines

Some people don’t like custom roms, some don’t like major physical alterations like you sometimes see at INDISC. The justification for any of these isn’t “lol, adapt!”. They have reasons, they try to make games more suitable for tournaments, they try to balance strategies, etc. Powerballs do none of these things. Eight Ball and Bank Shot are perfectly fine for tournaments without adjustments. At the end of the day you’re running a tournament for people to come to. If you’re going to do something that a good portion of those people dislike, you’d better have a good reason for it

The point isn’t the expectations/consistency, it’s that you deviate from them with purpose, not for giggles. The fact that people can come up with so many different problems with something, even if they’re not individually the strongest, should be reason enough

But whatever, I’m done with this. People give feedback, hopefully the tournament improves


I’ll play any game under any conditions. At the end of the day the player needs to adapt and make shots just like every other player playing the game. It sucks playing games with tight tilts, but is it the end of the world? Not at all. Don’t be aggressive or slap save and you will be fine. It sucks playing games that aren’t level, but guess what every other person is playing that same game. Who cares the post rubber on Stars was missing? Don’t rely on it and make better shots. I really dislike people blaming game setup for their performance.


Haha okay seems like this thread is done now.


I’ll walk away from games during tournaments if they’re playing bad enough. Not worth my time to try to fight them sometimes.

Three house balls in a row down the middle says otherwise.

It sucks. We should avoid things that suck. Does more need to be said here?

Everyone does. It’s stars. The flipper gap is wider than ghostbusters. Stars literally has no shots that don’t send the ball screaming back towards the flippers. It’s one of the most well known brutal games there is. There’s no reason to take the rubber off.

Weird how I perform better on games that don’t have these issues. It’s like they affect my performance or something.

This isn’t even about performance anyway though. No one is coming in here saying that these setups should be changed because they made them, personally, do worse. I’ve complained about things that make me do better in tournaments before. We’re trying to improve the tournament experience for players next year, based on complaints received from players this year.


The net result of making the games super duper tough is that the really good players will adapt, and newbies will fail, and most likely be turned off to tournaments. This is offset by the depth that the pinfest tournament took, and the amount of trophies/prizes paid out, so at least some of them walked away with something (although are there any statistics on this?)

It would be nice if there were enough machines available to make a true C or D division with looser tilts and nicer setups, but that’s not going to happen with the space and time available along with the # of machines.

I myself don’t mind a powerball in a game as a change of pace, I don’t think from watching the footage that it was unfair, I mean, 8 ball is tough enough with the regular ball and the way some of those players were handling it was fine. There is a line that can get crossed though from tough but fair to tough and ridiculous - the “correct” way to set up a tournament tough but fair is not to simply crank up all the settings to extra extra hard and remove all the posts, etc. - PAPA is getting away from that type of thing as well.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what the machine setups were and who was actually in charge of making the decisions. I mean, sure, the people bringing the machines have some ability to influence this, but ultimately who was on the circuit challenge team that even setup the stuff? I was only familiar with Corey and Jay. Were the tech people signing up the ones making these decisions?

You might say it’s a moot point for me anyway, since I chose not to play even the 4 free entries, but that’s because hyper-competitive tournaments are no longer for me. I prefer the backend setup stuff instead and discussions like this one.

Something that should be fixed is the ridiculous amount of side to side motion the new Stern games seem to allow, even to the point of not being able to be adjusted by the end user. Make it a setting, sure, but give people the option to not allow sliding death saves.


Totally agree the degree of difficulty can turn away newer players. I’m not even saying that I agree with how tight some tilts were or that I agree with the post rubber missing on Stars. Tough game setups? Absolutely. Some games frustrating to play because of the setup? Absolutely. Did the power ball make those games unplayable or harder for newer players? Not at all.


No offense meant, but how many circuit events have you played before Chad? You’re opinions are valid that anyone can adjust, but historically games aren’t meant to be set up this way in general. In limited entry the games tend not to be bastardized so that your 1-3 max tries per machine, that in this case cost $10 each, and hold a lot of weight, you can use your skill to make them matter. Implying a game being set up incorrectly doesn’t impact performance on that game isn’t realistic, look at the scores that weekend. Sure most elite players make the best of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth noting so it doesn’t happen again. Games are generally set fair but challenging in pump and dumps. Ripping out posts and making the games extra hard is a tendency of world championships. In pump and dump; you will often see classics left as is, and sterns ball saves off and rubbers off the posts. Maybe in select cases harder settings, but rarely. In limited entry they tend to be set pretty normal, since lines aren’t an issue. You can understand I imagine; that paying $10 and walking up to a game that flip tilts, or is mysteriously on the hardest possible setting, or hasn’t no dangers, or is an EM with a powerball on 3 ball… is frustrating right? Especially when it’s a 2 day event with tons of down time. Most events are 3 plays for $10 and you get to play the whole qualifying period, so bad games are not the end of the world. With 20 tries and $10 a play over a 12 hour time period, I’d argue the game set up has a higher weight then ever. I’ve been to more circuit events in the last 3 years than most people; sans Trent, DJ, Fred and few others. My opinions might not be right, but I think many agree most of the games had glaring issues with set up. You’re right it’s fair for everyone, but try to take this and compare to the standards set by the others 19 events.


I love this excuse whenever it gets trotted out, as if it justifies bad machine setup. Let’s take the left flipper out of every game and hold a tournament - can’t complain, everyone is playing the same game!

I agree that players need to adjust to machine conditions. But, you start with a baseline, and that’s usually a factory setup with reasonable tilt, reasonable pitch, and normal rubbers. Tournament adjustments to these are usually small - tilt is more sensitive than normal, game is floatier than normal, game has superbands, whatever. Those are minor adjustments to make as a player. For me, swapping out the ball for a powerball affects the ENTIRE game. It was said before that player tolerance for tournament adjustments is on a spectrum, and I like that line of thinking. It all depends on how much you’re willing to put up with.


Why is everybody picking on chad?

Dude stepped up and provided a rock solid 8 ball that had zero issues all weekend long.

You guys can feel free to haul games to tournaments if you think you can do better.


I’m discussing the game’s use with a powerball in it and how that affects things, nothing personal here.


Not picking on him. He’s saying unlevel super tight games shouldn’t be blamed on performance and also everyone can adjust it’s the same for everyone. That’s just not the right way to deal with these feedbacks as a circuit event. First and foremost; games should be hard but fair and FUN. I didn’t enjoy playing those games, at all. Games shouldn’t be tilting so that pinball moves can’t be made. being unlevel or unplayable tilt doesn’t warrant the cop out… anyone can adjust and make shots. That’s an empty statement if you ask me. Yes Keith Elwin would win anyways, but that’s doesn’t change the feedback being valid. I agree the 8 ball was nice; powerball and all. Limited entry has different standards too.


Perfect example. The European Pinball Championships one of the Major World Championships filled with hundreds of players and some of the most elite in the world. Rare format limited entry only one attempt per game usually? Games are set on fair tilt, normal settings and 5 balls! Even the modern games. Logic? Let the players play the games, time isn’t being pressed. It’s fair and skill intensive.


To be clear, I’m not saying I agree with the games and their setup. I’m just saying we had to play them as they sat. Did some suck, yes. I’m not over here stating that this is how we should setup games, rather that when we step up to a bad game setup, we have to adapt.

Bowen needed 7 entries to qualify. That’s what I’m shooting for. If he can do it, i can do it.


The reason he gave for using powerballs (two games, apparently) was that he likes games to be different. When setting up games for tournament play, that’s not the right attitude to take. Setting up games is a bit of a magic act. You want the game to seem as easy as possible. Just like the game they play back at home. But you don’t want it to play long. Preferably under 3 minutes on average. So you make minor adjustments to get it playing relatively quick.

Players expect to adjust for things like different rubber rings, pitch, tightness of the tilt and outlane settings. No two games play alike. Even brand new games identically set up. Players will always have to adjust and should expect to. Despite all the differences, one thing a player can always count on is that the pinball will be 2.8 ounces, 1 1/16" in diameter and made of metal. Now, just because the player bringing the game decides he likes things different, that’s out the window.

With the sport still growing, I didn’t suspect many events actually realize how many people are turned off by these things. I’ll likely never attend this event, but I’ve brought plenty of games for tournaments in my area, set up games for events and been a TD. If you want to attract more players to your event and keep them coming back, don’t make major changes to games just because the person bringing the games likes things different. Especially if it’s a limited entry event.


I think Bowen has over 20 years of competitive pinball experience. If your setting up games to challenge him your alienating 99.9% of the other competitors.


I don’t know how many tournaments you’ve been to but I don’t expect ANYTHING when I show up to a tournament. Broken games, stupid settings or Game butcherings to nerf “the thing,” tilts that make no sense, unlevel games…ive seen it all and so has anybody else who has been to about 5 big tournaments. At circuits, launch parties, drunken league matches, you name it.

The idea that there’s some sanctity being violated by a powerball when I’ve seen the multiball disabled on Sorcerer In a championship tournament epitomizes hyperbole.

There’s almost zero rules about setup set forth by any sanctioning body. Until that happens you shouldn’t really hold any expectation about anything.

I’ll say it again - that power eight ball was easily one of the best playing games in that entire bank at pinfest, gauntlet or otherwise.


It creates a precedent. Lets put a power-ball in this game and one in this one and glo-ball in this one. We, the competitive pinball community are the sanctioning body, the majority who agrees on a subject is the sanctioning body. If IFPA/PAPA want to formalize a policy against using a non steel ball thats up to them, in the meantime its up to us.


I once had to play an ENTIRE BANK of games set up in Georgia. Y’all are right, we need some sort of standard here because things are just getting out of hand!


I’m just tying to figure out why this is the hill tiltforums has decided to die upon.

Seems silly.

Regardless, we all know all we can really do is control the tournaments that we run. I’ve seen so much crazy Shit at tournaments I just can’t imagine why a powerball would be the breaking point.

Anyway I can’t wait for the 24-hour all powerball tight tilt custom rom tournament held outside on a beach. I’ll be there for my whoppers baby!