PinFest Tournament 2019 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event


Levi you generally love or hate a tournament based off how you did. I admit that going from qualifying every year with a high seed in Allentown to not making the cut, is part of why I’m upset. I disagree that set up doesn’t hinder players, I do agree you can find some strange stuff at events. Usually pump and dumps. Nobody is saying it’s that big a deal about the powerball in 8 ball. It’s that most every game had something making it too hard, or weird, and most aimed to make your play time as short as possible. Everyone isn’t mad here, and very few people play like Bowen, but if you want $10 a game and $6 of that goes to costs, let the players play the games. We had enough time to play 50 entries.


I did shitty this year after finishing 3rd last year and you don’t hear me whining. So why would you even open with that? It’s allentown dude - it’s the same every single year and by now you know what to expect: crazy tilts, crowdsourced games with iffy QC, chads power 8 ball, and the newest stern with dumb settings and all the posts ripped out. By now we should know what we are getting into, and yet we still go cause it’s more fun than not playing in a tournament first weekend of May.

You are pretty much guaranteeing you see about 8 powerballs at NYCPC this year buddy!


Boo I hope not


Stern IJ with all powerball! Looking forward to it.


If there was ever a tournament to have an exclusive sponsor that is providing powerballs for every single game in the event, it would be the NYCPC.


G-Fuel balls in every game!


I really don’t think a public forum is any place to discuss our plans for year 3. We can take this offline!!!1


Except that the right flipper mechanism was broken! I played it about an hour after you did, so maybe it wasn’t broken for you. When I flipped the right flipper the flipper bat would swing up at least 30 degrees higher than it should then settle back down to the normal up position. Most likely it had a missing/broken bushing where the coil plunger attaches to the crank arm and/or the nut/bolt holding these parts together was loose. Greg played a few minutes after me and I noticed Chad open the game up and inspect the flipper but it didn’t look like he actually fixed anything with tools. It didn’t seem to affect my shots much out of a trap with the powerball, but maybe with a regular pinball the looseness would be noticeable.

Chad, carefully inspect all the flipper parts and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Maybe you already inspected it after the tournament. You might want to rebuild those flippers before NYCPC.

There were 2 other games in the gauntlet that had screwed up flippers. On one the flippers were aligned evenly at the bottom, but when held up one was higher than the other. A clear sign that the coil stop is worn out or out of place allowing the plunger to extend farther than it should. The other (maybe Raven?) had the same problem or else the flippers were just aligned unevenly (one was lower at both the lower and upper position).

Some people don’t notice these things. Sometimes I have to carefully point these things out to people before they see how uneven some flippers are.

Problems like these are not unfair in that they are the same for everyone, but they do make the game less enjoyable and add unwelcome variations. As an analogy, say a basketball game was played with an underinflated ball. It would be hard to dribble, etc. but it would be fair because both teams have to use the same ball. Or say the floor was dirty and slippery so quicker players couldn’t cut as fast as usual. In sports like this there are certain standards/rules that are accepted because dribbling and cutting are part of the game, and players and spectators want to see the game played at the highest level. Conversely, a game like football might be played on a wet grass field, and that’s acceptable so teams prepare to have shoes and strategies to use depending on the conditions.

Pinball by its nature has a much greater variation than traditional sports. EMs play different than modern games, every playfield is different, setups are different, etc. But I don’t think the variation should be based on broken flipper mechanisms or weak flippers than don’t allow you to hit ramps, while at the same time I realize this is the reality sometimes and you have to deal with it and adjust strategy. Having reasonably tight tilts, removing outlane rubbers on modern games, etc. is acceptable. Personally, I didn’t mind the powerballs. Sometimes it makes a game easier because getting just the tip of the flipper on it makes it savable. On Bank Shot very small nudges could bounce the ball all over the top lanes.

It sounded like there was not much time to set up 24 games and inspect them for problems, so perhaps that contributed to problems people complained about. I remember a while back everyone was complaining about a tournament (in Texas?) where locals had a chance to play the games in a smaller tournament the day before, the reasoning being they could find any problems before the big tournament. A lot of players complained that wasn’t fair, so it seems hard to balance these things.


its not even just ‘newer’ players. There is a reason there has been years of discussion over if games would be setup like ‘papa A div’ at events, etc… those games were setup significantly harder than the other games… and for the majority of people it was significant enough to negatively impact their experience.

Luckily these days they don’t tend to dial the games like that anymore and for pinburgh they just baseline each game to tournament ready vs ‘division specific’.

There is such a thing as ‘too much’ or ‘negatively impacts’ satisfaction.


And I think that is a self-reenforcing echo chamber… to even suggest the loudest voices on a website should be on the same page as ‘sanctioning body’.

The community speak with their feet… they don’t get to self proclaim themselves the boss.


For the record and for the future… the way this is described on the Rules site is contradictory and cryptic…

The rules doc states for the Gauntlet
(in the intro)
" Finals Format

  • Multi-Game PAPA-Style Finals (see Gauntlet below)"

(and then in the details)
" Format
4-Game Pinburgh-Style Round. All players will play all four games at once and will rotate between the four on a per-ball basis."

This format has nothing to do with PAPA… or Pinburgh… (nor do those share the same format). These labels just create confusion and contradiction.

You should differentiate what the match-up format (scoring, grouping, advancement) is… vs what your actual game play structure is.



Thanks for pointing this out. When I inspected Eight Ball it’s because one of the players mentioned the flipper sticking. Everything under the PF checked out good. I then put the PF down and for 60 seconds I flipped away with the ball ln the flipper and without and not once did it reproduce. Then later on another player complained, at that point I grabbed Jay and we looked it over. He determined the set screws holding the shaft were loose. He adjusted the angle of both flippers and tightened them up. From that point on we didn’t have any issues.


Chads an asset to pinball!!

Not only does he have the loudest pants AND loudest PA in the hobby, he appears to be virtually untrollable which is a rare quality these days!

Keep doing you Chad! We need more people like you in Pinball in my opinion, who are willing to take the slings and arrows while contributing time, effort, and most importantly gear to help grow competitive pinball even though these efforts often bring undeserved scorn.

Now can we please turn the page and start talking NYCPC? Allentown Is so last week!!



I brought that flipper problem up because I saw that you may be taking 8 Ball to NYCPC, and I wanted to make sure there are no problems. I should have mentioned it when I was talking with you when we were watching the finals last Saturday but I forgot it was your game. I remember playing it at York. My intention wasn’t to call you out on the game condition.

It sounds like the loose shaft may explain what I was seeing. I’d still double check all the parts for looseness (coil stop, plunger to crank arm, crank arm to shaft), and flip it with a steel ball because that will show any problems with weak or loose flippers more than the lighter powerball will.

And I agree, you’re an asset to pinball! Keep up the good work!


Didn’t take it as you calling me out, all good. It is going to NYCPC. I’ll have to check it at NYCPC because it’s already packed up and ready to go. See you next weekend!


Really selling it for next year! :slight_smile:


Just last year. But to be fair that powerball has been in Bobby Orr for about 5 years now and in every tournament we’ve run at the sanctum in that time including at least 4 Final Battles. It’s also been known ahead of time.

No powerballs this year. Game list will be posted this week. Settings pretty standard for us. No drastic changes. Maybe modern ball saves off and open outlines. Older games tend to police themselves on time just fine.

I didn’t play in Allentown as I haven’t in several years now so I can’t comment on the games but everyone’s descriptions don’t sound that fun.

Sorry I had to bail on nycpc. Some big life changes happening. Good luck next weekend. See you in June at Pintastic.


I’ve Always liked the game setups at pintastic.


Hope to see you soon Jim!


Wanted to share that the event has been processed and is up on the IFPA Site:

Main Event -> 60.81 pts, 100% TGP
220 people, 36 “Grey Bars”, 13 First-Timers

The Gauntlet -> 50.30 pts, 100% TGP
81 People, 4 “Grey Bars”, 2 First-Timers

One-Ball Charity Challenge -> 1.31 pts, 4% TGP
53 People, 4 “Grey Bars”, 3 First-Timers

I cite the number of “grey bars” and first-timers because I’ve noted a few comments which suggest that the offer of free entries causes non-tournament players to show up, use their free entries, and gum up the queues, so I wanted to provide those numbers. No doubt that the offer of free entries causes a boost in numbers for the event, but I am not seeing numbers that are so out-of-kilter from “Open” events of this nature (INDISC, Silverball Rumble, TPF Classics all come to mind). “Closed” events (like TPF Main or the 24-Hour Battle) have less “grey bars” since there’s the initial barrier to entry for commitment to the event.

I will say that I do like what I see the Silverball Rumble doing this year by having an additional charge for the first entry in order to cover the Circuit Fee. We’ll decide how we approach this next year to find the right balance of complimentary entries with the right price of cost-per entry moving forward.

I know that there have been a LOT of comments specifically regarding feedback on machine setups. Thank you to everyone who wrote both publicly and privately with feedback on machines. We’ll work to improve the overall process (communication with machine owners, better prep ahead of the event, “smarter” decisions on how games are set up based on expectations, etc). We rely on and are grateful to those who bring machines. We’ll try to do the best we can with the limited time that we have available to us for setup. I also want to thank the handful of people who wrote to me offering to show up early and help us with setup for next year.

While we felt that we made positive strides on communication, it could always be better. We’ll work to better the communication to players across the board, through improved documentation of machine set-ups (virtually and in-person), to making sure the rules and contingency plans are clarified so that people feel they can make an informed decision on both attending and playing in the event.

So what I’m getting from this thread is that we should put a bunch of steel, power, and glo-balls in a bucket and randomly put whatever in each of the machines. Next year the latest Stern will have a mix of all three. Thank you all for your feedback. </ joke>

I like this idea the best for freeing up the log jam. You still only have one shot per machine, but you can choose the order to play. We’ll also try to figure out how/if we separate the queues of Main/“Gauntlet” so people can queue up for both at once given the limited time of qualifying available.

What kind of stats are you interested in? I can see what I can put together.

Since there seems to be some branding confusion on the word “Gauntlet”, any ideas out there on different branding for a Best Game event where you only get one shot per machine? Feel free to drop me a PM.

We are working with the IFPA on the post-event survey, and all players who have a registered IFPA email address will be sent the survey in the coming weeks. We’re also happy to receive direct feedback at