PinFest Tournament 2019 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event


I had this same thought. I was wondering if there’s a correlation to stance here… players who tend to lean on the lockdown bar for balance tend to impart a little force to the machine when flipping, even unintentionally, as the muscles in the hand and arm flex. Over time, I could see that building up a little. Still, if that’s what was causing the tilts, still too tight IMO. No one wants to play a game with fingers only.


Hey folks, I wanted to jump in on this one specifically now that I’ve had the chance to get some context from some people.

In the evening hours on Friday (more than half way through the qualifying hours), a scorekeeper brought to the attention of a tech that it seemed that people were tilting off the plunge. My understanding is that this was the first time a Tech was made aware of this particular issue. The tech was able to recreate the “phantom tilt”. The scorekeeper noted that the bob seemed to still be moving even after a proper amount of time had passed to allow the machine to settle. The solution conducted was to add tissue paper to the eye-hook, similar in nature to how the ear-plug methodology is used to dampen tilt-bobs. After stabilizing it he adjusted the tilt to get it as close as he could to the original sensitivity. The phantom tilts appeared to have stopped at that point, as no other issues were brought to the tech team’s attention.

On Saturday, a player made me aware with about 20 minutes left in the qualifying period that “things were changed on Friday” with Black Knight and now people were “blowing up” scores which lead to individuals including himself “bleeding out”. Given that this was the first time I was made aware of the problem, and given that there was 20 minutes left to go in qualifying, we let all scores on that machine stand and proceeded to move into Finals so that we could conduct finals on the allotted schedule before we were kicked out of the venue.

We make our best effort to keep the games as evenly difficult as we can throughout the event, but every time we fix a problem with a machine we are potentially making minor adjustments to the way it plays. Looks like on this one, we got it wrong in terms of a before and after difference, and given the late time-frame that it was brought to my attention, mistakes were made all I can do is offer an apology.
Unless anyone is holding on to an Avengers Time Stone? We’ll work to improve communication across the board between scorekeepers, techs, TDs, and most importantly players.

The first time I was made aware of an issue with hitting the ramp was in the A Semi-Finals because I was observing the gameplay. We also had an issue with a switch awarding a false lock, so as a result we pulled it from Finals after that match.

I do want to call out and thank @scochar for bringing an awesome game with a modified ROM that otherwise doesn’t see any love during tournaments.

One of my lessons learned from this one is to have players on older solid states with tight settings play as Players 1/3. Apologies to you and anyone one negatively affected by the couple of tilt-throughs that happened during finals.

Agreed that this should of have been documented.

Also agree on this. Anything that was brought to my attention during the event we attempted to have addressed.

Stars was set up too difficult. We made a few light adjustments heading into Finals to give a bit more breathing room for players, and before each round of Finals players were allowed about five minutes of practice to get on any machine they wanted.

Folks, I do appreciate that people are taking the time to document their thoughts. I’m doing my best to read everything that I’ve been made aware of here, Facebook, and otherwise and we’re 100% committed to take that feedback and make improvements if we choose to hold this event next year. Feel free to also drop me an e-mail at


I just wanted to say that even as a non-participant, it is very nice to see engaged TDs doing post-mortems. Too often I either see nothing at all (not even announcing who won!) or ignoring player concerns.


To be fair, we haven’t properly announced winners yet! I needed Sunday to catch on sleep, Monday to read the world’s longest Facebook thread, and today I’ve been drafting up the full post-mortem that includes my reflected on needed improvements that I’ll be sharing probably on Wednesday.


I’m worried that every post seems to indicate “if we choose to hold this event next year.” I hope that any negative feedback hasn’t caused a quick burnout to the event - I understand things change, but I feel this is ominous to read. While I didn’t play in it (too busy in flea market) as someone who used to be pretty much the sole tech when P3/Brian Smith ran it as well as the machine setter upper, I know it can be hard to please everyone. So, I didn’t really try. I set the tilts where I thought they should be, (look up “scottified” on the new pinball dictionary), had a couple people I trusted who had different play styles try to tilt it, and that was it.

There were always players who questioned everything we did, machines were too hard, machines were too easy, how dare we make any profit from the tournament, the machine just “reset” (sure it did, after you pressed the start button again), etc.

FWIW I interpreted the ‘4 free entries’ included with pinfest paid admission as a concession to the show; when Brian and I ran it one of the conditions was that we run some ‘fun’ tournaments on the show floor, as people expect something of the sort. I assumed the 4 free entries was a way to meet that obligation without putting staff out on the floor at the mercy of whatever free play machines there were.

I didn’t believe players could walk machines like they can if the tilts are loose - it had to be proven to me. Nudging is a skill; BION on that stars set the way it was when I brought it, I can nudge just fine. Took many years of practice to get there, though, and any major hit is going to give you a tilt. I’m a fan of the inverted-above-the-ring bob though, as it stops the momentum faster without resorting to the earplug trick. If someone adjusted it and the bob settled down farther, I can see people complaining. It ends up being unfair to new people who don’t have the skillset to nudge. I didn’t see a lot of tilts in the finals after I got a chance to watch them so I assume players adjusted or their skillset is such that they already know how to avoid the tight tilt.

Last time I played in pinburgh (2012 or so I think) I complained constantly about tilted too much too :slight_smile:


I literally take the day off from work the day after running my annual 128-person event because I am so tired of thinking about pinball, so I’ve been impressed from afar at how responsive you have been. Immediately after an event is usually when feedback and annoyances are top of mind for participants, so it’s the best/easiest time for players to identify what issues they think need addressing. However, I personally encourage people who want to share constructive feedback to do so directly with organizers/TDs to ensure that feedback is seen and addressed (and to let us have a day or two to recharge and reflect), rather than forcing TDs to be aware of and engage with every disparate conversation about an event immediately or risk the conversation spiraling without full information/context.


Late to the thread and certainly not privy to the FB discussion.

First off, I am not fan of limited entries, but I understand the reasoning behind it. Usually, I feel the limited amount seems too low. In this case, 20 available entries across 4 games seems reasonable. Speaking for my skill set, after 5 tries per game, I have probably reached my qualifying plateau for that day on those games, give or take. And of course if one has a blow up score right out of the gate, then all the better.

However, I am a bit surprised at the $10/entry(play). Even with the 4 free games, paying $10 per game after that seems really high. (Or less $/game however one wants to rationalize the costs). Most best game variants I’ve played in seem to be $5 for one, 3 for $10 or 7 for $20, such as FPF which is the largest event I typically play in.

I would probably play all 20 even because I would be allowed to and I would feel it would be silly for me to travel all that way, pay for everything else and then hit the brakes on paying to play a couple more games. In for a penny, in for a pound.

My philosophy is if I am travelling to compete, I am going to play as much as I can, even if I don’t need to keep trying to qualify. The reason is: I enjoy playing and don’t get to compete in these types of events very often.

But $160-$200 for 20 games just seems way too high, especially if the games are brutal.


I didn’t really see any problems with money or anything, but game setup was definitely sub par to me:

BKSoR was set up way too brutal. I’ve seen people say it had a very loose tilt, which is nice, but when most other games have feather tilts I never even dared to try a big shove. When I played it even a smaller nudge to save a ball near the outlane gave me instant warnings.

Supersonic was way too tight. As others have said, it’s a classic: you need to be able to nudge it. If multiple players in finals are getting tilt throughs while knowing that it’s super tight, there’s an issue. Plus, the same as BKSoR, the tilts were so inconsistent between games. Little Chief right next to it was noticably looser. When I went from LC to SS in the gauntlet I was very surprised to get a near instant tilt. Meanwhile many people were avoiding any moves on LC, probably assuming it was as tight as SS.

BK was on easy locks, which surprises me for a tournament. That seems like it’s going to lead to very long ball times for anyone who can manage to consistently lock balls. Meanwhile the flippers were so weak most of the ramps were impossible. I had a fairly good game on it, and in maybe 10-15 ramp shots 2 made it. Both of those were on the center ramp. After one flip with the right flipper I didn’t even try to make the long left ramp. The pop bumper also barely worked at all. Power at the show isn’t the best, but games really need to be in good enough condition to make all the shots. As much as I love Black Knight I’d hesitate to ever put it in a tournament with known power issues even if it was fully restored and had freshly rebuilt flippers :frowning:

Doodle Bug also really needed some flipper work. I was in it at one point to unstick a flipper, and I saw that it still had all original parts from the 70s. Big Valley’s flippers were also sloppy. Wild Card’s flippers didn’t go up the same amount.

Half the EMs were on three ball, half were on five. It was never clear to me walking up to a game which way it would be set. I locked both balls on Big Valley on ball 3, and then discovered there was no ball 4 for me to make use of them. Instead the person behind me got to use them…

Why is any EM on three ball? They’re never going to be long players. Similarly Stars had the rubber removed on the center post.

I don’t think any of the settings were sufficiently documented, really. Sometimes some things were mentioned in never drains, sometimes there was no info. Extra hard locks and weird skill shot on BKSoR? Ball count? Lock difficulty on BK? Tilt sensitivity, warnings. Special value, etc. All of those can significantly affect how you approach a game. In your usual unlimited qualifying pump and dump that doesn’t matter as much, since you can experiment. With $10 entries you can’t really do that. I never planned on playing any game twice if I could help it.

When I arrived Friday morning my game was 0.9 degrees off level, despite having had all its checks done. Another game didn’t have all four feet on the ground.

The checklists for game set up were nice, but I don’t think the whole game check process is doing its job well enough. Most games I saw got a three second tilt test by a random tester; I don’t think we were given any direction as to how we should set the tilts. How long they swayed wasn’t tested. Some could definitely have used earplugs/etc.

Games were being given their final check-overs right up to, and then past the scheduled start time (tournament start was delayed an hour to give more time). Some games arrived non-working; many had lights out, etc. I know one person was giving everything a final check-over, which I’d’ve hoped would keep some level of consistency, but apparently that didn’t work well enough. They definitely would need more time to dedicate to each game than they had.

Could a pre-checklist or something be sent to all machine-bringers in advance with notes of what maintenance is expected (rebuilds, lights, cleaning (as a machine owner I specifically wouldn’t want someone at a tournament cleaning my game, imo), etc), how the games should be set up, etc?

The rules for the gauntlet were changed multiple times while it was being run, communicated only verbally. Main changed to have 32 people in A at the last minute? These were probably good changes, but…


Thanks for taking the time to write up to your feedback. All noted, and we’ll improve what we can next year.

A few points I’ll address:

Agreed. Love the idea.

What rules do you feel were changed? As far as I’m aware, nothing about the rules themselves were changed. Play six machines, and we count five. I know that we moved from the NeverDrains queue to a “Deli Ticket” type of queue to free people up to compete in Main while waiting on The Gauntlet. I also know that Pinball Pool’s playfield glass completely shattered with 15 minutes left in qualifying. Instead of shutting things down, we put things on pause, cleaned up the glass, extended qualifying by 15 minutes, and let as many people go through that we could (albeit with five games instead of six). We figured that was better than cutting people off.

To be fair, we announced the change at 9am on Saturday on Facebook, TiltForums, Pinside, and I emailed everyone who provided an email address at registration. We then had a rotating announcement board. At the close of qualifying on Friday, we had 185 people. If we got more than 240, we would have been forced to change qualifying to comply with the IFPA 10%-to-Finals rule. It didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that we would get 55 people on Saturday based on how last year went, so I wanted to be clear as soon as we made a decision (and give all players opportunity to adjust Saturday Strategy).

Thanks again for bringing your Little Chief to the event!

Yup, we tried something a bit bolder this year in terms of entries. Most people didn’t come close to entering 20, but your points on “play as much as I can” are well-taken. Given the feedback this year, we’ll re-evaluate how we approach it for 2020.

That’s the post-event burnout talking. I’ll be more conscience of word choice.

PinFest 2020: Revenge of the Phantom Tilt!


With both INDISC and Pinfest feeling the effects of this, I wonder if the 10% rule could be waived for Circuit events – or at least there could be some approved format that wouldn’t need to be changed like this. It was strange learning about the strikes format and then seeing it abandoned; it was also strange changing the format to one that included byes at the last minute, since that could have influenced other players’ choices in game selection. Still a tough decision that you wouldn’t have to make without this external pressure.


Yeah. I guess the takeaway from this, to me, is that if you know there’s some limitation like this you should have something in the original rules to account for it. I see a lot of tournaments that say things like “top 16 to finals up to X players, then top 24”?

Although I note now that it was mentioned in the rules, it didn’t seem like the hard cut off time was mentioned at all, and took me by surprise. The main tournament page simply said “qualifying: morning, finals: afternoon” so I had assumed it would just run until everyone had played.

Taking out Pinball Pool suddenly changed how the scoring all stacked up. I heard a few people wishing that since one machine was taken out, only 4 should be counted, since a bad ‘drop’ game on another game was suddenly counting. The switch to paper queue was also confusing, as was the last minute decision to pull people from the Motordome queue onto Raven.

I don’t think any of these were necessarily bad decisions, but they were all changes made mid-way along. I feel like the issues with the never drains queue, people getting stuck on Motordome due to it playing much longer than the other games, and the traffic jams due to the in-order nature of the gauntlet, could all have been expected before hand. I don’t know if this was done or not, but at a minimum it would be nice to test out any experimental new formats on a smaller local tournament before doing them at a circuit event


If I’m asked to return to help with this tournament next year, if it even happens, I will be recommending that we ask not to be included in the Stern Pro Circuit. It seems to have brought on expectations that this volunteer-run event simply cannot fulfill.

That being said, I am very proud of what we put together and would love to hear a few stories of success from this event:

Andrew Specht, a local pinball collector and was set up in the flea market area came by to pick up his 3rd place in Newbie trophy was agast as having done well enough for recognition. Lots of handshakes and smiles.

Fred Richardson scored 596,170 on that Stars in qualifying, nearly doubt the next highest qualifying score. Fred > Stars.

Julie Dorssers - The top 3 overall qualifier for the main tournament, brought a custom re-themed Wonder Woman pinball machine to the freeplay area, and upon finding out that the top 4 women were receiving trophies that were designed with Wonder Woman in mind, she held onto that top spot and was later seen with her trophy serving as a topper for her Wonder Woman machine :slight_smile:

Ron Hallett - The last player to attempt to qualify for the Classics Gauntlet, Ron put up excellent scores on several of the games and coasted to 5th place in qualifying, and reached the final 4 of the tournament. It was exciting to watch a player many of us have enjoyed listening to via his podcast with Bruce, put together a good run, and even see Bruce there rooting him on was neat as well.

Finally Kate Haberman - My wife was thrilled to play in her first major tournament, volunteered and helped enter scores for the charity tournament, photographed the winners of various portions of the event, and was thrilled to play such a wide variety of games.

She put it in perspective for me when she said, " I was so excited to see how I could do against these tough machines, and I felt like I did good, and I had fun doing it."


Welcome to the world of tournaments at Allentown. It was particularly frustrating way back when 2009-2012 era when promised games would show up 10 minutes before show open, we’d have to set them up and then fix them as best we could, or go without a full bank.

I went through settings specifically with Corey when I set the games up, and then a couple hours later, someone else was going through them again - possibly a waste of time. With a list of games coming up front, settings should be researched in advance and communicated to the bringers to set the games that way.

Anything that arrived Friday would be difficult to fix on the fly - I think more tech time needs to be introduced on the Thursday setup day. I know you took a considerable amount of time to tweak at least 2 games and probably more. It is kind of a crap shoot what you end up with when games are volunteered, and most people do not know what’s actually required of a tournament.

I’d be willing to re-plan out my time for next year’s event to help do so - I am committed to helping to run a flea market booth and that’s the ride my machines get to the show so I can’t abandon that 100%.

One concern is that the finals ran long - if this becomes a regular thing, I might have to pull out of committing to bringing machines because my flea market partner is ready to go starting around 6pm saturday. The flea market was a ghost town even before we got to break down the 2 machines - I was hoping to get to them around 7, but the finals ended after 8 pm.


I think that between you, @coreyhulse, and the rest of the PinFest staff, you’ve all done a good job running three tournaments and rolling with the punches as things happened. Other than validating my grudge with Stars, the tournament was an enjoyable experience and there were great improvements over last year:

  • shorter queue time
  • no bumper-tilt modern games (IMDN)
  • even more pin diversity
  • everything involved with cows

There’s been a lot said between here and Facebook about various aspects of the tournament, and I know if/when there’s a Pinfest 2020 that many of the new things will be reflected in that tournament’s positives. Pinfest is a gigantic tournament for a best game qualifier and only has 2 days to run - there’s going to be strange interactions and growing pains. If you need any insight, I’d gladly give my recommendation based on how I’ve seen things run in other places. I’d honestly love to see you guys stay on the Circuit as you run the most unique best game format on the 20 event roster!


Pinfest will remain on the circuit. Don’t worry :wink:


I asked about this last year re: Intergalactic (not a circuit, I know). The general consensus was that Modern Pinball would rise from the ashes with 1000 person tournaments and once again lay waste to the IFPA standings if only 9.9% in a 2-day Best Game format advanced to the finals.


IMO the 10% rule is a positive thing that helps tournaments advance a proper number of finalists to the playoffs. As tournaments want to do more “creative” things to boost the player count, they simply have to keep in mind how that can impact their event with respect to IFPA sanctioning.

There’s no doubt that Pinfest’s player count was inflated due to the free 4 tickets for everyone. If you take out the 79 players that played 4 or fewer entries, you’re left with 147 participants. That’s not even close to triggering an expansion from 24 qualifiers.

Just post the contingency plan rules up front, and there’s nothing to worry about.

241-250 players --> 25 players advance, seeds #24 and #25 have a one game playoff to advance
251-260 players --> 26 players advance, seeds #24 through #26 have a one game playoff to advance

This kind of qualifier expansion rule with a “play-in round” also keeps the integrity of the byes in place for the rest of the field who may have been focusing on things based on a 24 player finalist field.


Giving away so many free entries into a Circuit event seems kind of counterproductive to me.

According to the player count by entry totals breakdown posted, there were 80 players who didn’t play beyond their 4 free entries. Each of them cost the tournament $6 ($1 IFPA, $5 SPC), totaling $480 out of the prize pool.

If free tournament participation is part of the show’s selling point wouldn’t it make more sense to have something on the side where those who just want to casually compete for free could do so without costing the prize pool $6 a head?


I know that has been a lot of discussion on the event, but I would be remiss if I did not take the time to post an event summary.

Photo Album of the event:

First, we have to lead off with the most important event: the One-Ball Charity Challenge!

We had over 50 people help us raise over $500 for To Love a Canine! We were able to donate all funds collected thanks to the prize donated by our generous sponsor PinSound!

Top 4:
Greg Poverelli - Winner of a PinSound Kit!
Alberto Santana
Nick DeStefano
Michael Reimer

This was an official IFPA event that will be graded at 4% TGP. Please enjoy your WPPR points.

We had 221 participants in this year’s Main Event, a huge increase over the 167 that participated in 2018.

Qualifying and Finals:

A-Division Top 8:

  1. Aleksander Kaczmarczyk
  2. Bowen Kerins
  3. Jerry Bernard
  4. Steve Zahler
  5. Jason Zahler
  6. Joseph Lemire
  7. Elliott Keith
  8. Jack Tadman


  1. Chad Hastings
  2. CJ Smith


  1. Basci Dinc
  2. Kristen Gregory

The Top 48 qualifiers all received cash and prizes.

The Gauntlet
Top 4:

  1. Jason Zahler
  2. Davey Plaisted
  3. Steve Zahler
  4. Ron Hallett Jr.

Division Winners


  1. Julie Dorsers
  2. Anna Wolk
  3. Linsey Rogers
  4. Kristen Gregory


  1. Jerry Bernard
  2. Craig Morse
  3. Davey Plaisted
  4. Rick Prince


  1. Ashton Capone
  2. Layla Antlitz
  3. Kaitlyn Gobbel
  4. Matt Lerman

Young Adults

  1. Jason Zahler
  2. Matthew Richardson
  3. Jack Sharrar
  4. Saylor Dress


  1. Rob Wall
  2. Karl Lodwick
  3. Andy Specht
  4. Mark Jezioro

Pinburgh Division
Congrats to Joe Lemire for finishing 6th overall and winning a ticket to Pinburgh! We will be conducting a drawing later this week to decide the winner of the second ticket.

Please give us a week or so to get everything submitted to the Circuit and the IFPA.

We have to thank our awesome sponsors!

PinCrossing -
Railroad Street Bar and Grill -
Pinball Gallery -
PinSound -
PinballSTAR -
Rage Tilt Pinball -
Rock Fantasy -
Modern Pinball -
Starship Fantasy -
CoinTaker -
Stern Pinball -
Mrs. Pin’s Pinball Podcast -
Marco Specialties -

Archives of all the games can be found on:

We need to thank all of the volunteers that have spent hundreds of collective hours planning, prepping, setting up, and executing this event. They are the ones that take a slab of concrete in an agri-plex and turn it into a pinball spectacle that 250+ players show up at to complete. This event simply does NOT happen without the work of all of those individuals and for that I am grateful.

By my rough estimates it looks like we had 2,100 games of pinball played in the Main, and 500 games played in the Gauntlet. That’s about 3 scores a minute being logged!

This year we added a seating area, expanded the tournament area, created pre-registration, added self-queuing, and added lots of cows to the event.

For all the improvements that have been made between 2018 and 2019 we know that things were nowhere near perfect. We’re only a few days out, and we’ve received a lot of feedback. Some of my reflections include:

  • Separate Queue system for The Gauntlet to allow people to participate in Main at the same time. We switched 1/2 way through to a “Deli Ticket” type of system to free up the virtual queues, but demand far exceeded supply and we closed off registration only half-way through qualifying. We’ll think how we can set up an event that allows people who are only there on Friday a chance to play competitive pinball. Do we go back to Match Play? Do we do away with the Friday event entirely?

  • Better Communication. This year we set up a PA system. On Saturday we added a rotating screen with different announcements and we can set that up again for 2020. We communicated games settings through NeverDrains. However, people came up to me to note that game settings were not on the machines themselves! We’ll look to add relevant notes on the actual machines. While some updates were communicated via Facebook, TiltForums, and Pinside, we’ll try to also make those more visible moving forward.

  • Evaluating Entries and Cash Payouts. We tried something new and different this year: First four games free, and $10 a game after that. With the crushing demand, we felt that this helped keep the number of individual tickets down despite having 221 people show up. We also smoothed the payment curve of the top finishers to award more money to those in 5th to 24th. That being said we’ve heard from individuals who were not happy with that decision, so we will be looking into options based on player feedback. More money for fewer people? Weight the top finishers more heavily? Less non-monetary prizes? Should we remove any and all cash prizes from the event? Should we donate any proceeds to charity and remove the cash prize component?

  • Machine Settings - There’s been a lot discussion around the choices that were made for machine settings this year, especially with how brutal and/or inconsistent they were. PinFest machines have always been set up brutally because of the limited time that we have available at the show. We have a lot of people who want to attend this event, and one of the variables that we can control is how fast the machines play by making judgement calls about game settings (both physical and software choices). Some machines we get it right, and others get taken too far. We have also had machines setup to play too long which puts our finals in serious jeopardy due to the looming deadline for loss of power at the conclusion of the venue. Couple this with the increased price per ticket, and I can understand why people wouldn’t be happy with aggressively-playing machines. How could we address this going forward? Kinder set-ups, but less tickets per person at the tradeoff of potentially less than 100% TGP? Do we offer pre-registration and cut off the number of participants? Do we switch to a card-based format and limit the number of cards you can play? Do we try to set up some kind of match-play event and use Flights? Do we set up Best Game qualifying in Flights and give people a set number of tickets they have to play in four hours? How about a 9-hour long Flip Frenzy with 200 people?

  • …and I know between me and the fellow organizers we have a couple dozen other notes that we made during and after the event.

My understanding is that the Pro Circuit folks will be conducting a post-event survey as they do with all of their events. We collected email addresses on pre-registration, but did not collect addresses for anyone who showed up at the show itself. If you would like to receive this survey but don’t think you provide an e-mail address please fill out your information here:

I would also encourage anyone who has additional feedback to drop us a note to

Thank you all, and hope to see you all soon at a pinball event!


I want to start out this post by thanking Corey for being so responsive and level headed. I also want to apologize for some of my feedback seeming quite rude when reading back over it. I don’t think anything unfair happened in terms of money; a lot of hard work goes into these and they aren’t cheap to pull off. Before moving on to game notes my more level headed advice, in terms of entry and payout, is to stray away from the 25% get trophies and cash, and minimize your non monetary prize expenses. Top 4 in A and winner of B-C-D getting trophies, and top 24 A and winners of B-C-D getting cash lines up more with regular expectation and allows for actual winners to find equity. Use restrictions for B-C-D, and avoid top 32 by capping at 239, which didn’t even happen. 32 is too many and the extra round cost you time on Saturday. Less EM heavy finals, it looked like a classics. If the need to stay at $10 an entry limited plays is desired so be it, but you might find $5 per play unlimited entry to bring in more money anyways while not putting as much inherent weight on game set up. As long as the time to qualify is the same you allow people to play more, and not hurt the schedule.

Game notes and opinions based off limited entry style for a Circuit event:

Earthshaker: the flippers were too weak to consistently hit the ramps, especially the side ramp for the lock. This being the most prominent shot in the game, if it can’t be remedied simply do not use it. Somewhat floaty and tight tilt.

Rancho: this games tilt was fair, but was on 3 balls. Extra balls were on without a note. I don’t feel in limited entry 3 balls is correct for an EM.

Wild Card: I didn’t play this one but noticed it seemed to play fair and was set on 5 balls. Good example of how to set an EM.

Bank Shot: power ball and again set to 3 balls. Not sure I get why a power ball would ever be in an EM, certaintly not limited entry.

Big Valley: played fair but another game set to 3 balls unnecessarily. This game like Fireball has a propensity to get a ball in the plunger lane during play. Might be wise to make a note explaining to players they need to always plunge that, but since it’s hard to argue intent on such things maybe best to not use games like that.

Gorgar: broken but wishing it had been replaced by the very nice Fishtales that showed up.

Deadpool: the nicest playing game in the main bank, fair tilt no ball save, posts pushed down a bit and fast; but playable as is for this level.

TNA: played fair but had a overly sensitive tilt. Due to the floors I witnessed someone slide save, which gave me false sense of security. I then proceeded to tilt while flipping in multiball something that never happens to me. Maybe wise to put leg rubbers with these floors.

Getaway: was very floaty with a challenging but fair tilt sensitivity. Issue being there were no dangers. That’s needs a note and isn’t really necessary ever. As someone who doesn’t tilt often, playing at Sunshine where most people do, I don’t want to pay $10 to find out a game has no dangers or flip tilts. It’s not fair.

Doodlebug: another set to 3 balls. Special set to 100k non standard and likely not a good idea, even though some notes were on neverdrains notes need to be on back box.

Stars: one of my favorite games and I flip tilted my first ball, pops were weak and I plunged a dead reaction off pop house ball. Way too tight for an already drain heavy game with prominent bonus value.

BKSOR: posts removed, ball save off, fast and on hardestpossible settings. Tilt loosest in bank seemingly to compensate. This trend of making the newest game not playing fair isn’t needed, especially in limited entry. Also when you may only have one or two attempts on a game - nobody knows the tilt is loose when all others tight for the most part. I didn’t see anyone get multiball on a game designed to let you get multiple per game. Shooting target 3 times to light lock changes everything for the worse; No note warning us.

Black Knight: set to easy locks which was strange, but more importantly unplayable tilt from the first hour of play. I asked for a ruling twice and was told that’s how it is. The TDs weren’t part of a decision to fix the tilt on Saturday; never change game settings that will ruin the integrity of qualifying for the majority of those who already played into an event. All things need to be run by the TD and announced to the players. Get away from this kind of set up outright or fix very early on. I was compensated with 2 entries with about an hour left, but the TDs only knew of the change because I told them about it. Subsequently they made no announcement. This was clearly just a mistake but it cost people substantially including eliminating CJ from A playoffs.

Joker Poker: as a solid state okay on 3 ball; but I enjoy it as 5 to give you the chance maximize your strategic play to get 5x on each set of card. Game was very floaty. Seemed easier than most.

Atlantis: I did not play but witnessed and overheard the flipper not being strong like ES.

Gauntlet bank which ended up having cross over to main finals

Little Chief: 3 balls again; played fair but a bit unlevel

Pinball Pool: one leg literally off the ground. Tilt hard to read because of it. Extra ball on no note. I think a lot of notes were on neverdrains make sure to use backbox.

Supersonic: tilt bob seemed to be not set correctly and I heard a lot of tilt throughs. Important to check these things and use player 1/3 in finals.

Motordome: seemed fine but the game sucks lol.

Eight ball: played fine but no need for power ball.

Raven: flippers were super weak and it’s a game all about one shot (spinner), which couldn’t be made well. Reminds me of Earthshaker issue.

Okay so I think in fairness to the TDs they aren’t given ample time to set up the games, which are donated. They use all the allotted space they pay for which includes games for the second year right underneath bright lights. I think 1-2 hours of time, even if it lessens the qualifying period, should be dedicated to game set up using a small group of volunteers with 1-2 experienced circuit players as advisors. Thinking how Trent saved OBX, whether PAPA or Stern can send someone like Fred Cochran, or if someone attending like Bowen is given some entries to assist - this could truly make the event prosper. The finals bank was too EM heavy and we are better off with less games and none under those lights. Glare is unplayable period. There wasn’t long lines, if you want to keep games hard to maximize entries shift to pump and dump at cheaper costs per play. If you want to stay limited consider 25 entries and not running 2 tournaments in one day. Let the games play fair but challenging and people will still get their entries in. Tilts should be as similar across the banks as possible and flip tilts not happening.

I sincerely apologize for any prior posts being rude. Personally I wanted to be helpful before, during and after the event to benefit local pinball but I feel I wasn’t kind or respectful to Corey and Jay. My bad and I hope I didn’t cause any bad blood. I respect all the TDs and volunteers very much. I have a lot of passion for circuit events and this being a local one, I hope to help improve the event moving forward with these constructive criticisms. In years prior before it was on the SPC, games were set better and payouts more aligned with a high level tourney for the winners. Try not to put the weight on bastardizing games because of the circuit status. Thank you.