I love the format of competition where the lowest score player is dropped, and the top score player earns $100. What’s that called?
Regardless, I like playing that way when playing by myself. Let me explain:
When by myself I will start a 4-player game and play each player as though I was a unique person in that tournament format.
Am I at risk for elimination? I need to secure points to not be last.
Am I doing well? Do I have what it takes to ensure the $100 victory?
Each ball, I try and get in to those mindsets and it makes games so much more fun.
There are so many games where there are well-trodden paths to high scores, but when you get in to the mindset of “I just need to pass player 3 with a good buffer to not be eliminated,” that changes your scoring strategies and opens up different aspects to a game.
I first noticed this while playing Alien Poker: the main strategy of getting Kings to maximize your drop bank multiplier gets old, but if playing in the competition mindset, you focus on strategic points from all available options.
I did this a ton as a kid, with our Paragon. I would create different personas for each player. One would be the underdog, one the returning champ, one a scrappy reflex-shotter, etc. And I would have different playing styles/strategies for each one.
I do the same thing, same reasons. Many times I’ve won a match, using “easy” shots that game seems to be giving up at the moment, and only need 15 safe shots, v. 3 more drainy, high point shots - practicing the circuit final format way has uncovered most of those little used low score/low risk, highly makeable score opportunities, and given me shot practice to execute them in those situations. Best to practice that way, so you can play the way you practice.
This is definitely one aspect of competition play I’m surprised I see a lot, with players plowing away on their normal arcade strategy when something else simple would give them an obvious win / 2nd place. More situational play gives you practice
Another example of practicing competing strategies is to do “lock multiball” vs. “total annihilation” on AFM. Both are fun, but you can also practice specific shots and compare how proficient you are at each. Or mansion rooms vs. multiball on TAF and compare results in 3-ball games with 1-ball and 2-ball games. Actually, there are other games where this would be a good test, i.e. one-ball competition between modes and multiball.
In 257 finals the other night, I found myself with multiball lit on left ramp and a powerball on the right flipper. The normal strategy would probably be to post-pass and take the mania-in-hand, but I knew I was doing very crappily on the powerfield that night for some reason, so figured my best shot at mania would result in about 20M. So I avoided the pass, just shot the left ramp, and proceeded to double-double-single jackpot that mb for probably around 275M (or somewhere around 100M in extra powerball jackpots). It was a gamble, admittedly, but it paid off well.
Absolutely. But for someone like me, I appreciate it even more for how it opens up a machine to discovery.
A lot of games are really fun when you don’t know the rules and are just messing around.
Then it’s fine to hone in high scoring strategies.
But then after that I sometimes get bored with games where the root to top score is always very similar. Doing this opens the game back up and I find I can re-enjoy a game that maybe got a bit stale.