POP Super League

Here in Portland we have shamelessly borrowed New York’s SuperLeague format and made it our own (with some adjustments to make it better fit our needs.) You can see the full rules here:

Our major modification is you only play six machines a week (and some will repeat), and we added a finals. These were both concessions to the fact that POP HQ has less games than Modern Pinball and we still wanted to reach the 25 game threshold for WPPR purposes. We changed a couple other things but it is largely the same. Interested in people’s feedback!

For POP, I think this serves a lot of purposes. Obviously it gets people in the door, and since we always have someone there to take scores, its not something that is easily repeatable in any of the other locations in town (largely bars.) Also, since we are all ages, it offers the opportunity for some of our younger players to get ranked and potentially qualify for state championships. We have one particularly talented 13 year old named Colin Urban who I think has a real shot at making it this year.

Thanks to the NYC crew for the inpiration!


I’ve heard a bit about this Super League thing… can anyone explain it? It seems to be a bit of a polarizing thing, and I’d like to understand why. Something about specific structuring to maximize WPPRs I think.

I’m not even going to lie, I structured our league to maximize WPPRs and help get players in the door at POP HQ. Basically for three weeks you come in and play six pre-selected games. You can play anytime you want that we are open. Your scores are recorded and ranked against everyone else who played that week. At the end of three weeks, your weekly totals are combined for a total for the month. The top 4 (or possibly 8 if we get a lot of players) play off at the end in a 7 game finals similar to the PAPA Circuit endurance phase.

In Portland we have a lot of opportunities for points in the 10-13 range for the winner, and we have one other monthly event that has been worth around 25. So for us to add another event where players can earn that many points, on their own schedule, as well as promote it to new players to get involved in something casual, is super appealing for a location like ours.

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Interesting. So you can run this monthly, and give out basically a 25-point tournament 12 times a year? That does seem like a bit of a WPPR glut.

Is there any cross-checking of scores, or is it honor system? Not that anyone would do this, but if I can come in any time I want and “record” scores, what’s to stop me from just making up a bunch of good scores?

An attendant at the venue handles the monitoring and verification of the score.

The usual complaint with it is all the entries from people with no IFPA experience, who largely don’t intend to fully participate in the league. But if you look at superleague on IFPA, they are probably maxing the base value even without any of those. Maybe they will need a couple more runs to get all the regulars up to 5 events. But, the real key seems to be the league format that allows an entry to be made at the player’s leisure over the course of several days and maxes out the value multipliers. Any high traffic venue is likely to be able to put together a high WPPR league with such a format, as long as they are willing to spare an attendant to monitor the entries (I won’t hold my breath for it at Pinballz ;)).

Note that there was just a change put through for WPPR 5.1 such that only rated players are included for the purposes of calculating number of players. You have to play five tournaments to be rated so while all these ‘one and done’ players do get points, they don’t contribute to the event’s value. This was done specifically in response to the SuperLeague format.

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I do find it unfortunate how many events have been created and restructured solely on the basis of WPPR points. I wish league/tournament directors paid more attention to questions like “Is this event format FUN? Will my players have a good competitive experience? Will they have a good social experience?” Things like that. Instead it seems the #1 question is “How many WPPRs is this worth?” and the other questions come later, if at all.


I would argue that this thought process is in part taking player satisfaction into consideration, as WPPR points are a drawing point for many competitive players. I appreciate that the WPPR calculation format is a living, breathing creature that can close exploitative loopholes and, for the most part, steer tournament directors toward enjoyable formats by aligning point value with engaging formats. Whenever any sort of point totals are involved, people will try to structure the most lucrative format, but hopefully they will also be going for an event that will draw repeat participants.