Post Pinburgh reaction thread - how'd you do, how happy are you with it, etc?

Figured now that some of us have made it home, or close to it after a rather hectic weekend, it’d be nice to sum up some thoughts on the whole deal.

As I stated to many I met this weekend, this was my first “real” tournament ever, not just a local one with the typical crowd around the SF Bay (I’ve never done the tourney at CAX before). I went in with the hopes of making B, and the mindset that I’d be content in C.

Qualifiers went about as well as I would’ve expected - the usual ups, downs, and stupid mistakes adding up along the way, and one screwjob by T2 not lighting up the target I was supposed to hit for a ball 1 triple jackpot (which I swear I’m not bitter about, really - I reported that ASAP to @bkerins and he told me the game would get pulled).

At the end of day one I felt confident for a good seed in B, so I left early and passed out; I’m pretty sure I just about lost it when I saw I’d been placed in A (by one win as it turns out)! As it turns out, I ended up missing the playoffs by a close-ish margin of 5 or 6 wins, but in the end, I am still not sure I can believe I played well enough to even get that close.

Maybe, just MAYBE this is enough to give me more confidence to start hitting up some of the west coast circuit events. Either way, it was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced since I started playing the game again, and a huge shoutout to all the PAPA folks for doing what they did this weekend.

That’s my story - what’s everyone else’s?


Hey, I was there for that T2 hose job. Tough break.

This was my first ‘big event’ tournament as well, and I’m barely more than a casual player. I fully expected to be in D division at the end of Thursday, but was doing far better than I expected. I suspect that a decent amount of people play much more relaxed on Thursday (not purposefully bad, just not quite as serious) while I was doing the best I could manage all the time. I ended up in C after the division split and couldn’t hang with that level very well (or just had a terrible day) and ended up 6 or 7 points out of the finals. Ended on a high note though, with a plunge & drain 3rd ball victory on my last game.

I still had a fantastic time. Really enjoyed the pinburgh match play format.


This was my third Pinburgh. I finished at the bottom of A 2 years ago, and just outside the B playoffs last year. Can you identify the trend?

I got a 12 in round 1. I was especially happy because it was my first 12 ever, and also knowing that I took advantage of pretty much every opportunity I had on those games. A nice start.

In the next round, my opponents were Josh Sharpe, Sean Grant, and Jerry Bernard. Without looking at their round 1 results, I was assuming that the 12-0 people were together. Nope: they had 9, 9, and 7. So I could certainly have had easier opponents in this round. I think the opportunity to play with world-class players is a huge plus of this format, and I always appreciate it. That being said, I might have appreciated it a bit more in this case if I only had 1 or 2 of them in this early round. :slight_smile: I played OK, except for Big Guns, but ended up with 2 points.

The rest of my day 1 was equally up and down, but more down than up. I ended up essentially one point outside of the bottom of C, but forced into C because of my IFPA rank.

I started Day 2 147th in C, but just 6 wins outside of first place and 2 or 3 wins outside the top 40. I found some much-needed consistency, climbed my way up slowly, and ended the day tied for 27th place.

Saturday was essentially a mix of the two previous days. I was mostly consistent in round 1 of the playoffs, and advanced to the next round. I was awful in round 2, and that ended my tournament.

All in all, a great time. I met lots of great people, took enjoyment from the success of my friends (my 3-man carpool from Vermont went 3 for 3 in getting into the playoffs), and I even enjoyed hearing that my compiled machine notes earned friends some free points.

Playing highlights:

  • Getting to play Alien Poker in round 10 and finding that it played and bounced really similarly to my own. (But my spinner is more dialed!)

  • Playing Airborne for the first time, and applying what I learned via PAPAtv Live pretty much perfectly.

  • Staying focused after a Jokerz malfunction in round 7. My score was more than 2x ahead of everyone on ball 3, and the malfunction in which a stuck switch gave me a few thousand points, but also started my score doubler timer while the ball was in the shooter lane and kept me from being able to get the doubler, was deemed major and caused us to have to void the game and switch to Whirlwind. I killed it even more on WW. Take that, fate.


I had a great day 1 this year, somehow, even though I didn’t feel like I played particularly well, and started day two around 40th. Then I had a lousy day two even though I didn’t think I played particularly poorly and finished somewhere around 130 IIRC. My only highlights were beating Josh on Cyclopes and Jorian on Atlantis and the best I managed for the day was a 6-6 in the last round. I just don’t have the energy and stamina to compete like this over the course of two days it seems. I thought I felt pretty good going into the first round on day two but by the end of round two I was starting to drag ass again.

If there’s one thing I think has to be addressed it’s seating. If it’s going to continue in that hall with concrete floors please provide more seating throughout the banks of games. Other quibbles would be the lighting—I felt it was too dark for a competetive tournament of this level—and the band playing during the later rounds drowned out what little game sounds could be made out in that big hall.

Countless kudos to Bowen, Doug and all the techs/officials that kept this thing running smoothly. What an undertaking it must have been to move all those games and still have them playing as well as they did.

Also, I liked the venue in general. It was nice being downtown and within walking distance of lots of hotels (though the walking certainly contributed to my overall fatigue as the tourney progressed) and the local food options were aplenty. It would be nice if there was a wider variety of food to choose from in the hall. Would also be nice if there were a few extra minutes between the first and second rounds for some lunch.

Glanced at my stats for the tournament.

21 points on DMDs
16 on early solid state
16 on late solid state/early dmd
11 on EMs.

Guess I know where there’s work to be done :confused:

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I finished (I think) in 7th place in A Division. I was that “other guy” in the group with Keith Elwin, Zach Sharpe, and Cayle George.

Obviously, I’m ecstatic with how I played to make it to the semi finals in A, I just wish I had done a little better. Did plenty of bricklaying there on that set. Still, it was my best Pinburgh finish by a country mile and I had a rollicking good time playing in the finals with that caliber of competition, all of whom are awesome.

I agree with previous concerns about seating, concrete floors, and lighting. It was a bit brutal on feet after two days and a bit dark for rounds 4/5 and 9/10. Turning on more of the overhead lightning wouldn’t have really worked though as the glare would have been brutal in some areas.

Overall I thought the tournament ran very smoothly and I was quite pleased with it. Everyone did an amazing job.


Dave is correct. When we were moving the games in, we saw that glare was going to be a major issue.

Thankfully, these are issues that can be worked on.


Are stats at the game level available for everyone or is this something you just tracked for yourself? Don’t see it on the pinburgh site unless I missed it somehow.

The opponents are “staggered” from one round to the next, otherwise it would be extra punishing to play well in a round. You got an especially difficult draw for Round 2, it seems! Glad you had a great time.


These stats are not available at the game level, only group totals are entered in order to expedite the tournament. There’s 1600+ score sheets to pick through if you’d like to stop by and have a look :wink:

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Yeah, that sounds FUN! I’ll fly right out. :sunglasses:

This was my first time, and I loved it. I didn’t play in the tourney, but from a visitor/spectator point of view, it was such a great weekend. My brother rolled up with me and we had just as much fun watching the Pinburgh action as we did going head to head on the floor games.

It was an especially nice surprise to see the ReplayFX crew wheel the tourney games back out to general population once the finals were over — getting a chance to play the same games that we’d just seen Keith/Zach/Ray/Kevin absolutely destroy was amazing.

The one thing I thought could be improved was the live standings information. The google doc was a great idea, but didn’t seem to be getting regular updates after each match, so we were left guessing as spectators most of the time. Towards the end of the A division semis, as the drama is growing and the crowd is getting bigger, it seemed like everyone around me was interested in where the players stood but nobody had a definitive answer. There was so much speculation that we ended up loading the Twitch stream on our phones to get the scoop from the commentators. Something front and center that everyone could see would have been really great — especially for those moments like the final game on Super Orbit, where Ray absolutely lit it up and a second place finish for Kevin would have clinched the victory for him.

SUPER MEGA THANKS to Bowen, Doug, and the rest of the PAPA/Replay crew for all the intense work that must have gone into putting this on — it absolutely showed, and I was blown away by the scale of it all. We had such a great time up there, and will see you next year for sure!


Just tallied it from memory. Some of them were very painful memories, so it wasn’t too difficult.

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What more could you ask for with over 600 plus competitors competing for a full 2 days. Was happy to qualify in B division and play a tiebreaker for a first round bye. When you get the goose egg on fish tales first game it is very hard to claw back into contention in second round. Enjoyed playing a round with cayle George and getting the same points as him knowing he is one of the best players in the world.

Saw that Bowen and Bowden were on twitch during the finals. Maybe next year we could have a viewing area on a TV in another section of facility to watch the finals and listen to the commentary.
It was very hard in A finals to know where everyone stood in their round. Maybe have a big bulletin board with their overall score or maybe after each round have a announcement to crowd on where the competitors stood.

It was great playing soooooo many pins that I have never seen especially the zaccaria pins from Italy . Maybe one day we could see one of those pins in a final A bank competition.

I am sure plenty of competitors would like to have seats between some of the banks down the rows but knowing how convention center business works they usually charge per seat and am sure doing that would be a pretty penny to pay for that.

This event exceeded my expectations and gained many friends in the process . I will definitely invest in a shiatsu foot massager to take with me next year it will come in handy.

Major props to all the tech hands on duty they were on the ball all the time.

One suggestion where some had issues which I did not because there was so much to choose from in that some machines in free play area needed credits to play. I would suggest putting all the credit machines in one area so that they could be monitored better and have a sign saying these are credit machines that need help in playing ask a assistant to add credit.

Only 2 video games I would have liked to play but not here was a paperboy and a arkanoid .

Awesome event

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Absolutely perfect event and had a great time as usual.

Yeah it happens sometimes. In 2012, 2 of my 2nd round opponents were Trent and Dave Hegge. Felt a little early for that kind of a stressful round. Didn’t help that that bank included Iron Man which I hate and Xenon which Dave has owned for like 30 years. :wink: Just where fate (and nowadays the RNG - seeding used to be based on your previous round seed) put you.

Lowlights: Starting with a round 1 2-10. Coming from behind by Jochen on Flash to overtake my 755K. In the same group, not catching up to Cayle’s 6M on High Speed (had 4.4M). RFM trough not ejecting a single ball during multiball (never had any other problem the whole game for me or anyone). Losing Captain Fantastic to people actively shooting the drop targets from the upper flipper. :wink: (I played like total crap that game.) Going out round 1 despite the door being wide open to force a tie.

Weirdlight: Scared Stiff blowing out the ramp bones and ejecting balls from the Spider Hole directly onto the playfield. Never even heard of that before.

Highlights: Clutch performance in round 10 to make finals again, including a come-from-behind giant ball on Buck Rogers to win by <1000…

Pinburgh was great as always. Thanks to everyone for making it happen.

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Thanks to Bowen and PAPA crew for an awesome show/tournament. Huge accomplishment.

On a personal note the highlight was comming from behind on Scared Stiff with a 2x playfield Crate MB and 6 Stiff-o-meter hits on ball 3 to claim 3 wins. SS has a special place in my heart and I just wanted to nail that one.

Also big thanks for putting Dragon and Ready, Aim, Fire in the same bank - and assigning me that one. Two odd ball games I wanted to play. Let alone I got 3 wins on both.

Getting all targets down (both banks) on Target Alpha was also nice.

Low point was a weak days two where I struggled to get in a groove. I just had too many balls of nothing. And it did not help that I took some horrible play decisions too. The round on Pinball Magic, Pinbot and Grand Lizard was devastating.

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Just joined the Tilt forums after reading about it in a pinball article on boingboing. This was my first Pinburgh and I hope not my last. Probably on a good average day, I’m a decent average C player though I probably should have tanked a bit Day 1 to drop to D instead of C.

I was pumped about finally going to a big tournament and particularly seeing all these new machines that I had never played, seen, and in many cases never even heard of. My first two rounds at Pinburgh were strange, not in a good way. One of the guys in my first round was seeded 70th and one guy failed to show. We waited quite a while but starting with a 3 player game, then finding out that scoring was different was a bummer. I cam out of the first round with 1.5 points so I didn’t even get 2 points for the hard fought 2nd. (The guy that didn’t show was seeded well below me :frowning: )

First day, second round - another guy doesn’t show, another 3 player round. Two firsts, two seconds, 9 points. I went up and down averaging 5 points all day and ended up in C. Meanwhile two guys in my league that always place well above me qualify in D and end up doing really well there. Day 1 was a bit of up and down then with unexpected 3 player rounds, etc.

Day two, I was ready to start fresh. First two games, 1 point. I was getting bummed quickly as I feel that my nerves are still my biggest hurdle (lack of experience and just self-doubt). Game three was on Hokus Pokus and ball one was like every other game I’d played, I started with a crap ball. Balls two and three - I started to feel the machine and took a really decent lead and started getting my mojo back - until a Tilt. I didn’t push the machine, jam it, rock it, the guys in my group didn’t see anything but it wasn’t just a tilt, it tilted through, that what the guy after me told me. I walked away so when the ball reloaded I didn’t see it go right to tilt. One of the guys flagged Bowen down for a ruling but I know the rule and know how pissed I was so I decided to just step away for a minute. Bowen said we could go talk to the group but I know it wouldn’t change anything. I know when I’ve pushed a machine, rocked one, etc. I hadn’t done anything, certainly not enough to tilt-through but that rule just really…anyways. It is what it is. First round of qualifying and I’m pretty much out of it. I ended up with 3 points for the first two rounds and was really bummed. Then I got my 3rd (!!!(^%(^$(^) 3-player group. Won two, two seconds. Rest of the day wasn’t quite so good.

Playwise, I didn’t play well enough I know, but I also feel that I got some bad luck with those first two 3 player games and then a 3rd. I don’t know how many people would have been put in that situation but it didn’t feel very judicious. I know it probably was all luck of the draw but after having two 3 player groups day one, I wouldn’t have expected to have another Day 2. I would like to see something made that would prevent that from happening. I know you can’t predict people not showing but the 3rd one was scheduled that way. Considering I’d already been put in that position (one with a much higher ranked/seeded player) it didn’t feel fair/right to get a 3rd.

Bowen did mention that if I had suggestions I should forward them but that the current scoring was basically fair. I still have issues as I didn’t choose to do 3 player so losing 1.5 points for my second place finishes was rough. If I had a suggestion, people mentioned that usually 3 player groups play 6 games. This time they just multiplied scores by 1.5. I’d rather do 6 games and have the computer find a way to split 24 points still. Reason being. Imagine playing four 3 player games and finishing 2nd every time. You score 6 points. The person in the four player getting seconds scores 8 points. While you can’t know what you would have done in a 4 player game, it still doesn’t change the fact that you are two points below the other player for the same finish. The assumption in this scheme is that it’s just plain easier to get 2nd in a 3 player than 4 player but statistically that wouldn’t be the case. It probably would be more similar than the 33% difference in points. Playing 6 games instead of four would do a better job of ‘placing’ those 3 players against each other skill wise and then splitting 24 points (with 12, 8, and 4 somehow maxing out possible 1/2/3 placing so someone winning all six games doesn’t just take 16 points or something) just seems less punishing. Yes, win all your games you still get 12 points but get second, you are punished. If I come up with what think is a better solution, I’ll post it.

As for the whole show, I loved playing all the games, in the pinburgh section or otherwise. Would have liked to see more concessions options that were reasonable but there are plenty of restaurants in the area so it’s not a big deal.

If the costs don’t significantly increase I’ll probably try Pinburgh at least once more. I would hope not to have the bad luck of 3 3-player matches in the first ten rounds again but really I’ll just have to play better. I hope I didn’t come off too crabby to Bowen, I’m sure he gets plenty of fussiness. I knew the ruling likely wouldn’t be changed on the tilt through but I do have a recommendation that would have taken lots of anger out of me that morning. It’s really hard to play a machine for the first time in a competition, literally never having flipped a single ball on that game. I think it is unfair to not be able to feel out a machine for tilt or anything else before playing, especially when a tilt, even a light one, could end up with a tilt through. Someone mentioned to me that Hokus Pokus had a tilt-through earlier. My suggestion would be that each player could get, if they wanted, 15-30 seconds flipper time before starting a game. Not looking for practice, just a chance to feel the flippers and test the tilt. I think when you spend hundreds to travel and play in a competition, especially with games you’ve never even seen, 15-30 seconds to test the flippers and tilt isn’t too much to ask.

Overall, it was a great competition and I really like the format, pay one fee and have ten guaranteed rounds. I did see some A level players in B and that was surprising. Guys that make it to A finals at big events like PAPA (within a year or so) should be limited to A. Otherwise things were well done. Congrats to Bowen and everyone that set this up, ran it, etc. Bowen, hope I didn’t come off as an ass, I tried to step back when I was upset and not throw a tantrum, it was just a crappy way to start qualifying Friday morning. Thanks to all the great people I met. We met many people during PinGolf (even though it was already too booked to really play when we got there around 5) from Cali and Colorado. All great people. Hope to see many of you next year.

@bkerins, what about having another TV screen with finals standings displayed for all to see? Like the leaderboard at a golf tournament??


Did D division points carry over from day one? Looking at scores there were some players that seemed to tank day one just to plow through the divisional play once there. I won’t say there was sandbagging going on but if the slate gets cleaned for day 2 what’s to prevent it?