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 )
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.