Preparing to play at big events...

Thanks everybody for your replies. Will see how I get on. Just on tight tilts - i’m of the view that nudging is fine but moving the machine isn’t, one move and you should be double dangered. again sometimes depends on the game also.

There is also merit to finding competitive (and even oppressive) game settings and practicing on them. Dialed In wasn’t only hard because of the flippers; they also gave you an unlit kickback on one of the most brutal modern outlanes in pinball and a severely less valuable Big Bang.

Look up what tournaments have done in the past and try to emulate those settings in your practice play. If the game is set up easier, you’ll see it as a gift. Otherwise, you’ll be prepared.


I rotate my pin difficultly at home and make them more difficult than anything I’ll ever see in a tournament. It’s basically subjecting myself to the most extreme of every scenario. I’ve found play wise that this has allowed me to improve my game and be prepared for what I’ll see at tournaments.

I also think that a big part of these events are keeping adrenaline and nerves in check and channeling it towards benefiting oneself (This could be all kinds of forms externally and internally). Purposefully practicing mental toughness goes a long ways too as being able to perform under pressure is a huge asset, especially in card format imo. In my mind, I want those moments. The most fun I had all weekend was putting up a clunker game on DI against Raymond, Luke, and Elliot while getting smoked for a 0, but getting a chance to jump right back into game 2.


Those double trouble Scared Stiff jackpots were amazing!


Thanks Raymond! Your ball 3 on Black Rose was an absolute clinic.

For those that don’t know he turned on beast mode and put up 130 plus million on ball 3 alone. It was incredible to watch.


I found the games at INDISC to be set up very fair and playable. Unlike PAPA20 A div where many of the games were so difficult they were nearly unplayable(Kiss, Metallica, RBION come to mind). Kudos to Jim and the techs for making the games tough yet playable!


I think an important distinction here is that PAPA20 was unlimited best game, which typically requires harder game setups than a 5 game card format. I’ll agree that they were set up more difficult, but didn’t think they felt unplayable by any means. Maybe you’ve just gotten better since then!

For those of us who don’t have games at home and can’t adjust the sling sensitivity and other settings I find that playing a machine at as many different locations as possible to be helpful so as not to get locked into where the shots are on one particular machine. It’s not ideal preparation, but go with what you have.


I would argue that playing multiple games on location is actually a better way to practice. How many times have you heard someone say ‘my game at home doesn’t play anything like that one’? Are there any majors winners that weren’t location rats at some point in their life? I cant think of one.

Setting tilts should never be uniform. Watching the Indisc stream, I could see that wasnt the case there. I noticed a few games with tighter tilts than the others. Sacred Stiff often plays long, so it was no surprise to see that had a tighter tilt. EM’s that end the game with a tilt obviously should be set looser. The title and type (EM or SS) should influence tilt settings.

When I had games at home, I would bring them for tournaments and make sure to wipe the high scores before the event. Then when I took them home I’d leave the settings the same (including pitch and tilt) and try to beat the high scores. Took me months to bump Zach’s GC score on Ripleys. Seeing great player’s initials on your game can be very motivating.


I like the idea of resetting the high scores since then if you do get initials up at a tourney you know you were one of the top scores and if there’s a stream and it shows the attract mode scores with your initials it’s kinda neat (unfortunately this barely ever happens for me :slight_smile: though I only got my initials on SS at INDISC but it wasn’t actual high score initials…


We don’t have many locations to play in the UK and our pinball club Flip Out London ( I own a big chunk of the games in their also. Most events are either at Flipout or at folks houses

Perhaps I’m a bit late to the party and this is only tangentially related… but, when you walk up to a game you’ve never played before or have only played/seen in a limited capacity in a big tournament (Pinburgh being the perfect example with every game under the sun), what is your strategy? I find myself feeling lost in these situations. I utilize Pintips, I watch other player’s strategies, shot selections, hit and missed shot tendencies, etc… but when it’s ultimately time to play, I feel like I don’t know the game at all.

Is there anything I’m missing/could do differently, or is everyone else just as lost as I am but better at hiding it? :slight_smile:

Depends on the era. On EM and even SS games, I’ll try to dial in on one shot from each flipper that seems to be worthwhile for whatever reason (good points, progress toward a multiball, etc)… this helps me get into a rhythm and make some progress, which might already be enough for a point or two if the game is really unknown by my competitors.

Doesn’t hurt to try the same approach on DMD+ games, but it’s usually not as effective due to the more complex modern rule sets.


I’ll echo what Joe says, getting into a flow is important. It’s really hard to drain when you never miss a shot.

I also echo your concern? frustration? with games you don’t have much time on. Especially modern DMDs with insanely complex rulesets. I tend to take a flat/simple strategy that will give me decent points and if I run into someone who knows how to stack every multiplier under the sun and blow my score out of the water, I will tip my hat and take my loss. But I don’t want to try to execute something far out of my wheelhouse and fail and give myself no chance.


I’d watch a pre-INDiSC stream of games being adjusted, if there was one. I’d love to learn how to get my slingshots to fire like those.

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You remind me of something else… at big events, you can generally count on machines being set up well. Games set level, flipper power enough to make shots, slings fire consistently, etc. This is something I struggle with, because a fair number of locations I play at for some insanely frustrating reason have slings that never fire, or only fire if the ball is screaming into them. Or flippers that don’t dead bounce the way you would expect, things like that. So preparation for playing at big events often involves adjusting your expectations for what the ball is going to do, which can be hard if you’re playing in a proactive way.