Rulesheet Studying Strategies

I know I get busy with stuff and don’t get to submit updates or strategies as much as I want to, and mad props to anyone who can keep things updated regularly. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask me online/in person though!


Yes, indeed, thanks to everyone who has added to rule sheets, pin tips, etc. here and beyond. It’s amazing the dedication many people have toward helping other players improve!

Agreed that it is helpful! Some resources like @BMU’s EM guide and that site that compiles various tips, rulesheets, and videos each year around pinburgh (sorry to the creator of this site whose name is escaping me) have been very helpful to me in big events. And of course you deserve thanks for all the tutorial videos, as you and others do for tournament commentary that gets into what competitors are attempting.

And to your point about helping the community, the confidence that comes with feeling informed about a game can make players want to come back for sure.

So thanks everyone!

1 Like

I love rules. But when I am learning rules 2 important things factor into what I care to learn, and require playing the game. I need to know what shots I can reliably hit. Then I ignore aspects of the rules that require me to make shots I can’t hit. Second, does knowing this rule change the choices I make.

Blackened is an example of this. I know you need to hit picks. I have no idea how many and I never see a situation where I am going to shot them on purpose to progress to the mode. I have completely ignored the rules to qualify or play the mode. If I start blackened, I ignore it. This might be suboptimal but trims what I need to know.

1 Like

It’s funny you mention this, because locally I and a few others are experimenting with a similar idea from a different perspective. The wealth of information we have now on various titles is essentially generic, in that it describes behaviors one can expect on any copy of a given pin. But, we all know that individual copies can play quite differently.

So in the same vein as sharing scoring strategies, the idea is to create Visitor’s Guides for well-known locations around here, describing in detail all the things a player might run into that are counter to expectations. For example: A game leans one way or the other, a game’s autoplunger is prone to screwing you, a game’s flippers are not strong and/or don’t bounce correctly, a kickout is particularly dangerous, tilt is unusually tight (or loose!) etc. These things are by definition ephemeral, but for non-locals who are playing in a tournament, not having access to this information can put them at a significant disadvantage when playing a local who knows every bounce, especially when something unexpected happens that directly causes a drain.

As long as it’s kept relatively up to date, I see this sort of guide as potentially just as valuable as having access to a detailed rulesheet or scoring strategy.

That would be:
Created by local legend @coreyhulse


Thank you! Sorry for forgetting you, @coreyhulse. That’s a truly wonderful site!

Is this resource publicly available? It sounds like very useful information.

Also, the 60 Second Tutorials project will be starting up again soon, with the goal to get an audio tutorial for every machine featured in 2019 tournaments. More detail soon…


I’m updating my guide [again], this time to include a bunch of Solid State classics games through 1984. I’ve got a total of 215 combined EM-SS now in various stages of completion. I’m adding a “quickie version” for each game, i.e. 1-3 sentences [or just UTAD = up top all day, if applicable] that summarizes the primary strategy. I think my favorite is for Flip-A-Card, just because the scoring for it is so unbalanced: Quickie Version: Ace all day from the left flipper, UTAD from the right.


It certainly can be, if I get this off the ground. I think you may have misunderstood me though, I wasn’t saying we had a wealth of information on machines that isn’t already public, I was referring to what is currently out there as far as strategies are concerned. The “royal we,” if you will. For just about everything out there, there are rulesheets, pintips, videos, whatever.

This effort would come at the concept of competition prep from a different angle, one aimed at reducing home field advantage. It would only ever be useful for specific, permanent locations. The aim was for local players, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be made available for everyone in case anyone happens through our area for a tournament.

Here’s a strategy doc that I’ve been working on for the last few months. I was going to wait until right before Pinburgh to post it, but I don’t think there’s much harm in doing so now. Hopefully, some people find it useful. It’s still very much a work in progress. I’m hoping to add many more games before Pinburgh.


This is very cool. Thanks! I love that it’s a Google Doc and thus can be saved for offline use. I like to turn my phone to airplane mode in tournaments so I don’t have a call while playing and listening to music. That actually happened to me last year during Pinburgh while playing Goldeneye, (a game I’d never previously played),
against Robert Gagno, Escher, and one other person way better than me who is slipping my mind.

You might also at some point want to allow collaborators.

Thanks a bunch!

My approach to learning the rules to specific pinball machines has always been very multi-dimensional.

When I was first starting out and I didn’t know anyone, I just played the games over and over and eventually you kind of get the basics. Eventually that turned into searching for rulesheets online and trying to implement some of that knowledge into my play. That turned into watching tutorial videos and tournament footage. That turned into finding the tournament scene and meeting a bunch of other people who knew a lot more than me and asking them questions. Now if I’m trying to learn rules I do some combination of all of these.

I think getting the same information repeated multiple times from multiple sources helps to cement it in your brain. Learning about something and then trying to go out and implement it on an actual machine always helps.

I really think the repetition from different sources is key. I also think trying to ‘master’ only one game at a time is important. If you watch a tutorial, and then don’t play or think about the game for another 2 weeks, it probably isn’t going to stick. Watch a tutorial, then go play the game, then go read a rulesheet, then ask someone at a tournament how they approach the game, then play the game again, etc.

As COW said, it’s also a matter of learning to figure out what information is actually important. TSPP is really deep, but you probably don’t need to know all the intricacies in order to play it well in tournament. I think this is where talking to other players can help you understand where it will be effective spending your time, and which parts of the rules you can more or less safely ignore. The longer you play, the more of those smaller details will get filled in by playing or talking to people.


I know as much as I do about Game of Thrones only because of Chuck’s excellent tutorial.

Despite this, it took me about two weeks of playing the game regularly to internalise the rules and strategy. Intellectually studying a rule sheet or tutorial isn’t the same thing as making the correct decision in the moment, with three or four balls on the playfield; especially when everything flashes all at once for seconds at a time, and I cannot see which shots are still missing towards the super jackpot, unless I kept track of them in my head.

I don’t think there is any substitute for playing a particular game over and over, rule sheets and tutorials notwithstanding.


This is precisely why “quick tip” resources out there are so valuable for a format like Pinburgh. It’s very likely you will run up against quite a few games you have never played before, or only played a handful of times. Having a quick, easy to remember strategy in these situations is usually better than having encyclopedic knowledge of a game.