suggestion for 2018 SCS


I assume someday this will get pulled into the Chicago fold . . . probably the year after my wife lays a trap for us to have our third kid.

Nationals, Women’s, Pin-Masters, Heads-Up, SPC Final, Power 100 . . . all in the same week.


Same week, same basement!


from my point of view flying to Vegas is much easier/cheaper/faster than going to CHI :slight_smile:


Haha, yeah. I’m willing to fly or drive to Vegas to lose, but Chicago is a bit of a jump for me.


Objective metric of… what? WPPR has always conflated “skill” with “participation”, using a complicated set of rules that aren’t “objectively correct”, they’re just the way WPPR does things. A different ranking system could do something similar but tweak the point distribution scheme, or the TGP scheme, or whatever, and wind up with somewhat different results, which would not be “objectively” more or less correct than WPPR.

Trying to vaguely keep on topic: I think the 20 event cap on SCS going forward is a good choice.


It doesn’t determine who is the best - it determines who qualifies for a competition that whomever performs best that day, wins.

Each system ranks people by a calculation. Even the SuperBowl, World Series, etc do not ‘determine who is the best’ -
they are playoff series that were seeded by win loss records. Tennis, Golf, etc rank people based on competing -
not simply qualifying who is best or not. The ‘best’ player who doesn’t go out and compete won’t be ranked high.

WPRR (and SCS) were created with goals of ENCOURAGING more participation… so the idea that ‘competing more’ leads to a positive outcome in the ranking should not be a shock… or even really seen as a flaw. That’s what the system was created to do.

Every time someone confuses comparing WPRR rankings with comparing skill level… someone gets butthurt and its all because they are using apples to compare oranges.


Ha, good point. WPPR rank is commonly interpreted as a measure of skill, even though it is not designed that way (as you astutely point out). I will say that I did an analysis in the past that tried to predict which division a player would qualify for at Pinburgh, and I used both the player’s rating and their WPPR points in the model. WPPR ended up providing more predictive accuracy.

I’d be interested in hearing one of the skeptics answer here. Dear skeptics, when you say WPPRs aren’t “accurate”, what exactly do you mean?


Yes, most sports are won by a team that’s not “the best” but that’s “pretty good and won some declared-to-be-more-important playoff games.” Every sport has had some team dominate in the regular season only to get knocked out of the playoffs by one bad game [or an exceptionally good one by their opponent]. In most other parts of society, the “regular season” work would outweigh the one playoff loss in determining who’s best. Sports are different because they’re entertainment. Those running them have decided that “who is best” needs to remain ‘undecided’ for as long as possible to generate more revenue and interest. Thus, where we used to have a world series with just the two teams with the best records, now we have a whole slew of playoff levels. 16 teams in hockey and basketball - - really? 64 [now 68] in college basketball; go 33-0 for the season and lose in the final four semi and you’re not the best this year? Gimme a break. Pinball tournaments don’t need a match play component to determine who is best on that day, but certain individuals have decided that they must be used for an event to count. If you had limited qualifying on 10 machines and someone got the high score on 5 of them [and decent scores on the others] and nobody else had more than one, you don’t need a match play component to decide who is best that day. But the societal norm has become “gotta have playoffs / head to head / can’t wrap things up too early,” so that’s what we get now.

Now there’s a thought: Olympics-style format. You play a bunch of games to qualify, say 4-player PAPA-point groups or whatever, similar to best-of-your-country or the swimming or track qualifying heats used now. Then for the last step, you have a decathlon-type finish - - the finalists [say 10] each play one game on each machine, and you rank their scores 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, highest total wins, others ranked by total. No head to head required, but it still provides a perfectly valid metric of who is how good that day.

“Best” is not the same as “highest ranked” or “won event X.” Metrics don’t determine best, they determine who is highest at that metric. IMHO, KME is still the “best” pinball player in the world. Zach is #1 at “recent tournament performance,” which is what the WPPR system attempts to measure - - the combination of how often you enter tournaments and how well you perform when you do. Both are outstanding achievements; I’d be delighted to ever get either of them.

So for all the squabbling over the SCS, read it for what it is - - “who are the top tournament participants who often perform well?” And remember that the “State Champion” does not equate to “the best player in the state” - - it equates to who qualified for the SCS event and then proceeded to win that one event.


i’m 1038 now! and top 20 in the only metric i consider:


Average points per event is about the worst metric I have ever seen proposed. You want to eliminate the Wednesday Night tournaments at Kickback? Go ahead and implement “average points per event.” Nobody will play in the Kickback event unless WPPR’s are removed from it, and then nobody will play in it because it isn’t ranked. What this proposed change misses completely is that events have different payouts in terms of WPPR’s. Here is the thing about rankings and making it into a state’s top 16 (or 24). It’s hard. It takes a bit of a commitment. 17th will always be a pretty good player. Someone who makes it will look like a SPOT. Just like in any sport - on any level.

I don’t think our sport is at a place yet where you want to eliminate anything. Last night at Kickback a bunch of first-timers showed up and played in their first ever event. Remember that IFPA isn’t just about accurate measurements. It’s also about bringing in new people.


Basically, exactly the same as the UKCS. Rather than calculations based on WPPR points achieved over the year.
Calculate points for each competition (SCS points if you want a name for them).
A) EVERY comp has SCS points allocated for it based on number of competitors and strength of field.
Not dissimilar to the current WPPR pts system, but it does give a lot less variance between major comps and ‘lesser’ comps.
or B) only certain comps have SCS points allocated. Determined at the start of the year so people can make plans to compete in those events.

Any qualification system is likely to have flaws, and p!$$ off certain individuals, the trick is just trying to p!$$ off the fewest. :zipper_mouth_face:

Realistically though, it won’t make a blind bit of difference to the outcome.
It would be interesting to see what position each of the winners of each of the States qualified in.
I’ll predict that there won’t be many who only just qualified, that then go on to win their State.


In my opinion, that is by far the biggest error made in recent changes.
I understand why it was done, but still think it was a sledgehammer to crack the nut of the ‘SuperLeagues’, whose participants may or may not have even known they were competing.

That sounds like a perfectly sound format. As it has head to head in the qualifying portion, I see no reason why it wouldn’t be eligible for WPPR pts. Nowhere does it say that the head to head component has to be the last game.

There is nothing worse than seeing a best of 7 final (purely to bump up ‘meaningful games’ and boost WPPR pts) between the top 2 players on the day, when everyone else has finished and lost interest. Especially in smaller, non-major comps.

The tournament winner shouldn’t necessarily go to the best player, just the person who is best on the day. Otherwise the whole thing becomes boring and predictable.

A recent comp I ran, which consisted of 12 groups of 4, playing 2 4-player games, before being split into new groups with the loser dropping to a loser bracket, had all of the players ‘sorted and seeded’ within 3 rounds. (Meaning that the winner of each previous group also won the next group, the 2nd placed player finished 2nd, etc.)
That’s 12 meaningful games according to IFPA. After those first 3 rounds, it was very likely who the 4 finalists were going to be, but we continued for a number of rounds further just to satisfy those players who needed their comp to be 100% or they wouldn’t travel.

I also prefer my comps to be ‘front-heavy’ with the majority of players playing for at least 2/3 of the duration with the speed of the comp ramping up as it approaches the final. This gives the lesser players more incentive to come as they are mostly guaranteed a decent number of games. It also has the additional bonuses of the majority of the better players on the day qualify to the latter stages, but because it now runs at a quicker pace it gives slightly more chance of an upset and a player who has a great day winning.
This is almost impossible to achieve now with the restrictions on formats.


i mean they are not an accurate assessment of overall skill as a pinball player.i will happily pm you or anyone that requests a more detailed response, but id like this thread to stay about the SCS and answering that here would lead to a derail into WPPR town (which were kinda already doing haha).


Please do. Always interested in ideas to make this system better.


@G_Money hit my exact points on the head in BOOOOOOOOM fashion, so let me go ahead and back them up from someone behind the scenes at the Kickback Weekly:

(Since we’re already under the question of the IFPA dollar as a tournament, there will be a few changes to accommodate higher-quality, less frequent WPPRs in 2018 so nobody has to pay $52/year for maybe 4-5 points a week if you win. That’s beside the point here and the rest of my statement assumes a standard weekly format.)

This is the crux of every tournament, especially the smaller ones in an area. Looking at the RAW top 16 in PA, 4 players are Kickback regulars and 2 are infrequent players. If you look at the projected top 24 (essentially the top 55, thanks PAPA bloat), those numbers jump to 6 and 7.

A lot of tournaments in Pittsburgh are played for the fun of competition and less so for WPPRs, with Kickback being the prime example of that. The atmosphere and attitude are definitely lighthearted, even with everyone bringing their game faces (as the round-halting duels have shown). The format is definitely IFPA-unoptimized for pacing and time’s sake, and the average crowd of 16 means you aren’t going to hit a sweet TGP unless you want to have an even grumpier Doug&co.

We could continue handing out WPPRs, but this essentially tells 30-50% of our average crowd that “you shouldn’t have had fun, go home and think about going to a major instead with all the time you’re wasting.” The newer players won’t see the impact, but our core tournament base would be decimated by the “fun or SCS” decision where a win would net you WAY below the average required to qualify under these conditions.

We could slash WPPRs wholesale, but it would definitely cut out some of the growth incentive that we’ve seen new players really latch onto. There has been a bunch of new players in the door (as recently as this week!) that have seen what we’re about, enjoyed seeing some growth, and turned into fine players. Which brings up…

Even with the Kickback, Pincrossing, Fight Club, and other frequent tournaments, the raw top 16/24 in PA has it’s lowest competitor ranked 254th (Nathaniel Gibson, 4th at OBX 2017). Going out to the extreme end, the projected 24th seed is ranked 787 and is the only 500+ player who would make it; I would say he’s made impressive strides during the post-Pinburgh dead zone that is Pittsburgh WPPRs and earned that spot, Kickback boosted or not. I feel the same here; there’s no free rides given out due to grinding.

I would like to see the PA SCS results under 2 conditions:

The top 20 events are taken


Average WPPR pull is taken

both with

Anyone outside PA is removed from the standings (realistically not too many people want to use their shiny PAPoints to come into the wretched hive of scum and villany that is PA :wink: )

I think that the top 20 events is a fair system; good results from weekly tournaments can kick into the pot without it overflowing or be replaced with larger WPPR pulls from events (say, the FC series). New players still get to see growth and development, which is awesome.


This was disallowed, so hopefully you’re weren’t still seeing TDs do this in 2017. It’s the minimum number of games used in any one round that gets used, so you can’t just increase for the finals. It’s the final bullet point on this page:


Seriously the best solution is to change the name away from SCS because it isn’t about the best players in the state when someone can come to the state once, play well and qualify and it means that players that actually contribute to pinball in that state throughout the year - including hosting tournaments, get kicked because someone came to one tournament. Just stop calling it SCS!


I am confused. It is a championship based on the points earned in events in the series. The name describes exactly what it is. It isn’t the “Who’s the best in the state battley-do”.


It’s a good thing I only ordered about 500 of the trophy toppers for the next 10 years :slight_smile:


But no response to the whole ‘contributes to pinball in the state’ bit either.

Also, since we will be donating $1 per person per tourney tfor the next year, does this also mean we get a say in any IFPA policy? :wink:

Seriously though, the main irk I have is that the current SCS setup ignores the contributions of in state players when a tourney of sufficient size can get someone access without contributing to pinball in that state, and then by winning that event, the spot for ‘Nationals’ is also taken. Why does this seem right to anyone? Seems like a minimum number of events beyond one weekend won’t be applied, so why can’t events be at least somewhat limited in how much they contribute to SCS qualifying? It really doesn’t seem right to reward people who can make one tournament and do decently there to outpoint people who play and contribute to pinball in the state throughout the year. But I also get that this isn’t of any concern, and yes there is snark there.