Thoughts on these tournament games

I’m currently mulling some options for the CAX tourney. As you may know already, we are moving to one main tournament with games across all eras as opposed to Main + Classics. Targeting 12 games total for qualifying. People in the community have been offering games and here are some possibilities that are intriguing. Would love to hear people’s thoughts

  • Viking - Love the game, but it tends to just be a spinner-fest. With a tight tilt could still be good and fun and ball times wouldn’t be too long.
  • TOTAN - If it weren’t for the Harem exploit I feel like this would be a really solid tournament game. I was thinking of disabling the left loop. It wouldn’t affect locks at all, you wouldn’t be able to get tiger loops but who cares. I guess you still have to deal with “Genie Battle forever”.
  • Time Machine - I don’t remember anything bad about this but it has been a long time since I played one.
  • South Park - I had the idea recently of using SP with the Kenny hole covered up. So you could still score Kenny, but it wouldn’t feed back to the flipper and you would have to deal with an uncontrolled ball. I personally think this is kind of brilliant, and if you set the game up tough it could work. I may also be trying to polish a pig though.

The bigger issue you’re going to have with SP is making sure the left flipper can make the right ramp the whole time the game is running. TBH I’ve never heard of a “Kenny-all-day” strat on SP before unless it’s a get-Kenny-then-mb-all-day thing? Interesting idea, though.

Time Machine is fine. May want to warn people that tilt disqualifies ALL PROGRESS (like Firepower).

The common strategy I’ve seen is basically just to backhand Kenny repeatedly on the fly. 5 hits for 10M. 7 hits for 10M. 9 hits for 10M. I saw Eden plow through to a 150M score basically just doing this at Pinbrawl last year. Obviously this works in MB too, for 2M a shot.

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Dear God. Shoot me now.


Wouldn’t TOTAN start compensating for the left loop? I have never used that strat myself as I think it is not a very good one in a tournament.

It’s a pretty good strategy for best-game qualifying. Not as good a choice for match play. Is there a mod to disable all other scoring during Genie Battle? The problem isn’t the 20 million, it’s that you can collect all sorts of other points during it and just keep plowing until you’ve met any desired score.

Jim & Karl used Viking in the classics bank at Never Drains this year. The tilt was reasonably forgiving but the outlane bumpers were flipped upside down so the rubber was too low to bounce the ball through the inlane gate. You could essentially accomplish the same thing with a tight tilt but the trade off is taking some of the nudging skill out of the game. As it was played ball times were generally very short and 500k was worth a top ten.

Right, specifically I think that genie hits are worth some reasonable value, and so it is in your best interest to hit a couple times, wait, hit a couple times, wait, essentially keeping it going forever. Cirqus had the same problem originally, and they fixed it by changing the software so it only scored 1 point per hit. I’m not sure how to deal with that aspect in TOTAN, but I do wish I had one to mess with to try and figure something out. It is so close to being a solid tournament game otherwise.

Disable jet bumper coils? (then harem jackpot value can’t increase so rapidly)

This is a cross-ref to your interview on C2C, but have you thought of requiring qualifying to be, rather than simply X scores over the 12 machines including a requirement to include one game from each sub-bank.

1 of 4 old games
1 of 4 mid games
1 of 4 new games
and 4 of the remaining 9?
(or something)

You still allow people to specialise somewhat, but still require some all-eras skill.

May I also suggest that finals games be binned in somewhat the same way? I.e. if you’re doing PAPA-style finals the three choices must be one from each bin? Otherwise it seems that the classics sit and look sad all day sunday.

Lyons Classic Pinball has had Time Machine in the lineup for years, and it’s always used in tournaments and league play. The million point Starwarp shot is enormous (but fair - you have to build towards it with ramp shots). The only other thing is the random award (chosen automatically at the start of the ball) which is awarded when you complete the top lane rollovers. One of the choices is Double Scoring. If there is a tournament setting to de-randomize the awards, I’ve never noticed.

Every top lane completion resets the award, so it’s not too difficult to pick up a double scoring at some point. Also, it only lasts 20 seconds, so lining that up with something big like a Starwarp is difficult.

I like Time Machine. Watch out for right flipper strength being too weak to make the leftmost ramp, and consider making the Starwarp more difficult with wider rubber.

Another interesting option is Vector but I honestly don’t know anything about it.

Viking doesn’t need a tight tilt, just invert the bounce back posts and you’re good to go!

TOTAN is a POS that rewards incredibly dumb flailing (even more so with Harem disabled). I’m also not a fan of the whole “Oh, the magnet missed? You’re hosed!” thing that game does for locks/Harem. I would steer clear from that game just because it’s thoroughly unenjoyable regardless of the exploits that exist.

I feel like South Park is fine even with factory settings purely from a “is this game skillful and fair and unlikely to jam up the queue” perspective, but man is that game not fun. Pinball Life LOTR coils are a must if it’s used; otherwise you’ll end up with floppy flips a few hours in.

Time Machine is good as long as the flippers are crisp.