Tournament Finals Time Saver

After the Expo long playing games situation, I have an idea to help speed things up. Once the playoffs start, set modern or long playing games to 5 ball. You still only play a three ball game however this will allow you to set a runaway score limit for each game to speed up the match.

Here is how it would work:
Player 1 puts up 1 billion on Deadpool ball 1.
Player 2 or 2-4 (depending on format) don’t break 50 million.
Instead of having player 1 play ball two, they tilt and plunge the ball for zero points.
Now the other players play ball two.
If no-one gets close, then do the same for ball 3.

If player one wins, move on to the next game because there is no reason to have them play their additional ball. It’s like a player 4 walk off after beating everyone but can now be down for all 4 player positions. If someone is able to chase down player ones 1-ball score, then player one can finished their game by playing ball 4 (which would be their ball 2) and ball 5 (which would be their ball 3) if needed.

This would save so much time in matches where someone is on fire and we are sitting around for them to play a meaningless ball 2 and 3 since they may not need the points while at the same time protecting them from losing by moving the game along. Without this, player one will continue to play ball 2 and 3 for the highest score possible in case someone catches up.

Score differences would need to be set for each game prior to playoff or the match players could agree to implement this as needed.


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Set the games up harder. Done.


Oh. I get that. Trust me. As someone who plays in most major tournaments, I know how to murder out a game. However, even those games can run long with the level of talent there is in tournament pinball and this would be an option.

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Fair. But Expo tends to be the only tournament with these insanely hilariously long playing games. That’s 100% setup. It’s also the event that everyone knows it’s going to be that way. I think it has its place as the one event where we see just how much these top players can destroy these modern sterns.

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It is great to have different setups for different tournaments. I have no problem with the way they setup the machines there. If they wanted them setup differently they would all of the people running Chicago Expo are very experienced tournament players they run it the way they do because that is what they want to do. If you don’t like long games or only play new Sterns go to another circuit event.

I agree and disagree. It can be set up that way and have long games however if the tournament is supposed to end Saturday night and people have flights, then it goes until Sunday night, that is an issue.

That was the whole point of this post and suggestion. Leave the games and set up the same however add the opportunity to move the games along after a huge ball.

Basically like golf, the person further away plays the next ball. So if someone drives a hole in one (ball 1), they don’t need to hit another shot (play another ball), unless the other person passes them.

I am not suggesting that anything changes. I’m suggesting have a way to “not waste time” waiting on someone to play pointless balls and waste potentially hours for zero change of outcome.

So multiple games were playing long? Any specific titles that were the worst offenders? Were ‘all games’ available for finals?

Game choice is just as important as setup. Papa game notes lists plenty of long playing games. Some have suggestions to reduce ball times, some don’t.

I like the idea. One more tool in the TD toolbox to keep the event on schedule.

Those game notes pretty much stopped getting updated with the modern LCD sterns, which is basically all this tournament consisted of.


For sure set the games up harder - see the difference in the final game length at expo just by making the ball save in LZ harder to get…

But see what chess did for long playing games… I could see something like that in our future for games that play long. Even a bozo like me had a couple of long balls on GZ and JP2 but my points per minute was super low.

Even if you make them harder it’s no guarantee the games will play shorter. I don’t think I want to see games being made so hard they aren’t fun to play.


I blame ifpa! Long games wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t need so many of them for that sweet juicy WPPR

(yeah yeah I don’t have a better suggestion unless there was a grading system and you submitted your game setups to IFPA ahead of time and they graded each of them as “this one has posts in no tilt Bob 15 second ball save… 3x TGP!”) although let’s be real if there was a ball save in this system it would be 0 TGP

there I covered myself for all possible responses :wink:


total amount of time played = TGP? So 5 Palooka or 1 LZ on factory = the same :slight_smile:

in some games you can’t trun off the ball save and others still have an minimal one even at ball save time 0 or number of saves 0.

Yeah Ray, c’mon

Late to this but count me in the camp that doesn’t want to see games cranked up to insane difficulty just to cram the WPPRs in. There’s definitely a middle ground between the two extremes though that can make it exciting to watch the best in the world blow up games without hour long balls. If Expo is looking for feedback I’d leave the games just like they were for limited qualifying but turn off the ball saves/skillshot ball saves and maybe remove some post rubbers or tighten the tilts for playoffs.

The set it to 5 balls thing does make for an interesting thought…operator setting that caused a game to behave like golf? After everyone plays ball 1 the lowest score just goes next until the game is settled. Would make for very confusing watching/turn order though.

Put me in the camp that doesn’t want to see tournaments going till 2-3am so make those games hard!


well some WPC games do have some different rules (harder) when set to more then 3 balls
also in some cases insane difficulty can just lead to people abusing valid playfield.

and some games do need very small ball saves maybe 1 sec.

This is a good idea; one rather minor issue is you’re potentially taking Player Last’s advantage away. Say on ball 3 P4 catches up to runaway P1, now P4 has to put up as many points as possible to defend against P1’s delayed balls, without having any walk-off potential that last player usually enjoys.

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Yup. That is the one downsize and why the TD would have to post the gap on each game prematch so it’s not arbitrary. Or maybe make it an option for player 4 to choose.

Long story short, most sports the between you play the quicker the games or a set time. Pinball the better you play the longer it takes.

I would hate it however another option is game time limits. You have 15 minutes or 3 balls sit score as much as you can. Trap up all you want however the clock is still ticking.

Pingolf format, target score or goal, if multiple people reach the target tie-breaker is time to reach it.