Tourney help: Is Full Throttle viable tournament game?

There’s an off chance we might be able to use Full Throttle in our circuit. I don’t have enough experience with the game after only playing it a handful of times at shows. Anyone know if there are some code or other issues that might make this a bad choice for a tourney? How reliable is the system after 20+ hours? Are the parts common(stern/wms equivalent coils mechs etc?) I’m hoping to add some lesser known games to mix it up but, don’t want to add something that hasn’t been proven in a tournament setting. I can’t remember seeing one used in a tourney since its release.

PAPA used it in…I wanna say C division this year. I would be very hesitant to use it in finals or qualifying (not sure which tournament format you’re using) if you don’t feel absolutely sure you can fix it. Personally I wouldn’t touch it for NW Pin Champs just because I have no experience with their new system. For what it’s worth the only one in Seattle has basically been off half the time since it’s arrived. Not saying it’s permanently a bad choice but I would maybe hold off a little longer.

The PAPA crew used it at Louisville this year. It worked really well the whole time. Didn’t play very long or anything. Kickouts got crappier as time went on. Pretty normal behavior.

But I’ll echo what KCB said, if you have no history working on one I would worry about game issues coming up. If you feel confident working on it, then it’s a solid tournament game.


Yea thats probably a good idea. I couldn’t find any info whether or not Heighway shares parts with another manufacturer either. Oh well.

Software-wise, it has all of the things you would expect for a modern game in tournament/competition mode. Mystery awards are de-randomized. Scores are saved across reboots. Scores will display for a long time at the end of a game. You can enter service mode from within a game and then resume later.

Make sure to use the “tournament preset” (similar to Stern’s Install function), which will enable tournament mode plus change some other adjustments to tournament-friendly settings (no EBs, open coin door ball saver enabled, infinite ball search instead of “chase ball”, etc.)

If there’s anything missing like that, which TDs are expecting, please let me know and I’ll make sure it gets added in future updates.


I wouldn’t use it based on the fact that not many people have played it. The idea is to draw players in by using games they’re familiar with. An occasional rare game is ok, but something that rare is too far IMO. Maybe in a bank for qualifying if a player isn’t required to play it to qualify.

I played a few games on one at PAGG and it definitely doesn’t play like a Stern or WMS game. A quick look at the map shows none on location in Austin. No place to practice on it.

1 Like

Hah, every reason you put forth why it shouldn’t be used is a reason I would put forth why it should :slight_smile:


Assuming we use the same format and number of games, my tournament is going to get more players. Players like playing games they’re familiar with. Not a luckfest played on games they’re not familiar with. Granted the tournament with the most players doesn’t ‘win’, but aren’t we all trying to attract more players?

It was used in Louisville and it was very popular. I enjoyed the chance to really dive in and learn a new game and I think most players welcome a newcomer like Full Throttle to be used in a tourney. The game plays well and as long as you can dial out those auto launches going SDTM I think most players will really enjoy it.

1 Like

I think both “old favorites” and new games are totally fair and reasonable for a tournament. If everyone is unfamiliar with a game, it introduces a new skill of “how fast can you learn this game and develop a reasonable strategy?” to the competition… which is certainly a valid skill in pinball play. It wouldn’t be too nice to do this with a limited qualifying format, because then you’d expect everyone to defer playing as long as possible so they could watch others play. But in an unlimited qualifying situation, I have no problem with that.

In the particular case of Full Throttle: Machines were playable on the floor of ReplayFX 10 months ago. Bowen did a tutorial video for PAPA 6 months ago. Information is available to those who want it.


We have had ours since February at The Sanctum. Definitely had some issues at first.

Needs a few tweaks so there were no cheap drains. Adjust scoop to the left. It is hitting the rubber to the right when it comes out and head towards left drain area. Aiming it left it should feed to left flipper for a nice dead bounce.

Fast inner loop shot. Adjust the exit up a bit. Bend the lane guide. Make sure it cleanly enters left drain area.

Left drain area adjust the ball guide feeding across the middle drain lane. It aims a bit high and sometime bounces of the corner of the slingshot and drains never making it through the one way gate and to the flipper.

Bend the ball guide for the left orbit towards the left. Make sure it doesn’t head sdtm.

After those tweaks the game should play solidly. We had software and computer issues early on but heighway has those worked out and we have a new computer in ours as of a few weeks ago and it’s been bulletproof. We had game #002 off the line from
Last year so they have made improvements. Anything off the latest shipments should have all software/computer issues taken care of.

We have used it in a few events now and definitely will be using it in the 24 hour circuit event. It’s a great game and great in tournaments. No bad bugs or rules.

It’s a very quick and easy learning curve in this game. Don’t shy away from making players play something new.


Quickly developing a strategy on a game you’re not familiar with is a skill, a very important one. While we do want to attract new players, we also want to determine who is the best. “Back in the day” the Expo tournament always used to be on the newest game, and often it was a game that nobody had seen. Everyone walked up with a blank slate (barring a few locals who may have played the game on test.) By the end of day one, everyone had figured out the game enough to have a path forward to play, because that is what we do. We play, we talk, we learn.


I think the player that is most likely to be intimidated is the noob. They can find a lot of the WMS and Stern titles in digital form, but not FT. I think players traveling would also take it into consideration. If I’m paying to travel, the last thing I want is a game I’m not familiar with in the lineup. In my mind, that decreases my chances of winning some of my travel expenses back.

As I mentioned above, if it’s in a qualifying bank and the player doesn’t have to play it (best 5 scores out of a bank of 7 or more), that would be more acceptable. Launch party tourneys are good too. Low stakes, one or two games qualifying, more of a crap shoot played for fun. Thankfully we have enough tourneys now where TD’s can pretty much try whatever they want and people will show up. Call me old school, but I’m always going to try to attract as many players as possible. Easy to understand format and familiar games.

I’ve never heard a player say they didn’t want to play in a tournament (or that a tournament is less fun) because the tournament used a brand new or unknown game.

I’ve heard the opposite many times. That people seek out a tournament because it provides a chance to play a new-to-them game in a competitive setting.


Well I went from being excited to use Full Throttle, to thinking it was a bad idea, to maybe using it anyway, only to find out the guy who owns it won’t be able to attend after all or bring Full Throttle because of a family thing haha.

The main bank of our tourney is going to have 10 games. I wanted to have one game that people weren’t familiar with to mix it up. The other nine will be your run of the mill Stern/WMS and no one would have been forced to play full throttle.


[quote=“phishrace, post:13, topic:1532, full:true”]
I think the player that is most likely to be intimidated is the noob. They can find a lot of the WMS and Stern titles in digital form, but not FT. I think players traveling would also take it into consideration. If I’m paying to travel, the last thing I want is a game I’m not familiar with in the lineup. In my mind, that decreases my chances of winning some of my travel expenses back.[/quote]

It doesn’t have anything to do with being a noob or not. I know very skilled players that avoid games they don’t know very well. At DRAINS this year, many players avoided Waterworld, Laser War, etc solely because they were not familiar with them.

It’s a silly mentality because if those games get less plays or the total number of unique players is less than well know games, then I suspect the chances of putting up higher ranked scores is easier.

Plus it doesn’t take much to learn the basic “happy path” strategy to a game. I mean, I put #12 on Torpedo Alley and never even played the game prior to that tournament.


If it’s a noob that decided not to compete, how would hear from them? Same goes for players traveling from out of the area.

One in ten is a great ratio. Sorry to hear the guy backed out.

Along with the changes Jim was saying; make sure you have the correct voltage setup. The one we got locally in KC had an issue with solenoid voltage because the guide that went with the game described how to setup the dips from European to American was completely wrong so everything played incredibly weak.

However, Heighway has some pretty spectacular customer service so we resolved it pretty quickly.

Avoiding a game in an unlimited qualifying bank can bite you. How well are you gonna do if you make the playoffs and someone calls that game?

1 Like

I think Waterworld was avoided for different reasons :wink: