The league guys with games out should care. Really sorry you guys have to put up with leaning games. Around here, the large majority of ops are also hobbyists. Leaning games are few and far between.
I have leveled location games (that weren’t mine) myself. If they can’t be bothered to properly level the game, the leveler nuts usually aren’t tightened. Leveling app works on the glass or just go by feel. Another option is to loudly proclaim that the game is leaning on the pinball map. Some ops obviously won’t see it, but at least you’ll be warning others. Lastly, as others have mentioned, don’t patronize the business. They can’t all be leaning.
Getting back on topic, there is a mostly private location near me that has league and tournaments there. Virtually every game there is ridiculously hard. We had league playoffs for our league there once and I asked Tim Hansen if he thought the games were as difficult as A division at Papa. He quickly replied that some were harder.
The guy in charge of the place used to be in our league and may be a member here. Good dude. After my first visit, I asked him if he checks his audits. Specifically, average ball times. He said no. I suggested to him that his games should average at least 2.5 minutes per game. From what I hear, nothing has changed. He likes the games hard and some of the regulars take pride in playing such hard games. Competitions there are a crap shoot. Our league won’t go back there for playoffs.
Some of our league members also participate in that league. I discourage them and it looks like at least one of them is finally getting tired of losing at the craps table. Leaning or too farking hard, I don’t want any part of it. Vote with your wallet.
If you’re setting up games and you aren’t sure if they’re too hard, clear audits, then play as many games as possible and see where you’re at. Generally speaking, between 2.5 to 3.5 minutes per game is going to be the sweet spot. Any less and players will get pissed. Any more and lines will back up. Scoop/ saucer/ jail bar releases should never go SDTM.
I learned a ton by watching guys like Jim Belsito setup games before tournaments. Somone really should encourage Jim (free hotel room) to do a tournament setup seminar at a big show with a long Q&A session afterward. If not a seminar, someone get him on a podcast talking about setup. Jim is good at doing it and has the patience to explain what and why he’s doing what he’s doing.