I’ve been reading through the forums and just the internet in general and have come to the conclusion that I believe I can generate interest in my area for competitive pinball by running a selfie league.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that I have no idea what exactly that entails.
I see http://matchplay.events has a way to manage the league and that is super cool. What I’m after are more answers to questions related to running the league (or is it just a tournament?).
Here are my questions:
Do the league participants need to play the exact same machine in order to enter scores for that machine?
For example: Say Jurassic Park is one of the machines decided to be played on and there are two locations in the area that have that machine. Could the participant’s scores be recorded on either machine or does it have to be from the same machine?
Are there any resources for Tournament Directors?
I looked through the IFPA’s resources section, but really only found rules as to how they apply to the players. Would love to see a breakdown of what should be done from the Tournament Director’s perspective
Is there anyone here with experience attempting to start up competitive pinball in your area willing to provide any tips/tricks to get people to play?
Machines: Normally, selfie leagues require players to submit scores from the exact same machines. In our area, we label them by location on the Arena list so it’s super clear when people go to report scores. Example: Jurassic Park (Arcade X).
Decide what machines and/or locations will be in the league. (It’s much more simple to just do one location, if you have enough machines).
Look at other selfie leagues for rules/format.
Using matchplay.events is a great idea…people can self register and submit scores.
Pick a date for your finals. The wording of your event should include how you make the finals, but doesn’t need to specify an exact format (you can choose to do it differently depending on who shows up, but it must be direct play).
Submit your tournament to the IFPA website 30+ days in advance.
It’s easier than you think. I’ve run several, so feel free to ask me questions directly, or post more in this thread.
This is extremely difficult with regards to selfie leagues. I’ve run 3 or 4 (always at the same location), and I’ve literally never had a random player join them (despite signage, live scoreboard, etc). I only ever get people that have already participated in tournaments/leagues at that location, and/or people I know personally.
A regular monthly tournament is a good thing to be doing, but it’s also difficult to get people who haven’t already played in tournaments to join.
I’ve had an easier time pitching people on playing in a pinball league. (But, this is still difficult).
Something I haven’t tried, that you might want to consider, is just a “pinball night”. Make it a regular day of the week, and run it every week. Promote to people you know as a social thing, and see if you can build momentum. Get them to bring friends.
This has worked locally for the Tuesday Jam in Austin- we meet every Tuesday 8 PM, rain or shine, and play! Rules are set up to give new players lots of opportunities to win in their division and keep things fun, still grades out to 100% TGP with the new four-player match rules. We ended up settling on a four-week league season with a one night Swiss tourney to round out months with five weeks.
Presence is everything! The chance that someone can come out and start playing any given week is low, and long seasons and gaps between seasons makes it harder to catch on at the right time. That we’re there every week and you can play any time as a guest makes it much easier to advertise and get people to bring friends. New seasons starting every month makes it easy for people to come and go as their schedule allows as well.
We’ve gone from 6 or so dedicated players to 55 rotating players (30-35 on any given week, not counting guests) in a little over a year.
Loving the responses so far. Thank you very much for taking the time!
I’ve come up with a couple of follow up questions after reading your replies:
As you will see on pinballmap.com/reno, there aren’t a ton of places with more than three machines. The rules @Law posted say they play five games a night…I’m assuming that means the location you’re using has at least five machines? What should be done with just three machines…just three games?
Any tips or tricks related to getting a venue on board with hosting a league?
In Austin we’re lucky enough to have four locations with more than ten machines, the Jam is at Pinballz which has about 100 so there’s a ton of choices. If you only have three games available, that’s going to determine what formats are possible, and I don’t have much experience with that few - pin-golf or a three-strikes format might make sense.
As for the venue, it really depends on the venue. They’re mostly going to want to make money, so if you’re bringing in business they should be happy. Talking to them is definitely a good idea, and there have been several posts here and elsewhere about locations with a couple games adding more once they had a league bringing in business. Definitely worth getting in touch with a manager or the owner and seeing what they think. If you’ve got 12 people coming to league and can go to them and say you’re at capacity with the number of games they currently have, that might be enough to spur them to put in one or two more.
TGP is “tournament grade percentage”, it’s based on the format and determines how many IFPA points out of a maximum possible value your events are worth.
Rules regarding formats that rely on players submitting their own results without the verification of a TD or authorized scorekeeper on site (Selfie Leagues, TOPS Tournaments, etc) has been updated. Previously any qualifying format that includes “unverified” results where a TD, league official, or authorized scorekeeper is not present to record their score, has not had the qualifying portion included in the TGP calculation. This new rule extends that to players as well. Only players that participate in the Final of these events will be eligible to be included in the results submitted to the IFPA.
If your selfie league doesn’t have verification in the qualifying portion, you only need to pay a dollar per finals participant because those should be the only players included in your results submitted to the IFPA.