What playfield angle for competition play?

I have always set my playfield angle to 6 percent. I’m thinking of trying to crank up the difficulty of my home games closer to what I can expect in big tournaments. Does anyone know what angle is commonly used at PAPA, etc.?

I think for the most part, PAPA uses whatever the recommended pitch is for the game (via bubble gauge) and find more creative ways to make a game more difficult…though I feel like I have seen games at an incredibly steep pitch.

For your home game, @pinwizj would recommend you put the front legs as low as possible and the back legs as high as possible.

Pick whatever you like between 6.5 and 8.5 degrees.

Once you start pressing 9 deg things start feeling a bit weird imo, and less that 6.5 feels very floaty.

I have most of my games in the 7.5-8.0 deg range and that seems to match what I, and others set up the feel on tourney games to be.


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At PAPA we use various angles depending on what we want to accomplish with the games. In general, a steeper pitch makes a game faster, but usually more controllable with the flippers. A shallow pitch makes the game slower, but harder to controll on the side to side motion (more floaty).

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Yeah, this cannot be stated enough. Higher pitch reduces outlane drains by a pretty decent amount (less outlanes the higher you go). LOTR in particular is remarkably bad in this regard.

You just want to make sure you know what you’re doing it and have playtested it a fair amount before you just go and jack everything up.

All my games are jacked, although that only seems to be at 7.5-8 degrees in my basement.

I will say for me personally the biggest issue I focus on at home is my reaction time, so making my games as fast as possible helps with that (knowing full well some of my games probably play easier when it’s steeper).

So, having not been to PAPA or any other “big” tournament…how else do I prepare my games to that difficulty? Should I entirely remove the outline posts, or just set to hardest position? Any other standard changes? Regular flipper rubber? Superbands?

Thanks for all of the help.

Superbands make most games easier not harder, plus to me, they make the flippers feel like cement. I don’t think there is any one solution that you can identify for more than any one game. Even multiple versions of the same game can play easier or harder when they might otherwise be set up identically. A ball guide screwed in 1mm off from another game might be the difference in an easy flipper feed and a ball in a sling with regularity.

I don’t think there’s a specific way to set your games for tournament difficulty since tournament directors vary and their personal choices definitely vary by game. It’s more about learning to adapt to whatever situation you step up to.

Try some different combinations of pitch, outlane settings, sling sensitivity, kickout direction and rubber types and learn how to adapt to them. Once you get comfortable and start playing well, change some things to stay on your toes.

With all that said, one of the most important things to do is turning off extra balls at home. You’ll just get used to them as a crutch, especially games where they’re easily achievable. Playing without them will force you to make the most of every ball. Oh, and don’t restart games at home. In fact, just turn off the setting to restart games by holding the start button. That will make you play out games with a bad ball 1 or even 2 bad balls because those are real situations you’re going to have to deal with in tournaments.


Russel, I think just removing the rubbers from the outlane posts and keeping the outlanes wide is a good start…that way you’ll at least have a chance of saving the ball.

Assuming I have already put in the time of learning a decent strategy for a game; if I’m making shots and feeling good about the game, it means I might have become too comfortable and need to change the pitch, switch the type of rubbers, or maybe clean and wax the playfield. This helps with my adaptability in tournament situations.

I usually just keep the Stern games at factory recommendations (6.5 degrees) and the software settings at factory or a bit harder. And I typically open up the outlanes.

I always have the debate what to do with the factory extra ball settings. On one hand I know EBs are off in tourneys and on the other I want to explore what the game has to offer. On strict 3 ball settings, most deeper modes and strategies will be out of reach in a tourney.

We’re transitioning from serious league season to casual league season at the Pinball Co-op, and I just turned on all extra balls on all the games for the next 8 weeks or so. I played a handful of games, and it’s amazing how much different they play. Maybe it’s just because the games I played (Metallica and Whirlwind especially) make it pretty easy to earn the extra ball.

FYI Gottlieb legs are two inches longer than Williams legs. :wink:

which is why i can’t see their playfields :frowning:

The Genesis at PAPA has T-Mac legs on it!

You don’t put the Gottlieb legs on the front of your Williams games :wink: