WPPR formula change to v5.2 for 2016!

We ran Pinburgh 2013 under these rules: any game with lock stealing or a way where one player could affect another was played as a one-player game. This decision was made after many comments like yours during 2011 and 2012.

In 2013 we got about 5 times as many complaints about the competitive balance and general lack of fun. People enjoy taking turns, and people hated having to play out an entire game as P1 before anyone else. It was definitely a one-year experiment that backfired. Pinburgh makes efforts to reduce or remove lock stealing or other effects when possible, but in the end, that’s pinball :slight_smile:

There’s definitely a ‘play to your audience’ here, because we used EATPM and Radical at IFPA13 and was overwhelmed by the requests to set it as single player only (we weren’t planning on doing it originally).

As always with respect to format decisions, WPPR decisions, game setup decisions . . . listen to the players that are participating in your event. I think Doug Polka brought that up on PAPA TV last night and it’s a good golden rule to follow.

But I looked at this fantastic website called www.pinballmap.com and it’s telling me there are 21 locations with 4+ machines? I know LA is spread out, but couldn’t there be enough spots to start seeding a few different leagues?

Before my time the PDX tournament scene all started with a single Taxi machine in someones garage - it just seems like if someone was motivated enough, they could start hosting events or a league at some of the better LA locations and it’d probably grow from there.

If you don’t want to have the 1p game vs 4p game argument, at some point you just don’t have enough games to make Pinburgh happen. I think the TDs do a great job overall considering they have to figure out 240 games to use to make it happen plus however many backups there are too.

Fire still sucks, though.

I can’t get very worked up about relatively easy games to lock balls on like SOF or Grand Lizard. But you lose a LOT of work on Fire if you don’t get your multiball. Hell even EATPM is a walk in the park compared to Fire.


I agree that it just takes motivation! Taxi Tuesday lit a fire in our bums in Portland.

And yeah, LA is huge. Driving from the westside to the eastside is basically like driving from Portland to Salem. I’m not really tapped into the scene here, but it does seem to be gaining momentum. Just in the last year, Casa De Carlos, Neon Retro Arcade, and 82 - all spots with a bunch of machines. And another one is opening in Echo Park (near where I live) soon. All of those spots may not have organized leagues right now, but the seeds of organization are planted. And projects like Kris’s Pinball NYC can help out with this - he’s created a framework that others can use for organizing leagues. Of course, leagues do not necessarily = WPPRs, but it’s a good first step!

(also, http://pinballmap.com isn’t plural… though it probably should be, now that I’m thinking about it)

Makes sense… 2013 was my only other pinburgh. I had no idea that was the first and only time it was done that way.

Maybe we should start a thread about kids and their division choices at papa. It would be a nice desert after this XD


TAXI TUESDAYS! This was even before my time, and I am kind of Olde PDX Pinball at this point, but my recollection is that they would bully people into showing up so they could fill an 8-person (paper!!!) bracket. Even though probably the majority of that original player base has moved away or is not as active in the scene these days, Taxi Tuesdays are the reason Flip City weeklies exist today.

Similarly, as @echa mentioned, the Bay Area was pretty much leagues only when I moved down there in 2011. I tried to replicate the Tuesday tourney strategy down there, with some success, but I think what’s important in growing a scene is allowing it to be dynamic and based on the strengths of the members of the local community. I couldn’t have imagined any of the formats tournament organizers are using in the Bay today because that’s not a strong suit of mine, but bringing together people interested in pinball is the only way to get them to meet each other, catalyze ideas, and get those juices flowing. It’s not one size fits all.

To @SunsetShimmer 's comment that the operators in the LA area don’t seem as invested as the players do (and keeping in mind that I have never played pinball in SoCal), I suggest reaching out to the operators either to invite them to pinball events or to partner with them in throwing pinball events. Using another Portland-centric example, I feel like Cashbox’s machine quality has skyrocketed since one of their techs got involved in the tournament/pinball community. Introducing operators to the real people (and, let’s be real, the money-making opportunities) within the hobby makes keeping games playable a more tangible thing somehow.

None of this has anything to do with WPPRS. Leave it to a moderator to get totally off-topic. Oh well.


Yes bothering the OPs really does work! We actually got one of the main guys to participate in a tourney and he’s all jazzed up now that he’s internationally ranked! and he now understands why we complain when a single light is out (“I thought I had that lit for MB!” then subsequently drains and misses the cut for the playoffs).

Also the machines (at least at this one location) are in much better shape now and we’re trying to reform them to fix up all their machines. it’s a slow process but they will also likely see more play on the machines which equals $$ (people actually do practice!) and so @SunsetShimmer you should def see what can happen.


No bonus points for unofficial pinball world championship matches? I’m outraged!

For a multitude of reasons, competitive play has not exploded in so cal like it has up north and certainly nowhere close to pdx and Seattle. Its getting better, but slowly. I’ve been running a league in Riverside for over 20 years and our biggest season was only 32 players! But hey, I’ll keep trying! :slight_smile:

Maybe an echo park league will work better…?

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Something to consider for future rule changes is something along the lines of what the World Golf Rankings use.

“Points are reduced by 25% for tournaments curtailed to 36 holes because of inclement weather or other reasons.”

Pinball Example:
In the event that a tournament has less than 50% of tournament participants complete all eligible rounds, the tournaments points are reduced by X%. Please electronically initial here _____ that more than 50% of participants completed all eligible rounds.

Just a thought.

Yeah it’s weird. High Dive tournaments just kept going down in attendance so I stopped doing them. Then 2 new monthly tournaments popped up at other locations which seem to average less than 10 players. Guess there is just too many other things to do here…

Space requirements and machine count are the reasons for sure.

I really enjoy the qualifying phase of tourneys, even though it is indirect. While the goal is to do the best you can on each game, after a few entries on each game, there is some strategy in deciding what games to pursue in order to qualify or jockey for position.

Knowing the composite score level needed for the qualifying bubble allows for decision making on how to reach the individual scores on games.

For better players who are typical top 16 qualifiers, there are decisions on reaching the bye level or driving the bus. There are choices for defending a seeding spot or attacking a specific player’s high score on a game to change the seeding of that opponent so they are not getting to make finals decisions before you.

Knowing the game score to reach and how the game is playing allows for decisions on how to achieve that score.

So while the players are not making situational decisions ball to ball, there are decisions being made in the qualifying phase.

I understand the intended distinction between indirect and direct competition, and the argument that pinball is still mostly player versus machine. I hope the vision is not an effort to encourage more tourneys to engage in match play with no qualifying.


No worries there. The vision is to just limit the ability for the ‘indirect only’ style events to flourish (with respect to ease of building up WPPR value).

All the strategies you bring up regarding indirect play qualifying are AWESOME, but it only exists because it’s used as the qualifying portion of a tournament’s overall format.

Those strategies change when the winner of the tournament is simply decided based on those qualifying standings. At that point the only place in the standings that means anything is the #1 spot, and that dictates a certain kind of strategy.

The problem with this is that many of the biggest tournaments held at shows have far less that 50% of the participants completing the required qualifying ticket. As an organizer it motivates them to make sure people DON’T PLAY if they don’t plan on fully participating, and that’s not something we want to promote.

If I want to bring my son to try a tournament game for $3, and ultimately he’s the player that causes the tournament to be reduced in value, that’s not a great position to be in.

A tournament with 500 players, and 249 of them fully participating doesn’t deserve to be penalized compared to a tournament where 70 players participate with 36 players fully participating IMO. That first tournament generating nearly 7X the number of players into their tournament.

One of the biggest and most successful phenomena of competitive tournament video gaming has to be DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients). I don’t play it , but I believe it is entirely based on direct match play. The 2015 international competition had a prize pool of over $18 MILLION, and the champion team prize was over $6 MILLION (having grown from a $1 million champion’s prize in 2011) — so I think video game direct-play events are doing just fine.

Granted, the premise of that video game is directly attacking your opponents “ancient,” and not taking solo turns trying to defeat Donkey Kong, Galaga aliens, etc. But someone else already addressed how the Donkey Kong competition, play, and strategic/tactical choices changed between indirect play and direct play.

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I agree that introducing people to pinball and allowing an easy access point to obtaining a ranking is a good thing. No need to punish these people by not giving them their .22 points for playing their $3 game. However, to treat them as competitors is false and to treat them like outsiders is unnecessary. Pinball needs to not only introduce people but retain them. No problem with the dual mission of IFPA existing going forward, although IMHO you need to differentiate your dual missions better.

Back to the point. A TD that believes he/she has grown a tournament to 500 people with less than 50% competing never grew the tournament to 500. They have introduced XXX people to pinball, and they grew the tournament by 500-XXX=competitors.

They should be commended and awarded for bringing more people to pinball. Have stern awards for TD that grow tournaments year after year.

However, the value of a tournament should be determined by the number of people competing not by the number introduced to the event. Again no need to differentiate a beginner from an advanced player, a competitor from an experimenter, etc. nobody needs to wear a badge indicating there just visiting and no need to say you have to play all the games.

However, a tournaments value is based on those who compete (complete) the event. The incentive becomes two fold. Introduce people to pinball and turn them into regulars. Maintain your dual mission of creating an objective ranking system and continue to invite people to give competitive pinball a try.


A quick review of CAX 2015 shows total participation of 155. 16 individuals did not play 7 qualifying games. 155-16=139 competitors. Perfect! No logical reason to complain about this tournament.

Super league. 250 participants. 220 do not complete their games. 250-220=30 competitors. Tournament value should be dropped.