Zombie Tournament Format

I was listening to the Little Kings pinball podcast and there was mention of a Zombie tournament format. I was curious about more details of said format. How did it work out? I have also roughly considered the following format and I am interested to hear feed back. This would be more geared toward just being a fun tournament then for point or anything.

I guess it is based around a head to head 3 strike tournament.

  • First round: everyone is human and plays a full 3 ball game. Losers become Bit.
  • Second round: Humans get matched up with a Bit player. Bit players play first. Bit player plays first two balls normal, then must play third ball cross armed (you are getting disoriented from being Bit). Human has to plunge ball one (to prep), then play next two balls like normal. Loser if Human becomes Bit, if Bit becomes Zombie.
  • Third Round on: Humans get matched with either Bit or Zombies (leaning toward Humans face Zombies as available before Bit). Zombies play before Bit/Human, Bit plays before Human. Zombie plays ball one and two cross armed (zombies aren’t that coordinated), then plays ball three one handed (zombies are prone to loosing body parts). Bit players plunge ball one (need to save your energy), play ball two normal, and play ball three cross armed (getting tired again). Humans plunge their first two balls (running, hiding, and prep take time), then play their ball three normal. Loser if Human becomes, Bit, if Bit becomes Zombie, if Zombie becomes dead. Play till only one is not dead.

By the end I would hope it is a bunch of Zombies beating up on each other. Would be interested to hear ideas about becoming un Bit ie cutting off your Hand/Arm off to become Human again.

Thoughts? If they plunge the first and second then play the third could it count as having played all three? If they can set up a skillshot before plunging?


Sounds like a wackily entertaining format, although I suspect players would quickly forget what combination of what penalties/modifiers they were supposed to be doing each ball, and then… what? DQ for rules violation? Forced to take a bite of the special Brain Pudding provided?

Scatter a couple of body part props around with some fake blood and tell everyone that’s what happened to the last player who played out of turn.

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I played in the tournament described on Little Kings Pinball Podcast (ps - thanks for listening!). At party where people were dressed up in costume, and standing around drinking - most people did not understand the rules, which were much more simple than what you have proposed.

(Ours were: start human, move to Bit after first loss, move to Zombie after second loss. You die on your third loss. For each step closer to dead you are than your opponent, you play one more ball than they do. So human vs zombie…human gets 1 ball, zombie gets 3).

There was a lot of explaining and re-explaining that needed to happen. Wait, how many balls do I get? Do I plunge the extras? Who goes first? What if it’s a 5 ball EM? Etc.

I will also say that I usually ended up playing people at my same level for most games, so playing with less balls didn’t come into play often. If you were to make sure that matchups have people at different levels playing each other, that sounds like it would fix the issue…however you’re also then matching worse players (the ones who have lost matches), against better players (who haven’t lost any)…which is almost making things harder for people as they start losing.

So, given that experience, what you have proposed sounds very complicated. Not saying it won’t work, but you’d almost need to give people a rule card, or put one at each machine, so they know what they’re supposed to do.

I don’t have any great advice for you unfortunately, since I came away from my Zombie Tournament experience thinking that I would have rather played a serious tournament, or just hung around playing against friends. I didn’t really enjoy the in-between (follow these strict rules to engage in a meaningless competition), but I imagine that says more about me than the format.

I may be taking pinball too seriously. :frowning:


Could a format like this be worth WPPR points? Does plunging your ball count as playing?

Well since ciritcal hit is eligible for wppes and one card gives you the score of another player etc, most other rournaments should be eligible for wpprs…