On Saturday, Joe, Taylor and I went to Charlottesville to play in the Fall Downtown Mall Silverball Crawl. This tournament was organized by Chris Newsome who organized the last tournament in Charlottesville. The plan was to play in three locations – Miller’s Restaurant on the Downtown Mall, The Arena – ice skating rink on the Downtown Mall and West Main: A Virginia Restaurant. The Arena usually has one pinball machine – Lord of the Rings. The operator of Lord of the Rings brought No Fear, Spiderman and Big Buck Hunter to the arena to be played in the tournament. The cool part was that he stayed and played in the tournament too. West Main has a Junkyard machine and Miller’s has Game Show and Harley Davidson.
The day started with a side tournament at one at The Arena. I think there were 14 or 16 people in the tournament. The tournament was a knock out tournament played in groups of four. After each game, the third and fourth place finishers received a strike. Once you received two strikes, you were out of the tournament. We got some games in on the side tournament before going to West Main for the main tournament to start at three.
The main tournament was a high score tournament. For each machine, the tournament awarded a point for each person’s score you beat on that machine. The first place score would receive 15 points and so on down the line. You could play each machine twice and use the best score as your score for the tournament.
We ran into an organizational snag at West Main. We had 16 people who needed to play two games each on one machine. This ended up taking about two hours. It was good to have a chance to get lunch at a good restaurant and hang around for a while, but it delayed the tournament more than was necessary. For some guys, it was a good chance to rest up on the couch to conserve energy for the later rounds. I know Chris discussed ways around this for next year’s tournament and I’m sure it will be a little more smooth next year.
A few of us went back to the arena from West Main to start playing the machines there to continue the tournament. The rest of the tournament went well and without much problem. I think everyone was surprised at how long it took everyone to get in two qualifying games with only 16 people in the tournament.
We ended up scratching Miller’s from the tournament because it was going pretty late and the machines there are on the third floor which is a smoking floor. No one protested the decision to scrap the third location as everyone was getting a little weary.
Eventually all the qualifying games were in and the top four and five through eight played in the finals. Joe and Taylor were both in the 5 through eight group after Joe won the two way ninth place playoff. Joe ended up sixth in the five through eight group with Taylor in seventh on No Fear. If I remember right, Joe won by a few thousand points. Joe and I really started to like No Fear with Taylor still on the fence about it.
Following the main tournament, we finished the side tournament. I had played the first two rounds of the side tournament before heading to West Main and ended with no strikes.
I got a strike playing in a hard group against Bayless Rutheford, Chris Newsome and Joe Said on Spiderman.
I had to play Spiderman again and put up a miracle 72 million on my first ball. Taylor gave me some game play advice on modes and multiball progression and starting which really helped. I ended up ducking the strike in that game which left the side tournament to me and Joe Said.
Joe is a very good player with lots of experience in tournament pinball. Joe had no strikes which meant that I would have to beat him twice to win the tournament. I got lucky and beat Joe in our first game on Lord of the Rings. Our second game ended up being No Fear. My lucky run came to an end at this point. Joe played well enough that he was able to plunge his third ball for the tournament win.
I saw some of the same guys from the previous Charlottesville tournament and met lots of nice people. Just like in the previous tournament, there was a good sense of mutual enjoyment at having a chance to spend a day playing pinball with a bunch of people who also really like pinball. The Arena is a good place for the tournament because there is plenty of space and beer and tvs.
We got home much later than expected, but had a very good time. Thanks to Chris Newsome and Joe Said for organizing and hosting the tournament. I am looking forward to playing next year. I’m also looking forward to seeing most of you again at Taylor’s house for The Pin(t)s for Kids Tournament.
We learned on the way up that Joe Cummins is now a pinball owner. Joe now has a Raven in the basement which is soon to be joined by many more..