Season 3 Round 2

ImageSecond round of Season 2 took place at the Boocade with 17 players making the trip. Great competitive pinball and some not so great pinball took place. Personally I rode both ends of the equation with a couple high scores on WCS and WW but played so horribly on RFM that it put me in a pinch to save the round.

Bayless put up some very consistent scores to gain the most points on the night. Scott put up a monster score on RFM and in warmups dropped a score high enough to get on the board of WCS.

Games for the night included RFM, WCS’94, FT, JL and WW. Iron Man was left out of the lineup for the night due to a random draw. The gasp that went through the room left me with goosebumps thinking that a Russian type takeover may be about to go down. Level headedness prevailed though and while it was missed it left a great game for people to grab games on once their groups finished up.

Here are the overall points after round 2.

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Pin(t)s for Kids 3

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 1.28.51 PMWell tonight I’m running my third Pin(t)s for Kids tournament. These were started about two years ago as a charity tournament to benefit the local food bank’s program for providing kids with meals. Since then we have raised around $2000. Sharing a hobby I love like this is the most rewarding things I have ever done. Not only do I get to use my games to help others, but I also get a chance to share my passion with non pinheads. More often than not a story creeps out how basically everyone played pinball at some point in their lives and how great it is to be getting a chance to play again. Several of our league members were sucked in by these tournaments.

I’ll post more after the tournament but it has been a while since posting and this certainly seemed like a good thing to share.

Keep flipping- Taylor

Season 3 Round 1

Had a great turnout for the 1st round of season 3 with a total of 16 players in attendance. A couple of the the veterans unfortunately missed due to prior commitments but that just means they’ll bring the heat next round. We had several new players make a showing with some strong play. Looks like season 3 is going to be a competitive one. Can’t wait!!!

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Standings after round 1

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Season 3!

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Only one week out from Season 3 of the RPL!! Woo Hoo!

This season should be an exciting one as we have added several members are now looking at a 16 person field to vie for title of RPL Champion!! We have a couple rule changes to this season to reflect players true rankings amongst other players in the league.  That should make for some tight races across the board. Below is our new scoring system. Hopefully this will end up being a stable and easy to use system from here on out.

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Stay tuned for updates over Season 3. Thanks for looking.

RPL Regular Season Final Standings

With a possible 19 points on the line in this weekend’s tournament the race for second and third place is very tight. First place for the overall season is locked up as long as I can roll out of bed.

The tournament consist of 2 qualifying tournaments. Both are 2 out 3 double elimination tournaments at two locations. Top spot at each location is awarded 8 points, 2nd with 7 and so on. Any place below 8th also receives one point. The top player at each location will play in a best 2/3 to determine overall winner.  Players coming in 2nd at each location will play for 3rd and fourth place overall.

Convoluted but it works. 🙂

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The Road to Pinburgh

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Get ready….

Get set……

REGISTER!

Today may have seen the biggest sign that pinball is back. In under 2 hours 400 people from across the globe signed up for the largest pinball tournament in the world. What took weeks to fill in 2013 filled faster than anyone could imagine. Registration began promptly at 12 noon today and I sat at my keyboard constantly refreshing hoping to land an early spot for nothing more than bragging rights. Glad I signed up when I did, with a server delay that seemed to take forever I was the 135th person signed up. Phew.

Chris and I are both planning our first pilgrimage to the hallowed halls of PAPA this spring. There is certainly no other place in pinball that I want to visit and I think that Chris feels the same way. I’ve been in the hobby about 9 years and this is really the first time that I have felt like I had to get to PAPA. I don’t what it is, could be the history of it rising from the soggy grave from the flood 2004 or getting a chance to see some of the greats donkey kick their way to greatness. There is an allure to PAPA that has a hold of me and this is my year… and I can’t wait.

So here is the deal with Pinburgh, you get to play a LOT of pinball. I don’t exactly know how it works and I am pretty lazy to reading in depth rules but one thing I know is that I am going to get to play a LOT of pinball and possibly some pinball with some of the top players in the world. What I do know is that Pinburgh is set up as a match play tournament. You are placed in either 3 or 4 player groups and you get points for how you finish on each table. You play for 2 days like this and that is used to determine what group you will be playing in and attempting to qualify for. So basically you’re guaranteed two days of competitive play against varying players, not too shabby.

Stay tuned….

Upcoming (non league) events. Dec- Jan

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There are several upcoming tournaments that are worth checking out if you are not getting your competitive pinball fix from our league. We will be trying to finish up our league during the month of January so we are on track to start season 3 in February.

Dec 21st  Pinaholics Anonymous – this event is held at a private residence in NOVA. The owner is a top notch guy and very passionate about competitive pinball. I have not had opportunity to attend one yet but I have heard nothing but good things.

If you want to attend this event you can find info here

http://www.kevinsplanet.com

Jan 18th  Maryland Championship- info posted to Facebook 

 
8135 Baltimore Ave, College Park, Maryland 20740

There will be some changes to the tournament structure for 2014, but the basic concept will remain the same. 

Bud, “Easy WPPR points!”
Buzz, “This ain’t as easy as it looks.”

Entry fee will be $25. Entry fee for players from MD will be $20. Entry fee for first time tournament players, women, Town Hall regulars or PG county residents will be $15. Two complimentary classics entries for Town Hall regulars and for those travelling more than 100 miles.
The winners of A division will take home $250 for fist place, $125 for second place and $60 for third place. The winners of B division will win $120 for fist place, $60 for second place, and $40 for third place. Winner of the last chance tournament will win $100. There will likely be attractive acrylic awards to the winners as well. All monies collected for entry fees will be returned to the players in the form of cash or awards. So if we have a large attendance, the payouts will be higher.
For players looking to play for higher stakes, there will be a $40 optional sidepot. If 10 or less players play in the sidepot, the payout will be 50/30/20. If 11 or more players play in the sidepot, the payout will be 45/30/15/10.

The top finisher from Maryland will win a signed WOZ translite!
There will be a prize/cash award to the top Town Hall regular finisher.

There will be eight rounds of match play in which players will play one four player game per round. During the match play rounds, scoring will be 10/6/3/1 for first through fourth place. Scoring for three player groups will be 10/5/1.
Players will not play any other player more than once during these eight rounds.
After the eight rounds of match play, the top 12 qualifiers will advance to the A division playoffs and the 13th through 28th qualifiers will advance to the B division playoffs.

All remaining players will participate in the last chance playoffs. In the last chance playoffs, the players will be randomly placed in four players groups and groups will randomly placed on one machine per group. The winner of each group will remain in the playoffs, all others will be out of the tournament. The winner of the last chance playoffs will win $100.

Like MPC 2013, there will be $20 bounties on each game. There will be separate bounties for players who are WPPR ranked >200 and 200 or less. For example the bounty on TZ for players WPPR >200 may be bonus greater than 100M, while the bounty for players WPPR 200 or less maybe a score 700M or more. Only one $20 bounty per player can be collected. There will also be separate $60 mega bounties on each game, such as start Rule the Universe, complete Final Battle, loop champion on Shadow (10 loops), start LITZ, etc. Mega bounties can be collected during the practice period before the event starts as well as during the event, but $20 bounties can only be collected during the event. Only two mega bounties per player can be collected.

In the A division playoffs, the top four qualifiers will receive a first round bye. The 5th through 12th place qualifiers will be placed in two four-player groups and will play a three game PAPA-style quarter-final (scoring will still be 10/6/3/1). The top two players from each group will make the semi-finals. The semi-finals will also be a three game PAPA-style round with the top two in each group advancing to the finals.
In the finals, players will play a round of three four-player games to determine the winners. 

The B division playoffs will be run in the same manner as the A division playoffs, with the exception that there will not be any byes. 

Extra balls will be disabled. Death saves and Bang Backs will not be allowed.
Tilts will be tight. Physical abuse of the pinball machines such as kicking, lifting and then dropping, or punching the glass, will not be tolerated and may be cause for elimination from the tournament.
The vengeance timer on Shadow will be set to 10 seconds. Games in general will not be bastardized other than tight tilts and wide open outlanes.

There will be a side tournament on a classic machine. It will run from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Entries will cost $5 for two entries. Entries may be played anytime that players are not playing in a main tournament group. Players may purchase multiple sets of entries.
At 8:30 p.m., the four highest qualifiers will play one four player game to determine first through fourth place.
If the classic machine breaks down before 6 p.m. and is determined by the tournament director to be unfixable, an alternate game will be used for the remainder of the side tournament. If this occurs, the top four qualifiers from each game will make the playoffs and there will be two rounds in the playoffs.

Beverages are available at the bar. There are many food options within walking distance, and outside food is allowed inside the bar.

In case you missed it, here is a link to the event from January 2013:

https://www.facebook.com/events/314006628700465/

Additional in depth tournament details will be posted here soon.

I will not be playing.

The devil feeds on children’s tears.

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My child, starting at the age of six, could read two books at once and keep the plots straight in her head. She is an all “E” student and received recognition for outstanding citizenship during the first quarter of second grade. She is a medal winning blue belt in taekwondo that somehow learns complex Korean terms in under 30 minutes.  Needless to say I could not be prouder.

So what did my wife and I give her for being such an accomplished little bookworm? Yep, the devil’s loom…oh, I mean a Rainbow Loom. The amount of tears that have flowed since this plastic contraption entered our lives is just less than those shed during the great sock fiasco of kindergarten.

For those that do not know, and I feel lucky for you, the Rainbow Loom is comprised of rows of plastic post that you can place rubber bands on(think braces) and weave intricate bracelets. There are numerous instructional videos on youtube posted by the devil’s henchmen. These videos make every bracelet look like it should melt off the loom into the most intricate, intertwined bunch of rubber bands one could ever imagine. If rubber bands had been invented before diamonds were found we could possibly be marking milestones with “fish tales” instead of carats.

So there you have it….

…..Oh, wait. This is a pinball blog. WTF just happened above?

Today I am hosting a tournament. As a collector, hobbyist and player I love sharing my collection and our league was born out of the want to do this and this tournament as a desire to share it with a wider group. I have held tournaments before but they have either been a impromptu gathering or part of my charity tournament series that is geared towards friends and coworkers, the casual player.

Tonight, in my basement, I have some of the best pinball players on the east coast coming to MY basement to play MY pins. And what do I do to thank these people that are taking the time to come to my house to indulge my selfish desire to share my toys? How? I’ll tell you how. I give them pins waxed with the tears the devil never saw. I’ve set my games to be hard, to really show their teeth. No extra balls, no ball saves(well except for Dracula because I’m not a total ass), and yes the outlanes are wide open.  My games are usually set to hard but these are nasty and I feel bad about it. I want people to enjoy the games but I want them to feel the bite they have to offer as well.

Pinball is a social event. Modern games allow for 4 players and it’s frankly a lot more satisfying to play with others. A great game “in the woods” does make a sound but then you look around in your empty game room and put your victory sign down and just plug in those initials with no fanfare or confetti, it gets a bit old. And no only is it social, it is fun. Watching someone else having a great game can sometimes, rarely, be as satisfying as having a great game oneself. Of course with the way that these tables have been set up I may have dangled that “fun” carrot out there just to snatch it away.

So here is the dilemma, how hard is too hard? Is pinball, like a rainbow loom, more enjoyable when it is easy and rewarding for what it is suppose to be or is it about making something as challenging as possible even if it leaves you in a weeping pile, or in my case enraged, wishing I could hurl the game out the window, wishing it would just be made to go away.

I feel bad that my daughter doesn’t find the pleasure in her rainbow loom like she thought she would. She really has to work of that please and she decided on day one that she was no longer a beginner. I struggle with her tears. Do I console her and ask her to try something easier for her or do I let her hold her shoulders, tell her it will be alright and to just try again? Or, do I just secretly hide the loom hoping the fad passes and she sticks to something I know she is great at. In pinball I don’t want anyone to suffer either but there I am making it as hard as I can. Is this still fun? Sometimes I contemplate just ditching the hobby because the fun factor seems to have faded. Sometimes I wish I could just hide 8 350lb machines on the top shelf of the linen closet but there I am again swatting at the silver ball trying to get that elusive shot.

4 hours until my tournament starts….and the devil drinks.

Burn Out

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I like pinball. At some point there was an infatuation that kept me playing or fixing to the wee hours of the morning. I’d lift the hood to tweak a switch because it seemed just a little too sensitive or worse not sensitive of enough. I’ve collected, restored and played my personal games for over 8 years now and I am frankly burned out. I have a project I can’t stay focused on and I rarely flip my games on unless I have friends over, what happened?

One thing that has been interesting, as I play more socially, is that I have a harder time getting into playing by myself. The hobby for me is now as much about talking and drinking  a beer as it is about playing. I have never been a very social person but now it seems that the hobby I could so selfishly delve into has lost its lonely luster that I could so readily lose myself in. I don’t think this is such a bad thing on a personal level but I’ve always been able to close the doors of my workshop and while away for hours doing the most mundane of task. Those task now just seem mundane.

With all of this being said I must say that the tentacles of this hobby are sticky and it is hard to break away from. The thought of ditching my pins has crossed my mind in the past and the creation of my charity tournaments was born from a need to do something with these social coffins that I had gathered in my basement. Sharing my hobby while raising money for a great cause seemed like a no brainer and has easily become the proudest thing I have done in this hobby. The pile of people that loaded into my basement to play really got me going again and I saw a new direction for my interest in the hobby.

Through the Pin(t)s for Kids tournaments and the RPL I got some of the love back as I found the sharing of my games to be as rewarding as playing them myself. Something about someone hitting a jackpot for the first time takes me back to the first time I lifted the playfield and took in the smell of stale cigarettes and beer that had seasoned my first pinball machine. Now that our second season of league is in full swing I seem to be looking for that smell again. Getting our league going has been great but now I need something new. I need something to re-spark the love I have for the hobby.

Hoping to find some of that love back this weekend as I am attending a semi-local tournament. The great thing about this hobby to me has always been the different aspects of it, whether that be the hunt of a new game or the accomplishment of a full restoration. Competitive play seems to be the avenue I have yet to truly explore. I obviously am playing in a league and have played in a few tournaments but I’ve never considered myself a player. I like to play well but I have the focus of my 3 yr old when it comes to competitive pinball. I have no expectations for this tournament other than to try to stay focused but also to have fun: to not take it too seriously but to not disappointment myself by not giving it my all.

Wish me luck.