Upcoming (non league) events. Dec- Jan


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


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:


Additional in depth tournament details will be posted here soon.

I will not be playing.


National Pinball League

In looking around the app store, I found a tournament app by the National Pinball League.  I checked the site at nationalpinball.com.  National Pinball League is a group dedicated to supporting competitive pinball.  They certify locations and hold sanctioned tournaments.  Their calendar currently does not list any upcoming tournaments.  I have registered as a member and will post about any upcoming events.

One of the certified locations is The Pinball Gallery in Downington, PA.  I visited The Pinball Gallery in 2012 when I was working in Philadelphia.  It is about a half hour drive from Philadelphia and can also be reached by train from Philadelphia.  When I was there, all of the machines were in great shape and played without any problems.  When I was there, they had 14 or 16 machines.  I spent an afternoon there and had a great time.  They had a mix of newer Sterns and 90s, 80s and 70s Bally and Williams titles.

Charlottesville Knockout Tournament

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On Saturday, Mike O. and I played in a tournament in Charlottesville.  The tournament was held at the Lazy Parrot Backyard BBQ on Pantops Mountain.  A few things about the Lazy Parrott.  The owner is a pinball guy who took part in the tournament.  He usually has four machines at the restaurant.  Also, there are two Lazy Parrots in the same shopping center.  If you go to the Lazy Parrott and there are no pinball machines, you are in the wrong place.  I learned this the hard way when I was in Charlottesville the week before the tournament and went to the Lazy Parrott that is pinball free.

The tournament was played on these machines:  Star Trek the Next Generation, The Getaway, Funhouse, Metallica, Spiderman, Harley-Davidson, Party Zone, Nascar and No Good Gophers.  The tournament was a three strike tournament.  Each player who comes in third or fourth for a round receives a strike.  Once a player finishes in the bottom two of a four person group three times, he is out.

I think I counted a total of 19 players in the tournament.  I had met some of the players from Northern Virginia when a few of us played in the Fairfax Pinball Open last year.  There were some very good players there including the current number seven player in the world, Trent Augenstein.  Most of the players were friendly and welcoming.  The tournament was set up to encourage new players by waiving the entry for anyone who had not previously played in a pinball tournament.  The entry fee was $5 with an optional $20 sidepot for those who wanted to play for a little more money.

Four player groups were drawn at random, put in random order and sent to a random machine.  All this randomness ended up putting me on the machine The Getaway for my first three rounds.  I had seen the machine before and had some idea of the rules, but I had not played this machine prior to the our first round.  I was selected to go first in a group that included Mike O (who went last) and Trent, the current number 7 player in the world.

I struggled in the first round and received my first strike of the day.  One of the highlights of the day was Mike O. stepping up like a boss and taking down the number seven player in the world like it was just another day at the office.  Video to come.  Mike had it won before he even started his third ball.  When Mike finished, he stepped back from the machine and screamed, “That just happened!” in his best Ricky Bobby accent.  I think I was actually more excited about Mike’s win that he was.  Anyone who has met Mike knows he did not scream after winning, but that’s how I remember it.

As I kept grinding on The Getaway through rounds two and three, I finally manage to scrape out a win in round three against two of the Northern Virginia guys.  One of the Northern Virginia guys set the GC on The Getaway with over 300 million points.

My final game was on Star Trek the Next Generation.  I played with Kevin Stone, Justin and Phil.  All very nice guys who were friendly and gave me advice on how to play.  The game was relatively close between the four of us until Kevin and Justin started and scored in a couple of valuable modes.  Kevin was able to start the video mode for which he knew the pattern.  He told me the pattern afterwards and I am going to try to get there one of these days.  That was my fourth strike and booted me out of the tournament.

As the tournament played on, I got in some games on the machines that weren’t in use for the round.  I played games on each machine other than Nascar.  Nascar was in use for a separate high score tournament and was being played most of the time.

The tournament was a very good time and taught me some lessons for future tournaments.  I need to be able to warm up before the tournament starts.  Even if you know a machine pretty well, each machine is set up differently and I need to get a feel for how that machines is playing that day.  I also need a warm up to get the eyes and hands working together well.  I was running late from being out of town with my family and arrived at the tournament with just enough time to play one game of No Good Gophers before the tournament started.

I also need to know the rules of each machine.  As I watched the other players use specific strategies while I flailed around on The Getaway, I knew I should have taken the time to know the rules of the game.  I had played Stark Trek The Next Generation many times on the ipad and that knowledge of the rules and shots made me much more competitive than I was on the Getaway.

Thanks to the organizers for a great tournament.



Charlottesville Knockout Showdown 11/9/13

Info from the tournament organizer in response to my question about the game list. Expected tournament machine list: Metallica Pro, STTNG, Funhouse, Getaway, NGG, Stern Harley Davidson, Party Zone, NASCAR.  More updates to the rules will be coming soon.

Three of these games are available on The Pinball Arcade which is a great resource for learning about rule sets for games.  

Pinburgh 2014

Papa.org operates a facility in Pittsburgh that is probably the biggest collection of modern pinball machines in the world.  PAPA holds two events per year that are open to the public.  On March 28-30, 2014, PAPA will hold a match play tournament called Pinburgh.  Even if you do not compete, the majority of the machines are available for play during the tournament. It is a great opportunity to play almost all of the modern machines and watch some of the best players in the world compete.   I have put it on my calendar for each of the past two years, but have not been able to make it.  Going to try to get there for the first time this year.