Hotchkiss Pinball League - Season 1

By hipsmart

October 30, 2016

This story got featured on November 04, 2016

7 years ago

Moving from Portland, Maine, where I had the pleasure of having Arcadia National Bar an under-10 minute walk from home (with their weekly, friendly pingolf tournaments), to rural Connecticut had me worried. I was delighted to discover that a fellow resident of the boarding school I now lived at had a collection of four machines. Within short order, a pinball league was formed.

The format was set and then modified as the meets went by. Eventually, this was the final format:
5 nights of league play, 90-120 minutes each
All scores recorded, each player's top 3 scores on each machine across the season scored points: 100-90-85-80-78-76-74... dropping by 2 after that
Each meet, there were two goals on each machine, easier and harder, scoring 10 and 20 points. This was meant to help newer players learn the rules of each game.

After the five meets, here were the standings:
Doron, as the owner of the machines and an excellent player, had best three scores on each macine except STLE where Jason had made an inroad. In the last two meets, I creeped closer and closer to Jason, but was unable to overtake him. Josh was able to make most of the meets, while the remaining players below him had only showed up once or twice.

Finals night: Saturday, October 29th, 2016
In attendance: Doron, Jason, Erik, Josh, and Rob.
Format for finals: 3-player league play on three machines, 5-3-1 scoring, as a ladder until finishing with a 3-player group on all four machines.

First group: Erik, Josh, Rob.
Of the four machines, I eliminated The Walking Dead from play. I then chose Avatar as the third machine where I would play last; Josh chose Star Trek, and Rob was left with Metallica.
Round 1, Game 1: Metallica LE
As first player on Metallica, I put up a very good (for me) score on the first ball (30M?) while Josh and Rob stayed low. Somewhere in there I started Crank It Up, but did little with it. Points after game one:
Erik 5
Josh 1
Rob 3

Round 1, Game 2: Star Trek
Everyone was adjusting to tournament settings on the machines, which we had not played with before. The shorter ball save, in particular, was thrownig us off. In the end, I couldn't eke above Rob. Points after game two:
Erik 5+3=8
Josh 1+1=2
Rob 3+5=8

Round 1, Game 3: Avatar
The brutally short ball saves here really had us on edge. After the first ball, everyone was within a few hundred thousand points. After three extremely tense balls, my bonus failed to pass Josh and I got last on the machine. Jason and Doron, waiting for the results, were hopping around like crazy.
Points after game three:
Erik: 5+3+1=9
Josh: 1+1+3=5
Rob: 3+5+5=13
Josh was eliminated as low player in round one. We moved to round two, where Jason joined the three-player group.

Jason, as high seed, called Avatar as the game to not be played. He picked The Walking Dead as his machine, where he would play last and slated as game three for the round. Starting in round 2, competition play mode on the machines was turned off so that ball save wasn't so short, but extra balls were turned off.
Round 2, Game 1: Metallica
No one did anything, and it was a crap-shoot.
Points after game one:
Jason: 1
Rob: 3
Erik: 5

Round 2, Game 2: Star Trek
Jason went to town on this, daring us to catch up. In the end, Rob never got anything going.
Points after game two:
Jason: 1+5=6
Rob: 3+1=4
Erik: 5+3=8

Round 2, Game 3: The Walking Dead
All I remember is getting all my skill shots for full value, and Rob in a rage move bashing the button after he drained, which launched Jason's ball by accident--scoring a full-value skill shot and Jason hopped right on to recover.
Points after game three:
Jason: 1+5+3=9
Rob: 3+1+1=5
Erik: 5+3+5=13

We moved to the final round of the playoffs with myself and Jason still alive, joined by the very excited to finally join in Doron. We would play all four machines.

From this point, the story simplifies a bit, as I'm outclassed.
Round 3, Game 1: The Walking Dead
Doron, finally unleashed, went nuts.
Points after game one:
Doron: 5
Erik: 1
Jason: 3

Round 3, Game 2: Star Trek
Jason knew this was his best chance of taking points from Doron, and he did.
Points after game two:
Doron: 5+3=8
Erik: 1+1=2
Jason: 3+5=8

Round 3, Game 3: Avatar
I forgot to take any more pictures.
Points after game three:
Doron: 5+3+5=13
Erik: 1+1+1=3
Jason: 3+5+3=11

Round 3, Game 4: Metallica
Doron: 5+3+5+5=18
Erik: 1+1+1+1=4
Jason: 3+5+3+3=14

And that's where season 1 ended, with congratulations to Doron. We all had a blast.

Coming soon, season 2 AND the addition of an Iron Man Vault Edition!

Story photos

IMG_5052 (resized).jpg


7 years ago

Thanks for posting the run-down for posterity, Erik! Great to have, and looking forward to Season 2!

7 years ago

Very cool. Hotchkiss alum myself. I'm guessing the games were in a faculty residence unless the dorm rooms have gotten a lot bigger ...

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