A *GREAT* night of pinball...

(Topic ID: 174539)

A *GREAT* night of pinball...


By goingincirclez

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by MT45
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    #1 2 years ago

    And I didn't even play! Instead, I set up a tournament for tweens at my daughter's 12th bday party. And it was a resounding success!

    I was actually surprised because even though she's not a huge pinhead, and most of her friends don't even know what pinballs are, she really wanted to set something up. So even though I generally suck at pinball in tourney formats, and have only tried one informal tournament, I decided to come up with something. So here's what I did:

    We have 6 games in the lineup: Old Chicago, Firepower, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Whirlwind, and Doctor Who. A small, but reasonably diverse assortment.

    For prizes I went to Costco and bought some full-size candy bars, and then found a Minecraft gift set of 10 figurines and a case. Kids love Minecraft, so I decided to come up with 10 "categories" to win a figure. With about 8 guests expected that would be good odds for everyone to win something. My daughter and I came up with these:

    - Top score on each game (6 figs)
    - Top combined score
    - Most 4's in scoring
    - Most 13's in scores
    - Single worst score of the night (this would not be announced beforehand, but only hinted as a "mystery category")

    To whet their appetites, we assigned figures to each game and I labeled them as such in the gift set package. We tried to match the figures to the game (redhead girl to Old Chicago; green zombie to Space Station for "Condition Green"; wolf to Dr Who for K-9; evil spider to the evil Firepower; and my favorite: daughter's assignment of Creeper to Worst Score because "that means the game blew up in your face like a creeper does"; etc). The set was put on display so the kids could see the fig assignments to games and try to scheme their favorites.

    Before cake and presents the kids all played informally for fun.

    After cake it was tourney time. I kept it simple: one round on each game, scores logged in a spreadsheet. After they played every game once, they each got to choose ONE game for a do-over. Their better of the two scores on the done-over title would count. So 7 games played in total, with only 6 counting toward the tally. This kept things quick and understandable. I had a seat near the lineup to watch scores, monitor any issues (there weren't any, my lineup stayed rock solid and the kids behaved great) and answer questions.

    I have to say, it was great watching the kids respond and try to strategize their do-overs: which games they felt they locked up, versus which they had a chance to improve, versus which they wanted to knock their friends out on. They kept coming over to see the score tallies as the sheet filled in. And they were all quite honest, too. It was simple tangible way for them to foster some competition without being too stressed.

    This format played out brilliantly: some kids were defeated unexpectedly at the end. Others experienced the joy of a monster game after a few rounds of futility. Some obviously favored one style of game versus others. But most of all, they HAD FUN.

    In the end, I emcee'd the score announcing to build suspense since it worked out that every kid managed to win at least one figure. The categories spread the sense of accomplishment, and the "worst score" (achieved on Firepower, naturally) was fun capper to the proceeding. After the tourney they all got to pick some candy for participating, an then turned loose to general free play again which they were all too happy to do.

    This is where I should mention that out of 10 kids, half had not seen a pinball machine before. But I think there's a few new fans out there... not to mention, the parents who were excited to join in and play.

    I tell you, it was a great feeling. I've been busting my ass and risking insolvency since moving to a house with space to set up this small arcade, but this night made it all totally worth it:

    20161126_181422 (resized).jpg

    #2 2 years ago
    Quoted from goingincirclez:

    And I didn't even play! Instead, I set up a tournament for tweens at my daughter's 12th bday party. And it was a resounding success!
    I was actually surprised because even though she's not a huge pinhead, and most of her friends don't even know what pinballs are, she really wanted to set something up. So even though I generally suck at pinball in tourney formats, and have only tried one informal tournament, I decided to come up with something. So here's what I did:
    We have 6 games in the lineup: Old Chicago, Firepower, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Whirlwind, and Doctor Who. A small, but reasonably diverse assortment.
    For prizes I went to Costco and bought some full-size candy bars, and then found a Minecraft gift set of 10 figurines and a case. Kids love Minecraft, so I decided to come up with 10 "categories" to win a figure. With about 8 guests expected that would be good odds for everyone to win something. My daughter and I came up with these:
    - Top score on each game (6 figs)
    - Top combined score
    - Most 4's in scoring
    - Most 13's in scores
    - Single worst score of the night (this would not be announced beforehand, but only hinted as a "mystery category")
    To whet their appetites, we assigned figures to each game and I labeled them as such in the gift set package. We tried to match the figures to the game (redhead girl to Old Chicago; green zombie to Space Station for "Condition Green", wolf to Dr Who for K-9... evil spider to Firepower because that game is evil... and my daugther's favorite, the Creeper to Worst Score because "that means the game blew up in your face like a creeper does", etc). The kids could see the games and try to scheme their favorites.
    Before cake and presents the kids all played informally for fun.
    After cake it was tourney time. I turned them lose and kept it simple: one round on each game, scores logged in a spreadsheet. After they played every game once, they each got to choose ONE game for a do-over. Their better of the two scores on the done-over title would count. So 7 games played in total, with only 6 counting toward the tally. This kept things quick and understandable.
    I have to say, it was great watching the kids respond and try to strategize their do-overs: which games they felt they locked up, versus which they had a chance to improve, versus which they wanted to knock their friends out on. They kept coming over to see the score tallies as the sheet filled in. And they were all quite honest, too. It was simple tangible way for them to foster some competition without being too stressed.
    This format played out brilliantly: some kids were defeated unexpectedly at the end. Others experienced the joy of a monster game after a few rounds of futility. Some obviously favored one style of game versus others. But most of all, they HAD FUN.
    In the end, I emcee'd the score announcing to build suspense since it worked out that every kid managed to win at least one figure. The categories spread the sense of accomplishment, and the "worst score" (achieved on Firepower, naturally) was fun capper to the proceeding. After the tourney they all got to pick some candy for participating, an then turned loose to general free play again which they were all too happy to do.
    This is where I should mention that out of 10 kids, half had not seen a pinball machine before. But I think there's a few new fans out there... not to mention, the parents who were excited to join in and play.
    I tell you, it was a great feeling. I've been busting my ass and risking insolvency since moving to a house with space to set up this small arcade, but this night made it all totally worth it:

    Oh man that was a fun read, you did a GREAT job. I think your daughter will be having A LOT more friends stopping over from now on. Congrats on a job well done.

    #3 2 years ago

    I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying!

    #4 2 years ago

    Great job!
    I did the same thing last week, our 11 year old had a fifth grade boys pinball party. It was three strikes your out, strikes came from having the lowest score. None of these kids have played pinball before, we had Wrestlemania, The Getaway, and KISS.
    All boys had a blast, and the party was three hours, but could have went four. Grand prize was a large metal Marvel Comics sign.
    They are asking when they can come back play again.

    #5 2 years ago
    Quoted from Wyopinball:

    Great job!
    It was three strikes your out, strikes came from having the lowest score....
    All boys had a blast, and the party was three hours, but could have went four. Grand prize was a large metal Marvel Comics sign.

    That sounds great! I considered a more "formal" structure like that, but for now decided to keep it simple and low key with guaranteed full participation for each kid (nobody having to sit out). Normally I'm not a fan of the "trophies for everyone" philosophy, but since it also had to be kind of quick given other events and personal schedules, I didn't want anyone to end bummed or bored for the rush.

    I do have a vid console area that would be a great lounge for anyone out of the tourney... hopefully a MAME cab will be on the horizon too. So sometime in the future - especially since they've been introduced now - I'd like to try a more bracketized format, especially for an awesome "big prize" like that one!

    I hope my format gives a few folks some ideas for a more low-pressure introductory approach for when that makes sense

    #6 2 years ago
    Quoted from goingincirclez:

    And I didn't even play! Instead, I set up a tournament for tweens at my daughter's 12th bday party. And it was a resounding success!
    I was actually surprised because even though she's not a huge pinhead, and most of her friends don't even know what pinballs are, she really wanted to set something up. So even though I generally suck at pinball in tourney formats, and have only tried one informal tournament, I decided to come up with something. So here's what I did:
    We have 6 games in the lineup: Old Chicago, Firepower, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Whirlwind, and Doctor Who. A small, but reasonably diverse assortment.
    For prizes I went to Costco and bought some full-size candy bars, and then found a Minecraft gift set of 10 figurines and a case. Kids love Minecraft, so I decided to come up with 10 "categories" to win a figure. With about 8 guests expected that would be good odds for everyone to win something. My daughter and I came up with these:
    - Top score on each game (6 figs)
    - Top combined score
    - Most 4's in scoring
    - Most 13's in scores
    - Single worst score of the night (this would not be announced beforehand, but only hinted as a "mystery category")
    To whet their appetites, we assigned figures to each game and I labeled them as such in the gift set package. We tried to match the figures to the game (redhead girl to Old Chicago; green zombie to Space Station for "Condition Green"; wolf to Dr Who for K-9; evil spider to the evil Firepower; and my favorite: daughter's assignment of Creeper to Worst Score because "that means the game blew up in your face like a creeper does"; etc). The set was put on display so the kids could see the fig assignments to games and try to scheme their favorites.
    Before cake and presents the kids all played informally for fun.
    After cake it was tourney time. I kept it simple: one round on each game, scores logged in a spreadsheet. After they played every game once, they each got to choose ONE game for a do-over. Their better of the two scores on the done-over title would count. So 7 games played in total, with only 6 counting toward the tally. This kept things quick and understandable. I had a seat near the lineup to watch scores, monitor any issues (there weren't any, my lineup stayed rock solid and the kids behaved great) and answer questions.
    I have to say, it was great watching the kids respond and try to strategize their do-overs: which games they felt they locked up, versus which they had a chance to improve, versus which they wanted to knock their friends out on. They kept coming over to see the score tallies as the sheet filled in. And they were all quite honest, too. It was simple tangible way for them to foster some competition without being too stressed.
    This format played out brilliantly: some kids were defeated unexpectedly at the end. Others experienced the joy of a monster game after a few rounds of futility. Some obviously favored one style of game versus others. But most of all, they HAD FUN.
    In the end, I emcee'd the score announcing to build suspense since it worked out that every kid managed to win at least one figure. The categories spread the sense of accomplishment, and the "worst score" (achieved on Firepower, naturally) was fun capper to the proceeding. After the tourney they all got to pick some candy for participating, an then turned loose to general free play again which they were all too happy to do.
    This is where I should mention that out of 10 kids, half had not seen a pinball machine before. But I think there's a few new fans out there... not to mention, the parents who were excited to join in and play.
    I tell you, it was a great feeling. I've been busting my ass and risking insolvency since moving to a house with space to set up this small arcade, but this night made it all totally worth it:

    Brilliant.

    #7 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing - sounds awesome! I am going to save this thread for my daughters party

    #8 2 years ago

    Awesome, now if only i can get my lineup working...

    #9 2 years ago

    We had a Call Of Duty lounge set up for those who grabbed three strikes. We had some boys who wanted to drop right away after finding this out,lol, but we talked them into staying for the challenge, due to the prize.
    When we had four left, all strikes went to zero and it went to sudden death, the one with the lowest was dropped, and when there was three left, we showed them what the prize was.
    My machines aren't what I would pick to play, they are for the family, so this lineup was perfect for a party, that really is the key to a great kids pinball party.

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