(Topic ID: 55104)

Best EMs for tournament play?


By jlm33

6 years ago



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  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Rat_Tomago
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#1 6 years ago

Hi,

I recently organised a tourney at home with qualification round played on 6 pins (2 EM, 2 early SS, 2 DMD). It was fun... and it won't be the last.

Which EM would you suggest for tournament play? Why? Must be 4-players. I played some of them, but there are plenty I can't remember or never encountered. 2 categories:
- 70's: long flippers, inlanes. (I enjoy gates and central up-post)
- 60's: short flippers, no inlanes

Other comments:
- ignore artwork
- Please no super rare / expensive pin

If you have informations on the machines that were used for tourneys held in the 60's and 70's, would love to know about it.

#2 6 years ago

I think a 1975 Gottlieb "Spirit of 76" would be a good one. Very Challenging 4 player game and Fast Balls so not much wait time for the next player.

Ken

#3 6 years ago

Fast draw is another one.

#4 6 years ago

I'd throw Fireball out there. That one will quickly separate the men from the boys.

#5 6 years ago
Quoted from Ronnie1114:

Fast draw is another one.

Yes, I believe PAPA has used this one for their tournaments as well.

Ken

#6 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'd throw Fireball out there. That one will quickly separate the men from the boys.

It separated me from the men at IFPA10

I'd never seen a Fireball before IFPA week ... Let alone played one.

Those tiny flippers are totally different to play with.

I have a new respect for EMs after that ... I need to get some for my collection.

rd

#7 6 years ago

Killing a LOT of awesome games by only looking for 4-players.

Far Out is a good one that cuts the wheat from the chaff, especially after all drop targets are down, they DON'T RESET...so annoying and hard to score at that point.

#8 6 years ago

Thanks for all the suggestions!
Would you consider Target Alpha?

#9 6 years ago

Like Frax said...Get some one player Gottliebs. 1975 Atlantis comes to mind.

#10 6 years ago

Card Whiz
Grand Prix
Slick Chick

#11 6 years ago

In my VERY STRONG and VOCAL opinion -- Fireball is one of, if not the, absolute worst game to put in a competition. Hands down. Everyone hit your skill shot then flip a coin to see who wins. I've never seen any player, tournament grade or otherwise, convincingly control this table.

Some good ones not mentioned:

Volley
Joker Poker
Wizard
El Dorado

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Volley isn't 4 player but that doesn't matter. You just have 3 of the 4 people wait it out and record everyone's scores.

#12 6 years ago
Quoted from sosage:

In my VERY STRONG and VOCAL opinion -- Fireball is one of, if not the, absolute worst game to put in a competition. Hands down. Everyone hit your skill shot then flip a coin to see who wins. I've never seen any player, tournament grade or otherwise, convincingly control this table.
Some good ones not mentioned:
Volley
Joker Poker
Wizard
El Dorado
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Volley isn't 4 player but that doesn't matter. You just have 3 of the 4 people wait it out and record everyone's scores.

Joker Poker is great, but the EM version is rare and expensive - might look for the SS one (which is good too!).

Eldorado: might prefer the 4-players versions Target alpha and Canada Dry.

Wizard: for sure.

Volley... never played it, will try to find one.

Thanks for all these tips.

#13 6 years ago
Quoted from Ronnie1114:

Fast draw is another one.

Agree, best EM 4 player comp. game in my opinion.

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from sosage:

In my VERY STRONG and VOCAL opinion -- Fireball is one of, if not the, absolute worst game to put in a competition. Hands down. Everyone hit your skill shot then flip a coin to see who wins. I've never seen any player, tournament grade or otherwise, convincingly control this table.

We should hopefully have some footage up soon from the final of the IFPA10 World Pinball Championship that will prove otherwise

Certainly there's a high luck percentage with Fireball as with any other EM in terms of chances for house balls, but the use of drop catching and tap passing with the mini flippers definitely leads to 'the more skillful player' typically winning the match on it.

#15 6 years ago

Grand Prix
Monacco
Hot Tip
Aztec

#16 6 years ago

Surf Champ. 4 Player.

#17 6 years ago

Space Mission.

But I am biased, of course...

#18 6 years ago
Quoted from ifpapinball:

We should hopefully have some footage up soon from the final of the IFPA10 World Pinball Championship that will prove otherwise
Certainly there's a high luck percentage with Fireball as with any other EM in terms of chances for house balls, but the use of drop catching and tap passing with the mini flippers definitely leads to 'the more skillful player' typically winning the match on it.

First of all, I am very interested in seeing it. If I see someone convincingly controlling this game, consistently, I can become a convert.

Secondly, I had a long babble trying to explain my perspective, but I'll make it shorter. IMO, competitive pinball is not 70/30 or 60/40 skill/luck. It's more 99/1, with 1 being for houseballs that require being psychic after the plunge to see coming and flukes where the machine tosses the ball over the flippers. On a well designed table, the risks and rewards assure me that every drain is my fault. Including if you put a fat rubber on T2's skull lock or take out the outlane posts...there is almost always something I could've/should've/would've done to either save the ball or prevent that situation from arising.

Fireball's physical risk/reward design seems so unbalanced (at least, only to me it seems ;P), even for competitive EM's, that it flips the ratio to something like 30/70. It's designed to steal quarters. A competitive game shouldn't ever be that the top player should win out most of the time, but the top player in that moment will win out all the time. Yah' know?

When I see Fireball in a lineup for a tournament, I cringe. I almost wish we could rock/paper/scissor instead of going through playing that game.

That was still long...damn.

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from sosage:

In my VERY STRONG and VOCAL opinion -- Fireball is one of, if not the, absolute worst game to put in a competition. Hands down. Everyone hit your skill shot then flip a coin to see who wins. I've never seen any player, tournament grade or otherwise, convincingly control this table.
Some good ones not mentioned:
Volley
Joker Poker
Wizard
El Dorado
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Volley isn't 4 player but that doesn't matter. You just have 3 of the 4 people wait it out and record everyone's scores.

Have to somewhat agree with Sosage. Fireball is a classic, but it's not the best tourney game. The skillshot kind of kills it. The spinning disc adds to the argument, but not so much as the skill shot.

If you must use it, make sure the plunge is super consistent, definitely set it for 5-ball, and with a somewhat loose tilt.

#20 6 years ago

For short flipper games:

2001 and Target Pool on 5 ball are the best I've used personally. Over 5 balls the skill still shows through.

#21 6 years ago

I get stoked when Fireball is in a tourney lineup though I don't know what Josh is talking about with the tap passes. That is so 2011!

#22 6 years ago
Quoted from sk8ball:

I get stoked when Fireball is in a tourney lineup though I don't know what Josh is talking about with the tap passes. That is so 2011!

Tap pass is the wrong term, but I'm talking about tapping the flipper button when the ball is resting in the center of the closed zipper flippers to knock the ball up the opposite flipper bat for a backhanded shot into either saucer.

PAPA gameplay vid shows it around the 2min25sec mark:
http://pinball.org/videos/gameplay-videos/fireball/

Josh

#23 6 years ago

My problem with Fireball is mostly the lock stealing.
How about Flip-Flop?
Capt. Fantastic?
Surfer?
I usually prefer regular size flippers as opposed to shorties.
Inlanes are nice too.

#24 6 years ago

Salut jlm33 !

IMO :

4-players versions with targets :

Royal Flush : everybody knows this pinball
Canada Dry : not rare in France (or Target Alpha)
Surf Champ : good to play with

André

#25 6 years ago

I'll 2nd Far Out on 3 Ball play. One ball 1 and 2 clearing one of the drop target banks to obtain double bonus is the key to win. Clearing the drops is risky and can lead to a center drain. This game can be picked up for a fair price and generally overlooked. Fairly unique feature on the game is a left out lane kickback.

#26 6 years ago

Thanks everyone (and salut André...): lots of feedback. I would add Vulcan to the list. I will try to list all suggestions later.

Back to one of my initial questions: Has anyone access to archives (or videos !) on tourneys held 30-40 years ago?

#27 6 years ago
Quoted from ifpapinball:

Tap pass is the wrong term, but I'm talking about tapping the flipper button when the ball is resting in the center of the closed zipper flippers to knock the ball up the opposite flipper bat for a backhanded shot into either saucer.
PAPA gameplay vid shows it around the 2min25sec mark:
http://pinball.org/videos/gameplay-videos/fireball/
Josh

That's not how I play it as you can't really aim with the flippers closed. Stagger-flip FTW!

#28 6 years ago

You can also steal locks on Fireball - some players consider that enough to rule it out for tournament play. Same with 4 Million BC - I got put on that at Pinburgh and someone from my group was all up in arms that you could steal locks and have a gate into the shooter lane and called over Mark Steinmann.

#29 6 years ago
Quoted from sosage:

When I see Fireball in a lineup for a tournament, I cringe. I almost wish we could rock/paper/scissor instead of going through playing that game.

I had a chance to play Fireball in a tournament, and I felt the same way about playing it. I probably spent 40% of my attempts on Fireball, just to sorta increase my score - hitting the skill shot was a real challenge for me. The spinning disc is what messed me up most of the time - virtually all targets are behind the disc.

I'll have to watch the PAPA + IFPA vids.

#30 6 years ago

What is stealing locks?

#31 6 years ago
Quoted from GrandPrix:

What is stealing locks?

Let's say the game has a 2-ball multiball. Player 1 locks both balls on ball 1 but fails to hit the shot to activate multiball and drains. Player 2 starts his ball 1 with essentially both locks taken care of for him. He just has to shoot the shot to activate multiball and "steal" player 1's locked balls.

#32 6 years ago

Got it

Quoted from sosage:Let's say the game has a 2-ball multiball. Player 1 locks both balls on ball 1 but fails to hit the shot to activate multiball and drains. Player 2 starts his ball 1 with essentially both locks taken care of for him. He just has to shoot the shot to activate multiball and "steal" player 1's locked balls.

Got it. thxs.

#33 6 years ago

yes as a few others have stated Surf Champ as a fun player but also one that has been used for big comps

#34 6 years ago

Lock-stealing is an issue not just on EM games, but even up through most System 11 games. The only really fair way to play these games is 1 game at a time.

#35 6 years ago
Quoted from sosage:

First of all, I am very interested in seeing it. If I see someone convincingly controlling this game, consistently, I can become a convert.
Secondly, I had a long babble trying to explain my perspective, but I'll make it shorter. IMO, competitive pinball is not 70/30 or 60/40 skill/luck. It's more 99/1, with 1 being for houseballs that require being psychic after the plunge to see coming and flukes where the machine tosses the ball over the flippers. On a well designed table, the risks and rewards assure me that every drain is my fault. Including if you put a fat rubber on T2's skull lock or take out the outlane posts...there is almost always something I could've/should've/would've done to either save the ball or prevent that situation from arising.
Fireball's physical risk/reward design seems so unbalanced (at least, only to me it seems ;P), even for competitive EM's, that it flips the ratio to something like 30/70. It's designed to steal quarters. A competitive game shouldn't ever be that the top player should win out most of the time, but the top player in that moment will win out all the time. Yah' know?
When I see Fireball in a lineup for a tournament, I cringe. I almost wish we could rock/paper/scissor instead of going through playing that game.
That was still long...damn.

Not having played very many different machines, how would you rate Grand Prix? To me it seems like high scores are very much luck. But, my game has some glitches. If you hold the left flipper out to catch it has a twitch (making the only way to catch being - drop catch), it will flick the ball up instead of remain solid. Other than the right bank of bonus lights still not activating it plays pretty solid. The gap in the elbow of the drain chute really tests your skill in catching balls & the drop catch is essential. However, many times the ball will drain coming from the top without even reaching the flippers. Would be nice to hear some opinions from tournament players.

#36 6 years ago

I was reading the rules of the PAPA tournament coming up in Aug. When you qualify do you play one game through on each machine to get your score, or are you always taking turns with 3 other players?

#37 6 years ago

Hot Shot!

& Big Indian can make a pinball veteran cry..

#38 6 years ago

Qualifying is single-player. Final rounds are 4-player games.

#39 6 years ago

I think Royal Flush/Card Whiz is one of the best tournament games. It requires a high degree of skill to consistently score high. It has a short ball time and there's a nice degree of strategy.

#40 6 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

I think Royal Flush/Card Whiz is one of the best tournament games. It requires a high degree of skill to consistently score high. It has a short ball time and there's a nice degree of strategy.

Agree! The rules make it necessary to use a little strategy. There's not a set sequence of actions you need to do, but rather you can decide to prep before you start dropping the targets by accumulating the jokers first.
So if the other guy isn't too scary you can go the safe and steady route, but if he's ahead of you, you can up the ante by risking some shots to get your jokers before you go.

There are also some drop targets (A-K-K) that will likely result in a drain depending on which flipper you hit with, which is another case of taking a chance or waiting for a safe shot.

#41 6 years ago

70's multiplayer 3" flippers - Royal Flush, Jack in the Box
60's 2" flippers - King of Diamonds, Kings and Queens

#42 6 years ago

I thought Fireball (and Capersville) are awesome examples for the fact that the pressure is really on so that you don't leave the locked balls there for the next player.

Last pinball meet I had here had the comp on Fireball and it was a blast..over 30 players in the comp..plan the next comp on Capersville..now there is a tough game!

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from Finrod:

Lock-stealing is an issue not just on EM games, but even up through most System 11 games.

Lock stealing occurs in a number of games, including my 1963 Bally star-jet. The main issue is that a succesful lock is worth nothing, while unlocking gets a 50 points reward. During a qualification round, one can make sure no ball is locked before each game.

#44 6 years ago

Just listed the games mentioned so far (those mentioned more than once got the number of favorable citations)

Kings and Queens 1965 Gottlieb
Slick Chick 1963 Gottlieb
Capersville 1966 Bally
King of diamonds 1967 Gottlieb
Target Pool 1969 Gottlieb
2001 1971 Gottlieb
Fireball (3) 1972 Fireball
Hot shot 1973 Gottlieb
Jack in the box 1973 Gottlieb
Far Out (2) 1974 Gottlieb
Big Indian 1974 Gottlieb
Atlantis 1975 Gottlieb
Wizard 1975 Bally
Spirit of 76 1975 Gottlieb
Fast Draw (3) 1975 Gottlieb
Target Alpha / Canada Dry (2) 1976 Gottlieb
Card Whiz (3) 1976 Gottlieb
Grand Prix (2) 1976 Williams
Volley (not a 4 player) 1976 Gottlieb
Aztec 1976 Williams
Surf Champ / Surfer (4) 1976 Gottlieb
Space Mission 1976 Williams
Flip Flop 1976 Bally
Royal flush (4) 1976 Gottlieb
Vulcan 1977 Gottlieb
Monaco 1977 Segasa
Hot Tip 1977 Williams
Captain Fantastic 1977 Bally
Joker Poker 1978 Gottlieb

#45 6 years ago

Wow! Now I have taken a LOT of flak from some of you guys about my choice of EMs and early SS games over the newer games, but here's a lot of you mentioning some damn good EM games for a tournament.

It's true that tournament play should not be limited to games with only a 2-player one 1-player score. Those game should simply be played in sub-groups or an agreed-upon player order for single-player games. We do this often in Seattle.

Royal Flush: Ideal.
Jack In The Box: Very difficult game.
Target Alpha: We've two of these in the area. Harder than it looks!
Surf Champ/Surfer: Is it just me or are there more of these EMs than any other?
Grand Prix: Awesome choice!
Aztec: OK. It's good for introducing DMD players to EM strategies.
Doodle Bug: Games with toys tend to get the DMD players interested. Plus you can't do flipper traps while the Doodle Bug is in effect or drain down the middle or off the edge of the flipper.
Nip-It: Has the Gator toy to snag a ball at the top of the playfield. 4-player.

In fact, we're going to be really evil about this upcoming Seattle Pinball League tournament happening in August at our house (The Madhouse on the Pinside Map) and have all older games for this tournament. Plenty of places you can play the newer games. Right now we're down to eight and none of them are post-1982.
Hollywood - Chicago Coin
Big Game - Stern
Xenon - Bally
Solar Ride - Gottlieb
Freedom - Bally
Close Encounters - Gottlieb (SS)
Barracora - Williams
Monte Carlo - Bally
Big Game seems to be a popular choice. Solar Ride is seeing some serious play too. Barracora is a toughie, but people keep coming back.
I'd like to see Skylab back (nothing but skill shots in that game), Mars Trek, Little Joe, anything by Zaccaria, that sort of thing. Older Gottlieb EMs (MIBS, Aquarius, Flying Carpet, Domino, Fun Land).
I'll post as the event gets closer and more games become available.

Lock stealing? Unfortunately, that's ruled as acceptable if it's a tournament multi-player game.

#46 6 years ago

Mars Trek

#47 6 years ago

mars trek (risk reward for 2x bonus).
DrAgOn (interflip)

#48 6 years ago

Mars Trek is a great game. Risky shot on the center target. Considering these always have great playfield and backglass, these seem to sell at a very reasonable price.

1 week later
#49 6 years ago

Since you're listing Surfer and Surf Champ together, Card Whiz and Royal Flush are also the same game - 2 player and 4 player, respectively.

#50 6 years ago
Quoted from jlm33:

Joker Poker is great, but the EM version is rare and expensive

Your tellin' me!

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