Duluth, MN / Superior, WI Pinball League

(Topic ID: 188649)

Duluth, MN / Superior, WI Pinball League


By northvibe

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 33 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by Pinzap
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    Hey,
    I'm just looking at local Pinsiders to Duluth/Superior

    I wanted to get a pinball "league" going for our local area. Curious if you were interested? The first "season" will be just for fun to get people a feel of if they want to commit. We will meet Wednesdays at ~7pm @ Sweeden Sweet's in Superior. The day and time are up to change if people can agree on a better day/time. This just seemed to fit for now.

    We will have to pay for coin drop, so bring quarters. This may take a few weeks to get to run smoother as I'm throwing this together, but let me know!

    Here we can chat and such

    Sweeden Sweets:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/map/where-to-play/8394-sweeden-sweets-superior-wi

    PM me if you want to join and show up!

    #2 1 year ago

    Best of luck with your efforts!! I've been wanting to do something similar, but as of now there are no locations with pins in the St Cloud area. Have considered opening up my home for some weekly pin tournaments if I can find enough interest... but have to convince the wife to turn my basement into a tavern once a week and that's an uphill struggle.

    Be sure to post updates on this thread as you go along and I'll try to learn from the things you are doing to use towards my goal in central MN.

    #3 1 year ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    Best of luck with your efforts!! I've been wanting to do something similar, but as of now there are no locations with pins in the St Cloud area. Have considered opening up my home for some weekly pin tournaments if I can find enough interest... but have to convince the wife to turn my basement into a tavern once a week and that's an uphill struggle.
    Be sure to post updates on this thread as you go along and I'll try to learn from the things you are doing to use towards my goal in central MN.

    Uffda yeah. There are not too many vocal local pinball people here, nor many location to support a league. There are multiple locations with 1 beat down game, but we have a candy shop with 4 games now (need some work). And I'm in touch with the owner once a week about talking shop and hanging out. There are a few collectors around, but not many people want strangers in their house either...

    So you bring up a good point. Documenting the process and getting things going.

    To start. There are no leagues around, not too many collectors either and with lack of locations. I usually get bored of pinball as I'm the only one and forget I even have them. Well I had a friend partner up and we had a few games in company break rooms, but I never got to play them just fix them when they broke. Well finally I had a handful of friends that were interested enough into pinball to try to start what I'll call a fun league. AKA not competitive, free join (coin drop still on location), and more for hanging out. I've tried to read others start a league threads and ask podcasts questions...nothing seems to stick. So I'm just going to do it myself, and figure this out the hard way.

    First, I just messaged all the local pinside people in my area. Many have not been on this site since 2013/2014. But I still messaged them about my idea. Then I sent an email to all my local friends that were even remotely interested in playing pinball. I prefaced this as a fun league to start. We will gauge what the commitment and competition level is and go from there. THis could spawn a fun league AND a competitive league. My thought was, eventually I would like a ifpa points league or selfie league, so that local players could get points for their world ranking. The only way I have points is by driving 2.5 hours south to launch parties. Which are in the evenings on weekends usually. Now with a family and responsibilities, it is harder to do so.

    This is where I'm currently at. I planned day 1 for tomorrow evening at 7pm. I have like 2 confirmations out of 15-20 messages sent out. I have zero expectations so far. But I'd like to keep it Wednesday at 6 or 7pm so people can expect it to be the same.

    Weeks ago I spoke with the owner of the candy shop and expressed my interest in a pinball league and even fixing and cleaning his games. He thought that would be great. It brings business to him and he even mentioned adding more pins. He told me to pick a week night so it was less busy and he would rope off the arcade section for us if we kept it on a scheduled day. So far so good! I plan on bringing a bag of tools and cleaner, then once the trust/knowledge builds in our relationship he may let me crack the games open, level, clean etc so we can have 100% working games for league. I also mentioned I wouldn't charge him for labor, maybe a bad idea, however with no route games in good shape, I figured I'd take work and responsibility to help the community.

    I'll post up after tomorrow night...could be 3 of us for weeks

    #4 1 year ago

    My cousin (Nick) loves pinball and lives in Duluth, so I sent him your link and told him to follow-up. Best of luck!!

    #5 1 year ago
    Quoted from Shadow_E:

    My cousin (Nick) loves pinball and lives in Duluth, so I sent him your link and told him to follow-up. Best of luck!!

    Freaking Sweet! Thanks!

    #6 1 year ago

    Week 1

    We had 3 people total. Went well and we had fun at SS but each game needs a little TLC to get them to 100%.

    No Fear - upper flipper is sloppy so you can't make the jump ramp much
    T2 - kick back needs fixing (bet the sleeve is junk) and a handful of switches fixed. Skill shot doesn't work.

    The owner was not there at 7pm, which is understandable. I had brought my tool bag, but I'll swing in during my lunch and talk, maybe he will let me work on them before this Wednesday, or I may move it to my house.....

    #7 1 year ago

    Here is a thought. Collectors are going to have the better quality and working games. Why not have the fun league at each others' houses?

    I would be in the same boat here in southern MN. There is very little to play in the wild and what is there is crap.

    Not sure a league will ever work down here either. It's hard to get people to commit to taking the time with their families and other commitments. Guess i'll be content with the occasional party and casual play with local friends.

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from brenna98:

    Here is a thought. Collectors are going to have the better quality and working games. Why not have the fun league at each others' houses?
    I would be in the same boat here in southern MN. There is very little to play in the wild and what is there is crap.
    Not sure a league will ever work down here either. It's hard to get people to commit to taking the time with their families and other commitments. Guess i'll be content with the occasional party and casual play with local friends.

    I want to support the location that has games, even if I have to clean and fix. Otherwise that will dry up too :/

    Location allows for the group to get to know people before inviting them into houses. And less clean up after league There are maybe 2 collectors I know of up here. Most are too busy to do league. So my house and the candy shop are the two places with 4 games. May be one bar with 2 but I haven't been there for a few years.

    I wish more collectors came out or new people got into it but, everyone up here seems quiet? Maybe I need a FB group?

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    I want to support the location that has games, even if I have to clean and fix. Otherwise that will dry up too :/
    Location allows for the group to get to know people before inviting them into houses. And less clean up after league There are maybe 2 collectors I know of up here. Most are too busy to do league. So my house and the candy shop are the two places with 4 games. May be one bar with 2 but I haven't been there for a few years.
    I wish more collectors came out or new people got into it but, everyone up here seems quiet? Maybe I need a FB group?

    Post about it on the Minnesota Pinball Facebook page. Not sure how many are from out state on there but it can't hurt and maybe they have relatives or know people up in that area.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/minnesotapinball/

    #10 1 year ago

    I think it's crazy you don't have more interest. Duluth seems to have become very trendy with lots of hipsters around. I'm very surprised there isn't some kind of barcade there already.
    Hey! there's a business idea... I don't know shit about running a bar, but I do know how to make and drink beer. Plus I could contribute a quite a few games!

    If you build it, they will come....

    #11 1 year ago

    Congrats on starting a new league. When we started our league in the Fox Valley, I only expected to have 10-12 members and we're at 25 now. Maybe put an ad on Craigslist. People looking to buy a pinball machine may be interested in joining a league.

    #12 1 year ago

    hey, I'm shadow_e 's pinball lovin' cousin in Duluth. Very interested in a local league, or really just finding more working machines in the area!

    I work nights, but have been getting Thursday and Friday off lately. Looking forward to checking out Sweeden Sweet over in Superior.

    Lately, I've played a lot of the Stern Indiana Jones game at Bergey's in Lincoln Park. Not the greatest game, but a new machine. Clean, 4 credits for $1.50. Also recently checked on the Soprano's machine at the Rex bar in the basement of Fitger's. Plays well for the most part, but the right flipper is weak and sticks after extended play. Then there's Revenge from Mars at the Reef on London Road. Been there a while, no major issues, usually a good play. Last summer, I made my way to the Chalet up in Hermantown. They had Dirty Hairy and Roller Games but both were out of order.

    Any other machines in the area?

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from Eric_S:

    Congrats on starting a new league. When we started our league in the Fox Valley, I only expected to have 10-12 members and we're at 25 now. Maybe put an ad on Craigslist. People looking to buy a pinball machine may be interested in joining a league.

    Very good tip. Does your league play on route, or in collectors homes? I guess I'm only a tad worried about doing a public invite when it is in collectors homes.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Very good tip. Does your league play on route, or in collectors homes? I guess I'm only a tad worried about doing a public invite when it is in collectors homes.

    In collectors homes. No route pinball around us.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from theWalrus:

    hey, I'm shadow_e 's pinball lovin' cousin in Duluth. Very interested in a local league, or really just finding more working machines in the area!
    I work nights, but have been getting Thursday and Friday off lately. Looking forward to checking out Sweeden Sweet over in Superior.
    Lately, I've played a lot of the Stern Indiana Jones game at Bergey's in Lincoln Park. Not the greatest game, but a new machine. Clean, 4 credits for $1.50. Also recently checked on the Soprano's machine at the Rex bar in the basement of Fitger's. Plays well for the most part, but the right flipper is weak and sticks after extended play. Then there's Revenge from Mars at the Reef on London Road. Been there a while, no major issues, usually a good play. Last summer, I made my way to the Chalet up in Hermantown. They had Dirty Hairy and Roller Games but both were out of order.
    Any other machines in the area?

    Sent you a pm a few days ago.

    #16 1 year ago

    Just a quick noted to let the "up north" gang know that there is an awesome monthly tournament (IMHO) at Tilt Pinball Bar in Minneapolis. The new barcade has already been covered in other threads and news media coverage, so no need to go into it here. But if you aren't aware of this new place that just opened in April, you should definitely check it out.

    The monthly tournament is typically held the last Sunday of the month at 4pm (May was moved up 1 week due to Memorial day). I have zero affiliation with the tournament, but have entered it twice now and even though I only have like 3-4 tournaments ever under my belt (so limited knowledge of how a tournament should be run) I think it is organized very well. Both months so far have had turnouts of 40+ entrants.

    Definitely worth the drive to come down and participate... I make the trek from St Cloud and am typically home by 10pm, even after going sorta deep last night (tied for 8th). However a run to the final round might get you back to Duluth an hour or two later depending on your drive time.

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    Just a quick noted to let the "up north" gang know that there is an awesome monthly tournament (IMHO) at Tilt Pinball Bar in Minneapolis. The new barcade has already been covered in other threads and news media coverage, so no need to go into it here. But if you aren't aware of this new place that just opened in April, you should definitely check it out.
    The monthly tournament is typically held the last Sunday of the month at 4pm (May was moved up 1 week due to Memorial day). I have zero affiliation with the tournament, but have entered it twice now and even though I only have like 3-4 tournaments ever under my belt (so limited knowledge of how a tournament should be run) I think it is organized very well. Both months so far have had turnouts of 40+ entrants.
    Definitely worth the drive to come down and participate... I make the trek from St Cloud and am typically home by 10pm, even after going sorta deep last night (tied for 8th). However a run to the final round might get you back to Duluth an hour or two later depending on your drive time.

    Thanks for the heads up. I've only made it to a couple launch parties, the league stuff would only work if I had all of Sunday open. 2.5 hour drive makes it just out of the easy range. But if anyone in Duluth wanted to be serious, that is the closest big ifpa league!

    Week 3 went pretty well. I had 5 games running, many canceled but the 4 of us still managed to play for almost 3 hours. we need to start playing for money My neighbor kept saying he wasn't good, but winning hahaha.

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Thanks for the heads up. I've only made it to a couple launch parties, the league stuff would only work if I had all of Sunday open. 2.5 hour drive makes it just out of the easy range. But if anyone in Duluth wanted to be serious, that is the closest big ifpa league!
    Week 3 went pretty well. I had 5 games running, many canceled but the 4 of us still managed to play for almost 3 hours. we need to start playing for money My neighbor kept saying he wasn't good, but winning hahaha.

    The 4th Sunday of the month event isn't a league actually. It's just a regular tournament that you can show up to 1 time and still receive IFPA points. Heck, even without the points, it's a great event just for the fun and the social aspect. Since I have to drive from Sartell (which is only 1.5 hr vs your 2.5), I couldn’t commit to a regular league either. But I like being able to play occasionally when it fits my schedule.

    I love the Duluth updates, and didn't mean to hijack the thread. Once you get into fall and if you can keep this going regularly, I'd love to drive up and play with you guys sometime. Sounds like fun. It will surely grow if you keep pushing it.

    1 week later
    #19 1 year ago

    Ohh monthly tournament! Cool. Yeah anything to make ifpa points is a good time. Hoping to turn this into something like that but it may take a while.

    Ok so the updates.

    I've stopped into the candy shop a few times at lunch and after work. The owner hasn't been there so I can't get the games fixed and cleaned. The issues on no fear are the upper flipper is weak and sticking. T2 has switches not registering and the kickback only works 20% of the time. Those issues make it bad enough where I moved the league to my basement.

    I also brought two of my route games home to clean and fix to sell. So I have an extra lwjp and wpt. 5 games in working order, make fun league go pretty well. So far I've had 5 ppl total at one night, but usually it is about 3-4. So we start down the row and play one machine at a time.

    I keep ordering the wrong leds for wpt, so once the non ghosting ones get here, that will be finished and moved to my buddies house who has sopranos as well. Then the league will be switched between us. The plan is to sell a couple games and snag a new game to leave at his house, maybe Star Wars? I think having two locations will keep it a tad fresh.

    I'll still stop into the candy shop and try to find the owner. The pinball repair bag stays in my car just in case

    #20 1 year ago

    Oh. Pain point:

    Many people that are in the group have kids. So you have many random things pop up for them to miss league. Sporting events and such. Also I started this right at the end of the school year so my buddy is missing 3 weeks now because of sporting and graduation. I should of maybe planned better, hahah. Still working out kinks. It is something to consider.

    Once summer is in full swing, and league v.2 is talked about. I will contact the group and see if a new night/time is better.

    I spoke with some people on the forum about league setup/play style so I have an idea on how to play once we record points. Also glad they keep telling me positive things about moving forward. It can get frustrating when only a few people come out of 10+ invites. But you have to start somewhere and the motivational comments help! Even though only ~4 people are coming they are the ones always coming so you have the foundation of the league if you start a serious or paid in league. Which I think league v.2 will be paid in, as there seems to be enough interest.

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from theWalrus:

    hey, I'm shadow_e 's pinball lovin' cousin in Duluth. Very interested in a local league, or really just finding more working machines in the area!
    I work nights, but have been getting Thursday and Friday off lately. Looking forward to checking out Sweeden Sweet over in Superior.
    Lately, I've played a lot of the Stern Indiana Jones game at Bergey's in Lincoln Park. Not the greatest game, but a new machine. Clean, 4 credits for $1.50. Also recently checked on the Soprano's machine at the Rex bar in the basement of Fitger's. Plays well for the most part, but the right flipper is weak and sticks after extended play. Then there's Revenge from Mars at the Reef on London Road. Been there a while, no major issues, usually a good play. Last summer, I made my way to the Chalet up in Hermantown. They had Dirty Hairy and Roller Games but both were out of order.
    Any other machines in the area?

    Hey thewalrus - make sure to check your pm's for the update I sent

    4 weeks later
    #22 1 year ago

    So I spoke with Tommy and a couple others. I was recommended matchplay as an app to "host" the tournament league.

    We did a lot of dollar games last week and people really liked that competition. So tonight I'm going to muddle through a tournament using match play. Lots of options and I never have time until the day of to work on it. So this will be a learning night for me with the software.

    I sent the link to the players and have a tv in the game room so I can have the matchplay on it.

    The same 6-8 people keep coming! This is small but my basement isn't huge with all my remodel stuff in the way as well. Still working on getting my friend to have as a 2nd location with 2 games.

    I think the league tournament and then dollar games is the way to go, that is what the people in the league are all good with! Luckily I never win so their excuse that I am going to steal their money isn't true :-p

    I also think pin golf would be a good way to keep new players interested too...so I need to find some ways to use that on my games.

    2 months later
    #23 1 year ago

    My basement has been under some construction and I’ve been on work trips or working late, so league has been canceled the last 4 or so.

    Although, league needs a break instead of every weeek anyway

    1 month later
    #24 11 months ago

    I live in Superior and need someone to repair an older pinball game. It's a Gottlieb baseball game from the 1970's. It seems to be stuck on reset mode when I turn the power on. It is currently in my basement. I would prefer having someone fix it then have to transport it.

    #25 11 months ago

    Lots of EM repair information here: http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index.htm

    #26 11 months ago
    Quoted from Bkpawl:

    I live in Superior and need someone to repair an older pinball game. It's a Gottlieb baseball game from the 1970's. It seems to be stuck on reset mode when I turn the power on. It is currently in my basement. I would prefer having someone fix it then have to transport it.

    Hey! I’m not good at em game fixing, however I have a 1972 gottlieb playball that I got working. I don’t mind lending a hand, I just don’t promise it will work

    3 months later
    #27 7 months ago

    How is the Duluth pinball scene going these days?

    #28 7 months ago

    Man, I almost forgot about updating this.

    My place has been the location of choice since there are more than one game, even if I have a game or two down.

    My buddies house has wpt and sopranos, we sold wpt and I was looking for a monopoly to replace it, couldn’t find the right deal, so I found a baywatch! And I plan on getting a breakshot with the money saved to have three at his place. Breakshot will also be a sweet game for league and dollar games.

    I need to spend an hour and figure out matchplay. Our last couple weeks is just us hanging out and playing. Without the league being a tad more serious it is treated as such. And some don’t make the effort to attend or keep a memory of it being on their schedule.

    The candy store have moved a game or few To their comic book store across the street. I saw t2 over there in the window. I’ve been meaning to swing by again and see if it works better.

    I’m still up for recommendations and comments on what type/style and how to run a league with 3-6 players

    #29 7 months ago

    Thanks for the update. Sounds like we’re in similar territory. I have a group of about 4-6 guys that are “sort of” interested in doing something more competitive. I’m moving to a new house in 3 weeks and this should allow me to expand my collection and also have a dedicated gameroom where the wife won’t be so upset if we take over 1 night a week for some type of league.

    Breakshot definitely sounds like a great game. And Baywatch is also on my list to acquire hopefully later this year.

    #30 7 months ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    Thanks for the update. Sounds like we’re in similar territory. I have a group of about 4-6 guys that are “sort of” interested in doing something more competitive. I’m moving to a new house in 3 weeks and this should allow me to expand my collection and also have a dedicated gameroom where the wife won’t be so upset if we take over 1 night a week for some type of league.
    Breakshot definitely sounds like a great game. And Baywatch is also on my list to acquire hopefully later this year.

    Oh that is awesome! Congrats on the new house

    Do you run a weekly “play/league” night now?

    My wife and I have a new baby and she encourages me to have league but we keep it 7-9pm on Wednesday. Baby starts going to bed about 9-10pm so it works prettt well. Also I can get the dog and dinner ready between 5-7. Guys usually show up 7-7:30. But the game room is just the basement living room so with more than 1 game you can hear it in the whole house, that’s one bad thing.

    Having a dedicated game room will be amazing for league! Hmmm maybe I’ll work on match play more so I can give you a heads up. Be nice to have a circle of people to talk to about leagues our size and what works etc.

    Dollar games and “golf” have been the biggest hits

    #31 7 months ago

    I am no where near MN, but I think it is so awesome that you guys are giving this a go. We had some great people on my side of the US do the same thing. It took them years, but it has grown from about what you guys have now, to 4-5 leagues of 15-20 people each with a great community.

    That kind of thing starts with people just like you.

    #32 7 months ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Oh that is awesome! Congrats on the new house
    Do you run a weekly “play/league” night now?
    My wife and I have a new baby and she encourages me to have league but we keep it 7-9pm on Wednesday. Baby starts going to bed about 9-10pm so it works prettt well. Also I can get the dog and dinner ready between 5-7. Guys usually show up 7-7:30. But the game room is just the basement living room so with more than 1 game you can hear it in the whole house, that’s one bad thing.
    Having a dedicated game room will be amazing for league! Hmmm maybe I’ll work on match play more so I can give you a heads up. Be nice to have a circle of people to talk to about leagues our size and what works etc.
    Dollar games and “golf” have been the biggest hits

    The only thing we have done so far is have some casual get together for play. Nothing competitive yet, but that has always been my goal. And it should develop into some type of league (even if only casual) this summer. I’m thinking fairly simple to start, like a 6-7 week league with points awarded and some type of trophy/prize at the end. Maybe allow people to miss 1 or 2 weeks and take top 5 results. I think that some type match play is what I’m shooting.

    #33 7 months ago
    Quoted from Blu:

    I am no where near MN, but I think it is so awesome that you guys are giving this a go. We had some great people on my side of the US do the same thing. It took them years, but it has grown from about what you guys have now, to 4-5 leagues of 15-20 people each with a great community.
    That kind of thing starts with people just like you.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. If I lived closer to Minneapolis/St Paul, I would just participate in one of the great leagues already established. But there is a void in central MN with absolutely zero location play within almost 90 minutes of me. I would like to see that change also, but don’t have much control over that. Considered even approaching a couple of local bars and such to see if I could place a couple games, but realized quickly that I’m just way too busy with my real job to take this on.

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