(Topic ID: 325020)

Em pins in tournaments

By bonzo71

1 year ago


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  • 34 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by TroyS
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 1 year ago

I'm loaning four 4 player EM pins to a local pinball club. The games are often used for tournaments in 4 player mode by people who are generally more familiar with modern games. If played like modern games, I'm noticing tilt-throughs and front or side slams that trigger "Game Over". I'm also seeing people unaware that they have earned an extra ball leading to people playing out of order. All of this is causing some to blame the game/complain. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe some could come up with an em "danger" relay that triggers a pre tilt warning? I guess i'm dissapointed to share the best games I can and get flack when they do not operate just like a modern Stern.

#2 1 year ago

Typically we start up a 4 player game but only play 2 players at a time at player 1 and 3. This helps with tilt throughs. You simply plunge player 2 and 4. You might be able to turn EBs off with a Jones plug. If not, they just need to pay attention.

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#3 1 year ago

If you are moving an EM game enough to tilt through, you deserve what you get. I'd say it'll be easier to get the players to get used to that, along with Shoot Agains, than manipulating the games so it's less likely. It's not always easy to turn off EBs on older games.

Sharpe-run IFPA tournaments only use player 1 and 3 to prevent tilt throughs but I find it pretty off-putting to play these games as 2 players instead of 4s (it's not as fun, and it gives players 3 and 4 a big advantage since they know what scores they are shooting for), and it sucks for streaming (if that's an issue). Just make sure the players know what they are getting into.

So many noob tourny players demanding mollycoddling lately!!! What's up with that!

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from schudel5:

Typically we start up a 4 player game but only play 2 players at a time at player 1 and 3. This helps with tilt throughs. You simply plunge player 2 and 4. You might be able to turn EBs off with a Jones plug. If not, they just need to pay attention.

Right. This is covered under "9. Player Errors" of the IFPA13 rules, and of similar other variations of the rules:

For certain tournament machines, only players 1 and 3 will be used to help prevent tilt throughs. It is the equal responsibility of ALL players involved in the match to ensure that players do not accidentally play in the player 2 and 4 positions. If a player accidentally does play in position 2 or 4, anything that occurs within that ball is considered void, with no penalty to any player. Players must play their proper ball in the correct player slot.

#5 1 year ago

Have you considered setting them up so you can't cradle the ball?

#6 1 year ago

As far as the technical issues go, I suspect that most are satisfied just making sure they are paying attention and not overlooking when extra balls are awarded. But in theory, I suppose a person could design a device that disables the ball eject when an EB is awarded, until a button is pressed to acknowledge the EB.

For the really old machines that have manual ball ejects, this still wouldn't work. But I'm not sure if any of those award extra balls anyway.

#7 1 year ago
Quoted from pete_d:

As far as the technical issues go, I suspect that most are satisfied just making sure they are paying attention and not overlooking when extra balls are awarded. But in theory, I suppose a person could design a device that disables the ball eject when an EB is awarded, until a button is pressed to acknowledge the EB.
For the really old machines that have manual ball ejects, this still wouldn't work. But I'm not sure if any of those award extra balls anyway.

On many EMs the only way to disable EBs is to bend a switch in a relay or two, or snip a wire. On many early digitals you simply can't turn off EBs.

Let nature take its course. Tell the players what to expect, and DQ the ones who beef it. They will adapt quickly, or they'll storm off and you'll never see them again. Either way it's a win.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

On many EMs the only way to disable EBs is to bend a switch in a relay or two, or snip a wire. On many early digitals you simply can't turn off EBs.
Let nature take its course. Tell the players what to expect, and DQ the ones who beef it. They will adapt quickly, or they'll storm off and you'll never see them again. Either way it's a win.

To be clear: I'm not suggesting disabling EBs. I'm suggesting electrically/electronically enhancing the machine to introduce a logical "gate" that prevents a new ball from being served, after an EB is awarded, until a person manually recognizes the EB via a button.

I agree that letting nature takes its course is likely the most practical approach, and that it can be sufficiently effective. But it seems to me there is the potential for a technological solution, if one is willing to modify the machine (bonus points for modifications that are easily installed and reverted, i.e. without soldering anything).

#9 1 year ago

Just put the brightest LEDs you can find into the EB insert and anywhere else the Shoot Again is indicated. If they flicker due to A/C, even better, hard to miss.

#10 1 year ago

I think it’s great you loaned some EMs to the club. In my opinion, a good pinball place has a variety: new titles, EMs, and things in between. If players are not able to adjust to the different styles, they have some work to do to become a good player. Don’t modify those classics for people that don’t appreciate how great some older games can be.

#11 1 year ago

We've got 11 EMs at our location that we've used in tournaments for the past year+. I don't think any have ever had a tilt through or slam reported. Either the players are being really aggressive or your tilts are too sensitive. Especially considering that all these games have an end of ball bonus that needs to be counted off, seems like it should be hard to tilt through? Most of mine don't have a bonus. For the slams, consider disabling them, unless you think players are being rough enough to require them. Most TDs I know disable the slams on all their games regardless of era since it's more likely for them to go off in error than for them to activate legitimately in situations where the normal tilt bob wouldn't

Is it normal to have the EBs on in tournaments there? Most tournaments turn them off. If they're only on on the EMs, I can see how that'd cause confusion

Also, consider ear plugs on the tilts if worst comes to worst

#12 1 year ago

I put in games with waxed/cleaned playfields, good rubber, and flippers that can easily send the ball to the top of the playfield..also put the legs through an evaporust bath and installed new levelers. Things have broken, and I've repaired them as needed. Last night i adjusted the slam switches on Jet Spin, but if you hit the left side of cabinet very hard, the slam switch on mech board will trigger. I've been playing pinball for 40 years and have not encountered the rough treatment of games I see in competitive play. I feel it is the result of newer games having tilt warnings. Im not afraid that my old ems will get damaged, but wanted to mention it as an observation of a long time player.
My opinion is that this style of play does not mix well with older games.

I prefer not to disable the free balls on my games as they were part of the intended play and each player has an equal chance of earning one. I also do not feel they extend the game to a point where they will impact the tournament length. I could disable the slam switchs, but wonder if that would encourage even rougher play. Thanks for all of the suggestions. My next step will be to find the brightest bulbs possible for the "extra ball" and player up indicators....any lamp suggestions? I normally dislike leds, but will make an exception.

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#13 1 year ago

I’d place a fast blink LED in all same-player-shoots-again situations. The blinker will attract the player’s or opponent’s attention.

#14 1 year ago

Disabling extra ball on most EM's that support that feature should be trivial.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from Deez:

Have you considered setting them up so you can't cradle the ball?

I take the flippers off all my games to prevent this kind of thing.

#16 1 year ago

I love EMs in tournaments. When I’m TD I set up banks like pinburgh with an EM a SS and a Dmd. It rewards skill diversity.

Anyway we generally disable or skillful plunge EBs, but with EMs I always wonder why. I thought the point of disabling them is to keep game times reasonable, especially in modern games. Maybe its just about consistency.

If your EM is set up for tournament play, an extra ball isn’t going to significantly increase play time as games should be pretty quick.

If you are worried about slam switches just set the regular tilt really tight. It sends a message and you won’t get a lot of rough play.

#17 1 year ago

In our tournaments if you do a tilt through then you lose and get 0 points. Makes everyone play a little easier on it. With an extra ball, if you get one just do a full plunge and walk away.

It is nice having an EM or two there as an equalizer. With simpler rule sets it gives some people who may not play as well a chance. Hell, I loved when we had Old Chicago at the venue our tournaments are at.

#18 1 year ago

With as deep as the rule sets can be on modern games people have trouble understanding an EM rule set?

And usually an extra ball light on the playfield is pretty obvious on EM's.

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from bonzo71:

I've been playing pinball for 40 years and have not encountered the rough treatment of games I see in competitive play. I feel it is the result of newer games having tilt warnings. Im not afraid that my old ems will get damaged, but wanted to mention it as an observation of a long time player.
My opinion is that this style of play does not mix well with older games.

Modern play style with tilt warnings etc. is different from the older games, sure. Players that aren't used to EM style with insta-tilt/tilt throughs need to adjust. You shouldn't have to do ANYTHING to accommodate this - it's a tournament. Adjust play style or don't do well.

There are some tournament players who do well taking their opponents to the older games. It's a skill, and a tournament is a chance to show off your skills under pressure. This isn't something that everyone gets a participation award.

Hopefully you don't have the tournament player who carps about everything because they aren't doing well (and sometimes when they are). The ones who have IFPA officers on speed dial to whine when something doesn't go their way.

#20 1 year ago

I’m wondering why the player who plays out of order get penalized in extra ball situations and not the player who earned the extra ball.
Here is the scenario, I’m player 1 and I earn an extra ball. I finish my first ball, then walk away, maybe even making a comment to player 2 like “good luck” or “that was a tough drain”. Player 2 steps up and plays without noticing that I earned an extra ball. Player 2 is now disqualified. I get that player 2 should have checked before plunging, but really player 1 is more at fault. Player 1 walked away and should have known they still needed to plunge out the next ball. They are the one that earned the extra ball in the first place. Player 2 might not have even been in the area and was told it’s his turn. I could even see less honest people “forgetting” they had an extra ball just to get the DQ.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from Parkshow30:

I’m wondering why the player who plays out of order get penalized in extra ball situations and not the player who earned the extra ball.
Here is the scenario, I’m player 1 and I earn an extra ball. I finish my first ball, then walk away, maybe even making a comment to player 2 like “good luck” or “that was a tough drain”. Player 2 steps up and plays without noticing that I earned an extra ball. Player 2 is now disqualified. I get that player 2 should have checked before plunging, but really player 1 is more at fault. Player 1 walked away and should have known they still needed to plunge out the next ball. They are the one that earned the extra ball in the first place. Player 2 might not have even been in the area and was told it’s his turn. I could even see less honest people “forgetting” they had an extra ball just to get the DQ.

For consistency's sake if no other. As a player you have a responsibility to play your turn an your turn only, so look before you plunge.

DQ someone for not plunging? I guess if they violate a time rule or something. But you could never determine if it was purposeful or not and it would start a lot of arguments.

Just keep it simple no new rules needed.

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from Parkshow30:

I’m wondering why the player who plays out of order get penalized in extra ball situations and not the player who earned the extra ball.
Here is the scenario, I’m player 1 and I earn an extra ball. I finish my first ball, then walk away, maybe even making a comment to player 2 like “good luck” or “that was a tough drain”. Player 2 steps up and plays without noticing that I earned an extra ball. Player 2 is now disqualified. I get that player 2 should have checked before plunging, but really player 1 is more at fault. Player 1 walked away and should have known they still needed to plunge out the next ball. They are the one that earned the extra ball in the first place. Player 2 might not have even been in the area and was told it’s his turn. I could even see less honest people “forgetting” they had an extra ball just to get the DQ.

There's a good thread on Tilt Forums that discusses this.

It basically boils down to each player being solely responsible for ensuring that they're playing the correct ball. Unfortunately, that does leads to situations where a player with dubious intentions could try to take advantage of another, but even that won't happen if every player is 100% certain that they're playing their ball on their turn. Players only have the responsibility of knowing when their turn starts rather than ends -- which can sometimes make this rule feel overly harsh -- so I do think it's good pinball etiquette to confirm that your turn is over. This helps with cases like a player not realizing that they never validated the playfield, too.

#23 1 year ago

I was in Pinburgh several years ago and there was an EM in a bank I had to play. The game had an issue where it would occasionally not advance to the next player after the ball drained. We were told by the tournament director to be careful and keep an eye on it to make sure it's your turn before you just started playing. If it didn't advance we were to raise our hand and they would manually advance it for us. Well, of course it was fine for the first few balls. I went up to play and totally forgot to check if it had advanced or not and I just plunged...it was too late. I played what I thought was my ball but technically wasn't. Unfortunately, I got a 0 on that game. I knew it was my fault for not checking, but I learned to never do that again.

#24 1 year ago

I say go the opposite way and set the tilts up tighter on the modern games to match the EMs. It sounds like you have people manhandling your games, which a lot of operators would consider "unacceptable" in their arcades.
Make the plumb bobs fairly tight on all the games, and reduce the tilt warnings to 1 or zero on the modern games.
Start requiring your players to use skill and finesse (and more careful nudging) rather than ham-slamming the cabinets and leg-sliding the games.

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

If you are moving an EM game enough to tilt through, you deserve what you get.

We can agree to disagree on that

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=_oPHwBW8F3E&feature=youtu.be&t=130s

We actually play EM's as single player only. Not only because of the tilt through issue but also because we've run into too many cases of the score reels being unreliable as you get deeper into the player count. This makes sense as most games played on any given machine were single player over it's lifetime, with the fewest games played on it being all 4 players.

With that said our decisions as organizers come from our past experiences as organizers, so your YMMV as you venture through your journey of organizing events.

#26 1 year ago

If you have guys that are unfamiliar with EM gameplay and what can happen, I would make sure the TD addresses this at the beginning of the tournament. Maybe just give a quick run down, hey this game is like this, if you do this, this happens, ect. Then be sure to say, make sure you keep this in mind as any mishaps or faults are on you as the player per the rules.

1 week later
#27 1 year ago

The championship tournament was held this weekend. The club streamed the highest ranking games. The player entering the match chose the game. Not one EM was chosen in nearly 9 hours of the stream. The closest was a SS Joker Poker. There were 2 hours of Avengers streamed..lol. The day after the tourament there was a "one player only" sign on one of my games..had multiple people test it with no errors. I put in the brightest leds i could find for the extra ball indicator. I feel like giving up.

#28 1 year ago

I have a Royal Guard in amazing shape and have offered to my league to use my EM, no takers yet. It would be fun to see others try to master it.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from TroyS:

I have a Royal Guard in amazing shape and have offered to my league to use my EM, no takers yet. It would be fun to see others try to master it.

Royal Guard is a great EM. I'd prefer to watch it over hours of Godzilla..lol. I'd also prefer to play it..

#30 1 year ago

Ems typically have really short ball times, no score exploits, wider flipper gaps, no "modes", no ramps, and don't give crazy end of ball bonuses. It is way harder to master their shots than to learn their rulesets, as where new games are harder to learn their stupidly deep rulesets than to master the shots.

Simply put, only really pinballers, the real men and women out there, play EMs in tournaments. EMs take real finesse and skill. They don't play themselves, they have no ball saves, and definitely no chill. They're brutal and unforgiving in their simplicity.

That's why I love them, and why they need to be in every tournament in at least a 1/5 ratio of EMs to LCD era games.

#31 1 year ago
Quoted from Deez:

Have you considered setting them up so you can't cradle the ball?

Or just bring a Doodle Bug.

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#32 1 year ago

Once players figure out the “scrub strat” - that if they pick EMs against players who are better than the then, they might have a better chance of winning - they’ll start picking the EMs.

#33 1 year ago

I do that all the time in our league - I'm an average player, and don't stand a chance against the really good players on a modern Stern - I'm never going to learn those complicated rule sets. When somebody starts explaining the modes to me, my eyes glaze over....I just try to stay alive and hit the blinky lights.

So when I get to pick, it's EM time! I feel that it evens the playfield a bit - the rules are simple (hell, they're usually printed on the playfield), so it's just a matter of making the shots, and everybody gets the occasional house-ball, no matter how good they are. My chances of winning on an EM are much greater. Luckily, even the good players in our league like the EM's, so we all have a good time. We've had some epic battles and final ball comebacks on Fast Draw and Royal Flush.

3 weeks later
#34 1 year ago
Quoted from paulace:

I do that all the time in our league - I'm an average player, and don't stand a chance against the really good players on a modern Stern - I'm never going to learn those complicated rule sets. When somebody starts explaining the modes to me, my eyes glaze over....I just try to stay alive and hit the blinky lights.
So when I get to pick, it's EM time! I feel that it evens the playfield a bit - the rules are simple (hell, they're usually printed on the playfield), so it's just a matter of making the shots, and everybody gets the occasional house-ball, no matter how good they are. My chances of winning on an EM are much greater. Luckily, even the good players in our league like the EM's, so we all have a good time. We've had some epic battles and final ball comebacks on Fast Draw and Royal Flush.

Agreed, my local spots have top world rated players. If I can pick it's Doodle Bug time.

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