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(Topic ID: 211393)

PinFest Tournament - May 4 & 5, 2018

By coreyhulse

2 years ago

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  • 52 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by coreyhulse
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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    #1 2 years ago

    We are very happy to announce information about the PinFest Pinball Tournament, taking place on May 4 and May 5 in Allentown, PA. We are proud to be part of the Stern Pro Circuit this year and as such have expanded the Main tournament to take place across both days of the event (Friday and Saturday).

    Qualifying will take place all-day on Friday and in the morning of Saturday. We are still running a limited-entry best-game event, but the maximum number of entries has been increased to 24 entries a person. First two entries are still free and every entry after that is $5 an attempt.

    Finals are also going to be expanded to the Top 48 people to give more people an opportunity to play in Finals. The Top 16 qualifiers will still make A-Division, but we are also including 8-person B, C, D, and E playoff brackets. The Top 48 qualifiers will all receive prizes from the prize pool.

    On Friday, we are hosting a one-day Match Play event. The entry is a flat $20 fee and will include multiple rounds of group match play with the Top 24 making Finals. We are endeavoring this to be a fun and less serious side event but still wanted to give people a chance to participate in a tournament if they are only available to attend on Friday.

    More information about the tournament format can be found at:

    We are also in search of machines to be used in the event. Our goal is to have 20 machines available for Friday and Saturday. So far, we have a handful secured but we are looking for more. Please check out this page for incentives and how to get one of your games into the event:

    We have also opened up registration for volunteers! We are looking for help in set-up, tear-down, and during the event. Please check out this page for incentives and to sign-up!

    We encourage everyone to check out our website at

    Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. We’re happy to answer any questions here or you can drop us a line directly at

    #4 2 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I may have missed it, but can I sign up now for either the main or Friday only events?

    We do not intend to cap the number of people given that we will be on the show floor and want to encourage walk-ups as we have done in years past, especially for the main event. We do intend to utilize virtual queuing and lots of scorekeepers in order to keep downtime between games at a minimum. It's more akin to PAPA where they do not cap the number entrants in the main divisions.

    We do plan on having a pre-registration form set up in the weeks leading up to the event to make initial information capture more expedient to have people spend less time initially queuing and more time playing. I'll be sure to flag here when this form goes live.

    #7 2 years ago
    Quoted from Capinball:

    Are you doing anything for kids like last year?

    Yes! Here's the information I pulled about the Kids event from the Event Page:

    Qualifying – Qualifying is same as Main Qualifying
    Qualifying for Finals – Top 4 Kids who did not otherwise qualify for any of the Main Finals are welcome to participate
    Finals Format – Single Match-Play game to determine the winner

    Essentially, if a junior participant makes the top 48, they will participate in the Main Finals. The top four remaining kids not otherwise qualified will participate in a one-game playoff.

    We're also planning to do (but have not yet confirmed) a number of non-IFPA side-events (for example, potentially a "closest without going over" contest) that will have a Kids division.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    thanks. 1 other question, how many games are in the main bank to play?

    I see that only your best 4 games count, but does that mean only 4 games available to play?

    We don't have a finalized number yet, but we're aiming for 12 machines in the bank. Last year we had 11. A lot of that will depend how many games we're able to get donated for the event. I'll use this as a plug to ask for volunteers willing to use us use their games for the event. Please check out this page for incentives and how to get one of your games into the event:

    #9 2 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Assuming 12 games for play, I think most competitive players are going to spend the entire $110 to have all 24 entries.

    Just comparing to other tournaments this is double the cost of TPF tourney and almost the same as Pinburgh.
    I was surprised at the cost to play of this one (assuming maximum entries as used to have the best shot of qualifying) Any thought on taking the limit of tickets down or reducing the cost per ticket?

    Happy to share some of our thoughts as to the structure of this year's tournament, especially in contrast to years past.

    I have observed two types of best-game qualifying events: Unlimited (like PAPA and the upcoming New York City Championships) and Limited (Texas and PinFest).

    For Unlimited, there is no cap to the number of times (and the amount of money one can spend in an attempt to qualify). PAPA A-Division and the NYC Championships are both $5 an entry (or 3 for $12 if you buy in bulk at PAPA). Your limiting factor is time, but you can easily shell out a lot more than $110 in an effort to qualify.

    For Limited, there's a few different pricing models. Texas is $70 and you buy all 20 entries at once (unless I have misinterpreted their model). They also cap the number of participants.

    I am not of the belief that the majority of players are going to max out their entries. At a minimum, you need to spend $10 to qualify (2 Free and 2 Paid) to get your four games in. Will some max out their games? Yes, of course. Yes, you could spend all day Friday and Saturday playing and pony up $110, but my guess is that most people will end up falling somewhere in the middle. Our model attempts to offer flexibility based on their own limitations whether it be time (i.e. I can only show up on Saturday) or their own self-imposed limits on how much they are comfortable with spending.

    In past years, what I have observed is that people are going to buy in at the minimum and then watch the scoreboard. If they need to do better, they'll hop over to registration and throw another $5 or $10 in just like in an Unlimited Qualifying scenario, but eventually you'll hit you max number of games. We put a cap in place because we know that there's there's a premium on time because of the limited amount of time at the show. In past years, we ran 4 hours of qualifying for a one-day event and capped the max number of games at 8. This year we've tripled the amount of qualifying time and think that 24 is a comfortable cap.

    All of the incoming funds are also going to help bolster the prize pool. This year we intend to pay out 48 positions instead of just 8 as had been done in previous years.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Increasing the number of best games counting to 8 would also really help make things a better measure of competitive skill.

    I'd certainly be personally interested in a "best 8 games" or the old "PAPA-card" style that is used at Pintastic and the Pittsburgh Pinball Open, but something like "best 8 games" requires everyone to invest at a minimum 8 games. I'm not personally aware of any events using more than six games (PAPA). If we had three full days of qualifying, I'd consider greater than 4 games but we don't have that luxury. This tournament has also been a general entry for a number of people into the competitive scene in and around Philadelphia. We've picked up a large number of new players in our local leagues during the years because they just happened to have stumbled upon the PinFest show and joined the tournament. It's a low barrier of entry to meet the minimum requirements of qualifying, and what we get are a number of local players who discover competitive pinball for the first time and start showing up at local leagues and tournaments.

    This all being said, each year we're looking to iterate and improve. If things don't work out the way we expect in 2018, we'll take the good with the bad and try again next year.

    1 week later
    #12 2 years ago
    Quoted from Robotoes:

    Corey, NYCPC is $5/per or 3/$10.

    Good to note, thanks! Looks like I can't edit the existing post, so I won't be able to make an adjustment.

    #14 2 years ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    Looks like I will have Bally Eight Ball in the tourney bank.

    Awesome Chad! I'll drop you a PM so we can coordinate.

    For everyone: we're still on the hunt for awesome machines to use in the tournament. We have a bunch secured but are always looking for more. Do you have a machine that you can bring? I know that there are hundreds of machines being brought to the show, so we invite anyone with machines in good condition to consider entering it into the tournament area.

    Incentive information is here:

    2 weeks later
    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from Schnollms:

    In a very brief overview, how is this years tourney different in pricing from lastyear?

    Brief overview:

    Last Year:
    Separate Friday & Saturday Tournament.
    First Two entries free, $5 an entry after that.
    Best Four entries count.
    Max eight Entries.
    Min entry fee $10, $20 if you played both days.
    Max $30 each day, $60 if you played both days.

    This Year:
    Combined Friday & Saturday Tournament (3x Qualifying Time).
    First Two entries free, $5 an entry after that (Same)
    Best Four entries count (Same).
    Max 24 Entries (3x Increase).
    Min entry fee $10.
    Max $110 both days.

    Additionally, there is a Friday-only Match Play event which is new this year which is $20.

    Happy to share more if you're interested.

    Quoted from djreddog:

    I am willing to bring another game to the tournament and I’ll let you guys decide which one you want to have.

    Grand Prix

    Both, ha! I'll drop you an email, Chad, and we can figure it out.

    1 week later
    #18 2 years ago

    Hey everyone! We've still got lots of volunteer spots open for the Tournament! We need help with set-up, breakdown, tech, and scorekeeping during the IFPA event being held there.

    Sign-up is here:
    You can read all about the incentives here:

    We're also getting closer with machines that will be in the tournament, but are in search of a few additional machines to help round out the lineup. If you're interested to include your machine in the Tournament area (especially if you're bring machines to the event anyway), you can read more about incentives here:

    1 week later
    #21 2 years ago

    Hey everyone! We're getting closer to PinFest and have about half the volunteer spots filled up so far. If you're interested in free ticket entries to the Main tournament, we're short on help for scorekeeping, teching, and registration desk. We also also opened up some more spots on Thursday for pre-event set-up.

    Sign-up is here:
    You can read all about the incentives here:

    Also, a final call if you have a machine that you would like to bring for use in the tournament in exchange for free entry to PinFest (both days) and free tickets to the Main tournament. You can read more about incentives here:

    Thanks in advance!

    Quoted from Gnatty:

    Should we bring our own tools?

    I wrote back to Gnatty in a PM exchange, but if you're volunteering as a tech and have your own tools, please bring them! We'll have some of own tools on site, but if it's not a burden to bring your own then please do so!

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from VectorGamer:

    What time is the match play tournament scheduled to start?

    Hey Rob! 2pm on Friday. See here for schedule:

    #24 2 years ago

    Announcing the artwork for this year's PinFest Tournament, courtesy of Rage Tilt Pinball ( T-Shirts will be available for sale at the Tournament Desk!

    We're still looking for volunteers on Friday and Saturday for things like Scorekeeping, Tech Team, and the Registration Desk! Participants will get some tournament credit in exchange for your time!

    Be sure to visit our Tournament webpage for more information:

    pinfest2018bannerpost (resized).png

    1 week later
    #25 2 years ago

    Hello Everyone!

    We're very excited for PinFest this upcoming weekend.

    We are still looking for volunteers during the event on both Friday and Saturday in the areas of scorekeeping. Anyone who volunteers time during the tournament hours will be given free entries for the Main Tournament.

    Sign-Up Link is here:
    Current Volunteer Status (as of April 30 at 8:30pm EDT) is here:

    I am sharing a link to the rules document for anyone who wants some light bedtime reading. There are no fundamental changes to what has been previously announced about the event format, but we have shared more details about things like:

    * Ruleset being used (Combined IFPA/PAPA Ruleset)
    * Sharing the Points System being used for the Main Event Best Game Qualifying
    * Contingency plans on Finals format should the event exceed expected attendance so as still to comply with IFPA rules for TGP.

    Looking forward to seeing people this weekend.

    #26 2 years ago

    Trophies for the PinFest tournament are in! Here's a sneak peak.

    418 (resized).JPG

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    When will the lineups be revealed?

    Thursday. Set-up starts at the venue at 1pm, and we'll look to share the line-up as we get confirmation that the machines on-site are up, running, and ready to go.

    #29 2 years ago

    Folks, we are really excited for tomorrow's event.

    Here's what we believe will be in the Main Event on Friday and Saturday, subject to any last-minute changes. Full disclosure: One or two of these games might be pulled in the morning depending on some issues we're seeing, so please bear with us if we have to make some last-minute changes.

    Eight Ball
    Elvira and the Party Monsters
    Fireball II
    Fish Tales
    Future Spa
    Harlem Globetrotters
    Iron Maiden
    Mars God of War
    Monster Bash
    Nitro Groundshaker
    Pinball Pool
    Theatre of Magic
    Transformers LE
    Wild Fyre

    Link to all Standings sites:

    Rage Tilt Pinball will be covering the event, and will go live at some point in the afternoon for Qualifying coverage:

    I just wanted to give a big thank you to those who came out today to volunteer to get things set up for the event this weekend. Without them, things wouldn't have come together the way they did today.

    I'm going to go radio silent on the forums over the weekend, so if you have any questions please come see me at the show! Looking forward to what I hope will be a great event.


    FullSizeRender (resized).jpg

    #30 2 years ago

    Hello Everyone,

    We are making a general announcement about a switch in Finals format for B,C,D, and E Divisions.

    A-Division will remain as-advertised.

    For B, C, D, and E, we will now be doing a two-game PAPA-Style Final (4/2/1/0 scoring) on tournament machine games as opposed to a single-game double-elimination format using games on the floor. We saw challenges yesterday in the speed at which the Match Play single-game double-elimination Finals concluded and we want to ensure a quality and consistent game experience for our finalists, so we are moving all finalists to Tournament games.

    As a reminder:
    * All in the Top 48 will be receiving cash and prizes.
    * There are NO division restrictions for B, C, D, and E division.

    1-16 Make A
    17-24 Make B
    25-32 Make C
    33-40 Make D
    41-48 Make E

    As also previously announced, because of IFPA rules, if we exceed 160 participants, A Finals will be expanded to more people and will pull a certain number of people from B-Division dependent on the number of overall participants. For a full breakdown, please refer to the rules document:

    For any questions, please see the tournament desk as I will not be checking the forums or email during the event today.


    #31 2 years ago

    I wanted to give a big thank you to all the people who came out to PinFest this year to support the event. It was by far the biggest tournament we've ever hosted.

    Most importantly, the winners:

    Main Event:
    1. Jason Zahler
    2. Adam Mckinnie
    3. Levi Nayman
    4. Steve Bowden
    5. Bowen Kerins
    6. Eric Wagensonner
    7. Elliott Keith
    8. Alberto Santana

    1. Jay Robinson
    2. Basci Dinc

    1. Eric Moberg
    2. Jason Mawson

    1. Scott Wilson
    2. Clark Fraley

    1. Francesco La Rocca
    2. John Moran

    Match Play:
    1. Rob Wintler-Cox
    2. Tony Makowski

    1. Dave Peller
    2. Jason Plourde

    1. David Reil
    2. Nitzan Gabai

    We have all the Finals match-ups on paper, so please give us a few days to get all the results translated into MatchPlay and submitted to the IFPA.

    We had 166 participants in Main, and 102 Participants in our Friday Match Play event, which is by far the biggest turnout we've had for PinFest.

    I have to make sure we say thank you, thank you, and thank you to all the event and machine volunteers for all your hard work during this year's event. Volunteers came early, stayed late, and this event would not have happened without each and every one of them putting in hard work and hours to make the event a success.

    Thank you to our hard-working techs who kept machines up and running for the duration of the event. When there was a problem, they solved it. We had all 18 machines available to us for Finals, which is an amazing feat. B, C, D, and E Finals all ran smoothly and were all wrapped up around 4pm. A-Finals of course ran right up until closing time because we had some of the greatest pinball players in the world putting up crazy scores on our machines, but we closed out before 8pm.

    This year we had more games, shorter queues, more uptime, funky trophies, and more payouts given to participants than we've ever been able to do before. I also met a lot of new faces this year who came out and helped us to execute the event and we hope to see you back next year! I have only been involved in the pinball for about four years now and am constantly amazed by the awesome people that I meet in the tournament scene.

    There are of course improvements that can be made moving into next year. Jay and I have already been exchanging multiple notes and thoughts on things that worked and things that we know need to be better in order to deliver a great pinball experience for those who are dedicating time and money to come to our events.

    * We know that the Match Play event did not run smoothly. This is a personal disappointment because we ran a similar event at the York show and by all accounts that was a great event. It did not translate here to PinFest and we'll think about either cutting it completely or modifying the format to be a better experience next time. Because we saw that the double-elimination format didn't work well for Match Play, we pivoted to PAPA-Style Finals in Main and by all accounts the Main Finals were much smoother as a result.
    * We know that timing and the transition to finals didn't get started as quickly as it should of. We also know that there were game settings that should have been addressed (i.e. extra balls left on on a few games, displays with missing digits). We know that there was lack of clarity on bank, game, and order selection. All of these things combined made finals longer than they could have otherwise been, and we'll look to address it next year.
    * We know we had glare on games, which is very hard to address given the location. We've also never had seating available at the event, and I know I had a few conversations where it was brought up. We'll see what, if anything, can be done to address these things.

    Overall, I hope that people had a positive experience in this year's event. If you're interested to share your thoughts, please feel free to drop a note to or reach out to me directly. I appreciated my many conversations with experienced players (people like Bowen, Eric W, and Sunshine to name a few) who shared views and advice that I know I'll be taking into account as I plan future pinball events.

    I also have to make sure to thank Josh and Karl for taking phone calls from me during the event. It's great to know that I can get a hold of people quickly!

    We have to ensure we thank the following sponsors for their contributions to the event:
    Railroad Bar and Grill - Cash for Prize Pool
    Pinball Gallery - Cash for Prize Pool
    Pincades - Cash for Prize Pool
    Game Exchange - Cash for Prize Pool
    Lermods - Cash for Prize Pool
    Rock Fantasy - Gift Cards to Division Winners
    Modern Pinball - Gift Cards to Main and Kids Winners
    Titan Pinball - Pinmats
    Pinball Star - Gift Cards for A-Division finalists
    PinCrossing - Machines for the Event
    Rage Tilt - Streaming Coverage of the Event
    Back Alley Creations - Gift Card for Event Winner
    Stern - Translites for Winners
    Jersey Jack Pinball - Translites for Winners

    Stream Coverage from Rage Tilt:

    Photos uploaded to Facebook:
    Same photos posted to Pinside:

    Thank you one last time for everyone's help with the event. Looking forward to Pinburgh in just a few short months!

    #38 2 years ago

    Hi Everyone! I've had multiple people reach out and say that they would like to see the Match Play event return next year, which is nice to hear despite the problems we had with it.

    We'll figure out things over the next year on how to get it to return OR have some kind of other casual Best Game event that takes place on Friday for those who can only make it on Friday.

    We ran this event at York last year, and by all accounts that was a successful event. Here are some of my reflections on what some of those differences were and lessons learned that we'll take forward:

    * At PinFest, the Main event was our primary focus. I had assumed that my making it a more casual event that wasn't going to be worth many WPPRs that people would shy away from it. Registration greatly exceeded expectations, and I was splitting time between Match Play and Main.
    * We should label the end cap of rows with specific numbers so people know what row you're referring to, and verify that machines are labeled correctly.
    * At York, we grouped machines into categories (DMD, SS, EM) and drew rounds from only that era. Since we didn't have enough games vetted ahead of time, at PinFest we were forced to draw from all eras. We tried to compensate in later rounds by only drawing SS and EM games, but were forced to assign DMD games in some cases.
    * Since this is a low-TGP event anyway, we'll look to implement some kind of rules of "ending" a game and awarding multiple players first place if certain criteria are achieved. Certaintly not a broad-base solution, and needs some more thought given to it to ensure fairness.
    * At PinFest there were a lot more games that had issues than expected, meaning our "supply" of SS and EM games dwindled much faster as compared to York.
    * At York, us volunteers had brought five games that were the "back up" games in case anything happened in a round, and the instruction was to report back to the desk and play the first open machine available from the "back up" games. At PinFest, we didn't have any non-Main games close to us in the Tournament area, so there was no natural back-up area. We can attempt to address this next year.
    * At Both, we did Finals as a single-game double-elimination (A-B-C Division at PinFest, B-C Division at York). At York it was very expedient (about an hour). At PinFest, it took THREE hours to get through. Games played longer and we had stronger players at PinFest. If you have the games available, I highly recommend four-player Match Play because it requires less games and you can control the flow a bit better.
    * Chuckwurt mentioned having control on games for Tournament Settings and Extra Balls. This absolutely helps if you have control over it.

    I'm open to sharing more thoughts on it. I think that we will be trying this again at York (as the one and only tournament), and we'll take lessons learned from there to improve it even more for PinFest 2019.

    #44 2 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Why is this a low TGP event? If you have 4 player groups with finals and do 8 rounds of qualifying at one game per round, should be easy to get to 100% TGP.

    At Allentown, it was a low TGP Event because the focus was on Main so we purposely kept the Side event low.

    At York, we graded to 100% (7 Rounds of Qualifying, 4-Player 3-Game PAPA-Style Finals for Top 8 ) and will do so again if we run the event there in September.

    #49 2 years ago
    Quoted from wvtalbot:

    One thing that should have been done is have the match play machines labeled somehow, not just the row but the machines themselves. Stick a colored post-it on the coin doors or something similar.

    Thanks! I like that idea on the assumption that machine owners won't have a problem with Post-Its, which we can vet ahead of time with owners if need be.

    We'll take all the feedback on the Match Play to make sure however we approach it next year, we have better labeling, better signage, and an easier experience for all to find fellow players and the correct games.

    #51 2 years ago
    Quoted from VectorGamer:

    Why not stick cards on the backglass similar to what you're doing with PHILA Pinball?

    Nice! Expanding on this, you could even number the cards and machines and have the number reflected in Match Play:
    "Fathom - Aisle 2 Left Side - Game #32"

    #52 2 years ago

    Hello everyone!

    We're trying to get in touch with the A-Division Top 4 from the Match Play Event on Friday.

    We have a few additional prizes that should have been distributed at the event that were not given away at the time.

    1. Rob Wintler-Cox
    2. Tony Makowski
    3. Steven Bowden (contacted)
    4. Nick Hislop (contacted)

    If you know Rob or Tony, would you mind asking them to send an e-mail to Thank you in advance!


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