Texas Pinball League Qualifier 2017 Houston: As Red would say, “It’s a dud”

The title kind of gives away just how well I did (and no, Road Show was not actually in the line up). I do appreciate Austin Knight hosting this tournament on his collection, as I did gain some experience despite the lousy finish. The details have kind of faded from my memory a bit in the days since the tournament so I’m going to keep this to a brief summary of each game and what I remember.

The format was eight rounds with 7-5-3-1 scoring (or 7-4-1 if we had any three-player groups, which we didn’t).

First round: NBA Fastbreak with William Thornton, Kevin Tooley, and Jeff Mleynek. Overall I had a very good game and finished with a solid score of 76, good enough for first place easily. My confidence got the boost it needed as we went into the second round.

Second round: World Cup Soccer with David Pollock, Austin Knight, and Joshua Fishman. Even though I did finally start multiball, I wasn’t able to do much with it, and this game wound up being a disaster. I would finish dead last with a paltry 210M+ behind a 344M+ from Joshua, a 398M+ from Austin, and a 1.476B+ from David.

Third round: Metallica with Fred Revnew, Phil Grimaldi, and Cory Westfahl. I’m normally decent on this game. No matter what league or tournament you’re in though, the odds just don’t favor a sub-4M score getting it done. My 3.79M+ was no exception, good for dead last behind Cory’s 7.07M+, Phil’s 28.92M+, and Fred’s 29.71M+.

Fourth round: Ghostbusters with Bryce Revnew, Matt Quantz, and Frankie Griffin. Another case where the score I put up (in this case, a pissant 9.62M+) just wasn’t going to get it done no matter what. Scores of 12.2M+ from Matt, 331.4M+ from Bryce, and 104.5M+ from Frankie all ran circles around my lacking effort.

Fifth round: X-Men with Carey Fishman, Ben Whittington, and Fred Revnew. It’s really just more of the same. I was barely able to put up a 2.41M+, which just wasn’t going to get it done behind 4.42M+ from Ben, 5.37M+ from Fred, and of course, Carey takes first easily with 33.5M+.

Sixth round: World Cup Soccer (again) with William Thornton, Frankie Griffin, and David Dronet. This time it’s even worse, 159M+, but David lays an even bigger egg with 54.7M+ giving me third place. The real contest was between William and Frankie with 1.294B+ and 944M+ respectively.

Seventh round: Lord of the Rings with Jeff Cook, Carey Fishman, and Cory Westfahl. I’ve done much better on this game than the 12.54M+ I put up. I eeked out a third ahead of Cory’s 10.56M+, but I was no match for Jeff’s 38.11M+ and Carey’s 21.40M+. If I had actually been able to cash in the multiball instead of draining out with two balls locked, I might have been able to push that a bit higher.

Eighth round: NBA Fastbreak (again) with Joe Cuellar, Matt Quantz, and Joshua Fishman. Knowing my earlier play on this game was my only first-place finish of the day so far, even though I had long since been mathematically eliminated from any realistic hope of qualifying for the finals, I hoped to do well to at least finish the tournament on a high note. Unfortunately, that was not to be. A paltry 16 rounded out the day behind 23 from Joe, 41 from Matt, and 58 from Joshua. What a damn fine way to go out.

After finishing up my game on NBA Fastbreak, I got to see part of the trailing end of the eighth round action featuring David Pollock, David Dronet, William Thornton, and Phil Grimaldi. David Pollock winds up tilting out before surpassing David Drouhet’s score, giving the latter third place and saving him from a last-place overall finish in the tournament as a whole. David Pollock would still take fourth place in the tournament, qualifying him for the finals alongside Fred Revnew, Phil Grimaldi, and Carey Fishman.

Final standings: 19th place with 18 standings points, either tied with Cory Westfahl or outright (since I technically had the tiebreaker over him with my one first-place finish in the first round).

It stands to reason that I’d immediately put up a 76 on NBA Fastbreak, a 22.77M+ on Lord of the Rings (which unfortunately still wouldn’t have been enough to beat Jeff), and a relatively decent 69.65M+ in single player games after the tournament was over. Of course. Anyway, despite the absolutely crummy finish of either dead last or next-to-last, I had a great time and gained more tournament experience.

Austin Knight did an awesome job of hosting. Lest I forget, Carey Fishman was also awesome for letting me recharge my phone on his USB battery after I did something that’s just typical me: I brought along an external USB battery of my own and forgot the cable to plug my phone into it. I immediately found the cable when I got home, of course. Such is life as a competitive pinball player.

Space City Pinball League Season 6 Week 3: Dial me in to a proton pack

So for various reasons, I wasn’t able to play week 2. In the grand scheme of things, it really just means I was that much more eager to really make a splash this week.

My group-mates this week: Brittany Rogers, Blake “Q*Bert” Dumesnil, and Joe Cuellar. The games this week: Aerosmith, Ghostbusters, Batman 66, Dialed In, Attack from Mars, AC/DC, and Star Wars.

We would begin the night on Ghostbusters. With the help of points from the extra ball shot (the game awards points instead of an extra ball) I would finish with 56.8M+, easily good enough for a first place. Given I didn’t really get much else going during the entire game, it was a relief that my score held up.

We would move on to Aerosmith. This game is becoming downright vicious when it comes to spitting freshly plunged balls straight down the middle. I managed to put up 2.1M+ good enough for third place, which is a minor miracle given that I was barely able to keep one ball in play for longer than 30 seconds. Obviously, a third, non-last place game is not where I want to start a league night, but it is better than finshing fourth in a group of four.

Our next game would be Batman 66. I put up a respectable 86.0M+ but it was not going to be good enough for first because Joe posted a blistering 177.8M+ which I wasn’t going to catch barring a miracle (which obviously did not happen). There’s nothing like having the crane just sit there blocking the lock shot when all you want to do is lock three balls and start multiball. That’s the one thing I am starting to hate about this game… Still, by this point I know I have at least 10 standings points on the night with two games to go, so I’m feeling pretty good.

And then we get to play Dialed In. I did decently on this game during the brief time I had to warm up, but for once, I was really able to turn up my game when it counted, getting at least a decent number of points off of multiballs. I would sign off with 545K+, more than double the other three players’ scores added together. Fifteen standings points with one game to go. Even in the worst case, I’m leaving with a total of 16 standings points on the night, which is good. But I want better, of course.

Attack from Mars would round out the night. Thankfully, the debacle that occurred in week 1 was not repeated. I was able to put up 2.029B+, but then I got to watch Joe eek past it and sign off with 2.283B+. I’m not too ashamed of second place here, as I know that score would barely be good for third given certain other groupings. I would finish up with a total of 18 standings points, tied for the sixth highest total of everyone present.

Overall I was happy with how I performed this week. Should I continue to have enough good nights like this, qualifying for A divison is a distinct possibility. Unfortunately I missed week 2 so that already accounts for potentially one drop week of two allowed.