A Tournament: Hope springs eternal

Note: Due to recent events, Shawn no longer recommends participation in Space City Pinball League events until further notice. Please see the Bayou City Pinball League website for alternatives.

So, after a couple of weeks back from Las Vegas, the next tournament on the calendar was rather auspiciously titled “a tournament” on the IFPA calendar on June 30. Hosted by none other than Matt Quantz at his townhouse in northeastern Fort Bend County,

I approached this tournament with a different mindset than I usually do. Namely, I wanted to have fun while playing relatively good pinball and if that led to winning the tournament so be it. I was not as focused on winning as I normally would be.

The trip started innocuously enough with a trip to a newly opened Dunkin’ Donuts in the Heights. As part of their grand opening festivities, they hired a face painter. And of course, I could not resist. I went with a “Renaissance-festival style” eye mask.

And then it was on to the tournament. I got in a few warmup games, including a game or two on Fireball II which I had never gotten to play before. I’m a bit light on details, given that I didn’t even get around to starting this post until a good month after the tournament itself.

So I’ll skip most of the details, list the matches in the order played, and summarize the highlights of the qualifying round as I get to them.

Game 1: Dr. Dude, playing second grouped with Lisa Anderson, John Carroll, and Kevin Tooley. 1.1M+ good for third place; if I remember right I never get multiball started and never really have much of a chance.

Game 2: Diner, playing third grouped with Chris Palis, Emlile Budy, and Fred Revnew. 1.3M+ good for a close third place behind Fred (only 560K seperating first and third place).

Game 3: NASCAR, playing fourth grouped with Jeff Mleynek, Frankie Griffin, and Joe Cuellar. I’ve never had good luck on this game, but I managed to pile up 29.5M+. This was good for not only a first place, but it was more than double the other three players’ scores combined.

Game 4: Big Guns, playing third grouped with Chris Gonzales, Jack Revnew, and Elizabeth Dronet. 277K+ good for third place.

Game 5: Mata Hari, playing frist grouped with Ben Whittington, Chris Doyle, and William Thornton. 52K+ good for fourth. I should be better on this particular game since I have probably played it more than any other one title over the years. But, such is life.

Game 6: Taxi, playing second grouped with Annabeth Dronet, Marc Gammons, and Robert Byers. 846K+ for a rather distant third.

Game 7: Taxi, playing first grouped with Cory Wetfahl, Brian Foytik, and Matt Quantz. This game was interrupted after my third ball due to a circuit breaker tripping (the only time this happened during the tournament that I know of). Fortunately, I had a record of an intermediate score. Unfortunately, it was before I played my third ball, not after. The replayed third ball score wasn’t nearly as good. I wound up with 344K+ good to squeak into third place, not that it even mattered at this point in the qualifying round.

There was a short break and then it would be time for the elimination round. Since the qualifying rounds put me in B division (21 players outside of the top 8, of an original 31, excluding two players who could not stay) the elimination round was a two strikes tournament (third and fourth places got a strike for three- and four-player games, second place gets a strike for two-player games).

The elimination round went by rather quickly. There were only nine rounds in total and after finishing the first three rounds on The Simpsons Pinball Party, Diner, and Big Guns with no strikes, I would put up dismal performances on both Hollywood and Corvette, striking out and getting eliminated after round 5.