Strikeouts Under the Moon, 2022 April

And so, finally I catch up to Monday, April 4.

We finally had what I hope to be the first of many tournaments under the auspices of the (relatively) new Bayou City Pinball League. Though this post, here, will primarily be an account of the tournament from my perspective as a player, I was also the tournament director.

Thankfully, on this night, there were no irregularities and thus I didn’t need to make any rulings. Thus, my responsibilities as TD were restricted to entering the results of each round. I’m sure I will get plenty of opportunities to botch make rulings at future events.

Round 1 started off simply enough on Family Guy against Bayou Bill, one of two players brand new to the tournament scene. I love the gameplay of Family Guy even though I’m not at all keen on the theme. This was, honestly, the one game I was expecting to have issues (as in technical problems) as the night wore on, but thankfully those issues never materialized. This first game wound up being a surprisingly low-scoring contest but I would manage to prevail with a paltry 5.29M+.

The next round would bring up Creature from the Black Lagoon against Colby Lewis. This, too, was lower scoring than expected, but I pulled out a victory with 37.3M+ to 33.9M+.

For the third round, I drew Spider-Man against Hannah. As it happens, this is one of the two machines out of the four-game lineup at Little Dipper that I consider among my best. I definitely proved it tonight as this quickly became a blowout. I would put up 67.5M+ good enough to get my initials on the board (which I didn’t get a picture of, unfortunately).

The one issue with heads-up strikeout tournaments is that when you get down to a low, odd number of players, there will be a lot of byes as there’s nobody to pair up to. Such was the case with our fourth round. I would face off against Colby on Spider-Man (again) while Hannah had the bye. I actually wound up getting my first strike as Colby put up 26.4M+ versus my 5.84M+; it was just not one of my better games. I’m still feeling confident as there was a lot of pinball left to be played.

Our fifth round would pair me against Hannah on Creature from the Black Lagoon, with Colby getting the bye. This was another surprisingly low scoring game, as I would squeak by with a 17.9M+ versus Hannah’s 11.7M+. This would eliminate Hannah from the tournament (Bill was out after round 3) and so the final three rounds would be just Colby and I. At this point, we have only one strike apiece, thus making the remainder of the tournament an effective best-of-three match.

The sixth round would send us back to Family Guy where once again I would have one of my better performances: 52.1M+ versus Colby’s 20.5M+. And again I would get to enter my initials.

But, Colby wasn’t going away quietly. The next game on The Walking Dead would end with a very close score. I had put up 28.7M+, and Colby drained his last ball just short of that score prior to the bonus count. However, after adding the bonus, he would squeak by with 29.6M+.

It would come down to the eighth and final round, which would be on Family Guy. I wound up signing off with a 28.5M+, which was a significant lead (and again this is from memory, I was not recording intermediate scores). Colby kept the ball in play for a surprisingly long time, coming quite close but still short with 24.8M+. And that’s the tournament, my somewhat surprising first time finishing first in an IFPA-endorsed event.

As nice as that is, though, that’s not the real story here. There are two real stories here. One is that Houston has a new pinball tournament director. The other is that two brand new players have been introduced to the joy that is competitive pinball.

I’m already looking forward to next month.

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