You may already be running dart tournaments, trivia games off your digital music jukebox, and Golden Tee digital tournaments. Your audience is already competitive and looking for unique experiences, running pinball tournaments is a naturally fun addition.
*The suggestions in this article are general. Make sure you check your local NE, SD, KS, MO or IO laws about gaming, awards and tournament rules before you choose the tournament type and rules that work for you.
Try an app like Match Play to control your tournament. Players can enter their score, with you controlling the official approval. You choose the games from head-to-head, round robin, elimination, best score, ladder brackets…. This allows you to run tournaments over time. Change the type of tournament to entertain your audience. And – extend the contest so everyone who wants can participate.
If you want a simple, manual bracket game – try printing a large format bracket. Or use chalkboard paint on a wall and draw or paint a bracket.
Think ahead to make the game approachable. Everyone likes to participate and win!
- Grand “Prize”
- Best Fan Club
- Announce winners across your TV screens with AMI Ad Manager
- Consolation “prizes” – worse ball, best flipper, etc
- Prizes can be money, trophies, medals, gift cards, bar swag (free advertising!), or other prizes
Don’t Drag It Out – But Maybe You Can
Pay attention to how long your tournament will last. You don’t want people to get too bored and leave. Or you can’t finish within last call.
Think about your tournament running over multiple evenings or on a particular week day. Invite players back for a “best of” tournament – along with drink/food specials.
Here’s one real life example from SkyKing2301, Pinside member:
“The last tournament I held was probably more complicated than necessary, but it kept everyone interested (most of whom were just casual / rare players) and they all had a blast. Here was the format I used:
- 16 people
- 6 operational pins
- First: ‘Mini-tournaments’ on each individual pin
- Players randomly broken into two groups of 8
- All players play 2 games. (For reasons Bugsy described — sometimes you just have a crap game, or need a chance to figure it out.)
- Players with the top 2 scores in each group advance to a semifinal match
- Semifinal winners play one more game to determine individual pin champion
- Overall Finals: After all 6 pins’ champions are established, each champion then plays one more game on each of the six pins
- Champion who wins the most games out of the six is the overall tournament winner!
- Tournament winner receives a trophy and a few scratch-off lotto tickets.
- High score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
- Low score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
- Fun is had by all!”
Start Your Own Pinball Tournament
Interested? Looking for more resources?
- Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA.org) guidelines.
- Stern Army
- International Flipper Pinball Association
- Bullshooter Dart League Downloadable Ads