Southern-Fried Pinball Tournaments
Southern-Fried Pinball Tournament at SFGE 2023

Southern-Fried Pinball Tournaments 2024!

Since our inception, we’ve been a cornerstone event in the competitive pinball arena. Over the years at SFGE, top-ranked tournament players and casual fans alike have competed in our world-class tournaments.

Players must have an SFGE membership to participate

Read the basics about our pinball tournaments below, then join the tournament Facebook group and chat with our other tournament players and organizers.

Preregistration

At this point the side tournaments are full, but we may begin pulling from the waitlist as more machines are offered in the tournament area.

Submit a machine to tournament area: https://gameatl.com/bring-your-games/
Enter the waitlist:
https://gameatl.com/pinball-waitlist/
Pre-register for Main Tournament: https://gameatl.com/pinball_tournaments/

Note:

  • The Main event is taking preregistrations to help shorten wait times at the tournament sign up desk and enable faster queuing; we expect to be able to accommodate any number of players without a player limit
  • The Sunday Classics event is not taking preregistrations, you can register for that event by lining up in person at the beginning of the day on Sunday
  • In addition to your tournament registration you must also have an SFGE membership

If space is available we will accept day-of signup request as soon as the tournament area opens each day. The Main Event will accommodate players joining throughout Friday and Saturday even if they have not preregistered.

Even if you have preregistered, please check-in at the tournament area at least 15 minutes before the start of tournament for side events so we can confirm your spot and know whether there’s any space available for wait-listed players.

Schedule

Friday

  • 3 pm to 11 pm – Main event best game qualifying
  • 5 pm to 10 pm – Open timed match play

Saturday

  • 10 am to 8 pm – Main event best game qualifying continues
  • 10 am to 3 pm – Women’s tournament
  • 3 pm to 9 pm – Group knockout traditional strikes
  • 8:30 pm to 11 pm – Main event group match play finals (A Division, top 16)
  • 8:30 pm to 11 pm – Main event group match play finals (B Division, top 16)

Sunday

  • 10 am to 2 pm – Main event group match play finals continue (A Division, top 8)
  • 10 am to 2 pm – Main event group match play finals continue (B Division, top 8)
  • 11am to 3 pm – Classics match play
Southern-Fried Pinball Tournament Schedule Grid

Main Event (Friday through Sunday)

Players can compete to put up high scores in single-player best game qualifying and then advance to the finals for a group match play elimination bracket.

  • Qualifying format: Best Game (unlimited qualifying)

  • Registration fee: $40 (each player who registers starts with 7 entries)

  • Additional entries: Players may choose to purchase one or more add-ons (No refunds for unused entries)

    • 1 additional entry for $5

    • 3 additional entries for $10

    • 7 additional entries for $20

  • Game bank: 12 games featuring games from classics to the modern era

  • Scoring: 6 games counted, 100/95/90/85/84/83…; scorekeepers will enter players’ scores to online software at the end of each game

  • Queuing: Players can join a game’s queue through online software (Drains Tournament Manager) or in-person with an official scorekeeper

Register early online or at the event when you arrive at the tournament pinball area. We do not plan to cap the number of players in this event.

Finals format: Group match play elimination bracket

Top 16 from qualifying advance to the finals. 3 games per round. Top seed will “drive the bus”, choosing games from a predetermined qualifying bank. Arena banks will be announced during qualifying and will include games from several eras. Arena banks will include some games from the qualifying and some games from the side tournaments. 2 players advance and 2 players are eliminated from each group at the end of each round. Matchplay scoring (7/5/3/1 points for 1st/2nd/3rd/4th). Round of 16 will take place on Saturday night. Round of 8 will conclude on Sunday.

The unlimited qualifying nature of the Main Event (Herb style) means that it’s best suited for players who have the time, interest, and financial means to make multiple attempts. Everyone is welcome to play and every player will earn IFPA WPPR points based on their final standings. We wanted to include this kind of tournament also to ensure that there was a main event that can accommodate a large number of players and give players the flexibility to play some tournament pinball and visit the rest of the show; you’re welcome to use your qualifying entries throughout the qualifying time with breaks and visits to the main game floor in between attempts if you prefer. If this tournament doesn’t feel right for you, check out these other options.

The B Division finals will include the next 16 players who did not make it into the top 16. The B Division finals will happen on Sunday. Since the player list is restricted for this portion of the event, the results from qualifying will be used for IFPA results for players outside of the top 16.

A note on overlapping tournaments:

In addition to the main event, Southern-Fried Pinball Tournaments will feature several other side tournaments. You may play in any combination of tournaments but expect to only focus on main event qualifying games while you are not committed to another overlapping tournament. If a player participates in a side tournament and is absent from their game at the start of the round we will announce their name in the tournament pinball area and will disqualify them from the round after 3 minutes (more details in the FAQ).

Open Timed Match Play (Friday evening)

Anyone can join in for our Friday evening tournament.

  • Tournament start: 5:00 pm Friday Evening

  • Registration fee: $20

  • Registration time: See preregistration details at the top of this page (or in-person the day of the event if space is available)

  • Format: Group Match Play (7/5/3/1 or 7/4/1 scoring) timed, with no finals

  • Event capacity: based on the number of games available

We’re fitting in maximum pinball fun with this tournament running from 5 pm until around 11 pm. We’re skipping the traditional qualifying and finals structure so everyone can play in every round.

Women’s Match Play (Saturday Morning)

We’re opening the tournament area early to start off with a women’s group knockout tournament.

  • Tournament start: 10am Saturday Morning

  • Registration fee: $20

  • Registration time: See preregistration details at the top of this page (or in-person the day of the event if space is available)

  • Format: Group Knockout Fair Strikes*

  • Finals: Top 8 advance to finals

  • Event capacity: 80 players maximum (assuming enough games to accommodate 80)

Other details: balanced pairings, automatic tiebreakers based on “strength of schedule”, no separate finals, tiebreaker game only if multiple players are tied for 1st place with the same number of match points (ignoring automatic tiebreakers); keep in mind that everyone must leave the convention area by 11:45 pm and we will halt and void the last round or postpone the tiebreaker game if necessary to meet that schedule.

Group Knockout (Saturday afternoon)

Everyone is guaranteed at least 3 rounds of pinball.

  • Tournament start: 3pm 

  • Registration fee: $20

  • Registration time: See preregistration details at the top of this page (or in-person the day of the event if space is available)

  • Format: Group Knockout; 3 strikes

  • Scoring: Traditional Strikes scoring (0/0/1/1 or 0/1/1 or 0/1 for 4-, 3-, or 2-player groups)

  • Event capacity: based on number of games available

Other details: Balanced pairings (Players will be randomly paired with previously unfaced opponents across all tournaments in the series.); everyone plays at least 3 rounds; predicted to be 10 or 11 rounds total for the winner; no separate finals.

Classics (Sunday morning)

  • Tournament start: 11 am

  • Registration fee: $20

  • Registration time: Register on Sunday morning in person

  • Format: Group Match Play (7/5/3/1 or 7/4/1 scoring)

  • Qualifying: 6 rounds of group match play

  • Finals: Top 4 advance to finals; 3 games in a single round (4/2/1/0 scoring)

  • Event capacity: 40 players maximum

  • Other details: Swiss pairings (play against others near you in the standings); automatic tiebreakers based on most 1sts and 2nds, tiebreaker playoff game for top 4 cutoff (single game on a random game from the event) for players exactly tied after automatic tiebreakers.

FAQ

What can I do before SFGE to help the pinball tournaments?

We’d love for you to help us by bringing a game! You can also sign up to volunteer. General volunteers are needed for scorekeeping and the tournament registration desk. If you have experience as a tournament director you can also sign up to volunteer as an assistant TD. If you have experience making machine repairs you can sign up to volunteer as a technician. We would also appreciate anyone who is willing to let us use their tablet or iPad for the weekend to assist with scorekeeping.

Can I play the games in the tournament area between tournaments or between tournament rounds?

We ask that everyone please refrain from playing the tournament games other than during their assigned tournament matches. This helps in a few ways: With fewer plays on the games our technicians have a better chance of keeping everything running smoothly all weekend. If we have long round times or delays due to mechanical or rules issues there will not be enough free time between tournaments to give everyone a fair access to practice on the games. By not allowing play between rounds we reduce the risk of unintentional interference with a tournament game (for example, unintentionally restarting a game in progress or distracting a tournament player on an adjacent game).

Will the tournaments be IFPA sanctioned?

Yes, all tournaments will be IFPA sanctioned. These tournaments will award WPPR points towards your world rankings (in either the Overall or Women’s divisions) and towards the Georgia 2024 NACS (or WNACS) rankings. Even if you’ve never played in a pinball tournament before we’d love to have you join in making this your first ranked pinball event. 

Will the main tournament be IFPA Certified?

IFPA Certified and Certified+ events get an extra 125% or 150% boost in WPPR points by meeting stricter format requirements. None of the pinball tournaments at SFGE will be IFPA certified. With the tournament area limited to a total of about 27 hours over the weekend we cannot fit in the required 20 hours of qualifying time and 12-game finals without running the risk of going past the venue’s strict closing policy.

Can I play in the main tournament and in the side tournaments?

Yes, we expect most players who play in a side tournament will also participate in the main tournament at some point during the weekend. While playing in a side tournament it probably won’t be practical for you to also queue for a game in the main event. If a player is next in the queue for a game in main event qualifying and is not present in the main event area they will be skipped and the next player in the queue will be asked by a scorekeeper to start their game. If the player at the top of the queue is still (or again) absent after that game they will be removed from the queue. No qualifying entry will be used up in this case and the player can use their entry to rejoin at the back of the queue. During the side tournaments if a player is absent from their game at the start of the round we will announce their name in the tournament pinball area and will disqualify them from the round after 3 minutes. During the main event finals if a player is absent they will be given 3 minutes before the TD plunges their ball the first time and will be given up to 1 minute the second or third time they are absent during that game.

Can I play in the Saturday open strikes tournament if I also end up qualified for the Main Tournament Finals Top 16?

Yes, we will ensure that any players who are still in the Saturday open strikes tournament are given the opportunity to finish their matches before their group begins the Main Tournament top 16. Keep in mind that depending on round times we may be operating on a tight schedule with a hard deadline. The head tournament director will communicate adjustments to the Main Tournament finals schedule to players if any changes are needed.

Can I play in the Sunday classics tournament if I’m also qualified for the Main Tournament Finals Top 8?

Yes, you are welcome to register for the Sunday classics tournament, but it’s important that you keep a few things in mind. For the Sunday classics tournament and the Sunday Main Tournament Finals (both A and B divisions) we will enforce a time limit on absent players. If you are not at the machine and ready to plunge your first ball within 3 minutes of your turn, a tournament director will plunge that ball away; a time limit of 1 minute per ball will be enforced after that. We had players participate in overlapping tournaments with some success in 2022, but you may prefer to focus on one tournament at a time and leave the Classics event for players who did not qualify for the main event finals.

What games will be included in the Classics tournament?

We will make our best effort to only include games from earlier than 1991, before the DMD era. We rely on collectors to bring their games to SFGE and offer for them to be used in the tournament area. If we do not have enough true classics games we will do our best to fill in the gaps using games with simpler rules and play times similar to classics.

How will match results be recorded?

For the side tournaments players will be asked to submit their group’s match results using the Match Play Events website. Before submitting results, please have all players from your group confirm that they are correct (or at least as many players as is practical). Alert the tournament director right away if the score is recorded correctly. For some tournaments the results affect pairings for future rounds and cannot be corrected after the round has been closed.