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Pinball Tournaments

SFGE Pinball Tournament

The Southern-Fried Gaming Expo is pleased to host a number of pinball tournaments throughout the weekend of the event. There will be plenty of opportunities for both the serious competitive pinball player and the casual fan to have fun, compete, and (hopefully) win prizes!

Southern-Fried Pinball Tournament Returns for 2022!

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. In 2022, the Southern-Fried Pinball tournament returns to offer players a chance to win cash, prizes, IFPA WPPR points, and pinball glory throughout the weekend! All events will be IFPA-sanctioned events, unless specified.

Players must have an SFGE membership to participate.

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

Schedule

Friday

  • 3 pm to 11 pm – Main event best game qualifying
  • 5 pm to 10 pm – Fair strikes tournament

Saturday

  • 10 am to 4 pm – Main event best game qualifying
  • 10:30 am to 12 pm – Kid’s flip frenzy qualifying
  • 12 pm to 1 pm – Kid’s ladder finals
  • 1 pm to 5 pm – Women’s target match play tournament
  • 5 pm to 11 pm – Main event group match play finals
  • 6 pm to 11 pm – Target match play tournament

Sunday

  • 10 am to 2 pm – Best game charity challenge
  • 10:30 am to 2 pm – Battle of the Belles team charity tournament

Main Event (Friday through Saturday)

Players can enter to 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: $20 (each player who registers starts with 6 entries)
  • Additional entries: Players may choose to purchase one or more add-ons: $5 for a single entry or 3 additional entries for $10. No refunds for unused entries.
  • Game bank: 8 games featuring games from classics to the modern era. Best of Five
  • Queuing: Players can join a game’s queue through online software (Drains Tournament Manager) or in-person with an official scorekeeper
  • Scoring: 5 games counted, 100/95/90/85/84/83…; scorekeepers will enter players’ scores to online software at the end of each game.

Register the day of the event when you arrive at the tournament pinball area.

Finals format: Group match play elimination bracket

Top 16 from qualifying advance to the finals. 3 games per round; 2 players advance and 2 players are eliminated from each group at the end of each round. PAPA scoring (4/2/1/0 points for 1st/2nd/3rd/4th).

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.

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. 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.

Knockout Tournament (Friday)

On Friday afternoon, we will offer a knockout tournament using Fair Strikes scoring. In a knockout tournament, you’re assigned to a random pinball machine in a group of 3 or 4 players. If you take first place in the group, you continue on with 0 strikes on your record. The player who finishes last receives 2 strikes. The other players receive 1 strike (i.e. 0/1/1/2 or 0/1/2 scoring). After you’ve received 6 strikes you are eliminated from the tournament. So every player is guaranteed at least 4 tournament games.

  • Registration fee: $10
  • Registration time: Preregister starting Thursday 7/14 at 12:00 pm or in-person the day of the event (more details below)
  • Format: Group Knockout with Fair Strikes scoring (0/1/1/2 or 0/1/2 or 0/2; plus acceleration, see note below)
  • Strikes: 6 strikes
  • Announcements and roll call: 4:50 pm
  • Tournament start: 5:00 pm

Players are encouraged to preregister online since interest in this event may exceed our capacity. Preregister by signing up online starting at noon on Thursday, July 14, and until 3:00 pm on Friday, July 15. If you are preregistered within the tournament capacity then complete your registration and pay your registration fee on the day of the event before 4:00 pm. Players can also sign up on the day of the event when the tournament area opens. At 4:00 we will accept registrations for any remaining capacity. We will prioritize players based on preregistration order and then day-of sign-up order.

Strikes acceleration: In order to ensure the tournament ends on time, at 10:00 pm we will announce a shift to accelerated strikes of 0/2/2/3 or 0/2/3 or 0/3. This change will apply for the rest of the tournament and will go into effect in the following round if any results have already been submitted for the current round.

Note that this tournament overlaps with a portion of the main event qualifying so participating in this event will reduce the amount of time you have available for main event qualifying.

To be announced: Website location for preregistration, tournament capacity (probably 100 persons, depending on the total amount of games we have available).

Kid’s Tournament (Saturday)

On Saturday morning, kids ages 4 to 12 are invited to participate in a short pinball tournament that is intended to be a fun introduction to the world of organized pinball.

  • Registration fee: Free!
  • Sign up by 10:15 am on Saturday 7/16 in person when you arrive at the scheduled area.
  • Start time: 10:30 am
  • Qualifying format: Flip frenzy for 90 minutes
  • Finals format: Ladder finals for Top 8 players

Qualifying will be 90 minutes of flip frenzy where two players play head to head on a randomly selected pinball machine. We’ll keep on starting new games until the 90 minutes is up and players will get a short break after every two games they play.

The top 8 players will be invited to play in a Final immediately following qualifying. The lowest-seeded remaining 4 players, will play in a 4-player game and 2 players will be eliminated each game until the final 4 players remain. In the Final 4 ladder, one player will be eliminated each game.

To be announced: Location within the expo and rules for qualifying tiebreakers.

Women’s Target Match Play Tournament (Saturday)

On Saturday, we will host a Women’s tournament featuring target group match play. Players will race to 22 points, playing in groups of 4 where the players are awarded 7/5/3/1 (or 7/4/1 in groups of 3 players) points based on their finishing position. The first player to reach or exceed 22 points is the winner and the final standings are based on each player’s total points at the end of that round.

  • Registration fee: $10
  • Registration time: Preregister starting Thursday 7/14 at 12:00 pm or in-person the day of the event (more details below)
  • Format: Target Group Match Play (7/5/3/1  or 7/4/1 scoring; 22 points target)
  • Announcements and roll call: 12:50 pm
  • Tournament start: 1:00 pm

Players are encouraged to preregister online since interest in this event may exceed our capacity. Preregister by signing up online starting at noon on Thursday, July 14, and until 3:00 pm on Friday, July 15. If you are preregistered within the tournament capacity then complete your registration and pay your registration fee on the day of the event before 12:00 pm. Players can also sign up the day of the event when the tournament area opens. At 12:30 we will accept registrations for any remaining capacity. We will prioritize players based on preregistration order and then day-of sign-up order.

Note that this tournament overlaps with a portion of the main event qualifying so participating in this event will reduce the amount of time you have available for main event qualifying.

To be announced: Website location for preregistration, tournament capacity.

Open Target Match Play Tournament (Saturday evening)

On Saturday evening, we will host a group target match play tournament where players compete in groups of 3 or 4. Players will race to 30 points, playing in groups of 4 where the players are awarded 7/5/3/1 points based on their finishing position (or 7/4/1 in groups of 3 players). The first player to reach or exceed 30 points is the winner and the final standings are based on each player’s total points at the end of that round. The point target may be adjusted down if the tournament runs long (more details below).

  • Registration fee: $10
  • Registration time: Preregister starting Thursday 7/14 at 12:00 pm or in-person the day of the event (more details below)
  • Format: Target Group Match Play (7/5/3/1 or 7/4/1 scoring; 30 points target; plus acceleration, see note below)
  • Announcements and roll call: 5:50 pm
  • Tournament start: 6:00 pm

Target score acceleration: In order to ensure the tournament ends on time, we will reduce the points target by 2 points at 10:00 pm and every half hour after that. The reduced points target will go into effect in the following round if any results have already been submitted for the current round.

Players are encouraged to preregister online since interest in this event may exceed our capacity. Preregister by signing up online starting at noon on Thursday, July 14, and until 3:00 pm on Friday, July 15. If you are preregistered within the tournament capacity then complete your registration and pay your registration fee on the day of the event before 5:00 pm. Players can also sign up on the day of the event when the tournament area opens. At 5:30 we will accept registrations for any remaining capacity. We will prioritize players based on preregistration order and then day-of sign-up order.

Note that this tournament overlaps with the main event finals. If you don’t make it into the top 16 of the main event, this is a great tournament to play in if you want more competitive pinball.

To be announced: Website location for preregistration, tournament capacity (probably 100 persons, depending on the total amount of games we have available).

Battle of the Belles Charity Event (Sunday)

Southern-Fried Gaming Expo is proud to present a fun charity event for all women’s pinball teams to prove which city is the best of the best on Sunday, July 17, 2022 at 10:30 am.

  • Registration fee: $10 per person
  • Registration time: starts at 10:00 am
  • Tournament start: 10:30 am
All proceeds benefit Extra Life, a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network that benefits from people who Play Games to Change Kids’ Health to Change the Future.  If you can not play or attend, please make donations directly to them at https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.event&eventID=552
 
Each team that enters may have any number of players they choose (at least two). If you do not have your own team, we will match you up with other players.
 
Each player on the team must play at least once during qualifiers. Once all team members have played, the opportunity then begins again for each player to play a second time, similar to a batting order in baseball. Subsequent plays do not have to be in the same previous playing order.
 
Qualifiers will be six rounds of head to head match play. During qualifying, teams will choose three players to represent them in each game. Each player will play one ball of the game. The player order will be decided by the team. 1 point will be awarded to the winner of the qualifier game. At the end of qualifying, the top 4 teams will advance to the finals.
 
Tie breakers will be done on a random machine as a one-ball game, playing split flipper. Teams will get to choose players who participate in tie breakers.
 
Extra balls: extra balls will be played split flipper. The player who earned the extra ball may choose the teammate who plays split flipper with them. The selected player must be currently playing on the machine.
 
Coaching between balls will be allowed. Coaching during play will not be allowed.
 
Finals: Finals will be the top four teams playing a single 4-team game to determine final placement. Player choice rules in the finals are the same as in qualifying. Teams will choose three players to represent them in the game. Each player will play one ball of the game. Order of players will be decided by the team. At the end of the game, the team with the highest score will be the winner.
 
Prizes: Prizes to be announced at a later date.
 

Best Game Charity Challenge (Sunday)

On Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm stop by the tournament area to participate in a best score challenge to raise funds for Southern-Fried Gaming Expo 2022’s featured charity. We’ll also be giving prizes away to participants throughout the day.

Help us make the Southern-Fried Pinball Tournaments a success

We will enforce a strict conduct policy in line with the SFGE harassment policy and the IFPAPA player conduct policy. Please help us make the tournament area a fun and welcoming place. Aggressive treatment of the machines, mistreatment of other players, and disruptive outbursts will be addressed by tournament staff, resulting in yellow cards, and possible disqualification from a specific tournament or even the entire tournament area.

We are looking for game bringers who are willing to place their pinball machines in the tournament area. Look for more details soon on how you can help by supplying the games we’ll feature in these tournaments.

We will also be looking for help from volunteers willing to help as scorekeepers; assist with player registration; act as assistant tournament directors; and help with day-of adjustments, repairs, and maintenance. Look for more details soon on how you can get involved.

Thanks for helping us bring these competitive pinball events to Southern-Fried!


Update history

  • May 31st – Added the tournament overview.
  • June 9th – Added tournament times and format specifics. Added a policy for disqualifying/skipping absent players. Corrected conflicting scheduling information for the Women’s tournament (“on the last day” was changed to be Saturday afternoon). Changed the Women’s target match play from a 30-point target to a 22-point target. Moved the kid’s tournament to Saturday morning. Changed the Saturday open tournament from timed match play to target match play. Added a best game charity challenge on Sunday. Corrected conflicting scheduling information for the Battle of the Belles (this event is scheduled for Sunday morning). Added charity info for the Battle of the Belles.
  • June 12th – Removed duplicate Timed Match Play section (the open timed match play tournament has been replaced by the Saturday evening open target match play tournament)