Finnish pinball league 2014, Game 5/6 - Hopeakuula association arcade, Kouvola - 04/10/2014

Like I always say, it's easy to participate a tournament hosted by someone else. While the whole idea of just having some people over to play some pinball sounds like a cakewalk, fine-tuning multiple machines to take 12+ hours of punishment, taking care of all the logistics involved and so forth suddenly turns into spending long days at the arcade while trying to juggle with work at the same time.

While I never question if it's worth it, I do acknowledge it takes its toll. I'd still like to remind everyone talking about me having an unfair advantage, that during the 5 years of our league, I've been eliminated in the qualifications 3 times; twice at my own place! But enough of that, just a reminder that since Hopeakuula now days has it's own blog, there will be an entry of how much goes on behind the scenes.

Much to my surprise we were pretty much on schedule and everything was set up by the time the first players arrived. My only gripe was that I was in the qualification group B, as I was already yawning by the time we hit 12 noon and there was still at least 3 hours to go before I got to play.


 The three hours however just flew past me, and while no bigger issues came up, there was always something minor to attend to. I started the energy drink diet about half an hour before the group A finished playing. Apparently I OD'd a bit, as the very first game against SRI on Stellar Wars was a total disaster on my behalf. I made a personal new low on it, with 1000 points on 1st ball!

Group A qualification

Fortunately I recovered from the dreaded 1st game loss quickly. There were more than one close call, like my game on Revenge From Mars against TTV. We were both struggling to get even past the first 3 modes. On draining his very last ball TTV had virtually everything lit; the normal multiball, the jump ramp to finish the last mode and start the bonus wave multiball and if I recall correctly, the martian multiball as well. I was still behind him. While he played, I was contemplating on how to catch his lead. While I could have gone for the ramps in Mars Kneeds Women-mode, I took the safest possible route of hitting the center over and over, finishing the last mode before bonus wave multiball.

Trying to catch TTV in Revenge From Mars.
I got to play Apollo 13 twice in the qualification. Probably the most memorable game was against JAV, who really got me against the ropes from the very start, by gunning for the multiball on his first ball, while my idea of milking the Manual burn backfired on my royally. On his 2nd ball JAV started another multiball and this time took it to the super jackpot. I was really after the 13 ball multiball, but as I had missed the ramp shot on my first ball, I did't risk going for the blastoff-letter combo and just went with the normal multiball. Catching JAV was still a tough nut as I was now in a position where I needed two super jackpots to get past him. One of the things I really dislike about Apollo's multiball is the lack of ball saver. That must have been one of the most controlled multiballs I've every played on Apollo! But I did it, I got two supers and took the game home. Phew!

Doctor Who was a bit of a wild card today. I lost my first game on it against MRC, and literally couldn't get anything done. It's one of those games where horizontal motion is a killer, and a ball caught between the slingshots need to be neutralized by nudging ASAP. My game with MRC was one of the first games I played today and I just didn't have the reflexes when I needed them. Then again later during the qualification I played it again against KGB and this time I was properly awake and in an adrenaline rush. I managed to pull couple of perfect Sonic booms, and it was enough to win the game.

In the end I won 11 of the played 14 games, being #1 of my group with three other players sharing the 2nd place with 9 wins. I honestly never expected to even qualify, not to talk about being the qualification groups #1.

Quarter final

My opponent in the quarter final was TTS, who was 5th on group B and had won LAH 2-0 on the first play offs round.

The first game drawn was Doctor Who, with me as the 2nd player. We didn't get off to a very good start. TTS drained his first ball at around 1M, I didn't get even that. By the 3rd ball I still had virtually nothing and TTS was at around 10M. There are lots of ways to make 10M in Doctor Who, but I had built myself a game based on 4X multiplier multiball. My 3rd ball started with the multiplier maxed out and the multiball lit. My heart almost stopped when my first attempt at the multiball start caused a center drain, but just within the ball saver's limit! The second one didn't miss, and after over 120M jackpot I took this one home.

Playing Doctor Who against TTS

We when continued on Mousin' Around. I was a bit nervous about playing Mousin' Around at this point, as it's brutally fast. I got off to a good start, collected almost all of the mouse trap-letters and on my 2nd ball I got to play the multiball. While I didn't get the jackpot (which I had built up to 3M at that point), I still got some points by repeating the major shots with two balls and advanced the bonus multiplier to 3x. The game was a bit rude to TTS, giving him couple of unnecessarily fast drains. My 3rd ball wasn't that good, but I was still over 4M ahead. TTS had a good last ball, but he couldn't catch me.

Semi final

OMO had literally fought his way up from the very bottom. His group had an amazing 5 player tie breaker for the last 2 qualification spots, which the played on Apollo 13. Then he won both KGB and ELP 2-1 on first play off rounds. Now he was challenging me for his place in the final!

We started off with the Twilight Zone. We both played a rather short 1st ball, being within 1M of each other. OMO's second ball was a rather good one, and I spent my last remaining balls catching him, but an unfortunate 2nd ball didn't help and while I had a game plan for my 3rd ball, it failed as I didn't get the power ball to play.

Our next game was Contact. I had to cool down for a second, as Contact is a game that really tests your nerves. I took a lead from the first ball on, and kept it till the end. It was one of the very rare games of Contact where I maxed each bonus and didn't lose a single ball because of the double flippers. I was damn proud of that round.

Watching OMO's play on RFM. KGB is also observing the game.

Then deciding game was drawn and it was Revenge From Mars. We took a rather different approaches to the game; OMO gunned for the multiballs, I concentrated on completing the highest scoring modes flawlessly. It was a tight match that wasn't settled until the last ball, but in the end I managed to catch OMO, who despite his good effort didn't manage to get to the multiball.


OJA was definitely one of today's stars. As a winner of group A qualifications (originally tied with ELP), he had dropped a fellow Kotka citizen TTV 2-0 in the quarter finals and sent MAR to the bronze game in the semi final with 2-1 score.

We started out the final with Flash. Neither of us got much done on the first ball, but on the second I managed to took a small lead. OJA responded to that by taking the 3x bonus on his last ball, and went to 120k while I was at 86k at the beginning of my last ball. I had already finished the 2 of 3 stages of the center drop target bank drops, so I only needed to get those drop targets twice to get the 50k super flash. I got the first set of drop targets down, but then an unfortunate bounce sent the ball screaming down the left outlane and my last ball ended with bit over 100k.

Next up was Who Dunnit. My play on it was nothing short of pitiful. On my 3 balls I got around 360M. OJA didn't do much better, but caught that on his last ball when he started Elevator madness. OJA almost lost this one, as he drained and then walked away and failed to notice the ball saver was still on! I had to give him a shout about it, and he just barely got back into play. Now I was really against the ropes!

Our 3rd game was Viking. It wasn't as tight as the previous ones, I got the bonus multiplier up from the start and kept on milking the bonus. OJA again got some rough luck and ultimately lost this one. Now I'd need two wins in a row to bring the whole tournament home.

Our 4th game, Buck Rogers started out good for me. I got especially strong 2nd ball, and was in good lead for a while. OJA started his last ball with over 40k behind me. He got couple of really close calls, but then drained with about 10k behind me. He gave the machine a quite rough push, but it didn't tilt. That was good for him, as he went past me with the bonus on his 3rd ball, winning the 3rd game and the whole tournament!

Congrats, OJA, that was some fine playing today!

The outcome

Today I was 2nd.

It hasn't been exactly a good season for me. With 4th, 10th, 13th, and 2nd place with one skipped tournament, there's no way I'm in the fight for the trophy positions.

The official results

Looks like I'm still in the game for silver and bronze. It's a shame gold isn't an option this year, as this is the last year the current glass orb trophies are given. I so wanted a bronze-silver-gold -combo of them!

The current totals results

The afterparty

Remember the last time we had a pinball league afterparty? Well, me neither because I don't think there's one in the recorded history!

As promised, we offered everyone present a full 2 entry round of Kickback Open. I'm glad so many staid behind to play and enjoy with us!

And here's a time lapse video of the whole 13 and half hours!

No comments:

Post a Comment