The Space City Open Pinball Tournament is organized by the Space City Pinball League of Houston, TX. The tournament is designed to be fun for players of all ages and skill levels.
Given the tournament format, we must cap the number of players in each qualifying session. If you would like to play in the tournament, you should strongly consider pre-registering in advance! Online pre-registration will open on September 12, 2021 at 11am Central and will go until the tournament starts. You can pre-register here. You can also register at the show, but there is a chance there will not be openings remaining. Please check with tournament desk during registration hours if there are any available walk up spots. Players on the waitlist will be given first priority.
If you would like to donate a game to the tournament, please contact us at email@example.com. Anyone who loans a game to the tournament will receive a free weekend pass to the show, and it will also secure a spot for you in the tournament!
All tournament details are subject to change prior to the tournament. Major changes will posted here and announced to all registered players.
Space City Pinball will be hosting a full WEEK of WPPRs, with a tournament every day of the week starting on prior Sunday.
Sunday (11/7) : Space City Pinball: Critical Hit!
Monday (11/8): TBD
Tuesday (11/9): Space City Pinball: Three Strike Tuesdays
Wednesday (11/10): TBD
Thursday (11/11): Space City Pinball: Flip Frenzy
The Belles of Space City will host a women’s pinball tournament at the Expo. Visit the Interstellar Showdown page to learn more.
There will be two unique qualifying groups (Red & Blue), each following a 12 round match-play format. Each round, competitors will be placed in groups of four and play on one randomly chosen machine. Players will earn points based on how many opponents they beat in the round (3, 2, 1, or 0). Points will accumulate across the twelve rounds to determine each players overall qualifying score. Players may only play in one group.
The top twelve qualifiers from each group (24 total) will compete in the finals for trophies and cash prizes. There will be separate A Division and B-Division finals. During finals, players will be placed in groups of four and will play three games. Players will score points on each game based on finishing position (4-2-1-0 scoring). After three games, the two players from each group with the most points will advance to the next round.
The tournament finals will be streamed live on twitch.tv/spacecitypinball
The tournament directors will be responsible for managing and organizing the tournament, as well as making rulings in the event of malfunctions. The lead tournament director this year is Phil Grimaldi. Assistant tournament directors are Marc Gammons, David Pollock, Elizabeth Dronet, and Matt Quantz. Note: some tournament directors may also be playing in the tournament. Tournament directors are not permitted to make rulings on games they are directly involved in.
Any questions about the tournament can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The entry fee for the tournament is $50. Players are also responsible for separate entry into the convention. Entry fees will be used to cover costs of the tournament, trophies, and prizes. A complete breakdown of expenditures and prizes will be published on this page.
The tournament will follow the following schedule as closely as possible. Exceptionally long play or machine malfunctions may cause deviations from the schedule.
Load in and set up
Load in and set up
Texas Pinball League Finals (Private Event)
Space City Open Practice Session (1 Hour)
Red Group Check in & Registration
Red Group, Rounds 1-6 Begin
Blue Group Check in & Registration
Blue Group, rounds 1-6 Begin
Red Group, rounds 7-12 begin
Blue Group, rounds 7-12 begin
A Division Finals Round 1
A Division Finals Round 2
B Division Finals Check in
A Division Finals Round 3; B Finals Round 1; Women’s Tournament in Space City Booth
A Division Finals Round 4; B Finals Round 2
Women’s Tournament Finals in Tournament Room
Please do your part to help the tournament run quickly and efficiently!
There will be 12 rounds of match play qualifying (Rounds 1-6 on Friday, and 7-12 on Saturday). Each round, players will will be placed in four player groups. Depending on the number of players, there may be three player groups. Each group will be randomly assigned a game to play. The software will attempt assign games that players have not played previously, though this cannot be guaranteed.
Players will be matched in a balanced fashion. This means that each round, players will be grouped with opponents that they have not faced before. Player order will be determined by the tournament software. At the end of each game, players will earn points based on how many opponents they defeated (3, 2, 1, 0). For three player groups, scoring is (3, 1.5, 0). Results will be submitted by players via the matchplay software. Players must enter full scores for each game. We also encourage all players to take photos of their scores to verify results if they are challenged.
There will be two separate groups (Red & Blue), each playing separately. Players may only play in one qualifying session.
Qualifying ties will be broken by playing for high score on a single, randomly chosen machine.Tiebreakers for each group will be played separately. Only critical ties will be broken, such as those that determine advancing to playoffs or byes.
The top 12 finishers from each qualifying group will be placed in the A-Division finals (24 total). The top 4 finishers from each group will receive a bye in the first round.
Finals will follow a “PAPA style” format, with some modifications. During finals, players will be placed in four-player groups based on seeding. Each group will play on 3 machines. At the start of each round, the highest seeded player of each group will choose all three games for the round, starting with the highest seeded group. Players may not choose the same game two rounds in a row. Players will then choose player order for the first match, starting with the highest seeded player. All subsequent matches will be determined in reverse finishing order of previous match (i.e., last place chooses first).
Multiple groups may choose a game that has been selected by a higher seeded group, but it must be played as a different game number. For example, if group 1 chooses to play Iron Maiden on Game 1, group 2 can only play Iron Maiden as their Game 2.
Players will earn points depending on the finishing position of each game (4, 2, 1, 0). The top two players from each group will advance to final round (determined by points accumulated within the round). If two or more players are tied to advance at the end of the round, they will play a randomly chosen game (excluding any games previously played in the round).
There will also be a B-Division, following the same format as A-Division finals. Game choice will be limited to games that are not being played by the A-Division groups. B-division will be limited to players ranked 500 or higher by the IFPA who did not qualify for the A-Division.
B-Division will be limited to the top 4 players from each group who did not qualify in any of the sessions. Tiebreakers will be settled using the tiebreaker rules articulated above.
B-Division finals will be played for prizes only. Final placement in the tournament will be based on qualifying score.
A tentative game list can be found here. This list is subject to change at any time. If you would like to lend a game to the tournament, please contact email@example.com. Those who lend a game can secure themselves a spot in the tournament, provided the game is secured prior to tickets going on sale. We are looking specifically for alpha-numeric and newer games. Games must be in excellent condition.
All games have been graciously donated by local collectors and enthusiasts. They have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into these games. Simply moving them to the tournament was a lot of work. Do not abuse the games. Do not hit or kick the games. Players who abuse games will be issued warnings or ejected from the facility, depending on the severity of the offense.
Please refrain from loud yelling or cursing. It is distracting to other players, and reflects poorly on you and the community.
During play, do not distract your opponent by talking to them (unless they talk to you or tell you it’s okay). Do not hover over their shoulders. Do not coach them or give them advice while they play. It is perfectly fine to talk/exchange high-fives between balls.
Please avoid “rage-tilting” a ball (i.e., intentionally tilting out of frustration). In addition to making you look silly, it is disrespectful to your opponent as they must wait for the tilt bob to settle before starting their ball. This also increases the total duration of the tournament.
Extra balls will be disabled. However, if you are awarded an extra ball, you may play it.
Pinball machines are mechanical in nature, and thus often produce unintended behaviors. Moreover, many of these machines are very old! If a game malfunctions in any way (e.g., flipper breaks, debris on field, game reset, etc.), please ask the tournament director for a ruling. The director will attempt to repair the machine without sacrificing the game. If this cannot be done, a new machine will be drawn and all progress in the original game will be lost.
If a ball becomes stuck during single-ball play, notify the tournament director for help. The ball will be placed on the right or left flipper, determined by the side of the game the ball became stuck on.
The tournament director has the final say on all rulings. If a game requires a ruling that the tournament director is directly involved, the ruling will be deferred to an assistant tournament director. We will defer to the IFPA rules for any scenarios not covered in these rules.
All entry fees, minus expenses, will be paid back to players. 90% of the prize pool will go to A-Division, and 10% to B-Division. These sub-pools will then be broken down according to the table below.
Online pre-registration for the tournament will begin at 11AM, central time, on September 12, 2021, and will continue until the beginning of the event. Please have your IFPA number ready. You can register online via eventbrite here. Information regarding pre-registration is located on the eventbrite page.
You may also register for a qualifying session at the show, during the corresponding registration period (see schedule above)