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Midwest Pinball Championship Rules

Note: These rules have been adapted by using portions from past Midwest Pinball Championship Tournaments. There may be further revisions and clarifications made before the 2020 Midwest Pinball Tournament takes place. Please do not consider these rules final until this paragraph has been removed, or until the tournament has begun.

The Midwest Gaming Classic is an all-encompassing gaming event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2020 the Midwest Gaming Classic will hold the 12th annual Midwest Pinball Championships (MPC).

The Event Coordinator for the Midwest Pinball Championships is Dan Loosen. Event Coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and provide ultimate rulings, delegate responsibilities and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Because of this role, event coordinators are excluded from tournament play. Designated officials may play, but must follow all rules regarding tournament play and may not officiate themselves.

I. Quick Overview

MPC tournament rules are quite lengthy and detailed. They reflect the experience of many years of tournament and league play, under many different systems. The underlying ideas are simple, however.

Friday evening (6 PM to 12 AM) and Saturday (10 AM to 8 PM) of the tournament consists of qualifying rounds for singles players, while Sunday features head-to-head elimination bouts based on the ranking from Friday and Saturday.

Each qualifying attempt consists of play on a machine. The player’s combined performance on that machine is ranked versus all other players. The highest composite scores across all qualifying games will advance to the final rounds.

In the final rounds, qualifying players play against each other in 4-player games.

II. Singles Competition

1. Divisions of Play

Due to the fact that the tournament is free to enter, and all people are welcome to play, there are no longer any divisions of play in the tournament.

We suggest that any players aged 9 or under participate in the “Midwest Junior Pinball Championship”. The children’s tournament is played on a different game and has no ranking impact on the MPC. Those players may still participate in the Midwest Pinball Championship if they so choose, in which case all of the same rules apply to them as outlined above.

2. Fees

There are no registration fees to participate in pinball tournaments at the Midwest Gaming Classic, however a one-time registration is required of each player before play begins in any tournament, regardless of division or tournament type (ie mini-tournament, pinball tournament, hybrid tournament, etc). Registration is not required to watch or to play non-tournament games at the Midwest Gaming Classic. Entries into any tournaments do not have any fees associated with them, although entry is limited.

It is up to the players to ensure their play is recorded.

The last entries for the MPC must be started no later than 8pm on Saturday, as qualifying is only available for the Saturday of the show. Any entries that are not started by this time will be considered voided through the fault of the player. A decision by the head judge may be made at 8pm to extend qualifying, players must be present and in line for them to be considered for this.

3. Prizes

Top participants will receive a certificate commemorating their play. All players will receive WPPR points, regardless of if they participate in Sunday’s play-off or not.

III. Singles: Qualifying Rounds

1. Obtaining entries

Entries are free. After registering, each player will receive six entries. If these are physical based scorecards, players must not lose them, as they are how the officials determine which machine you need to play. Lost tournament entry scorecards may not be reprinted.

2. Playing an entry

When a player is ready to play a qualifying entry, he or she approaches the bank of machines designated for the tournament and informs the scorekeeper of their selection. Nine different titles will be provided for the tournament. Each scorecard is good for one entry on a single entry on a single game of the player’s choice. No additional entries may be played. At no time may the player begin play on any machine without being instructed to do so by the scorekeeper. Based on which scorecard the player gives to the official, the player will be directed to a machine to play for their entry when available.

At the end of each game, the player will request that the scorekeeper record and verify his or her score before leaving the machine. It is the player’s responsibility to ensure that the scorekeeper takes down the score, and to double check the recorded score for correctness.

At any point during play or immediately after play has been completed, the player may elect to abandon his or her entry by notifying the scorekeeper. Although only five of the six tournament entries will count this year, the Midwest Gaming Classic strongly encourages players to NOT abandon any scores.

Once the player has begun to play their entry, they may not take their scorecard from the scorekeeper, whether it is complete, incomplete, or void.

3. Scoring

All scores posted on a particular machine are reverse ranked, with the top-scoring player receiving 500 points for that title, the second top scoring player receiving 499 points, and so on for as many entries are played.

The player’s overall ranking will be based on combining their top five point totals across five different machines.

In the case that a player opts to play multiple entries on the same machine, only his or her top score will count toward their point total. In this fashion, each player should play at least five different titles with their six entries to maximize their points.

The overall score of a particular person is the total of the point values assigned to its ranked scores on all machines in the qualifying rounds. Because the rankings will change as new scores are posted on each machine, the score of each entry may change as the qualifying rounds progress.

In the unlikely event of two or more scores on a machine being tied, the highest point value of the tied positions will be awarded for each tied score.

There are no scoring normalizers or other adjustments. As the qualifying rounds progress, players may wish to adjust their choice of qualifying machines according to the scores already posted, as well as their personal skills and preferences.

The rank of the player’s result on each machine contributes the following points to the score for that entry.

Rank and Score

1st Place – 500 points
2nd Place – 499 points
3rd Place – 498 points
4th Place – 497 points
All places beyond 4th continue to decrease by one point until place 500. In the case of any competitors placing below 500, they will receive zero points for that particular game.

Tournament officials will endeavor to provide up-to-date scores and rankings at all times. This has traditionally been done with a computer and monitor, but may be done using another acceptable method.

4. Scoring Example

A player is ready to play one of her qualifying entries, and a scorekeeper directs her to the machine to play on. She plays one entry on a qualifying machine, and the scorekeeper records her score. At the time the entry is completed, her score is ranked in the 3rd position on the selected machine. Her total score for this entry is therefore 498. This score may change as other entries are played, by this player or other players. For example, at the end of qualifying, the scores for this entry may only rank 20th, providing a total score of 481. If a score is moved out of the top 500, it does not count for any points.

The player may use a second entry on the same title later on in the qualifying session. If her score is better than her first attempt, this would improving her qualifying points total to the new ranking at that point, and the original ranking would be eliminated.

Note that barring the correction of errors in scoring data, the total score for any qualifying entry can only remain the same or decrease as entries are played from other players; it can never increase for a competitor without a second entry being played. If the player has already played all of his or her entries, his or her score for that machine may only go down.

If you wish to qualifying highly in the Midwest Pinball Championship, we strongly suggest that you play all six entries on six different machines. It is possible, although highly improbable, to qualify using less than five entries.

Please note – in the event that a machine breaks and is not able to be repaired in a reasonable amount of time, scores for that machine will be treated as follows:

– If the machine break down occurs before 5pm on Saturday, each player with a qualifying score for that machine will receive one (1) additional entry. This entry may be played while qualifying runs on a different game to improve the player’s position. Game qualifying time may be extended if such a scenario were to occur, based on demand.

– If the machine break down occurs after 5pm on Saturday, the qualifying scores for that machine will stand. Players may play their remaining entries on other available machines. Game qualifying time may be extended if such a scenario were to occur, based on demand.

IV. Singles: Final Rounds

1. Advancing to Finals

As soon as players are finished and scoring is confirmed, players who qualify for the finals will be posted at the Midwest Gaming Classic in a public spot, as well as on the web site. Upon opening of the show on Sunday morning, this posting will also be at the place where the tournament is being played. Final rounds will start promptly at 10:15am Sunday morning, so the first report time will be 10:10am.

Note that qualifying position determines the seeding in final rounds. Due to the nature of the round system, players will be asked to report for their game at different times on Sunday. Players report times will be five minutes earlier than their match is scheduled to begin. In the event that a qualifying player is not available, by the time the round starts, the person they were supposed to play against will win the round as a forfeit. In the rare case where both players do not arrive on time to start their round, measures may be taken to re-shuffle that qualifying round’s field so that the top players get a bye and the following round does not start with an open spot.

In the event a qualifying player is not available, he or she will be skipped in the ranking as if he or she had not qualified. Upon discovering that a player is not present, tournament officials will make a specific announcement for that player, allowing five minutes for that player to appear. Substitutions or late arrivals are not allowed except in the above situation.

2. Tie Breaking Procedures

In the case of two players having an equal amount of ranking points, a tie breaking procedure may be used to separate the two players. This procedure will be decided by tournament officials, but will generally be a single game face off, unless external factors such as timing force a change. These players will be identified and asked to report additional 5 minutes early before their regular play time Sunday to break the tie.

3. Machines Chosen

The machines used for final rounds in each division will be designated before the beginning of the final rounds of play. This designation will be determined solely by tournament officials, and may include in each division machines that were not utilized in the qualifying rounds for that division, as well as machines not previously utilized in the tournament at all.

For simplicity, the rules treat all games played in the final rounds as head-to-head games. In the event a machine being utilized does not support two simultaneous players, multiple games will be played on the same machine, with playing order preference going by original seeding as usual, and the resulting scores will be compared as if a single multi-player game had been played.

4. Player Report Times

Player report times will be listed as 5 minutes before the start of the round time listed below.

5. Round Structure

10:15am – Single-Game Play-In. Qualifying players 29 through 44 will play a single four player game in groups based on their original qualifying spots (Group One is 29, 33, 37, 41, Group Two 30, 34, 38, 42. Group Three is 31, 35, 39, 43, Group Four is 32, 36, 40, 44). The winner of each group will advance to the final rounds as outlined below. The Single-Game Play-In round will not impact final rankings for any players other than the four advancing players.

10:45am – First Round. Qualifying players 1 through 28 will join the winners of the Single-Game Play-In to play two, four player games. Points will be awarded PAPA style (4 points for first, 2 for second, 1 for third and 0 for last) in these rounds. In the case of a significant tie (for instance, between second and third place), there will be a one game playoff on a game of the tournament director’s choosing. After two games, the top two players in each group move on. Players who are eliminated will receive final ranking of spots 17 through 32 depending on their original qualifying position.

11:30pm – Quarter-Finals. Remaining players are sorted into groups of four based on their original finishing positions. Players play two, four player games. Points will be awarded PAPA style. After two games, the top two players in the group move on. Players who are eliminated will receive final ranking of spots 9 through 16 depending on their original qualifying position.

12:30pm – Semi-Finals. Remaining players are sorted into groups of four based on their original finishing positions. Players play three, four player games. Points will be awarded PAPA style. After three games, the top two players in the group move on. Players who are eliminated will receive final ranking of spots 5 through 8 depending on their original qualifying position.

2pm – Finals. Remaining 4 players play three, four player games. Points will be awarded PAPA style. After three rounds, positions achieved will determine final winner of the Midwest Pinball Championship! In the case of any ties, a single game playoff will occur with only the tied players.

A player may have their games filmed and projected or televised in a way deemed acceptable to the tournament officials. Filming equipment shall not be placed within 6 inches of the flipper buttons of the machine, and monitoring devices may not be placed within 12 inches to the left or right of the edge of the machine.

6. Game and Position Choice

The top ranked player’s group in each round gets first choice of game. Game is chosen using the following rules:

The top ranked player based on original qualifying position may choose either game or position first in each round. If the top ranked player chooses position, choice of game or position is passed to the second top ranked qualifying player, and the top ranked player’s group must wait to choose their game until other groups have selected either game or position.

A player may NOT select the same game more than once throughout the Final structure. If the top ranked player has exhausted all of his or her game choices, that player MUST choose position instead.

Groups may not choose the same game that has been previously picked by another group within the same game (first game, second game, third game). Additional groups follow in top qualifying order, with the restriction on games continuing throughout the round.

Players continue to choose game or position for all of the games in a round before the round starts. Game and position choice use the same format as above for any additional rounds.

See an example of the bracket here:

7. Final Placement for WPPR Rankings

When a player is eliminated, with the exception of the Final round, that player’s position will be based on his or her round elimination score as well as their original ranking score. For instance, if the 30th ranked player is eliminated in the Semi-Final grouping, his or her rank would be no lower than 8th.

8. Winners

As players are eliminated, they will receive a certificate noting their achievement and the round reached or, in the final positions, their final spot. All decisions by tournament officials regarding winners and prizes are final.

All players, winning or not, grant the Midwest Gaming Classic and all other event sponsors and organizers the right to use their names, scores, and likenesses for the purpose of promoting this tournament as well as other pinball-related events. If you have any problem with this clause, please speak with a tournament official before beginning play to see if we can accommodate your request.

The top winner will receive the title “Midwest Pinball Champion.” This title remains in effect until the next annual MPC tournament.

VI. Other Competitions

More competitions will be announced soon! For their rules, please check the other Midwest Gaming Classic tournament pages.

VII. Malfunctions and Rulings

IFPA Tournament Rules

The Midwest Gaming Classic will use the version of the IFPA Tournament rules which are posted on the IFPA web site at the time the tournament starts. IFPA Tournament Rules may be found at

In the case of any any Malfunctions and Rulings not outlined above, the acting Tournament Director shall have the final say over the ruling or decision. In the case that the play of the acting Tournament Director is directly impacted by the decision, the decision shall be made by the Event Coordinator.