BALAC'S PINBALL PARTY
Date: February 8th & 9th 2008
Report by Mats Runsten
February - bitingly cold winds, grey sleet covering the streets and nights twice as long as the days. Hopeless as it may seem, there is light to be found! February is also the time for Balac´s Pinball Party.
This tournament, which made its debut in 2007 and became an instant success, is held in Alingsås some thirty miles from Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast.
The main organizer is Christian Balac: a tournament player and games collector who has experience of arranging several Swedish Championships.
The underground facility (called “The Bunker”) housed the following games:
There were 60 participants (the maximum number) including the Swedish Championships´ winners from the last four years, the reigning Stockholm Open Champion, and of course the reigning World Champion Jorian Engelbrektsson.
The main tournament qualifying was played on six machines: The Shadow, Earthshaker, Bram Stoker´s Dracula, Doctor Who, Corvette and Judge Dredd.
Every competitor played two games on each machine. Each player´s best score was compared to the other players´ scores and then ranking points were given on each machine.
First place awarded 100 points, second 91, third 84, fourth 79 and so on down to one point for place 42. The players´ ranking points for each game were then totaled and the sum compared with every other player.
The top 16 players advanced to the playoffs. They were:
The playoff rounds were a single elimination tree with each match the best out of three games.
In the final, the players got to pick one machine each and the third one was randomly drawn.
Jorian chose Indiana Jones on which he had put on some nice scores during the playoffs. Karl strategically picked Judge Dredd. As he said: “Not because I like it, because I don´t, but because Jorian doesn´t like it”
In the first Indiana Jones game Karl collected some super jackpots, while Jorian didn´t get the same flow as he had before.
The second game revealed that Karl had chosen wisely. Jorian didn´t like the Judge and played weaker than expected.
So, Karl Broström played consistently and defended his title from 2007!
Main results top 4:
The classics tournament followed the same lines as the main tournament, more or less.
Instead of six games each player qualified on three machines: World Cup ('78), Star Trek and Hotdoggin´. Due to time restrictions only eight players advanced to the playoffs which gave the competitors little or no margin for errors.
The following eight players made it to the playoffs:
After the quarter- and semi-finals, the remaining two players were Jorian Engelbrektsson and Kjell Ömmersjö. Jorian won on Hotdoggin´ while Kjell won on World Cup. In the deciding game on Devil´s Dare, Jorian played relentlessly and secured the win.
Classics results top 4:
There was also a "set the high score" tournament on the new Wheel of Fortune. The machine was generously lent out and transported to Sweden for this occasion by Ole Kristiansen.
I don´t know if anyone really became friends with WoF, but Patrik Bodin bonded enough to score 52m (with no outlane posts) which was enough to hold the fellow competitors at bay.
There was also a Fair Play Award given to Mats Runsten. The award was actually instituted on the fly as Mats, after winning the bronze match, gave Michael a second chance by offering him the opportunity to play an extra ball (due to a problem with a stuck ball) he wasn´t really entitled to according to the rules.
You´ve heard about Balac and you´ve heard about pinball, but what about the party?
Well, there wasn´t exactly dancing and singing going on, but there was a well stocked fridge with beer sold for modest prices. Of course there were also lots of non-tournament, free play pins in excellent condition.
There was also a room with Guitar Hero 3 set up for people who wanted another kind of challenge.
All in all this was a well run tournament with a friendly atmosphere and machines in terrific shape, which really made you long for next February.