Date: June 16th & 17th, 2012
Report by Ad Jonker,
The German Pinball Association organizes two main events per year. The Frühjahr Convention (Spring convention) and the Herbst Convention (Autumn or Fall convention). One of them hosts the German Pinball Open, the other has a members-only tournament.
The event is held at different location around the country, and sometimes crosses the border to Switzerland or Austria, or other areas where the native language is German.
This edition was held in the former Schlachthof (Slaughter House). Long since replaced, some of the buildings were not demolished, such as the former boiler room which is now used for cultural events and also contains a restaurant.
Being almost next to the Central Station, it was only a few minutes walk to many hotels and the centre of the city.
The hall is now used for concerts, and has a large stage and a broad corridor in front of it. The other half is the tribune which goes up pretty high and has some balconies. On one side there is a bar, while the restaurant is in a separate part of the building, offering a nice selection of meals at low prices.
Most machines were put on the stage, while in front of it there was another row.
A few games for the classic tournament were on one side corridor and some were carried up to the balconies. That was only possible manually so some unplanned exercises were carried out.
After set up on the Friday the following games were in:
And for recreation:
You can take a look around the venue in the video below. Just click on it to play it.
A number of vendors were in the entry hall as well in a space under the tribune selling various parts.
The venue was to open at 11 o’clock on Saturday, and the last 38 places to enter the main competition which was due to start at 3pm should have been on sale by then. However, as people showed up early and had to wait to get in, these spots were all sold by 11am. So a number of players who travelled from quite a long distance to be there at 11 sharp were disappointed here.
All tournament games were shut off and therefore quite a large crowd had only a few games to play. This makes sense in making the final preparations for the tournament games, but it left a lot of people waiting for a game.
At 3pm the tournament was about to start. The game play was different from most known types. There were four coloured groups of 32 players each and the best twelve from each group continued to the second round.
In each colour, groups of four players were chosen at random and each group of four played two games. When this round was completed, new random groups of four were formed for each colour.
This happened another two times so everyone played eight games and all points per game per player were added. The maximum possible number of points was 56, and the lowest was 8.
Although there were 32 games available, quite often one player would play the same game more than once, which was not really necessary.
The best twelve from each colour continued to the second round which was played in the so-called 'Swiss mode'. Head-to-head games in this round, fixed on nine games each.
What the system does is arrange it so that in the next games, players are automatically grouped by wins, so you get opponents of a similar skill level. The player with the most wins ended top, but when the number of wins was equal it depends on who you won against. The more the difference in the previous round, the better a win counts.
With the delays at the start though and the high skill levels, it was going to be a late finish. Very late.
I left the premises at midnight and it wasn’t until 2:30am that the winner was known. For the first time in the history of the German Open, the Organisation is thinking about making it a two-day event in the future.
The top four in the final were:
So the Dutch couldn’t do any good in the soccer tournament, so we had to take our chances in pinball. The trophies though were worth the effort very much. I only got pictures of the fourth place trophy but the others were similar.
For those familiar with the city landmark of Bremen, you may notice the animals are not in the correct order.
Although the games were available on Saturday as well, only a few attempts were played late on Saturday night since the main tournament took so much time. At €3 a go, one could play one game on three out of six available games. Recorded scores were awarded ranking points (100, 89, etc.). There were also three hours on Sunday in which to qualify. The best sixteen continued to the next round.
What was very different was that all points scored by a player in all their attempts were added up to give their total, so if you played enough times you would automatically qualify. I ended in seventeenth place, but luckily someone didn’t show up so I could continue, only to finish third. No WPPR points were awarded here.
All in all it was not so spacious a place, but with a lot of different games from different decades. It was a bit slow starting and a very long-lasting tournament with good other facilities and a great atmosphere.
Next year it will be held around April in Berlin.
© Pinball News 2012