Date: June 12th - 14th, 2015
Report and pictures by David Mainwaring
After last year’s German Pinball Open (GPO) in Nuremburg, this year we've come to the pleasant city of Bremen.
The venue is the Musical Theatre located in the centre of Bremen. A great location with plenty of room and natural light.
Entrance to the venue, including pre-registration to the main tournament, totalled €20 ($22.30/£14.38).
The whole event is run by the German Pinball Association (GPA).
The ground floor was host to the latest machines: Kiss, Whoa Nellie!, Mustang, The Walking Dead and WWE Wrestlemania amongst others. These were pay-to-play, with the money going to charity.
Kiss, as promised, played quite nicely. It reminded me of playing a modern version of an alphanumeric era of machine. However there was a lot of black gunge and dirt on the playfield as we will see next.
Zooming in on the previous picture you can see a lot of black build up which, when we talked to the operator, apparently comes from the black rotating spinning disk under the head. It was cleaned every few hours, and it became dirty again after just a few dozen plays. Let’s hope Stern addresses this design fault.
The first floor partially consisted of free play modern-era machines, but around half of the space was occupied by solid-state and electromechanical classics machines, along with the qualifying for area for the classics tournament. Each qualifying entry for the classics tournament was priced at €3 ($3.35/£2.16).
I took my camera and recorded a video walking around the GPO so you can see it all for yourself.
First let’s cover the Classics tournament.
Choose any four machines from the bank of eight and try and put up four good scores. The top 32 qualified through to the next round.
The final 32 then played two- player double-knockout with a losers bracket. Machines and players were picked at random. Note the machines for the final 32 players included another 8 machines located just outside the Classics qualifying area making a total of 16 possible machines.
The last four went through to the final. Here are the results of that final.
127 qualified for the main Open tournament with the top 64 IFPA-ranked players getting instant qualification for the tournament. Approximately 200 people started to try and get one of the 127 places on the Friday via pre-qualification.
There were 4 rounds, each of which consisted of 2 x 4-player games with top player getting 7 points, 2nd got 5 points, 3rd got 2 points, with 1 point for last place. The top 48 qualified for the next round, split into four groups of 12.
Then it was eleven rounds of Swiss-style play where players were initially paired at random for the first round, and then then paired so that those with the same or similar numbers of wins play each other. Seven of these rounds were played on Saturday and four more rounds on the Sunday. The four players with the most wins went into the final.
They were Andreas Harre and Martin Hotze from Germany, Paul Jongma from the Netherlands and Morgen Petersen from Denmark.
These four played three different machines in the final, with points awarded for position in each game.
In the end it was a German one-two.
You can clearly see the German’s have put a lot of thought in to this tournament. A great venue which worked extremely well, organization was top notch, and everyone seemed to be having great fun. The beers and food at the bar were very reasonably priced (probably due to the Pound:Euro rate being good). Staff were friendly and the place was well lit and spacious.
I only have one criticism which I heard from so many players about the tilts in the main tournament being extremely tight. Several of the machines I played in the main tournament gave me a double danger or tilt in multiball or just by pressing the flippers. Seeing as a percentage of pinball skills come from nudging, this skill couldn’t be used at all on any machines I played except one. Nudging is a pinball skill so please bear that in mind for next year.
However, I would like to thank the German organisers for making this an excellent tournament. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, including myself. Apart from the tilt issue, I don’t think it was possible to make it a better event than it already was.
My hat comes off for all the German organisers and who made this event possible. I'm already looking forward to GPO 2016.
© Pinball News 2015