Date: 5th December, 2015
Report by Rich Mallett
The final round of the 2015 European Championship Series, the Romanian Pinball Open (RPO), took place in Bucharest on Saturday 5th December 2015.
This was my first time in Bucharest and I can highly recommend visiting this bustling and vibrant city . Luckily I had five days spare, so I decided to arrive on Thursday before the tournament.
There are many options for accommodation to suit all budgets, but I went for Gabby Molotov’s Hostel; just two blocks and five minutes' walk from the venue, with a bar that’s open all hours, three pinball machines and a club stage/bar venue in the basement. What more could you want? Lovely jubbly!
If you have time spare then there are plenty of nice parks and buildings to see, all just a short walk from the venue and central Bucharest.
There were three tournaments at the RPO 2015 - the Main Tournament, an '80s Tournament (Classics), and a ‘Best Pinball Jedi’ side-tournament for the highest score in a single game on Star Wars.
Ovi Cacina, the IFPA Romania President, was the tournament director (pictured here with Lieven Engelbeen from Belgium).
Anca & Ovi’s wife Lidia were at the tournament desk to register players and enter results into the computer.
Ovi & Lidia’s daughter, Lulia (pictured in the centre below) and her friends were on hand to help record the results as they came in.
Here's the machine list for the main tournament:
Ovi was kept busy with the task of fixing any faults that developed during the course of the day.
So after the qualifying rounds were completed the field was reduced to sixteen players, creating eight matches, each a best-of-three, on one randomly-chosen machine.
This was repeated until the field was reduced to four players, resulting in two semi-finals - each a best-of-three-games match to be played on a randomly chosen machine. A coin toss determined who would play first.
The first semi-final was between Ollivier Francq and Rich Mallet on Creature from the Black Lagoon. Ollivier won the first game by less than a million (74m v 75m) , but Rich took the second game, meaning the first semi went to a decider. Ollivier won this comfortably, repeatedly shooting the Move Your Car shot over and over with great accuracy, winning with a ball to spare and scoring 174m from the two balls he played.
The second semi-final was between Cesare D’atri and Lieven Engelbeen on Shrek.
Cesare won the first game, but Lieven came back with a win in the second, meaning that the second semi was also to be decided by one game.
Going into the last ball, Cesare had a lead of 14M, but Lieven had a great last ball and really looked like he was going to overhaul Cesare’s 25.9M . But Lieven’s ball drained, and as the bonus was clocking up he agonisingly fell just short of Cesare’s total.
So the final of the RPO 2015 would be between Ollivier Francq of Belgium and Cesare D’atri of Italy. It was to be a best-of-five match where the first to three wins would win the title.
By now the venue was filling up with its Saturday night crowd and the music was beginning to crank up in volume. There was a real atmosphere building up inside this spacious central Bucharest venue. Outside, the Christmas vibe was fully up and running with beautiful lights illuminating the nearby streets.
Throughout the day, and in-between qualifying games in the main tournament, the qualification games for the '80s Classics Tournament were in full swing. The machines for the Classics were:
You could choose three machines from the six and play up to a maximum of three games on each machine. However, it was only one score - your most recent score - that would count, so you had to be careful that you didn’t get a lower score than your previous score on that machine as it was only your most recent game that was counted and not necessarily your highest score .
All the scores were recorded and the top four players in qualification would compete in a single game to determine the RPO '80s Tournament winner.
After all the qualification games for the Classics Tournament were completed, the top four players were Cristian Istrate of Romania, Lieven Engelbeen of Belgium, Cesare D’atri of Italy, and Giuseppe Violante of Italy.
The final of the Classics Tournament was played on a single game of Playmatic’s Big Town.
It was very close going into the third ball, but no one knew if it was a three or five ball game. Ha ha ha. The game finished unexpectedly after the third ball and the results of the final were in!
It had been a long day of pinball, so the arrival of the Coca-Cola girls was a welcome distraction!
So, onto the third/fourth place play-off in the main tournament between Lieven and Rich, a best-of-three match on Dirty Harry.
Rich won the first game but Lieven bounced back to win the next two games and take third place in the main RPO tournament.
Next up was the final of the Main Tournament to determine the overall winner of the RPO 2015 - a best-of-five match between Ollivier Francq of Belgium and Cesare D’Atri from Italy.
Ollivier won a fairly close first game on Pinball Magic to go 1-0 up.
The next game was on Creature from the Black Lagoon which Ollivier won again . He likes this machine. He’s apparently got one at home.
So Cesare had to win all three of the remaining games to deny Ollivier the title. He started really well on Dr. Dude, shooting the left ramp masterfully over and over again as well as making the 1-2-3 combo million shot, scoring 12 million on his first ball.
It was a score that Ollivier was unable to overhaul, which meant we were 2-1 to Ollivier going into the fourth game The Addams Family.
Cesare went first on The Addams Family but could only mange 8M on his first ball as Ollivier got the multiball going and managed to get a couple of jackpots.
Cesare tried on his last ball to make Ollivier play his ball three, but unfortunately was never able to get going on a very tough Addams Family. Ollivier was victorious!
The Best Pinball Jedi side-tournament was won by Lieven Engelbeen.
So there endeth a quite remarkable day and night of European pinball! It was a very well-organised event with some great pinball skills on display.
I personally would like to thank Ovi Cacina, Lidia Cacina, Luli Cacina, Łukasz Dziatkiewicz, Gabby ‘Gabba Gabba Hey!’ Molotov, Milan Caranovic, Liv Decay, Vlad Prodan and Rexcolt Pinball for all your efforts and generous hospitality that made the RPO 2015 such a great success. Thanks very much and "mulțumesc foarte mult!"
Miss you guys and looking forward to the next RPO already.
© Pinball News 2015