Date: 12th & 13th November, 2016 Location: Calle Camino Marcota, Biar, Spain Pinball News hadn’t visited a pinball tournament in Spain since the country hosted the European Pinball Championship in Madrid in 2012. So a return visit was long overdue and we were very happy to rectify this with a trip to the town of Biar, around 50km north of the south-eastern coastal city of Alicante. Biar is a charming town located amongst a range of hills with plenty of classical Spanish architecture, culture and, thankfully, weather. We arrived on Friday afternoon and explored the back streets before enjoying some tapas and a local beer or two, and visiting the venue for the weekend’s competitive events. The view over the rooftops to the castle Steps up the hill The church in the town square The venue for the tournament was a large white-painted building on the south-eastern edge of town. The venue for the tournament The entrance to the venue The view opposite We were given a guided tour of the building, looking at the tournament areas and delving into the storage space at the back. In both we found some interesting original and Spanish-tailored pinball machines. The weekend consisted of a modern tournament, a classics tournament and three side tournaments. Both the modern and classics tournaments were played on twelve machines, all of which needed to be played. The first batch of modern tournament machines The remaining modern tournament machines Classic tournament machines More classic tournament machines The machines used in both tournaments were as follows: Modern Tournament Classic Tournament Spider-Man VE Game of Thrones LE The Walking Dead LE Star Trek LE The Simpsons Pinball Party Monster Bash Cirqus Voltaire Pinball Magic Metallica Premium Stargate Party Zone Theatre of Magic – 1 – – 2 – – 3 – – 4 – – 5 – – 6 – – 7 – – 8 – – 9 – – 10 – – 11 – – 12 – Top Racer Genie Dragon El Dorado The 30s Running Horse Luck Smile Shamrock Tasty Samba 300 Surfer Big Brave In the repair area we saw an unusual pinball from Jumaci of Madrid which had no backbox, used lamps to indicate the score, and featured outward-facing flippers. An unusual game from Jumaci You might recognise this King Game as Gottlieb’s Capt. Card Along with the tournament machines, there was also a bank of free-play practice games. These also featured some Spanish games not often seen outside of the country. The bank of free-play machines This guy looks well and truly check-mated Bongor is a Spanish version of Gottlieb’s Jungle King Screech is an original Inder design featuring an electronic score display but a score reel for the credits display You have to wonder about the story behind this backglass In addition to the machines there was also a parts table where common pinball spares could be purchased, and a high-quality table football (foosball) game which was priced at €1 per game. The pinball parts table Just in case anyone needed a break from pinball Registration for the Torneo de Pinball de Biar cost €60 ($63.77 or £51.34) which included an individualised red tournament T-shirt complete with embroidered initials and country flag, a personal player card and a tournament poster. Individual tournament packs for the competitors Tournament posters The ceramic trophies for the various tournaments Registration also got you a hearty breakfast of various types of breads topped with meats and sausages which was called cocas, all of which was accompanied by beer, soft drinks and water. Although we’d already eaten breakfast at the hotel the breakfast here looked too good not to sample. Putting out the breakfast dishes The breakfast spread The selection was delicious and enjoyed by everyone In the unlikely possibility anyone was still hungry or thirsty, additional snacks and drinks were available at very reasonable prices at a bar next to the free-play machines. The bar The drinks and snacks on offer Once breakfast was over it was time to start the serious business of the tournaments. Both the modern and classics ran in parallel, with players able to play their games in either as they wished as long as they completed them all by the close of qualifying at 8pm. Players gather to hear the format and the rules A magnetic board at the side of the entrance contained name plates for each of the twelve modern and twelve classic pinballs. Players could choose to play any of the machines. If the machine’s name plate was on the board it was available to play right away, otherwise they had to wait until the current game was over and the name plate was returned to the board. The name plates of the twenty-four machines To ensure each machine was only played once by each player, as the name plate was taken their score card was punched to show the machine had been chosen. Each score card was punched as a machine was selected Qualifying in the classic and modern tournaments Individual machine scores were shown on monitors at the entrance to the tournament area Officials started the games to make sure none were restarted by the players, and they also recorded scores on paper sheets – one sheet per machine – which were handed to the scoring desk when filled so the results could be entered into the computer system. The crush at the entrance to the tournament area At times – and especially as competitors had played many of their games and were waiting for one of their final few to become available – the entrance to the tournament area became quite crowded, making it difficult to enter or leave or to access the magnetic name plates. The tournament takes a break for lunch One thing you will quickly appreciate about Spanish tournaments – and Spain in general – is that food and drink play an important part in the overall enjoyment of life. This weekend was no different, and so it was that at 2pm everything stopped so all the players and organisers could decamp to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Filled crepes and a kind of savoury bread pudding followed the opening salad course The lunch was an optional €20 extra but it seemed everyone signed-up for it. And why not? It consisted of five courses with all the beer or wine you wanted. A very civilised way to run a tournament. Next came the squid A choice of entree was followed by a selection of deserts, all washed down with jugs of beer and bottles of local red wine Everyone back to the pinballs Lunch took two-and-a-half hours, after which it was back to the pinball hall to resume the tournaments. Qualifying on the classics machines Because lunch took a little longer than expected, qualifying was extended by another thirty minutes to give everyone a chance to play all their games. Likewise with the modern pinballs Standings in the modern tournament Overall standings were show on a projector screen in the dining area for the modern tournament and on a monitor on the bar for the classics. The classics tournament positions In both tournaments the top twenty players qualified for Sunday’s play-offs, with the top four getting a bye through the first round. The last modern qualifying games are played Once the qualifying period for players was over, the organisers played their qualification games, meaning the final standings in the modern tournament weren’t known until later into the night. The last few results are added That meant an anxious time for those players on the border of modern qualification as the final few results shuffled their standings up and down. Time for dinner The tension was only partially relieved by the arrival of pizzas. The final qualification results in the modern tournament are declared When all the results were in the computer the twenty who would continue on Sunday were revealed. Nineteen of the qualifiers were Spanish players and there was one UK player. Of the twenty players who qualified for the classics tournament., eighteen were from Spain, one from Sweden and one from the UK. With all the qualifiers decided, it was back to the hotel for us (although we did subsequently pop out for a little nightcap in the town square before retiring for the night). Sunday saw the play-offs in both tournaments as well as a number of side tournaments. Classics tournament play-offs In both tournaments, players in qualifying positions 5th-20th were put into four groups of four and played a single pre-selected machine. As long as they didn’t get the lowest score of the group they progressed to the second round. The lowest scorers in each of the four groups were out of the tournament. Those remaining sixteen were joined by the top four qualifiers for the quarter-finals and split into another four groups of four. This time they played on two machines where points were awarded for position in the order 7-5-3-1. After both games had been played, the top two players in the group moved on to the next round – the semi-finals. These eight again played in four-player groups, on this time they played on three machines with the same 7-5-3-1 points structure. The top two from both groups then moved on to the final. The first semi-final in the classics on Tasty Samba The second semi-final in the classics on El Dorado Rounds of the classic and modern play-offs alternated, although the classic reached the final four first. The classics final came down to a three-game series between Raúl Abad, César Dubón, Rafael Masedo and Marc Vallés. As in the first play-off round, all four played the first game with the lowest scorer dropping out into fourth place overall. The first game was played on Fantastic World which was added for the play-offs together with Fantastic World and Master Stroke. Marc was the lowest scorer here with 331,400. The remaining three moved on to Dragon where Rafael’s third place score of 180,400 got him eliminated and gave him third place. The last game of the final The final two of Raúl and César then played on Fireball to determine the winner and the runner-up. First place in the classic tournament, César Dubón Raúl set a target of 43,030 but César beat that and ended his game with a score of 45,830 to take first place. Second place, Raúl Abad Fourth place, Marc Vallés Third placed Rafael Masedo had to leave before the awards were presented. Classic Tournament Results 1 César Dubón 2 Raúl Abad 3 Rafael Masedo 4 Marc Vallés 5 Félix Yéboles 6 Carlos Javier Parra 7 Álvaro Vidal 8 Juan Carlos Durán 9 José Luis Martínez 10 Juan Antonio Martín 11 Magnus Lindström 12 Martin Ayub 13 Pablo Crespo Contreras 14 Gabriel Ortiz 15 Antonio Cerdanya 16 Carlos Toledano 17 Miguel Manzaneque 17 Julio Vicario 19 José Miguel Fuentes 20 José Casanova 21 Rubén de la Rosa 21 Antonio Hernández 23 David López 24 Jorge Villoria 25 Mariano Manzano 26 Antonio Sempere 26 Enrique Benavent 28 Luis Molina 29 Jorge López 30 Francisco Núñez 31 Elu Tortosa 32 Carlos Vicente 33 Pablo Crespo García 34 David Martínez 35 Jesús Garbín 36 Orlando González 37 Javier Núñez 38 Nicolai Troshinsky 39 Alejandro Yepes 40 Cristina Alonso 41 Alberto Lucerón 42 Begoña Motilla 43 José María Tortosa 44 José Manuel Richart 45 Miguel Barreal 46 Santiago Elices 47 Juan Luis Santos 48 David Mainwaring 49 Jesús Merino 50 Javier Torres 51 Valentín Camarena 52 Carlos Martos 53 Cristobal Hernández 54 David Pedreño 55 Ismael Reolid 56 José Joaquín Pérez 57 Daniel Rodríguez In an unusual twist, any player who didn’t make the final four in either the classic or modern tournament was placed according to their qualifying position, regardless of how well they did in Sunday’s play-offs. In the modern tournament the play-off rounds used the 7-5-3-1 points-based system until the final round which was played in the same format as the classic with one player being eliminated per game. There was a tie in one of the semi-finals for the last place in the final four which was decided by a one-ball game on Party Zone. Party Zone was the first game of the final So the finalists in the modern tournament were Valentín Camarena, Gabriel Ortiz, Carlos Javier Parra and Julio Vicario. They began playing on Party Zone, but this proved the end of the final for Carlos Javier Parra who came fourth in that game and so fourth overall. The second game was Metallica. Game two of the modern final – Metallica This time it was Gabriel Ortiz who came a cropper and took third place both in the game and overall. Valentín playing in the last game of the final That left Valentín Camarena and Julio Vicario to contest the final on the last game which was an Avengers LE which was added along with Getaway and Bride of Pinbot for the play-offs. Julio plays his second ball in the final Spectators behind the tournament desk Winner of the modern tournament, Julio Vicario Julio put up an impressive 67M score on his second ball to Valentín’s 11M, making quite a task for Valentín to catch him on the last ball. As it turned out he only got up to 17M before the ball drained and the final was over without Julio needing to play his third ball. Second place, Valentín Camarena Fourth place, Carlos Javier Parra Third placed Gabriel Ortiz had to leave to catch his flight before the awards were presented. Modern Tournament Results 1 Julio Vicario 2 Valentín Camarena 3 Gabriel Ortiz 4 Carlos Javier Parra 5 Santiago Elices 6 Rafael Masedo 7 Martin Ayub 8 Álvaro Vidal 9 César Dubón 10 Alberto Lucerón 11 Javier Núñez 12 Antonio Sempere 13 Raúl Abad 14 Pablo Crespo Contreras 15 Luis Molina 16 Juan Antonio Martín 17 Nicolai Troshinsky 18 Antonio Cerdanya 19 Carlos Vicente 20 José Manuel Richart 21 David Mainwaring 22 Félix Yéboles 23 Francisco Núñez 24 Magnus Lindström 25 Rubén de la Rosa 26 Jorge Villoria 26 Jorge López 28 Juan Carlos Durán 29 Pablo Crespo García 30 David López 31 Miguel Manzaneque 32 Elu Tortosa 33 Orlando González 34 Mariano Manzano 35 Jesús Merino 36 Marc Vallés 36 Antonio Hernández 38 Carlos Toledano 39 Juan Luis Santos 39 Enrique Benavent 41 Alejandro Yepes 42 José Luis Martínez 43 José María Tortosa 44 Miguel Barreal 45 Javier Torres 46 Begoña Motilla 47 David Martínez 48 Cristobal Hernández 49 Daniel Rodríguez 50 Ismael Reolid 51 José Casanova 52 Cristina Alonso 53 José Joaquín Pérez 54 Carlos Martos 55 Jesús Garbín 56 José Miguel Fuentes 57 David Pedreño The split-flipper tournament As we mentioned earlier, in addition to the two main tournaments there were three side tournaments. The first of these was a split-flipper competition on Dr Dude. The three side-tournament machines The second side-tournament was a crossed-hands competition on Whirlwind, while the final side-tournament used a Flintstones game with a cover over the playfield which only provided a small window above the flippers to see the ball. Winner of the crossed-hands tournament, Raúl Abad The Flintstones competition was won by Pablo Crespo Contreras, the crossed-hands competition by Raúl Abad and the split-flipper by Álvaro Vidal and his son. Winners of the split-flipper tournament, Álvaro Vidal and his son With all the awards presented, the Torneo de Pinball de Biar weekend came to an end. Down by the waterline in Alicante We also had a flight home to catch, but not before a stop-off in Alicante to enjoy the last of the day’s sunshine and sample the local cuisine once more. The sun was just starting to set The relaxed atmosphere and schedule surrounding the Biar weekend was a refreshing change from the often frantic and hurried tournaments we have experienced elsewhere. Having most of the tournament machines as part of a fixed collection certainly makes things easier for the organisers. The Biar modern tournament was also Spain’s nominated event for the IPFA European Championship Series, giving it added significance and bringing in a few non-Spanish players. Those who hadn’t played in the previous six Biar tournaments could have benefitted from more information regarding the tournament formats and the way the overall results were decided. Nonetheless, the whole weekend had a uniquely Spanish feel of warmth – both social and temperate – which, despite the huge quantities of food consumed, left us hungry for more.