The Capital Combo

Welcome to the Capital Combo, a blog of the Lansing Pinball League.  Anything posted here can be blamed solely on the post’s author – usually Heather.  It does not represent the official position (or sense of humor) of the League or its organizer.

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League Night Recap for 9/26/17

League Night #6 of 8

Games played: Attack from Mars, Iron Man, Junk Yard, The Walking Dead, Austin Powers.

Joseph’s birthday cake.

League Night #6 happened to fall on Joseph’s birthday, so I wanted to surprise him with a cake.  Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I eventually concluded that there was no way I could pick the cake up myself and still make it to league in time to play at least a couple of games with people before it was all over.  I considered having Mike S. pick the cake up, but this plan was scrapped when we realized that the hot weather might melt the frosting if the cake was left in his car until I arrived.  Ultimately, I ended up having Joseph go and pick his own cake up from the bakery.  Uh, happy birthday?  I ordered it, anyway.

A band playing for the Flat Black & Circular 40th anniversary party.

I arrived in a bit of a foul mood because I had to drive around the block looking for parking until I finally gave up and parked so far away that I might have just as well walked from home.  When I arrived at The Avenue I discovered why.  The place was crowded and a band was playing.  Bands during league night are not my favorite thing.  I saw Joseph’s cake in the downstairs alcove, but no one was around and the cake was untouched, so I picked it up and went to look for everyone.  Someone (not with league) saw the cake and said something like, “Ha ha, another cake!”  I had no idea what she was talking about so I just nodded and smiled and went upstairs, where Joseph was in the midst of destroying the ring on Lord of the Rings.  While I watched, he successfully destroyed it.  After stopping to swear about how annoyed I was over the band and the crowd, I then ran to Joseph (only after his ball drained, of course) and hugged and congratulated him on having an epic league game on his birthday.

Joseph cuts the cake.

After Joseph’s LotR game, I put candles on the cake and lit them, only for Joseph to take that moment to run off (probably to wash his hands).  The tiny little candles burned down precariously as everyone stood there saying “Uh, where did he go?”  When he did come back I scolded him: “Damn it, Joseph, these are only designed to stay lit about two minutes!”  Then I pulled the rug out just as he was about to blow them out by asking for another moment so I could get my camera ready.  This he granted, though my picture of the moment did not come out so well anyway.  In any case, the candles were extinguished and I hope Joseph’s wish will come true.

After that I found out that the band playing was in honor of the 40th birthday of Flat, Black & Circular, the used record store in East Lansing, and that there had been a cake, so our bringing a cake was kind of redundant.  I also eventually softened my attitude about the music, since a lot of it was high-spirited polka music that was fun to jump around to while waiting to play.  At one point even Danny busted some polka moves.

My group (I belatedly joined with Danny, Kristen, and Dan) was the last one to play Lord of the Rings, and it was struggling.  First I lost a ball due to the sword lock never kicking a ball out, then Kristen ended up with a one-ball multiball.  She didn’t want to exploit a beneficial malfunction, so Mike (who was acting in place of Matt again this time) ruled that we would all scratch LotR and play Austin Powers instead.  My first thought was of poor Joseph, having to discard his epic birthday game.  My second thought was, oh God, Austin Powers.  We eventually figured out which coin slot would give credits and not steal quarters (I think it was the left?) and played it, but at least a couple of people gave up and left, planning to make up later, because it was already so late.

Tonight is night #7 of 8, so the season is getting fairly close to drawing to a close.  There probably won’t be cake, but there will be good company, so won’t you join us?

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League Night Recap for 9/12/17

League night #5 of 8

Games played: Fish Tales, The Addams Family, Jack-Bot, Tales of the Arabian Nights

Well folks, we have passed the halfway point for Season 9 as of last league night, so the competition should really start to heat up.  In theory, anyway.  In practice, I arrived (late as always this season due to my class schedule) to last league night in time to see my group-to-be in the midst of a game of Tales of the Arabian Nights, and Kristen looking quite glum at her Ball 1 score that was somewhere around 30K points.  (This prompted some discussion of whether it is possible to get a score lower than that.  It turns out it is: Joseph – intentionally, I think – did a single ball score around 10K after league.)

Mike B. playing TotAN.

Mike B. playing TotAN.

Fortunately(?) for Kristen, she did not actually win the award for worst single ball score.  That honor goes to Chris, who scored 0 (zero) on his first ball of Jack-Bot.  He gets no sympathy from me.  He knew the risk!  By now, everyone in the Lansing Pinball League knows that short-plunging Jack-Bot is living dangerously.  The gate likes to stick, and when the ball gets hung up in it, there is no way to get it free except by banging the game hard enough to tilt.  That is exactly what happened, leading to Chris tilting out before scoring a single point.

(In case you are wondering why people are so tempted to short plunge: if you plunge softly enough to avoid hitting any switches before you get the ball on the right flipper, the playfield won’t be validated.  Validating the playfield means the game now considers the ball “in play” and starts the ball saver timer, if any.  So not only can you get ball on flipper and in control without losing your ball saver, there are actually a couple of targets that you can hit without validating the playfield, meaning you can shoot them in safety, drain, and still get your ball back.  This is especially useful in multiball, since a couple of jackpots, sorry, Jackbots can be cashed in before validating the playfield.  And that was your Amateur Tip of the Day.  Your Pro Tip, on the other hand, is this: don’t short plunge Jack-Bot at the Avenue unless you want a zero point ball.)

I don’t have much else to say about last league night because now that I wander in close to 8 p.m., it feels like it’s over as soon as it starts.  Regarding tonight’s league night, starting in just about an hour, I will say this: happy birthday, Joseph!  Tear it up!  And save a piece of cake for me.

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Announcing the Second Annual Fear and Trembling Tournament

The Fear and Trembling Pingolf Tournament will be returning to The Avenue on October 25 beginning at 6 p.m.  As with last year, the theme will be “hard choices,” but this year there will be a new format and IFPA endorsement for WPPR points.  The registration fee is $10 (all of which goes directly to the charity) and players are additionally responsible for coin drop on the games.

Each game on the course will have a choice between two objectives.  The goal is to try to meet your objective in 1 ball for a hole in one – or in as few balls as possible.  The catch is that you must declare your choice of objective before starting.  If you call one objective and accidentally meet the other sooner, tough luck!

Four finalists will go to a three-game final series, and all four finalists will receive a Halloween-themed trophy.

Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the event!  If you’re on Facebook, join our event page.

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League Night Recap for 8/22/17

League night #4 of 8

Games played: Ghostbusters, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Revenge from Mars, Monster Bash, Simpsons Pinball Party

We had one of those odd three-week intervals between league meetings to start off this month, so of course with all that extra time, I have once again waited until nearly the start of our next league meeting (which is tonight at 7) to write the recap of the last meeting.  There, I gave myself grief about it so you all don’t have to.  Now that that’s out of the way, on with the recap.

Mike pointing at Monster Bash while Chris looks.

Mike shows Chris and Greg where he got a ball stuck on Monster Bash.

Our original slated games include South Park, which we have never yet played at league, just like we have never yet played Demolition Man.  And just like last week, when it looked like we might finally play Demo Man and then it got switched out, South Park started doing something wrong besides just being South Park (eating quarters, I think?  I don’t know, I was downstairs when it happened) and got removed from the schedule.  I don’t think anyone shed a tear over it and I assume it removed part of the reason that Chris had replied to the game announcement on Facebook by saying it was like going to the dentist.  (I suspect Revenge and Ghostbusters were other parts of the reason.)  Instead, they shed all their tears over Revenge from Mars, which was savage to many people.  Most people in my group got scores around 12-15 million, and that easily beat everyone in the group playing ahead of us.

Mike's stuck ball, wedged behind the pop bumper on Monster Bash.

Mike’s stuck ball, wedged behind the pop bumper on Monster Bash. Sadly, this was after league, so it didn’t save me from my bad game of MB.

I continued my sad performance this season, not as bad as last session which was my worst in probably a couple of years, but still nothing that’s going to let me claw back up into A division range.  Now that there is a 10 point attendance bonus, missing a couple of sessions really hurt me.  (OK, OK, “failed to benefit” rather than hurt me, but that’s a matter of perspective.)  It doesn’t help that Monster Bash, a game that most people normally love, is playing like heck.  The scoop is very unpredictable, which includes shooting down the middle now and then, and orbit shots still sometimes hit Drac’s foot and divert toward the center.  I ended up on Ball 3 of Monster Bash with nothing going on whatsoever and 3 million points tops, and the scoop gave me a pity Frank multiball that I didn’t realize it would do.  I managed to milk enough points out of it to get to around 12 million or so, and, oh yeah, Frank was also not registering hits, so that was all from shooting other shots.

Also sadly for me, this was my last night of league before the start of the semester, and from here to the end of the season I will be having to come to league late again due to having class until 6:15 and then an hour-plus commute.  I’ll persevere, though, so you can all expect to see me tonight at some point, probably before 8 p.m.

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Results for League Night #3, Season 9, 8/8/17

PlayerPoints this weekSeason-to-date
Mike S.47135
Mike B.2592

Results may change due to makeup games.

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League Night Recap for 8/8/17

Season 9, League Night #3 of 7

Games played: Indiana Jones, Attack from Mars, The Addams Family, Lord of the Rings, Getaway.

League members watching someone play.

Not sure what everyone’s reacting to – an unfair tilt, maybe?

League Night #3 is notable in that it was the first league night I went to this season, and that goes for Joseph too.  For the first night we were up north, and for the second night we were at Kings Island before heading on to Pinburgh.  This, then, is the first league night that I was actually present at and can write an update on!  So I should have a lot to say, right?

Uh, not really.  It was one of my worst league nights ever (whereas my makeup night for #2 the previous evening was one of my best nights ever), so I have endeavored to wipe it from my memory.

Russell playing.

Russell in a rare moment of not sliding the game.

OK, OK, I can tell you a few things.  First off, it was probably the best attended league night so far from what I’ve heard.  Joseph and I were back, and so was the league’s champion Chris, who was rumored to possibly be ducking out this season in order to cheat on us with the new One Well League.  I still have my eye on you, mister.  I mean Doctor.  Second, we were once again scheduled to play Demolition Man and were once again not able to.  I don’t remember what the reason was this time; maybe it was eating quarters.  As far as I can remember, we have not played Demolition Man for league once, because every time it is on the docket it ends up breaking.

Matt holds court while Tim plays Getaway.

Matt holds court while Tim plays Getaway.

Tonight will be my last league night arriving on time for quite a while.  I’m sad to say that I was once again unable to return to having an earlier schedule at work.  Once classes start next week, I will be unable to get to league any earlier than 7:30 or 8 pm.  What’s worse is that this time I also have an earlier start, so it’s the worst of both worlds; I’ll be tired and dragging and arriving late, so I doubt I am going to finish this season in top form.  It also means I’ll probably not be getting as many photos of league, so enjoy them while you can.

I’ll be seeing you soon (I hope) as I’m about to head to the Avenue for tonight’s league, where I will no doubt get razzed again for my habit of doing my league update shortly before the next league.  Yeah, I love you guys too.

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League Night Non-Recap for 7/25/17 (Plus Pinburgh News)

League Night #2 of 8

Games Played: Indiana Jones, Attack from Mars, Terminator 3, Jack-Bot, Fish Tales

Once again I missed league night, this time because I was at Kings Island riding the legendary wooden coaster The Beast, as part of a whirlwind trip with fellow league members Joseph and Mike S.  We drove to the Cincinnati-area amusement park before heading east to Pittsburgh to attend Pinburgh, the world’s largest pinball tournament (the largest it’s ever been, with 800 participants this year).  Then after Pinburgh, we stuck around Pittsburgh one more day to visit possibly my favorite amusement park, Kennywood.  Although I’m sorry to miss two league sessions in a row (the most I’ve ever missed in a season), it was a great trip and one I will remember for a long time.

Lansing Pinball League was represented by several current and past league members, including me, Joseph, Mike, Jake, Christine, Adam, and Rodney.  Joseph and I were the only ones to officially register LPL as our league affiliation for Pinburgh results, despite my attempts to cajole others.  Joseph notably represented the league by earning the top qualifier spot in D division and going on to win 2nd in the division after a nailbiting, high-scoring tiebreaker on the EM game Jungle Queen. He won $100 for being top qualifier and $750 for his second place finish.

Joseph with the other final four players in D division at Pinburgh.

Joseph (far right) with the other final four players in D division at Pinburgh. The other medal he is wearing was for having a perfect round the previous day, winning all four games in a match.

Mike, Christine, and Jake playing the Bowler Roller game.

Mike, Christine, and Jake playing the Bowler Roller game at Kennywood. After several attempts, Mike won a prize.

Jake and Christine came along with me, Joseph, and Mike, to Kennywood this year, which made for a very merry group. I am always delighted to show people around my favorite amusement parks (as that is my other big hobby besides pinball), as it gives me an opportunity to see them through new eyes. The highlights of the day included cramming all five of us into a car on the Turtle (a vintage tumblebug ride, one of only two of its kind remaining in the world), and all of us minus Mike (who didn’t want to get wet) riding the log flume together. I could hear Jake laugh hysterically behind me as I, the front passenger, took a big old wave to the face at the bottom of the big hill.

In just a couple of hours it will be time for this week’s league night, the third of the season but the first for me! Although I don’t have a league night report from last time due to my absence, I did finally catch up on entering the results from the first two nights. Matt has announced that tonight’s games will be Iron Man, Attack from Mars, Demolition Man, and The Addams Family, with Lord of the Rings and Getaway as backup games.  I hope to see you soon.

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Results for League Night #2, Season 9, 7/25/17

PlayerPoints this weekSeason-to-date
Mike S.3478
Mike B.1857

Results may change due to makeup games.

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Results for League Night #1, Season 9, 7/11/17

PlayerPoints this weekSeason-to-date
Mike S.4444
Mike B.2929

Results may change due to makeup games.

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League Night Non-Recap for 7/11/17 (plus Super-Ball VIII)

League Night #1 of 8, Season 9

Games played: Austin Powers, Junk Yard, Medieval Madness, Star Trek,  Theatre of Magic

To my dismay, I missed the season opener for Season 9, held on July 11. I was on a long-planned trip up north with my parents, brother, and Joseph. I heard that only six players made it there in the flesh.  This season there is going to be an attendance bonus (10 points, if memory serves) to discourage makeups.  I fully endorse this change even though it’s hurting me this season, as I think a league should mean getting together in person to play as much as possible, but I also think that a flat zero for a missed night here and there is too harsh for a casual league.

Matt and Kristen (closeup).

Matt and Kristen, the Team of Destiny.

Since I can’t report on the night I missed, I will instead say a few words about Super-Ball VIII, AKA the Zen Tournament, held back on May 23.  It was the first league meeting of new player Tim T., who ended up paired with Chris in what we swear was not intended to be hazing.  It must not have been too bad, as Tim has gone on to become a regular league member.  Chris, however, still has not gotten his coveted Zen trophy.  The final match was between Mike B. and Mike S. (a repeat pairing), and Matt and Kristen.  Matt and Kristen, AKA the Team of Destiny, won the final game on Star Trek, inducting Matt into the prestigious circle of two-time Zen tournament winners.  No one has yet won three times.

The next league night will be this Tuesday, July 25.  It’s not too late to join for the season, and you still have time to do makeup games before then (since Matt asks that makeup games be played prior to the next league meeting).

Team Mike makes a show of beating up the Team of Destiny.


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