The league night of 8/25 was the fourth meeting of Season 5, putting us halfway through the season. League Night #4 also had the most players of any meeting yet this season (and, I think, any meeting for quite a while), 19, though some of those people were absent from the actual meeting and did makeup games. That brings us to 21 total players on the roster this season. The games of the week were Lord of the Rings, Iron Man, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and Junk Yard. Fortunately, no one slam tilted Junk Yard during league play this time, though I believe Mike S. did it during a practice game and then somehow acted surprised.
Some recent rearranging in The Avenue has resulted in the bumper pool table, formerly located on the mezzanine, being moved into the downstairs pinball alcove. Conversations around the bumper pool table usually go something like this: “What’s that?” “It’s called bumper pool.” “Oh. How do you play it?” “I have no idea.” This time, however, Jimmy offered to explain how to play, and started setting up a game to demonstrate. This was quickly quashed by Matt cracking the whip and telling all of us to get to our league games already. (The next time we came to The Avenue, Joseph printed out some instructions he got from the Internet and left them sitting on the bumper pool table. I hope that helped someone.)
Mike G. made a surprise reappearance. Despite being one of the original members of the League and the source of a previous tagline of this blog (“The same thing as in every game: shoot the farthest target and every ramp three times,” the all-purpose strategy advice he once gave me), Mike had not made it to a league meeting in quite some time due to his work schedule, and it was great to see him again. For some reason he seems to have decided not to play any official league games. I think he may have decided he’d started drinking too early, but that doesn’t make sense. After all, it never stopped Aaron.
The other surprise appearance of the night was Evan, whom I know from The Arcade League in Brighton and the tournament he ran at Pinball Pete’s in Ann Arbor. This was his first visit to the Lansing Pinball League; he said he was just dropping in for the night. I hope he’ll be open to coming back sometime.
The results for the night included a surprising three-way tie between Chris, Greg, and Mike S., for ninth place. Speaking of Chris, at the halfway mark of the season he is in fourth place after Alex, Mike S., and Joseph. Longtime members of the league may recall the days when Chris was an unstoppable force, nearly always taking an early runaway lead and staying at the top all season. Those days are certainly over as the reigning champ now has serious competition, both from newer members of the league and longtime members who have leveled up their games. It’s certainly going to be exciting to see how the rest of the season plays out. Since we now (as of last season) settle the final rankings with a tournament, the biggest battle in the second half of the season is really going to be who will make the cutoff for A division. If the same rules used last season apply, the top eight players will play in A and everyone else will play in B. Right now, Matt is ranked unusually low at eighth place, but has a healthy lead (17 points) over Jake in ninth.
After league play finished, Jake, Sam, Mike S., Joseph, and I had our after-party at Theio’s. It had been quite some time since our last visit, since at the two previous meetings folks had gone once each to the two Chinese restaurants on the block. If the Theio’s staff were offended by our infidelity, they didn’t show it. After we ate I tried unsuccessfully to convince people to come back to The Avenue for more pinball. I just wasn’t ready to give up my last league night before the start of school. Now that school has begun, I will arrive later (no more pre-league games of Betrayal at House on the Hill with Mike S. and Joseph) and leave tireder. Alas.