Toronto Pinball League (ToPL) Newbie FAQ
What is ToPL?
ToPL (The Toronto Pinball League) is a weekly competitive pinball league. Every week the group meets, play pinball, some for fun, others competitively, but all enjoy themselves.
What does it cost to be part of the league?
Season Fee: $30 once per season + $10 host fee per visit.
Non-member drop-in fee: $20 ($10 per visit league fee + $10 host fee)
League members paying the season fee get access to up to 15 weeks of regular season play, free entry into the playoffs ($50 value), a free t-shirt ($20 value – one per series of shirts per member).
The drop-in fee is for those who are unable to commit to a season or not sure if they would like to join. There are no minimum requirements for attendance so we encourage everyone to join the league and come as they are able to.
Can’t I just play pinball without doing ToPL? There is nowhere to play pinball near me and you guys have access to a ton.
Think of ToPL like a bowling league. When we are operating a league night, all machines (bowling lanes) are reserved for ToPL use. We offer the drop-in option for those who want to play with us, but you will be put in with a group for league play. League play is followed and preceded by free play so there is plenty of opportunity to get some games in on your own.
How do I know where to go?
If you are new to the league, please Contact Us and let us know your interest and request the address for an upcoming league night. All league members have access to all the host’s addresses in our Places We Play page.
How many people are part of the league?
Depending on the location and size of collection, generally you can expect to play with 20 to 30 people every week.
Where does the league meet?
When the league started, arcades still existed in many locations. Nowadays most league nights are in private collector’s homes. It’s a shame more pinball isn’t played in the wild, but the size and variety of most home collections easily outshines the best arcades.
Most of the venues are someone’s house, I just show up as a stranger at their door?
Yup! Usually you will see lots of cars parked out front so you know you have the right place! Sometimes there will be instructions from the host posted to the TOPL group, or posted on the door to their home about what you should do when you get there. When in doubt, knock. Most of the time if you are arriving before league time, there will be lots of people arriving the same time as you.
What time should I get there?
In general doors open at 7:30pm for some warm up games. League play starts at 8:00pm. Depending on the turnout, most nights the league portion takes about 90 minutes. Then after there is some free play until the host calls it a night.
What do I do when I get there?
Introduce yourself! And ask if someone can point out a league official so you can let them know you are there. They’ll go over what you need to know and what will happen next.
So what happens next?
Once the league portion is ready to start, players are grouped in 4 and play 4-player games on 4 machines. Points are awarded for the placement over those 4 games (first place gets 4 points, second place gets 3, third gets 2 and fourth gets 1 point). Your total points from all 4 games are added up for your night’s score.
I’d like to come out but don’t think I can be a regular
If you are coming out for fun and don’t care about rank, then it really doesn’t matter and you can come as you are able.
For competitive players playing for ranking, league rules allow you to miss 3 nights each season with no penalty on your scores, that gives most people lots of leeway for family/real life events and still be competitive.
Can I bring a guest?
Guests can join our league for the night as a drop-in player (drop in fees apply, see above). If your guest is just hanging out, your driver, etc, and has no desire to play any games then they are free to hang around while you do your league play, but all machines are reserved for league use.
ToPL sometimes seems like some sort of secret society with the secret locations, etc, are you sure I will be welcomed even if I don’t know anybody?
Most definitely! The only reason some of the information is restricted is because at the end of the day we are talking about private homes hosting the league. It would not be appealing to hosts to have their details broadcast for public on the net. That is why host details are given out on a need to know basis. The league itself is very open and welcoming.
So what should I do next?
If you haven’t already, please Contact Us and let us know you’d like to check it out. We can give you the address for the host on the next date you would like. Then just make the decision to come out, follow the tips in this FAQ and have fun!