TOPL scoring change-starting 2018

Over the past few years, we’ve made some changes to how TOPL works to try to keep league nights moving, fun, and competitive.  Nobody wants to spend their Monday night waiting to play pinball, they’d rather be playing, so we’ve done things like put more games into league rotations, get rid of the high score standings, and introduce the handicap system to try to keep things interesting.  The other thing we’ve experimented with is giving people choice of games, which unfortunately has only been possible when there are no groups of three players, since we need median scores for those groups.  We looked at a system where we could use “lifetime medians” of a game, but that doesn’t account for new games, code changes, physical game changes, etc, so it’s not exactly bulletproof.  Then we started looking at the new IFPA system for match play groups (which is similar to Pinburgh scoring), where a 4 player group gets 7-5-3-1, and a 3 player group gets 7-4-1. 

The key to this system is that the expected value for a match, or the average score, is the same for a 4p vs 3p group (in this case, 4 points).  Now you might think that 3p groups are “unfair”, since coming in 2nd on a 3p game only gets you 4 points instead of 5, and coming in 3rd gets you 1 instead of 3, but over an entire season it does work out virtually identically.  To demonstrate this, Joe at PAPA (who developed the league manager software that we use) has generously set up a test site, and imported the data from the last two seasons, so you can check out the winter 2017 results using both the old and new systems, as well as the summer 2017 results (old and new).  The final season standings end up almost identical in both cases.  There are a couple of discrepancies where players were tied before, and become untied with the new scores, and vice versa, but the overall integrity of the season results is maintained. 

The plan going forward is to adopt this new system for the Winter 2018 season.  Under these new rules, groups will be allowed to choose their own games every week.  We’ll still seed players based on their previous week’s scores, but now the player who is listed as p1 gets to choose the game.  For 3p groups, the player in last place going into game 4 gets a second choice.  If 2 players are tied for last in a 3p group going into game 4, then the player in the lead gets choice.  As for game choice, any game at a location can be chosen by any player at any time, provided it hasn’t already been identified by either the host or an SLO as ineligible for league play (usually due to a known malfunction).  These will be announced/posted (and possibly turned off) at the beginning of a league night.  Players should use their own judgment in choosing whether to wait for a game to become available.  In general, if something is being played, and you can tell it’s going to take a while, you can either choose a different game, or let another player take their pick and come back to your choice later.  We’re all adults here, and this is a friendly league, so we hope things work out.  If a group can’t agree on a course of action for a game choice though, an SLO will make a ruling on which game to play.  If this becomes problematic, new rules may be introduced to deal with the situations.  In the event of a major malfunction on a game that requires it to be changed out, the player who chose the game gets the choice of replacement. 

Hopefully, this new change helps keep TOPL more fun and competitive, and ends up with less waiting and more playing.

Fall 2017-Scores for week 9

Thanks to Nick for hosting this week!  Scores are up on the website, and Adam has managed to establish a decent lead for season points.  Adam Hollander is leading the race with the handicaps taken into account, while Dave Glen is sitting at 15% improvement over past performance. 

Next week we’re at Adam’s place up in Keswick-have a great week everyone!

Fall 2017-Scores for week 5

Thanks to Scott and Walt for hosting us at Bluffs this week!  The new layout is great, and it seemed like there was much more space to move last night.  Scores are up on the PAPA site, and at this point, Charles is leading the season race, while Dave Glen is ahead in the handicapped standings.  We can also start tracking Most Improved, and Chris Draper has pulled out to an early lead there. 

Next week we’re off for the Thanksgiving long weekend, and then the week after we’re playing at Eddie’s place.  Have a great couple of weeks!

Fall 2017-scores for week 3

Thanks to Luch for hosting everyone this week!  Hopefully the weather cools off a little, because basements with a bunch of pins and people in them can get hot and humid, especially in this summer in September we seem to be having.  Scores are up on the PAPA site for the week. 

Next week we’re playing downtown at Tilt-have a great week everyone!

Fall 2017-Scores for week 2

Thanks to Jim for hosting this week!  Scores are up on the PAPA site, and there’s not much to say about them yet, since it’s still early.  Remember that you’ll automatically drop your 3 lowest scores for the season, so there’s still plenty of time to come out if you haven’t made it yet. 

We’ll be playing at Luch’s next week-see everyone there!

Fall 2017-Scores for week 1

Welcome to another TOPL season!  Thanks to Nick for hosting this week-we had 22 people out for the first week of the season, and we got the first chance for many of us to try out the new Stern Star Wars.  Results are up on the PAPA site, and one week in, there’s not much to say about them yet. 

Next week we’re off for Labour day, and then things pick up again on the 11th at Jim’s place.  Have a great long weekend, and see everyone in 2 weeks!

Playoff Results-August 2017

With the end of a TOPL season comes another TOPL playoff tournament, even though there was a little chaos around the date this season.  Since we moved out of the way of the CNEPC tournament happening at the Ex next weekend, we ended up on the same weekend as the Buffalo Open, which was on the PAPA circuit, so some players had to choose where to go.  Luckily, we still had 23 players for the finals, including some friends from the K/W area, and had a great day of pinball at Kim’s place.  A big thank you to Kim for hosting, and for making sure everyone was well fed all day! 

Once we finished the first 7 match play rounds, we gave the players below the cut line the option of whether we ran a B division or not.  Since we didn’t end up with the required minimum number of players, we kept to one division, and paid out the top 8 spots there.  The final results were:

1    Ken Lapointe
2    John Flitton
3    Charles Blaquiere
4    Adam Hollander
5    Kirk Hutton
6    Dave Smith
7    Les Kowal
8    Andy McNab
9    Andrew Aiken
10    John Clegg
11    Josh Zilberberg
12    Larry Perreria
13    Chris Bardon
14    Mark Foy
15    Mike Luciani
16    Chris Draper
17    Ryan Matheson
18    David Newman
19    Myles Cameron
20    Karl Braun
21    Kim Darowski
22    Henrik Andersen
23    Brianne Darowski

Congrats to all the winners!  Here’s Ken, Charles, and Adam with their prizes (not pictured, John Flitton):


As usual, we’re off tomorrow because of today’s playoffs, but the next season starts up a week later at Nick’s place.  See everyone there for a brand new TOPL season!

Season 2 2017-scores for week 2

Another TOPL season is in the books!  This summer was a little quieter than other years, but we still had a decent turnout this week, even though the season was pretty much decided already.  The scores are up on the PAPA site, and as expected, Adam has taken the season champ, and earned a replay into next season.  The Pinball Wizard trophy goes to Kim, who managed to pull ahead of Adam once the handicap came into play, so really Kim had a much stronger season.  Kim also wins a replay into next season.  Finally, even though John Clegg ended up ahead of Luch for the most improved stats, John only had 6 scores for the season.  The rules state that while a valid percentage is 5 weeks, for the purposes of most improved you need 7 scores, which means that Luch takes the Most Improved award, and the replay into next season.  Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to all of the hosts and players for another successful TOPL season!

Just a reminder that playoffs are this Sunday (Aug 20) at Kim’s place.  Match play starts at 11 AM, and doors open at 10:30.  The plan is the same as last time-16 match play rounds before playoffs, with an A/B division split after the first 7 rounds assuming we have enough people.  Remember that the playoffs are completely open, so if anyone wants to bring a friend to check out the league, coming to the playoffs is a great way to try an event.  Also, some of the top ranked players are going to be going to the Buffalo Pinball Summer Open to chase the WPPR/Circuit points, so it’s an opportunity for someone not named Adam Becker to win the TOPL event.

See everyone at Kim’s on Sunday!