So the last time there was a Free Play Day at the Brighton Arcade --- well, you pay for admission, and then all the games are on free play --- we went in, among other things, scouting out games to play and strategies to use for the upcoming league finals. This would be our first Free Play Day without MWS in attendance in ages, possibly ever, but bunny_hugger followed his progress on Facebook and shared some.
I was trying to focus on getting up to speed on some of the modern Stern games, which is honestly a bit challenging because I don't like many of them. Any one of them is pretty good, mind you, but there's this long streak of games that are strikingly similar in their feel, despite having excessively complex rule sets, so it's hard to feel like there's anything special about playing Spider-Man instead of Avengers or Transformers. They've been getting better --- Star Trek 2013 and The Walking Dead are quite different games --- but those are only two tables of the ones we might face in the finals.
So I ended up thinking back to basics, that (a) having any objective is almost always better than having no objective, and (b) pinball is about hitting sets of related targets, and tried focusing on stuff like picking a bank of targets and hitting them. And this produced some very satisfying results, scores that were not just pretty good, but also pretty consistent over several games.
I did try this ``just pick an objective'' strategy for The Wizard Of Oz, even though it's not a Stern game. This is a difficult pinball, though, with a deep rule set and dozens of major modes and a storm of lights flashing and whatnot. But I stuck to trying a particular objective --- getting all the Rainbow standing targets hit --- and sure enough, that worked great. Several times I was able to get games at or about 100,000 points, which had been my highest recorded score, and one game somehow everything came together perfectly and I hit nearly a quarter million points. This was still short of a high-score table score, but it would still be a compelling win in nearly any match play, and that with the Wizard scoop throwing balls down the center too often. Also, The Wizard of Oz is a beautiful and well-lit table to start, but when you get to these really high-value scoring chances it just goes wild, and quite beautifully too. So I have a solid strategy now.
Trivia: The 1960 Rand McNally road map of Connecticut listed the Turnpike as having 90 interchanges over its length of 120 miles. Source: The Old Post Road: The Story Of The Boston Post Road, Stewart H Holbrook.
Currently Reading: A History Of Money, E Victor Morgan.