We waddled in, with boxes of trophies and door prizes and cards and everything, to our hipster bar and found, mercifully, no disasters at the venue. I think there was just MWS puttering around testing the games again to see what was working. We'd gone through every game a few days before listed every serious play problem any game had. He asked what we had done to the games before understanding this was a serious pre-tournament inspection. On our inspection tour --- during a show, it happened, as that was when we were able to make it --- we also posted flyers for the event on every vertical surface in the bar.
There were a few machine glitches. Ghostbusters had a weird one: the left flipper would drop a tiny bit slow, compared to the right, when you get go of the button. We had enough games in the venue --- 24 of them! --- to do without. But to live is to live ironically: the lockdown bar had not been closed last time it was serviced. So we would be able to slide the glass cover off and free a stuck ball, something we can never do there. If we were going to play it. The lockdown bar would remain un-locked for a couple of weeks. I forgot to check last time were there to see if it was still merely a suggestion. It was still dropping the left flipper slower than the right.
We would start the course as we had last year, with Junk Yard, a mid-90s Williams table. And we'd make the course order, simple as before: move to the next table on the left. The venue's got so many tables now that they're split up, into four separate areas, and we had to set rules for which area was next. So we went posting index cards saying where to move when out of games in one area, and when to go upstairs. It turned out we didn't need to go upstairs, which says something amazing about how many games there are in just half the venue. Although we did our best to take the cards down after the tournament was over, we missed one of the ones upstairs which said where to go downstairs for the next game if needed. Last week it was still there and I'm curious if it'll ever be found by responsible parties. Or if anyone even notices it; it's on the Austin Powers backglass and that's already a visually busy, jumbled thing. It's easy to lose a game in it.
bunny_hugger worried about how many people would show up, given that it was a weekday tournament not in the comfortable hammock between Christmas and New Year's. And given the worry that the Amazing Race format would turn people off. And that some people did say they couldn't come, while many others never did more than commit to ``Interested'' on Facebook. Despite all these fears, people did turn out. 13 altogether, as many as we could have before the first round would eliminate the two lowest scorers. (Eliminating multiple people allows the tournament to finish faster; our hope was to get the main event done within three hours, and we just about hit it.)
The start! Junk Yard. Fun game with a classically 90s weird theme where you're building inventions to ... escape a junkyard ... and chase the owner down in space ... and you're guided by an angel and a devil and ... I don't know. It's fun, I promise. Everyone who's a Lansing League regular has played it and knows the basics and can expect around five million points or so, most days. Ten million points on a good day. Ten million points on a single ball on a really good day. bunny_hugger surprises herself, and me, by not quite cracking two million points, a terrible performance that puts her in the bottom, to be eliminated.
But. The loser of the first match is allowed to buy a second chance. She puts another five into the funds, and just has to beat the second-lowest score to carry on as if that didn't happen. (The second-lowest person would continue too.) We realize we haven't been keeping close track of every score: people who'd beat the lowest score went on without necessarily waiting for a tournament official to lot their score. But, if you break two million on this game, you can break 2.5 million, surely close enough.
Except she doesn't.
She has an even worse Junk Yard score, knocking her out as the first loser, and first eliminated, in her own tournament, held in honor of her own heart-rabbit.
Trivia: In the 15th century Bordeaux moved the earliest date foreign merchants could ship the year's wine from 11th of November to the 25th of December. French King Louis XI switched it to the 30th of November. Source: Gold and Spices: The Rise of Commerce in the Middle Ages, Jean Favier.
Currently Reading: The Container Principle: How A Box Changes The Way We Think, Alexander Klose. Translator Charles Marcrum II.