Finally, the quarterfinals, and my first round to play. It's been several hours. I spent some of it walking around the con. Some of it watching other tournaments. Some of it watching bunny_hugger. Some of it putting up my best game ever on Lethal Weapon 3, a game I despised back in the 90s and which now I ... yeah, I guess I see what to do so now it's just boring with a lot of repetitive callouts.
I'm high seed. I get to pick what bank we play. I go with my scouting data and choose the Cirqus Voltaire bank. The tournament official asks what position I want. I say third, and then think of the joke: ``juggler''. He doesn't hear it, so I save the joke for the next round, when it gets as much appreciation as it deserves. Normally when people pick position they choose either the last spot available --- so they can better judge how risky they have to play --- or first --- so they can get it over with and not worry. I've been settling on second or third, partly because it's just felt good. Partly, it throws other people off. bunny_hugger has to explain, during the round, how it is I ended up playing third if I had my free pick. There was one moment during the rounds that someone went up during what was my odd-choice turn. Had he plunged, that would've been a disqualification for him and a compensation ball for me. I don't go looking for that, but I am aware doing slightly trivially odd stuff can put people off their game. And, goodness, I'm in the finals of Pinburgh. I need all the edge I can get.
So, Cirqus Voltaire. With bunny_hugger's assurance that defeating the Ringmaster is indeed something you can do, I focus on doing that instead of the many, many other ways you can get multiball going. It pays off: I beat ten million points, double any other player's score. First game down and I have three wins. There's three games to go, and the top two finishers move on to the semifinals; I'm already in a good spot.
Next game: Mars Trek. As first-place finisher the first game, I'm the last person to pick order, which is how I ended up going first. It's an electromechanical game. It's five balls. I just have to have one good one; failing that, no bad ones. I have my good ball early on, I think my second ball. I'm edged out on the last ball, but it's good for second place: 451,000 to 548,900. Yes, bunny_hugger's second-place score (563,700) would have beaten this whole group. I have five wins, one loss, and I'm in the very slight lead. There's no assurance of how many wins will get me to the next round (other than twelve, of course), but if I get get above six I'm probably in.
The late-solid-state game: Genesis. It's a punishing one. You shoot the major shots to collect body parts for an android and start multiball; if you're a wizard, you collect all the body parts and activate the Maria-class android. The two easiest body parts to get, on the instance of this I'm familiar with, are the ramps. Neither is an easy shot. I will go down to third place in this. Six wins, three losses; if I can do anything on the last game I'm probably in, maybe at the cost of a tiebreaker.
Also, thinking over the game, I realize something. I check the instruction card, and know that I need to test something when I can, trusting that I get into the next round.
The last game is the early-solid-state, Stars. The goal is keep the ball alive, and hit banks of drop targets. Easier said than done, since, early-solid-state game. But there's some hope. The ball does bounce some off the center post, even though it hasn't got the rubber sleeve around it. This means if the ball is plunging down the center and you don't move to save it, especially not by hitting the flippers, it might bounce right back onto the flippers for you. It does this once for me. I have to come from behind on the last ball, but I get most of the way there, finishing at second place with 97,105 points. Yeah, nobody knows why there's a 5 points there. The third-place finisher got 69,908. First place got a clean 132,000 and as bunny_hugger will note, her score that was only good for second place (208,200) would have creamed all our scores.
The important thing: I have eight wins, the most of my group. I'm on to the semifinals. I'll have my pick of game bank again. And I can test what I think I've learned about Genesis.
Trivia: The size of Algeria's French-speaking population is uncertain; estimates range from as low as 110,000 (of thirty million, at the time of this source's 2005 publication) to a quarter of the population. Source: Empires Of The Word: A Language History of the World, Nicholas Ostler.
Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.
PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Jordan Canonical Form, something really important that we never actually do.