The finals! D Division, but still, finals. And the only finals still going, other than those of the A Division, on stage and just next to us and drawing a big crowd. We drew a modest crowd. The tournament official went around, asking each of us if we had a home pinball league. I answered Lansing Pinball League, naturally. Anything to get the local people in. Most of the Michigan Pinball competitors listed themselves for other, bigger leagues. But I know where my home is.
He also asked us if it was okay to stream the play. He pointed to two people who had cell phones and said that if we didn't want to be sent out over the Internet that was fine, they wouldn't do it. I have doubts that this polling method produces anything but the socially desirable response. But we all agreed that streaming was fine, not to worry. I do not know where this was streamed, or whether the video has been stored anywhere. I can only hope that the people recording were legitimately supposed to be there. Maybe it was all a hoax or prank.
My pick for the bank again. I'd be a fool to pick anything but the Cirqus Voltaire bank again, and I say so. So after a few moments wait while one of the competitors comes back from the bathroom, we're off and running to ... a dead stop as there's something wrong with Cirqus Voltaire. I miss what it was. Techs come rushing over. With the B and C Divisions finished already they aren't so over-worked now. They have to open the game up to do something to the something. The guys with cell phones stop recording every moment of this. I go to the bathroom, out of nervousness and a sense that I have to do something. If the table gets scratched I suppose we'll just play the modern-era game from one of the other two banks. Avatar would be a complete mystery to me, maybe not to my competitors. Godzilla I at least have a strategy for, but who knows how the table would compare to the two that I have ever touched? Plus I'd lose the edge of knowing how easily the machine tilts.
Needn't worry. Whatever the problem was clears up and we get to play. I fall back on the same old dumb strategy as before, and don't have any freak events of getting the ball stuck. I come in first place, not by as overwhelming a score as before, but still. BEN barely squeaks out ahead of MAL, and this guy from Sweden, LEF, comes in last. I forget whether he got surprised by a tilt.
Now I'm starting to believe I might win the division. This sort of group play works well for getting me into finals, because you never really need to win, just, play well enough not to be eliminated. But these are the last four --- last three, now --- games. It's possible to win coming in second place on every game, if other people rotate who gets first place. Starting with a first-place finish takes pressure off the rest of the round.
Mars Trek once again. I put up another mediocre game, slightly better than on my previous round. But still never getting a real good ball together. I come in last place. LEF comes in first, with 557,000, a score still below bunny_hugger's in the round that knocked her out. MAL takes second place, handily beating BEN. The tournament official looks at the state of things after two games. And looks again, and re-counts. With two games to go we are all four of us perfectly tied at three wins each.
On to Genesis. My secret is still safe and oh phoo I accidentally finished one of the body parts before hitting drop targets. I learn that my hypothesis, that I got progress on all the body parts because I hadn't started any, was mistaken; the game is just set, relatively easily, to make progress on all the parts. I feel like a bandit that I'm getting away with this. Unfortunately, what I fail to do is the ramp shot that starts multiball. It's still worth doing. BEN comes in last at 208,240 points, and MAL in third at 213,102. I get 723,800 points, not a patch on my last round but normally plenty for this table. Except that LEF got 799,260. He has six points, me five, MAL four, and BEN three. As the official notes, anyone could still win this. Heck, we could end up with a four-way tie.
Stars. The last game, maybe. If I can win the game outright I can secure at least a tie for the championship. I have to beat LEF to have my chance at it. I keep trying to make myself calm down and remember: play the simple, stupid, easy strategy. Trap the ball, shoot at the drop targets, trap again. But it's so hard not to keep the ball moving. That's so much fun. So much ... I relax a lot at the last ball, as I pass LEF's 53,270. I'm player two; I finish at 64,180. MAL does nothing at all, coming in at 32,660. And BEN ...
BEN can't win. What he can do is decide whether he gets third or fourth place. If he finishes between 53,270 and 64,180, then I take first place and LEF second. He finishes at 77,600. He takes third place, with six wins for the round.
LEF and I, each with seven wins for the round, must play a tiebreaker.
Trivia: In 1914 Poles were the largest single population (around four million) of Central-European immigrants in the United States. Source: Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World, Margaret MacMillan.
Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.
PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Klien Bottle, with a bonus of the Möbius Strip and some science fiction writers.