May 6th, 2017

krazy koati

Mister Rabbit, Mister Rabbit

Two weeks after the Women's World Championship and the PinMasters tournament was ... another tournament. One of our own: bunny_hugger's second March Hare Madness. The stars aligned nicely for this one, as March had a fifth Wednesday --- meaning a week when neither Grand Rapids nor Lansing pinball leagues would be playing, giving us a slightly hungrier player pool --- and her school had off Thursday and Friday for no really clear reason. This used to be a two-day break at the end of term, and they moved it to the end of March, three weeks after Spring Break, for reasons that I suppose they have.

It would have new meaning this year. Our pet rabbit died the week before the last tournament, Silver Balls. This time we could be prepared. The poster would feature his gorgeous body, and the proceeds would go, rather than to the Capital Area Human Society, instead to the Rabbit and Small Animal Rescue of Westland. They're the agency from which bunny_hugger got Stephen.

Last year's March Hare Madness was done as an Amazing Race format and this raised planning questions, specifically: do it the same way, or try a different format? In favor of doing things the same way is that this is how you build traditions. In favor of a different format was some concern that people don't like the Amazing Race format. The basic Amazing Race format is, everyone plays a table. The person with the lowest score is knocked out. Everyone else goes on to the next table. What's good about it is that it's easy to pick up. It means everybody sticks around in groups near the current wave of tables, so they can hang out and socialize. It means once you've beaten the threshold score you can walk off the rest of the game, and walking-off a game is the best feeling in pinball.

What's bad about it is, first, if you have the lowest score so far you're stuck on a table watching for someone else to bomb worse than you did. It's a vulture-y sort of gameplay. Second, it really needs someone to traffic-manage because. Someone impatient will chance that their score will beat someone and then start playing ``provisional'' games on the next couple tables, games that count only if they turn out not to be knocked out. Someone else has to track that indeterminate state of the games. You can pay for a whole game --- a dollar on some of the new tables --- and play only part of your first ball. Emotionally fine if you have to beat a challenging enough score, but a waste if it turns out the threshold is something you can get by plunging without being unlucky. And, someone comes to the tournament, pays their money, and gets knocked out first round.

Despite suggestion/warnings that maybe a different format would be more popular, bunny_hugger chose the Amazing Race and I think it was wise to. I like having varied tournament formats and this is one of the few that isn't head-to-head play.

Also up for debate: the side tournament and how to run it. This would be a triple closest-to-the-pin contest: get as close as possible to a target score on several games, without going over. By making it three tables we could have up to three winners, and hopefully treble the side-contest entry fees. This meant we had to get prizes for all three tables. We had thought we had, in previous events, won or gotten three day passes to the Klassic Arcade in Gobles, in western Michigan. It's a fine spot with a good number of tables and the closest provider of Moxie Cola I know of; we just haven't had the chance to get there and use them. And it's cheap, so the prizes would be attractive but not too much for the side tournament's junior status. But we could only find two of them, so made up the difference with a gift card for Schuler's. Schuler's is a small local bookstore chain, with outlets in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor, at least one of which would be near whoever won it. It was won by the guy from Flint, which is an hour away from the nearest of those. Well, you act on your estimate of what's most likely to happen.

And there'd be more. Several friends planned on bringing door prizes. bunny_hugger refitted several of GRV's donated old trophies to fit the theme, including hare figures got from Michael's and, for the first place, a head shot of Stephen. It looked just fine.

Trivia: At least one cameraman waiting for the arrival of the Hindenburg that 6th of May, 1937, grew tired of waiting for the ship and left early. Source: The American Newsreel 1911-1967, Raymond Fielding. (I concede this sounds like an urban legend cameramen would share about missing the big one.)

Currently Reading: The Container Principle: How A Box Changes The Way We Think, Alexander Klose. Translator Charles Marcrum II.