August 12th, 2017

krazy koati

In any amusement hall

My first round for Friday would be on bank 60, Triangulum. I knew this from late Thursday, but somehow didn't work up the energy to look up the games and get any hint what to do. For half of them I didn't need help anyway. The modern game was Metallica, which is just everywhere in about twenty different editions. Roughly speaking, hit anything on the playfield repeatedly and you get a multiball started. In my home venues I try shooting for the Snake and trust that I'll by accident hit the captive ball for an extra ball (2,500,000 points in tournament play) or Electric Chair Multiball. I figured to go just for Electric Chair Multiball, since the Snake can be trickier, and remembered: I don't have to play something smart. I just have to not lose the ball. It's easy on home, familiar tables to go for the long game, stuff that'll eventually pay off big. In this venue, just get the easy point grab. There aren't long games. I'm the only one to break ten million points, ordinarily the threshold of ``game that isn't embarrassing to do''. Their table plays hard.

The electromechanical game is Gottleib's 1969 Target Pool, one of the eighty billion pool-theme tables. It's a vast arc of standing targets, with the clear objective being to keep the ball on the upper playfield, where the bumper can make it hit targets. I have astoundingly good luck in this, just crushing it. Another first-place finish and with a 6-0 record so far I start entertaining fantasies of having a perfect round.

Before I could really get nervous at that thought, the next game spoils it all. The late-solid-state game is Gottleib Premier's 1991 Hoops. It's from their obscurant era, with the highest-point things not fitting the usual patterns. I remember MWS talking with us about the game last year, and what he had discovered as the one valuable thing to shoot for. I do not remember what the valuable thing is. I have fun, mind you, and I play technically well in every regard except for getting points. Last place, and I'm left at 6-3. Who wants a perfect-round medal anyway?

The early-solid-state game is an old friend. Bally's 1980 prog-rock album Embryon. I don't just have a strategy (shoot the left orbit) but I have one of those embarrassingly good games. I roll the table, beating a million points for only the second time ever. More, I end up lapping everybody else's score. But I can't just kneel. I'm only player two and there's two people who could beat me on the last ball. My group-mates applaud the end of my game and I try not to be a jerk about it.

So that's my round: 9 wins, 3 losses. Thoroughly happy. I move from my (meaningless) 67th seed up to 19th. This is part of a 13-way tie for 17th.

bunny_hugger, meanwhile, was on bank 23, Aquarias. It has games she absolutely hated last year: Starship Troopers, and Argosy (nicknamed ``Agony'' by everyone); Bram Stoker's Dracula and Algar. It's a tough quartet of games. She won them all, taking a perfect round.

She's quick to dismiss how good this is. Someone failed to show up for the group, so she played in a round of three people. (Pinburgh scoring holds that in a three-player group your score is the number of people you beat on a match, times 1.5. So if you come in first, beating two people, you get three points; if you come in second, beating one, you get 1.5 points. Come in last, you get 0 points.) And she gets a confused message about that perfect-round medal award. We had thought it was something you got at presenting the score sheets; they said no, come back at the end of the day. She worries they'll rule she doesn't get a true perfect-round medal.

She gets the true perfect-round medal she earned. She moves from the (meaningless) 30th seed up to 3rd, one of the three people in our division with perfect records.

Trivia: Gadolinium inhibits the proteins which repair DNA. Source: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From The Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean.

Currently Reading: The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War Over The American Dollar, H W Brands.

PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Functor, another touch of category theory in my life.