TORNEO DE PINBALL DE BIAR 2016

Torneo de Pinball de Biar

Pinball News hadn’t visited a pinball tournament in Spain since the country hosted the European Pinball Championship in Madrid in 2012. So a return visit was long overdue and we were very happy to rectify this with a trip to the town of Biar, around 50km north of the south-eastern coastal city of Alicante.

Biar is a charming town located amongst a range of hills with plenty of classical Spanish architecture, culture and, thankfully, weather. We arrived on Friday afternoon and explored the back streets before enjoying some tapas and a local beer or two, and visiting the venue for the weekend’s competitive events.

The view over the rooftops to the castle
The view over the rooftops to the castle
Steps up the hill
Steps up the hill
The church in the town square
The church in the town square

The venue for the tournament was a large white-painted building on the south-eastern edge of town.

The venue for the tournament
The venue for the tournament
The entrance to the venue
The entrance to the venue
The view opposite
The view opposite

We were given a guided tour of the building, looking at the tournament areas and delving into the storage space at the back. In both we found some interesting original and Spanish-tailored pinball machines.

The weekend consisted of a modern tournament, a classics tournament and three side tournaments. Both the modern and classics tournaments were played on twelve machines, all of which needed to be played.

The first batch of main tournament machines
The first batch of modern tournament machines
The remaining main tournament machines
The remaining modern tournament machines
Classic tournament machines
Classic tournament machines
More classic tournament machines
More classic tournament machines

The machines used in both tournaments were as follows:

Modern Tournament   Classic Tournament
Spider-Man VE
Game of Thrones LE
The Walking Dead LE
Star Trek LE
The Simpsons Pinball Party
Monster Bash
Cirqus Voltaire
Pinball Magic
Metallica Premium
Stargate
Party Zone
Theatre of Magic
– 1 –
– 2 –
– 3 –
– 4 –
– 5 –
– 6 –
– 7 –
– 8 –
– 9 –
– 10 –
– 11 –
– 12 –
Top Racer
Genie
Dragon
El Dorado
The 30s
Running Horse
Luck Smile
Shamrock
Tasty Samba
300
Surfer
Big Brave

 

In the repair area we saw an unusual pinball from Jumaci of Madrid which had no backbox, used lamps to indicate the score, and featured outward-facing flippers.

An unusual game from Jumaci
An unusual game from Jumaci
You might recognise this backglass as Capt. Card
You might recognise this King Game as Gottlieb’s Capt. Card

Along with the tournament machines, there was also a bank of free-play practice games. These also featured some Spanish games not often seen outside of the country.

The bank of free-play machines
The bank of free-play machines
This guy looks well and truly check-mated
This guy looks well and truly check-mated
Bongor is a Spanish version of Gottlieb's Jungle King
Bongor is a Spanish version of Gottlieb’s Jungle King
Screech is an original Inder design
Screech is an original Inder design featuring an electronic score display but a score reel for the credits display
You have to wonder about the story behind this backglass
You have to wonder about the story behind this backglass

In addition to the machines there was also a parts table where common pinball spares could be purchased, and a high-quality table football (foosball) game which was priced at €1 per game.

The pinball parts table
The pinball parts table
Just in case anyone needed a break from pinball
Just in case anyone needed a break from pinball

Registration for the Torneo de Pinball de Biar cost €60 ($63.77 or £51.34) which included an individualised red tournament T-shirt complete with embroidered initials and country flag, a personal player card and a tournament poster.

Individual tournament packs for the competitors
Individual tournament packs for the competitors
Tournament posters
Tournament posters
The ceramic trophies for the various tournaments
The ceramic trophies for the various tournaments

Registration also got you a hearty breakfast of various types of breads topped with meats and sausages which was called cocas, all of which was accompanied by beer, soft drinks and water. Although we’d already eaten breakfast at the hotel the breakfast here looked too good not to sample.

Putting out the breakfast dishes
Putting out the breakfast dishes
The breakfast spread
The breakfast spread
The selection was delicious and enjoyed by everyone
The selection was delicious and enjoyed by everyone

In the unlikely possibility anyone was still hungry or thirsty, additional snacks and drinks were available at very reasonable prices at a bar next to the free-play machines.

The bar
The bar
The drinks and snacks on offer
The drinks and snacks on offer

Once breakfast was over it was time to start the serious business of the tournaments. Both the modern and classics ran in parallel, with players able to play their games in either as they wished as long as they completed them all by the close of qualifying at 8pm.

Players gather to hear the format and the rules
Players gather to hear the format and the rules

A magnetic board at the side of the entrance contained name plates for each of the twelve modern and twelve classic pinballs. Players could choose to play any of the machines. If the machine’s name plate was on the board it was available to play right away, otherwise they had to wait until the current game was over and the name plate was returned to the board.

The name plates of the twenty-four machines
The name plates of the twenty-four machines

To ensure each machine was only played once by each player, as the name plate was taken their score card was punched to show the machine had been chosen.

Each score card was punched as a machine was selected
Each score card was punched as a machine was selected
Qualifying in the classic and modern tournaments
Qualifying in the classic and modern tournaments
Individual machine scores were shown on monitors at the entrance to the tournament area
Individual machine scores were shown on monitors at the entrance to the tournament area

Officials started the games to make sure none were restarted by the players, and they also recorded scores on paper sheets – one sheet per machine – which were handed to the scoring desk when filled so the results could be entered into the computer system.

The crush at the entrance to the tournament area
The crush at the entrance to the tournament area

At times – and especially as competitors had played many of their games and were waiting for one of their final few to become available – the entrance to the tournament area became quite crowded, making it difficult to enter or leave or to access the magnetic name plates.

The tournament takes a break for lunch
The tournament takes a break for lunch

One thing you will quickly appreciate about Spanish tournaments – and Spain in general – is that food and drink play an important part in the overall enjoyment of life. This weekend was no different, and so it was that at 2pm everything stopped so all the players and organisers could decamp to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

filled crepes and a kind of savoury bread pudding followed the opening salad course
Filled crepes and a kind of savoury bread pudding followed the opening salad course

The lunch was an optional €20 extra but it seemed everyone signed-up for it. And why not? It consisted of five courses with all the beer or wine you wanted. A very civilised way to run a tournament.

Next came the squid
Next came the squid
A choice of entree was followed by a selection of deserts, all washed down with jugs of beer and bottles of local red wine
A choice of entree was followed by a selection of deserts, all washed down with jugs of beer and bottles of local red wine
Everyone back to the pinballs
Everyone back to the pinballs

Lunch took two-and-a-half hours, after which it was back to the pinball hall to resume the tournaments.

Qualifying on the classics machines
Qualifying on the classics machines

Because lunch took a little longer than expected, qualifying was extended by another thirty minutes to give everyone a chance to play all their games.

Likewise with the modern pinballs
Likewise with the modern pinballs
Standings in the modern tournament
Standings in the modern tournament

Overall standings were show on a projector screen in the dining area for the modern tournament and on a monitor on the bar for the classics.

The classics tournament positions
The classics tournament positions

In both tournaments the top twenty players qualified for Sunday’s play-offs, with the top four getting a bye through the first round.

The last qualifying games are played
The last modern qualifying games are played

Once the qualifying period for players was over, the organisers played their qualification games, meaning the final standings in the modern tournament weren’t known until later into the night.

The last few results are added
The last few results are added

That meant an anxious time for those players on the border of modern qualification as the final few results shuffled their standings up and down.

Time for dinner
Time for dinner

The tension was only partially relieved by the arrival of pizzas.

The final qualification results in the modern tournament are declared
The final qualification results in the modern tournament are declared

When all the results were in the computer the twenty who would continue on Sunday were revealed. Nineteen of the qualifiers were Spanish players and there was one UK player.

Of the twenty players who qualified for the classics tournament., eighteen were from Spain, one from Sweden and one from the UK.

With all the qualifiers decided, it was back to the hotel for us (although we did subsequently pop out for a little nightcap in the town square before retiring for the night).

Sunday saw the play-offs in both tournaments as well as a number of side tournaments.

Classics tournament play-offs
Classics tournament play-offs

In both tournaments, players in qualifying positions 5th-20th were put into four groups of four and played a single pre-selected machine. As long as they didn’t get the lowest score of the group they progressed to the second round. The lowest scorers in each of the four groups were out of the tournament.

Those remaining sixteen were joined by the top four qualifiers for the quarter-finals and split into another four groups of four. This time they played on two machines where points were awarded for position in the order 7-5-3-1. After both games had been played, the top two players in the group moved on to the next round – the semi-finals.

These eight again played in four-player groups, on this time they played on three machines with the same 7-5-3-1 points structure. The top two from both groups then moved on to the final.

The first Semi-final in the classics on Tasty Samba
The first semi-final in the classics on Tasty Samba
The second semi-final in the classics on El Dorado
The second semi-final in the classics on El Dorado

Rounds of the classic and modern play-offs alternated, although the classic reached the final four first.

The classics final came down to a three-game series between Raúl Abad, César Dubón, Rafael Masedo and Marc Vallés. As in the first play-off round, all four played the first game with the lowest scorer dropping out into fourth place overall.

The first game was played on Fantastic World which was added for the play-offs together with Fantastic World and Master Stroke. Marc was the lowest scorer here with 331,400.

The remaining three moved on to Dragon where Rafael’s third place score of 180,400 got him eliminated and gave him third place.

The last game of the final
The last game of the final

The final two of Raúl and César then played on Fireball to determine the winner and the runner-up.

First place in the classic tournament, César Dubón
First place in the classic tournament, César Dubón

Raúl set a target of 43,030 but César beat that and ended his game with a score of 45,830 to take first place.

Second place, Raúl Abad
Second place, Raúl Abad
Fourth place, Marc Vallés
Fourth place, Marc Vallés

Third placed Rafael Masedo had to leave before the awards were presented.

Classic Tournament Results
1  César Dubón
2  Raúl Abad
3  Rafael Masedo
4  Marc Vallés
5  Félix Yéboles
6  Carlos Javier Parra
7  Álvaro Vidal
8  Juan Carlos Durán
9  José Luis Martínez
10  Juan Antonio Martín
11  Magnus Lindström
12  Martin Ayub
13  Pablo Crespo Contreras
14  Gabriel Ortiz
15  Antonio Cerdanya
16  Carlos Toledano
17  Miguel Manzaneque
17  Julio Vicario
19  José Miguel Fuentes
20  José Casanova
21  Rubén de la Rosa
21  Antonio Hernández
23  David López
24  Jorge Villoria
25  Mariano Manzano
26  Antonio Sempere
26  Enrique Benavent
28  Luis Molina
29  Jorge López
30  Francisco Núñez
31  Elu Tortosa
32  Carlos Vicente
33  Pablo Crespo García
34  David Martínez
35  Jesús Garbín
36  Orlando González
37  Javier Núñez
38  Nicolai Troshinsky
39  Alejandro Yepes
40  Cristina Alonso
41  Alberto Lucerón
42  Begoña Motilla
43  José María Tortosa
44  José Manuel Richart
45  Miguel Barreal
46  Santiago Elices
47  Juan Luis Santos
48  David Mainwaring
49  Jesús Merino
50  Javier Torres
51  Valentín Camarena
52  Carlos Martos
53  Cristobal Hernández
54  David Pedreño
55  Ismael Reolid
56  José Joaquín Pérez
57  Daniel Rodríguez

 

In an unusual twist, any player who didn’t make the final four in either the classic or modern tournament was placed according to their qualifying position, regardless of how well they did in Sunday’s play-offs.

In the modern tournament the play-off rounds used the 7-5-3-1 points-based system until the final round which was played in the same format as the classic with one player being eliminated per game. There was a tie in one of the semi-finals for the last place in the final four which was decided by a one-ball game on Party Zone.

Party Zone was the first game of the final
Party Zone was the first game of the final

So the finalists in the modern tournament were Valentín Camarena, Gabriel Ortiz, Carlos Javier Parra and Julio Vicario. They began playing on Party Zone, but this proved the end of the final for Carlos Javier Parra who came fourth in that game and so fourth overall.

The second game was Metallica.

Game two of the modern final - Metallica
Game two of the modern final – Metallica

This time it was Gabriel Ortiz who came a cropper and took third place both in the game and overall.

Valentin playing in the last game of the final
Valentín playing in the last game of the final

That left Valentín Camarena and Julio Vicario to contest the final on the last game which was an Avengers LE which was added along with Getaway and Bride of Pinbot for the play-offs.

Julio plays his ball in the final
Julio plays his second ball in the final
Spectators behind the tournament desk
Spectators behind the tournament desk
Winner of the modern tournament, Julio Vicario
Winner of the modern tournament, Julio Vicario

Julio put up an impressive 67M score on his second ball to Valentín’s 11M, making quite a task for Valentín to catch him on the last ball. As it turned out he only got up to 17M before the ball drained and the final was over without Julio needing to play his third ball.

Second place, Valentín Camarena
Second place, Valentín Camarena
Fourth place, Carlos Javier Parra
Fourth place, Carlos Javier Parra

Third placed Gabriel Ortiz had to leave to catch his flight before the awards were presented.

Modern Tournament Results
1  Julio Vicario
2  Valentín Camarena
3  Gabriel Ortiz
4  Carlos Javier Parra
5  Santiago Elices
6  Rafael Masedo
7  Martin Ayub
8  Álvaro Vidal
9  César Dubón
10  Alberto Lucerón
11  Javier Núñez
12  Antonio Sempere
13  Raúl Abad
14  Pablo Crespo Contreras
15  Luis Molina
16  Juan Antonio Martín
17  Nicolai Troshinsky
18  Antonio Cerdanya
19  Carlos Vicente
20  José Manuel Richart
21  David Mainwaring
22  Félix Yéboles
23  Francisco Núñez
24  Magnus Lindström
25  Rubén de la Rosa
26  Jorge Villoria
26  Jorge López
28  Juan Carlos Durán
29  Pablo Crespo García
30  David López
31  Miguel Manzaneque
32  Elu Tortosa
33  Orlando González
34  Mariano Manzano
35  Jesús Merino
36  Marc Vallés
36  Antonio Hernández
38  Carlos Toledano
39  Juan Luis Santos
39  Enrique Benavent
41  Alejandro Yepes
42  José Luis Martínez
43  José María Tortosa
44  Miguel Barreal
45  Javier Torres
46  Begoña Motilla
47  David Martínez
48  Cristobal Hernández
49  Daniel Rodríguez
50  Ismael Reolid
51  José Casanova
52  Cristina Alonso
53  José Joaquín Pérez
54  Carlos Martos
55  Jesús Garbín
56  José Miguel Fuentes
57  David Pedreño

 

The split-flipper tournament
The split-flipper tournament

As we mentioned earlier, in addition to the two main tournaments there were three side tournaments. The first of these was a split-flipper competition on Dr Dude.

The three side-tournament machines
The three side-tournament machines

The second side-tournament was a crossed-hands competition on Whirlwind, while the final side-tournament used a Flintstones game with a cover over the playfield which only provided a small window above the flippers to see the ball.

Winner of the crossed-hands tournament, Raúl Abad
Winner of the crossed-hands tournament, Raúl Abad

The Flintstones competition was won by Pablo Crespo Contreras, the crossed-hands competition by Raúl Abad and the split-flipper by Álvaro Vidal and his son.

Winners of the split-flipper tournament, Alvaro Vidal and his son
Winners of the split-flipper tournament, Álvaro Vidal and his son

With all the awards presented, the Torneo de Pinball de Biar weekend came to an end.

Down by the waterline in Alicante
Down by the waterline in Alicante

We also had a flight home to catch, but not before a stop-off in Alicante to enjoy the last of the day’s sunshine and sample the local cuisine once more.

The sun was just starting to set
The sun was just starting to set

The relaxed atmosphere and schedule surrounding the Biar weekend was a refreshing change from the often frantic and hurried tournaments we have experienced elsewhere. Having most of the tournament machines as part of a fixed collection certainly makes things easier for the organisers.

The Biar modern tournament was also Spain’s nominated event for the IPFA European Championship Series, giving it added significance and bringing in a few non-Spanish players. Those who hadn’t played in the previous six Biar tournaments could have benefitted from more information regarding the tournament formats and the way the overall results were decided.

Nonetheless, the whole weekend had a uniquely Spanish feel of warmth – both social and temperate – which, despite the huge quantities of food consumed, left us hungry for more.