Oakland Pinball Warriors is an Oakland-based pinball league that allows you to play on your own schedule.

There is no cost to join, and a full season's qualifying games can be completed in an evening. We have playoffs each season in A and B Divisions. By playing in the league, you will become a world ranked pinball player and can win coupons for free play pinball!

Qualifying for our November season runs November 1st until the playoffs are held on Sunday, December 2 at 11am at Scarlet City.

How it Works


Oakland Pinball Warriors is a "selfie" pinball league.

Play pinball at locations around Oakland at your convenience all month long, taking pictures with your best scores on each game.

Your scores will be assigned a point value based on how they compare to those of other players, and the total number of points you earn across your best 8 games (out of ~24 eligible machines) will be used to determine end-of-month rankings.

At the end of the month, we have playoffs at Scarlet City (3960 Adeline St, Emeryville, CA 94608) for all eligible players. To qualify for playoffs, you must submit scores on at least 4 different machines. Depending on the number of players for the month (see Format Details), the top 4 players likely receive a bye into the A Division, and all other qualifiers will battle it out for the remaining spots in A Division. The remaining players will compete for the B Division title.

How to Play


  • If this is your first time playing in OPW, register by sending an e-mail to oaklandpinballwarriors@gmail.com with your full name. Then sign up for a free account on MatchPlay.Events.

    If you have an IFPA player number, include that in your e-mail as well.

  • Add yourself to the tournament on MatchPlay.

    If you're on Facebook, join the Oakland Pinball Warriors Facebook group.

  • Visit any of our participating locations and play pinball!

  • Take a picture of yourself with your best score on each game.

    The picture doesn't have to be good or even have your entire face in it, but you must be identifiable and the score on the game must be clearly visible. It's okay if we have to zoom in to read it.

  • Submit your scores and pictures on MatchPlay by clicking the "submit scores" button on the top right of the Scores page.

    Please submit your scores to MatchPlay within 12 hours of the picture being taken.

    We also encourage members to keep things social by sharing their pictures in our Facebook group!

  • Play more pinball, rinse, repeat.

    We have unlimited qualifying all season, so play as much as you can and submit as many scores as you want. The 8 machines you do the best on will count towards end-of-season standings and determine who makes it to playoffs. To be eligible for playoffs, you must submit scores on at least four separate machines.

Locations & Eligible Machines


There are currently 10 venues with a total of about twenty-four eligible machines across them in the tournament. You can submit scores on as many machines as you like, but only your best eight will count towards end-of-the-month rankings.

In order to be eligible for playoffs, players must submit scores on at least four separate machines.

Venues & Games

Current venues and games for are listed below (games may change). See matchplay for which games are in for the month.

  • Radio Bar (435 13th Street): Iron Maiden (in each month)
  • The Legionnaire Saloon (2272 Telegraph Avenue): Dialed In!, Attack from Mars, KISS (expect all 3 games in each month)
  • Five10 Pizza (400 15th Street, formerly Hi-Life): ACDC, Ghostbusters, The Shadow (expect at least 2 games in each month)
  • Stay Gold Deli (2635 San Pablo): Fish Tales, T2, Who Dunnit, Metallica (expect all 4 games in each month)
  • Stay Gold North (2635 San Pablo): White Water, World Poker Tour (expect both games in each month)
  • Eli's Mile High Club (3629 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way): Guardians of the Galaxy, The Sopranos (expect both games in each month)
  • Scarlet City Coffee (3960 Adeline Street): Cactus Canyon, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Radical, Stern Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Sopranos, Tron (expect 4 games in each month)
  • The Wolfhound (5516 San Pablo): Game of Thrones, X-Men (expect both games in each month)
  • Honor Kitchen and Cocktails (1411 Powell St): Dr. Who (in each month)
  • Ghost Town Brewing (1960 Adeline St): Bram Stoker's Dracula, Iron Maiden, Scared Stiff (expect at least two games in each month)

The machines at all of these locations, except for Eli's and Ghost Town, are provided and maintained by operator TJ Beyer. TJ keeps his games in fantastic shape and is awesome about responding quickly to service calls. If you're looking to add pinball to your business, you won't find a better operator! You can reach him at funpinball@gmail.com.

Support our awesome venues!


A big part of the motivation behind Oakland Pinball Warriors is to drive traffic to some of these venues that don't have enough machines or space to host regular competitive events.

We want to show these venues that having pinball machines is good for business!

So please, when you go to play, make sure to be polite to the staff, support the business buy purchasing food or drink, tip appropriately, and let them know that you're there because of the pinball!

FAQ & Rules


What are the dates of the current/future seasons?

Qualifying starts at the beginning of the month and will run up until the finals for that month (although the top four qualifying spots will lock in at the end of the month). This means that if you need scores in order to qualify, then you can show up early before finals to play them.

Playoffs will be the first Sunday of the month, starting at 11AM at Scarlet City (3960 Adeline St, Emeryville, CA 94608) in Emeryville.

How do I qualify for playoffs?

At the end of the season, all players who have submitted scores on at least four machines will be invited to playoffs.

Formats for the finals will vary depending on how many people play. See Format Details for more information.

How much does it cost?

$5 for each finals you attend, plus the cost of game play!

How do I sign up?

Send us an e-mail at oaklandpinballwarriors@gmail.com with your full name saying you want to play.

Register for a free account on MatchPlay.events, and then add yourself to the tournament.

If you're on Facebook, join the Oakland Pinball Warriors Facebook group.

How do I submit my scores?

Once you've added yourself to the tournament on MatchPlay, visit the scores page and click the orange button at the top that says "Submit Scores".

From the list that appears, pick the game you want to submit a score for. Click "select photo" to upload the picture of your score, and then enter the actual score in the field below. Click "save score."

Your scores will be reflected in the standings once the photo has been verified by an administrator.

How long do I have to turn in my photos?

You need to submit your photos within 12 hours of playing the game.

What if I have trouble getting a picture of myself with my score?

Your pictures don't have to be good, but you do have to be in them.

If the best you can get in a selfie is a picture where the score is a little blurry, it's okay to take a supplemental picture just of the score and e-mail it for verification.

Some players may find it easier to carry around a photo of themselves, and then hold the photo (even your driver's license could work) up next to their score. This is allowed.

Can I use a score I earned during another pinball event?

You may use scores you achieved during any non-IFPA pinball event (Belles & Chimes), but not scores from a WPPR event.

What if I have trouble uploading my photo to MatchPlay?

If you run into any problems using MatchPlay or forget to attach your photo to a score, send us the picture at oaklandpinballwarriors@gmail.com.

In the body of the e-mail, include your full name, the name of the game you played, and the score you achieved.

What if I have a problem with a game?

Let our operator know so he can fix it! Send an e-mail describing the issue to funpinball@gmail.com.

Do I get WPPRs for this?

YES! The Oakland Pinball Warriors super selfie league is endorsed by the International Flipper Pinball Association and will award points towards your World Pinball Player Ranking.

If you don't have a world ranking, you will after playing in the league! Everyone who participates will become a world ranked pinball player just by playing.

Can I play extra balls?

Yes! Play your entire game, including any extra balls you earn.

Can I give my friends gameplay tips while they're playing?

Yes! During qualifying (the selfie portion of the league), coaching is not just allowed, it's encouraged! Playing with someone else and talking about what's going on in the game is a great way to get better. So go ahead and let your friends know when they've got a jackpot lit, how many shots they need to start multiball, or what they're supposed to shoot for in the mode they just started.

Any other rules I should know about?

Yes! Other than being allowed to play extra balls and give/receive advice from other players, you should play your games as though you were in a normal tournament. This means:

  • No death saves or bang-backs. When your ball drains, it is over and you are not allowed to push it back into play.
  • You should report all machine malfunctions to funpinball@gmail.com.
  • You may not take advantage of beneficial malfunctions. If the game breaks in a way that gives you an advantage (a ball becomes stuck in multiball, certain shots start awarding points when they shouldn't), stop playing.
  • No buy-ins allowed (i.e., you cannot purchase an extra ball at the end of the game, even if the machine is set up to allow that).

How do you know people are using their own scores?

Because we're adults and it's only pinball and seriously if someone is cheating at this WTF is wrong with them?

Oakland Pinball Warriors runs on an honor system. We trust our players to abide by the rules of competition.

What happens if someone does break the rules?

If a player is caught cheating or breaking the rules, they will be suspended from the league. They will be eligible to participate again after a full season has passed.

If a player is caught cheating again after returning from suspension, they will be permanently banned from the league.

Format Details


Qualifying

The top 8 scores count for each player. Scoring is 100-97-95-94-93-... Players need to submit at least 4 scores in order to be eligible to play in the finals. The top 4 seeds will lock in at the end of the month (scores must be submitted by an hour after the end of the month), but players can still submit scores in order to be eligible for the finals up until the time that finals starts. The finals venue will always have enough machines available to qualify for that month before finals start. Please note that you cannot submit the same score for two months if a machine is active in both at the same time.

Finals

The finals will consist of a preliminary round followed by a PAPA-style group elimination. Cost for participants is $5. After paying for IFPA fees, all money will be given out in prizes.


Preliminary Round

In the preliminary round, players will play groups of three or four. Scoring will be 7-5-3-1 (7-4-1 for groups of three). Pairings, player order, and games will be ‘balanced’ as chosen by the matchplay software. The number of games played and number of players advancing to the group elimination stage will vary based on the number of players qualified (see below). Tiebreakers for who advances to the group elimination stage will be played on what is deemed to be the fastest playing game.


B Division

Players who do not advance to the group elimination stage are eligible to play in the B division. Format will be chosen on the day of based on the number of players participating.


Group Elimination Stage

Players will be placed into groups of four (sometimes three) based on their seed from the qualifying. Groups will play three games and the scoring is 4-2-1-0 (4-2-1 in three player groups). After three games, the top two players from each group will advance to the next round. If players are tied for one of the advancing positions, then a tie-breaking game will be played.


Game and Order Selection in Group Elimination Stage

If six or more games are available for play, then four banks of three games will be randomly chosen the day of the competition (note: long playing games may be separated into different banks). Games can appear in up to two banks. The highest seed in a group will get to choose which bank to play on in that round (or has the option to defer to the next highest seed). No more than one group can select the same bank in a round. A player may not pick the same bank in consecutive rounds. For example, if a player picked Bank 1 in the first round, then she could not pick Bank 1 in second round, but could pick it again in third round.

Order selection on the first game will go in order of qualifying position (top seed gets first selection, then next highest seed, and so on). In subsequent games, order selection will go in reverse order of the results of the previous game (last place gets first order selection).

If a tie-breaking game necessary, the player with the highest seed will get to pick a game (or defer if they choose) that they did not play that round (and is not currently being played). If the tournament is running behind schedule (see below), then tie-breakers will be played on the fastest playing game available.


Changes based on how many people play in qualifying

In order to meet IFPA rules for games counting towards the TGP value of the tournament, the finals format will vary slightly based on how many people play the minimum number of required games during qualifying.


32 or more

If 32 or more people play in qualifying, the preliminary round will be three games (4 players receive byes out of this round) and the group elimination stage starts with 16 people (12 people advance out of the preliminary round and join the 4 players with byes).

Expected TGP: 90%


24-31 people

If 24 to 31 people play in qualifying, the preliminary round will be three games (4 players receive byes out of this round) and the group elimination stage starts with 12 people (8 people advance out of the preliminary round and join the 4 players with byes). The first round of the group elimination stage will be played in 3-player groups.

Expected TGP: 82%


16-23 people

If 16 to 23 people play in qualifying, the preliminary round will be five games (no players will receive byes) and the group elimination stage starts with 8 people.

In the preliminary round, each of the top four seeds will be allowed to pick their group’s game one time during the preliminary round. The groups will be drawn without any games being assigned. The top four seeds will then be given an opportunity to choose a game for their group. Priority will be given to the top seed. For example, if two of the top seeds are in a group and the top seed selects a game, then the other will not be able to select a game in that round.

Expected TGP: 88%


15 or less

Format TBD


Time Saving Measures

If the finals are in a venue with strict closing time, than some measures may be taken to ensure that the tournament finishes on time. In general, the following measures may be taken if there is less than a half an hour available for each game necessary to finish the tournament:

All tiebreakers will be played on the fastest playing game available.

Groups may be asked to play two games at once. If this is the case, then players with order selection can pick their position on either game. Their position on the other game will be shifted by two on the other game, so players will play after the same player on each game.

If time is not currently an issue, then game order within banks may shift so the longest playing game is played first (when possible) in order to better gauge if time will be an issue in future games.

More Bay Area Pinball


We have a fantastic pinball community in the Bay Area, with many leagues and frequent tournaments. Learn more about our many pinball events at HellaHeartPinball.com.