South West Pinball League at Home Leisure Direct

Posted by Abi 09 MAY 2016

In the midst of a very interesting weekend last week of the Snooker World Championships final and Leicester City F.C. winning the Premier League, we were busy holding our first ever pinball league meet here at the Home Leisure Direct showrooms. On Sunday, we opened up our doors to the South West UK Pinball League and we all had such a great time that I wanted to write a blog that might encourage you to join us next time, or maybe you’ll be inspired to set up your very own pinball league meet. 

South West Pinball League at Home Leisure Direct Showrooms

During the week prior to the event, our new HLD pinball engineer, Dominic, had been working away polishing our pinball machines to the best possible standard and setting each one up for tournament play. Greg Mott who organises the South West Pinball League had specified that the machines needed to be set to play four balls, no restarts, no extra balls, no buy-in, tournament mode and no points for special.

We also had a new arrival ready for pinball enthusiasts to enjoy, the Stern Ghostbusters pinball machine, set up only a day or two beforehand. We decided that this would be the perfect day to launch the new Ghostbusters pinball machine with a competition - the top score for the day would win a Ghostbusters pinball translite courtesy of Stern Pinball Inc. 

After the HLD team had scurried around for a couple of hours preparing the showrooms and arranging the food and drink for the day, pinball players began to arrive for practice at midday.

It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with my fellow pinball enthusiasts who I have met at other pinball leagues meets and tournaments. Everyone was excited to try out the new Ghostbusters pinball machine and have the choice of so many machines to play on in the league (although most league meets take place in competitor's homes and you’d be surprised how many pinball machines you can fit into a house!).

Craig Pullen Ghostbusters Pinball Machine

Greg Mott, who organises the South West League play-tested the machines to select which ones should go into the tournament and picked a whopping 12 machines to be selected for league play for the day. He also prepared the format of the league that day, which was to pair up with another player and play one multiplayer game per machine with your partner, recording each other’s scores as you go.

After two hours of practice, Greg called everyone together to stop playing and go over the rules before starting tournament play. Players who are signed up to the UK Pinball League can gain official points that go towards national rankings in these events, so for the benefit of those players, Greg explained how ranking points would be gained. 

South West Pinball League at Home Leisure Direct

Then we set off for a day of tournament play. We quickly realised that playing a two player game for twelve games was going to take a long time, but we had a great time trying to get the best scores we could and kept going until 6pm! 

Everyone else was finished by 6pm too and we said good bye to the last few players, had a quick clear up of the showrooms before heading home. 

Jono, Josh and myself from the HLD team competed in the league and didn’t do too badly either! Josh and I hit the middle of the final results for the day, gaining 9 and 8 UK Pinball League points respectively, with Jono coming 7th for the day overall! I was mostly pleased with my respectable score on Attack From Mars of 3,246,446,740, which was fourth highest for the day. 

South West Pinball League Home Leisure Direct Pinball Machines

We were also pleased to announce the winner of the Ghostbusters pinball machine high-score competition was Andy Taylor 425,730,230. A prize of a Ghostbusters Pinball translite is being sent to him from Stern in the US. Well done Andy!

All in all, everyone had a great day at our league meet and we would be happy to do it again in the future. We also received some really nice e-mails and Facebook messages the following week from players who attended the event thanking us for holding the meet at the showrooms and for the great food too.

We had such a great time that we’d encourage you to join us at upcoming meets, or why not start your own pinball tournament? All you need is:

Basic Pinball League Equipment:

  • 1x clipboard, score sheet and pen per machine
  • Drinks: Tea, coffee, sugar, squash (we also had bottles of coke, lemonade, ginger beer etc) kettle, cups and anything else needed for making drinks.
  • Food for how ever many people you estimate will arrive (we provided sandwiches, crisps, biscuits etc) plus paper plates and napkins.
  • Pinball machines!

South West Pinball League at the HLD Showroom


  • The format of the meet-up and if this requires any settings to be changed on your pinball machines (how many balls you play, if you are accepting extra balls etc.)
  • Contact people to join you! Greg Mott at the South West Pinball League organised e-mailing members of the league to let them know dates and times. We invited some our our fellow pinball fans, friends and family and customers to join us on the day on Facebook, over the phone and via e-mail.
  • Score sheets (a basic score sheet states the name of the machines and includes a column for the player’s name, their score and a box for another player to sign this off to approve the score)
  • League table (if you are running a league, take a look at the UK Pinball League for examples of league tables. You’ll also need to decide how you rank people; will it be on their collective score? Will it run on a points system relating to how many people played?)

South West Pinball League - Fish Tales

Of course these are guidelines and you can run your own league meet however you like. As I said before, most of these league meets are in people’s own homes, so if you want to set up your own pinball meet-up and you only have two or three pinball machines go ahead and do it anyway! If you only have one machine, why not have your mates round for a high-score challenge? If you have a games room, with a few different types of games, why not have a Games Room Olympics as we are currently running here at Home Leisure Direct? It’s great fun and we’re positive you, your friends and your family will join in and have a great time.

Craig Pullen in Home Leisure Direct Showroom for the South West Pinball League

We’d love to hear about your pinball meets or games room Olympics. Why not get involved and post your photos and high-scores on our social media? You’ll see ours popping up over the coming weeks too, so we hope you’ll join us in the fun!

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