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Mar. 8th, 2017

The Tuesday after Christmas we held the Silver Balls tournament, now a memorial to our lost rabbit. This was a fine way to add anxiety and stress to our grief. There were some easier parts. This was now the fifth tournament, or the fourth successful tournament, we'd been through and experience gives confidence. And we were doing it as a strikes tournament, just like the first Silver Balls. The repeated format --- everyone plays until they get a set number of strikes --- also gave us confidence.

None too confident: would anybody show up? The turnout was down a little from Silver Balls 2015. Maybe there were, as the infamous late-June Facebook flame war had it, so many tournaments that none could command attention. I suspect the bigger problem was that at the end of 2015 there was a whole pack of people on the verge of making it to the State Championship Series. There was nearly none of that in 2016; by early December it was pretty obvious who'd be in and who wouldn't, barring a major upset, and all anyone could do is change who their first-round opponent might be. I quipped to CST that all we could do was, as nuclear war planners put it, make the rubble bounce in the standings. He found this a really funny way of putting things, the way adding a little nuclear-war-planning thought into your competitive-pinball discussions will.

Well, we got 19 people in, allowing us to make it a three-strikes tournament, saving some time. And with the wonders of the Brackelope app I could set up matches and have them posted to a web site automatically and I screwed up the setting so the URL I gave out for it wouldn't work. Which saves some embarrassment because at some point I entered a result wrong and recorded someone who'd won as having got a strike. I blame the result cards, which I designed; it was equally likely someone would put an X by the name of the winner as the loser. And Brackelope wouldn't let me amend results, for which I blame it.

I put together a workaround, by entering a ``new'' player whose name had to keep getting edited around. The actual results scoreboard if anyone looked was a disaster. Fortunately the posterboard on the wall was taken as the official standings and we could use that. I don't think we committed any gross miscarriages of justice but there's no way to know. I don't know how much of that was my fault in the result cards, how much was Brackelope's fault in making it impossible to correct an error, and how much was me still thinking mostly of our rabbit. I tied for 9th; [ profile] bunny_hugger tied for 13th. Considering everything going against us, that wasn't bad.

MWS put in some gift cards for a side tournament. This was on Medieval Madness, with a closest-to-the-hole challenge: it would go to the person who, without tilting, scored as close as possible to 15,000,000 points without going over. I'm impressed by how good a challenge this is. It's very easy on Medieval Madness to get up to ten million points; just shoot the castle. It's also very easy to get above twenty million points; shoot the castle a little more. But that'll leap you over twenty million points quickly. Getting to fifteen million and stopping takes rules and situational awareness.

I had a great game of it going, getting to about fourteen and a half million, with a bonus that was under a half-million. All I had to do was get the ball under control and let it drain. So of course the ball floated into the Extra Ball scoop. And for all I could do to drain that quickly, it pushed me up to something like fifteen million and twenty thousand points. So near glory.

Trivia: The Malpas Tunnel, of France's Canal du Midi, linking the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean, was the first major canal tunnel built with the use of gunpowder. It dates to 1679. Source: Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules that Changed History, Penny Le Couteur, Jay Burreson.

Currently Reading: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection In Medieval Paris, Eric Jager.

PS: How February 2017 Treated My Mathematics Blog, which was surprisingly good.

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