Frequently Asked Questions

F. A. Q.

Why join a pinball league?
There are a variety of reasons to play league pinball. Some do it for the competition, for some it's purely social, some people just want to meet local pinheads/collectors and play a few games. The FSPA has all levels of players in its leagues, from outright beginners to world class players but manages to keep things fun with our format that generally keeps you competing with players of your own skill level.

Where are your league locations?
We currently have 5 locations:

How do you join?
Just tell us via E-mail that you'd like to join. Then show up for a league night. If we are in the middle of a season, you can join us as a guest any week. We're not big on bureaucracy. ;)
The best time to join is for what we call "Week #0". It's not an official week of league play, but rather sort of a "meet and greet" week. Players old and new will come out to say hi and play some games. The week after that will be the first official week of competition for the season. HOWEVER, you can join us during ANY week (except our playoff night) and play as a guest player.

How do I know when to come out to league? or When is the next Season?
We have an announce only list that will alert you to the next season starting time, and you can follow us on Twitter with @FSPApinball or visit twitter.com/FSPApinball.

How does the league work?
Our league system is designed so that players compete directly against their peers of similar skill level. Each week you're placed in a 3 or 4 player group, and play 4 games on 4 different assigned machines and score just against those players. Our machines range from current dot matrix games to 70's and 80's classics. League play tends to take about 90 minutes and most folks arrive a bit early to get some practice in. Our league system is designed for players that are there every week of the 10-week season (or nearly so), but we do have rules in place to cover missing up to 3-weeks of play with scores submitted ahead of time.
I'd suggest that the best single page to check out to learn about FSPA league play is our Players_Guide. This guide tells you almost everything you need to know about league play in one (double-sided) page. And really, it's even simpler than that -- just come out each week and play four fun games of competitive pinball. The league officers and other players will be glad to help you with the details as needed.

About how long does a typical league night last?
Expect official league play to last about an hour and a half. Usually it's a bit less than that, occasionally it's longer. Many people stick around after league is officially over to play just for fun. I will point out that except for week #0 (which has no official play), we normally do start promptly, so it's good to be at the league location a bit early.

What games are there? Do you cycle through different games each week?
We have from four to ten machines at each location. The games at the location do rotate periodically -- not weekly, but maybe 2-3 times per year. While the physical machines themselves change only occasionally, the games that you personally play in league will vary from week to week, so out of the games on location , you'll play 4 each week. You might possibly play the same 4 games this week as last week, or possibly 4 totally different games, but most likely some mix-and-match.

  • Lyman's Tavern: The location is open from 11:00AM to midnight every day.
  • Mighty Mike's: The location is open from 11:00AM to 2:00AM every day.
  • RedZone Grill: The location is open from 11:00AM to 2:00AM every day.
  • Volleyball House (VBH): The location is open from 5:00 PM to 10:30 PM Mon-Thur, 5:00 - Midnite Fri, and varies on Sat and Sun.
  • VUK: The location is open 5-11 PM Tuesday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday and Saturday, noon-10 PM Sunday. Closed Monday.
If the machines are off, just turn them on and play.

What are the league costs?
League dues are $4 a week, plus your own coins for the games (varies by location; typically $0.50-$1.00 per play), and league funds all go back out to players in form of league trophies, prizes, end-of-season party and giveaway of a FREE PINBALL MACHINE each calendar year. You can pay the 10-week season dues all up front, or $4/week, or any combination that works for you. You're also responsible for the coin drop for the league games you play.

Are there change machines or do members come prepared with their own quarters?
Several of our league locations have change machines, or have change available from the location staff at the cashier. Also, some games have dollar bill acceptors. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to come prepared with a roll of quarters... any bank should be able to hook you up, $10 per roll.

Are your locations convenient to public transportation?
Our Lyman's (Washington, DC) and VUK (Bethesda, MD) leagues have good Metro accessibility. Red Zone Grill (Fairfax, VA) can be reached via a combination of subway and local bus. Volleyball House (Elkridge, MD) and Mighty Mike's (Sterling, VA) are harder to reach by public transit.

We encourage you to use online resources such as Google Maps to identify the best way to reach our leagues from your home or work location.

Where else can I play pinball on location?
Pinball Map is an excellent community-driven online resource for finding places to play. In our area, check out both the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD pages.

How do I sign up to receive FSPA emails?
To Join the FSPA mailing list, send a message to fspa-request@fspazone.org. In the body of the message place the word "subscribe". The server ignores anything in the subject line. You'll get a response that welcomes you to the list and tells you how to unsubscribe. Keep this introduction message for future reference. Sometimes traffic is light, but typically is about 10-20 messages/week.

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