Date: 2nd - 4th October, 2015
Location: JC Den Eglantier, Apostelstraat 13, 9100 Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

The JC Den Eglantier nightclub on the square next to the church of Sint-Niklaas has been home to the main Belgian open tournament for the previous two years, but in 2015 the Belgian Open Pinball tournament stepped aside to make way for the European Pinball Championship or EPC.

Market Square in central Sint-Niklaas
Market Square in central Sint-Niklaas

The Church of Sint-Niklaas is on the square (on the right of the picture above), with restaurants and bars to the side and behind.

You don't have to walk too far from the church to enjoy a beer
You don't have to walk too far from the church to enjoy a beer

It is on one of these side streets that we find the JC Den Eglantier nightclub, which was taken over this weekend so it could host the EPC.

The venue for the EPC 2015
The venue for the EPC 2015

Our first visit to the Belgian Open Pinball weekend was in 2012 when 87 players took part. Three years later, and the EPC was over-subscribed with 300 places available.

Entry to the event cost €45 ($51/£33) which included entry to the EPC tournament, one entry in the Classic Tournament, and some tokens for drinks or food. It's curious licensing issue, but food and drink could not be bought directly for cash and had to be purchased using green or red tokens worth €1.50 or €0.50 respectively. Further tokens, along with additional Classic entries, could be purchased at the entrance to the building.

As you walked into the main hall, the EPC machines were arranged along the right wall.

A selection of the EPC machines
A selection of the EPC machines

More EPC machines
More EPC machines

The control desk was raised above the main floor and featured the many trophies to be won this weekend. Then on the other side of the desk were more EPC machines.

More EPC machines
More EPC machines

The final two EPC machines
The final two EPC machines

At the far end of the main hall was an area set aside for the Team Tournament. The players in the eighteen teams competing had their own machines and, like the main EPC, the qualifying rounds took place on Friday afternoon and throughout Saturday.

Qualifying in the Team Tournament
Qualifying in the Team Tournament

At the back of the Team Tournament area was an exit from the main hall into the patio area.

The covered patio
The covered patio

With smoking inside any of the buildings prohibited, this became the smoker's refuge, although it was also the eating area. Thankfully the weather remained dry and warm throughout the weekend with sunshine, blues skies, and the occasional fly-past.

It would be nice to think this was arranged for the EPC, but...
It would be nice to think this was arranged for the EPC, but...

To the right of the patio was a practice room containing sixteen more machines.

The practice room
The practice room

More practice machines
More practice machines

Class of 1812
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Evel Knievel*
Family Guy
Freddy, A Nightmare on Elm Street
Indiana Jones (WMS)
Indianapolis 500
Medieval Madness
Pirates of the Caribbean
Saturn 2*
Simpsons Pinball Party, The
Super Soccer
World Poker Tour*
X-Men Pro

A conservatory beyond the patio was also filled with machines on which players could practice.

Some top titles were in the free-play practice area
Some top titles were in the free-play practice area

Nineteen more machines to play
Nineteen more machines to play

Addams Family, The
Attack from Mars
Batman Forever
Dirty Harry
Dracula, Bram Stoker's
Grand Prix
High Speed 2: The Getaway
Lord of the Rings, The
Lost in Space
Monster Bash
NBA Fastbreak*
No Fear
Scared Stiff*
Special Force
Tales from the Crypt

Just to the left of the picture above was the entrance to the final room, which contained a second bar, more practice machines, the Classic Tournament, and the Winner Takes It All tournament.

The second bar
The second bar

The Classic Tournament area
The Classic Tournament area

Andrew and Janos were there with two Full Throttle machines
Andrew and Janos were there with two Full Throttle machines

AC/DC Back in Black LE
Charlie's Angels
Dolly Parton
Fast Draw
Full Throttle
Full Throttle
Medieval Madness Remake
Post Time*
Revenge from Mars
Strikes & Spares
Tron LE
Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary, The

Up on the stage were the four Winner Takes It All machines
Up on the stage were the four Winner Takes It All machines

They included the first public appearance of Stern's new Game of Thrones
They included the first public appearance of Stern's new Game of Thrones

While there were plenty of practice machines available, the vast majority of visitors were there to compete in the main EPC tournament.

The format consisted of a qualifying round in which all 300+ players competed, followed by a series of double-elimination matches for the top 68 qualifiers.

To accommodate so many players, qualifying was split into six rounds (A-F), each two hours and thirty minutes long. The first two of these began on the Friday afternoon - 3pm and 5:30pm - with the remaining four spread throughout Saturday, at 10am, 12:30pm, 3pm and 5:30pm.

The qualifying round
The qualifying round

During qualifying, players could choose any eight of the twenty-four machines on which to play a single 3-ball game. The scores on all machines were ranked and points awarded according to each player's position. The total of the points score on all eight machines made up a players total score.

More qualifying games
More qualifying games

In addition, each player had a 'joker' which they could use to replace their worst-scoring game. Use of the joker was optional and it could be used on a totally different machine if required, but once employed it automatically replaced the worst of the original eight games, even if the joker game was worse still.

After the first two qualifying rounds were over on Friday night, the venue closed as a special dinner was held across the square at the Wima bowling centre for those who paid the €55 ($62/£40) ticket price.

The Wima bowling centre, venue for the guest dinner
The Wima bowling centre, venue for the guest dinner

The evening began with an introduction from Lieven Engelbeen.

Lieven welcomes dinner guests
Lieven welcomes dinner guests

Two special guests were originally scheduled to attend the EPC and speak at the dinner - Greg Freres and Lyman Sheats - but Gary Stern was also in Europe for the EAS show in Sweden, so he too attended the event and spoke briefly at the dinner.

Gary Stern
Gary Stern

Then Lyman spoke about his career in pinball, programming games and writing operating systems at Williams, Data East and Stern.

Lyman Sheats
Lyman Sheats

He explained what a pinball programmer really does, including making games fun and ensuring they don't catch on fire.

At Williams he said people only moved up the ladder slowly, then they throw you in the river to see if you sink or swim. He began with the swear ROMs for Demolition Man, writing code for a Theatre of Magic test fixture and display/lamp effects for No Fear where he first worked with Steve Ritchie.

Lyman talks to the dinner guests
Lyman talks to the dinner guests

Lyman then described working with Brian Eddy on Attack from Mars and Medieval Madness, how the games were created and developed, and how the features changed on the way to production.

He then covered his work on Monster Bash before turning to his time working at Stern pinball, where he was deeply involved in developing code for the S.A.M. hardware platform.

After talking about his work on Transformers and Tron, he turned to AC/DC and what he and Steve wanted the game to be. Lyman was supposed to team up with Steve again for Star Trek but ended up on Metallica with John Borg who wanted the game to play snippets of each song like Guns 'N Roses on which they had previously worked, but instead it ended up playing one track at a time like AC/DC.

Audio Click here to play the MP3 of Lyman's talk, or right click to download the file. You can also use the player below to play it within this page.

Get the Flash Player to hear this audio clip.

Lyman finishes his presentation and enjoys a well-earned beer
Lyman finishes his presentation and enjoys a well-earned beer

Then it was time for the meal. Guests moved downstairs to the dining area where they enjoyed a tasty dinner buffet.

Dinner time
Dinner time

After dinner, everyone returned upstairs as Greg Freres gave a presentation about his pinball artwork and his collaboration with Dennis Nordman on Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons.

Greg Freres
Greg Freres

But Greg began by explain not who he is, but who he isn't.

Greg Freres, NOT Paul Faris
Greg Freres, NOT Paul Faris

Greg then spoke about many of the game on which he created the artwork, including Fathom, Star Trek - The Next Generation and Revenge from Mars, right up to his work on Stern's latest title, Game of Thrones.

Greg talks to the dinner guests
Greg talks to the dinner guests

Then Greg turned to the creation of Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons, the building of the original four custom games, and the way it was eventually produced at Stern Pinball.

Audio Click here to play the MP3 of Greg's talk, or right click to download the file. You can also use the player below to play it within this page.

Get the Flash Player to hear this audio clip.

Saturday's action began at 10am with the first of the day's four qualifying rounds.

The qualifying machines were:

  • Cirqus Voltaire

  • Escape from the Lost World

  • Stargate

  • World Poker Tour

  • Rollergames

  • Johnny Mnemonic

  • Twilight Zone

  • Whoa Nellie!Big Juicy Melons

  • Metallica Pro

  • Avengers, The

  • Kiss Pro

  • The Shadow
  • No Fear

  • The Walking Dead LE

  • Guns N' Roses

  • The Sopranos

  • Pinball Magic

  • Gladiators

  • Monster Bash

  • Terminator 3

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Austin Powers

  • Airborne

  • Super Soccer

Another score is recorded
Another score is recorded

The process of playing a game was a little involved but worked well enough.

Each machine had a laminated card with the number on it. To play a qualifying game, players had to choose their machine and notify an official. If the machine's card was on one of the boards in each area then it was available to play. The official then clipped the player's badge onto the card and gave it back to the player.

If the card was not on the board then the game was already being played, and the player's badge was hung on the board until the card returned.

One of the machine boards
One of the machine boards

As soon as the card returned it was paired up with the next player's badge and they could go to the machine. Once there, another official would take the badge and card and hold onto it until the game was over and the score recorded on a tablet.

Rather than using the start button, each machine was fitted with an electronic sensor which could only be operated by one of the EPC staff members using a special tag. This prevented games being restarted surreptitiously, while the holding of the player badge ensured nobody walked away during a game.

The overall scores were shown on a projector screen, while two touchscreen terminals were available for players to check their own scores and their ranking in any of the tournaments taking place over the weekend.

Players check their positions
Players check their positions

Joker games could be played during a player's regular qualifying slot, or they could be held back and played during a special final session from 8pm until 10pm on Saturday. This extra session allowed players to tactically work out what the possible benefits and risks were from choosing to play their joker.

When the joker session ended, the final qualifying results were announced and players knew whether they needed to return to the hall for 9am the next morning for the play-offs.

Here are the qualifying round results. Click on a name to see the scores.

Pos Name Points
1 Jorian Engelbrektsson 897
2 Krisztián Szalai 874
3 Cayle George 857
4 Robert Sutter 824
5 Julio Vicario Soriano 815
6 John van der Wulp 772
7 Daniele Acciari 756
8 Roy Wils 756
9 Michael Trepp 746
10 Dirk Klaver 725
11 Sébastien Puertas 718
12 Jochen Ludwig 717
13 Evert Brochez 716
14 Lyman Sheats 702
15 Daniele Baldan 699
16 Greg Mott 695
17 Jörgen Holm 674
18 Juan Escuder Miquel 673
19 Michel van den Elzen 672
20 Mikkel Sjølin 668
21 Franck Bona 665
22 Roger Wijnands 663
23 Barry Driessen 659
24 Dirk Elzholz 659
25 Carlos Javier Parra Moracho 657
26 Thomas Evrenos 654
27 Paul Jongma 649
28 Giuseppe Violante 647
29 Zsolt Szabó 644
30 Bo Mertins 633
31 Santiago Elices Cereceda 632
32 Marcus Hugosson 631
33 Ernö Rotter 625
34 Jean Philippe Passarieu 621
35 Jean Louis Mergny 620
36 Peter Blakemore 618
37 Richard Mallet 618
38 Kevin Van Rossum 616
39 Johan Genberg 612
40 Philippe Bocquet 611
41 Peter Andersen 601
42 Peter Franck 591
43 Jonas Johansson 587
44 Mark van der Gugten 587
45 Richard Ramon 587
46 Anthony Croes-Lacroix 586
47 Martin Ayub 585
48 Taco Wouters 585
49 Victor Stulemeijer 585
50 Mats Runsten 572
51 Olli-Mikko Ojamies 571
52 Nick Marshall 568
53 Teemu Vinnikka 568
54 Ari Sovijärvi 564
55 Jürgen Wünschmann 560
56 Pontus Qvarfordh 560
57 Wilbert der kinderen 560
58 Andreas Harre 558
59 Helen de Haan-Verbeeck 557
60 Kevin roelants 553
61 Pekka Salmia 551
62 Helena Walter 549
63 Ales Rebec 548
64 Fredrik Andersson 547
65 János Sándor 546
66 Axel Bouet 540
67 Timm Dollinger 540
68 Filippin Matteo 537
69 Ivan Geentjes 535
70 Topias Marttila 534
71 Ralph Beckers 525
72 Glenn Pellis 524
73 Reiner Pfeiffer 518
74 Jean Philippe Congnard 513
75 Roland Schwarz 511
76 Robert Lau 509
77 Andrew Highway 507
78 Markus Schoeneberger 505
79 Roman Kunovic 504
80 Andreas Thorsén 503
81 Michel Rorive 503
82 Juuso Mäkinen 502
83 Felix Yeboles 501
84 Mark Potter 490
85 Lene Andersen 489
86 Romain Wilem 489
87 Tom Geneyn 489
88 Joonas Haverinen 488
89 Mart Oenema 487
90 Glenn Verhoosele 485
91 Jérémy Reynaud 483
92 Martijn van Aken 482
93 Peter Boncza 481
94 Christian Skov 480
95 Joris Stulemeijer 479
96 Fabio Francescato 477
97 Admir Peco 474
98 Wayne Johns 471
99 Mike Kindler 468
100 Steven Demets 459
101 Roberto Pedroni 457
102 Mads Kristensen 455
103 Norbert Broman 455
104 David Laar 454
105 Jos Deboosere 452
106 Ollivier Francq 449
107 Frank Goeltl 448
108 Edwin Nijs 446
109 Enrico Giorgio De Stefani 445
110 Boldizsár Botka 442
111 Andreas Frank Meyer 439
112 César Dubon Martínez 439
113 Anders Carlsson 437
114 Rafael Masedo Rodríguez 437
115 Roald Nielsen 437
116 Devis Pierantozzi 436
117 Jonas Valström 434
118 Joël Wozniak 433
119 Lukasz Romanowski 427
120 David Mainwaring 425
121 Stan Simpson 423
122 Urban Bergh 422
123 Berndt Ion Teodorescu 421
124 Jonas Heide 421
125 Jaroslaw Rupiewicz 419
126 Jim Lindsay 419
127 Clara Boulieu 415
128 Lars Ørskov Jensen 414
129 Lieven Engelbeen 413
130 Juergen Letzel 410
131 Koen Willocx 410
132 Torben Jacobsen 410
133 Balázs Pálfi 404
134 David Deturck 404
135 Mathias Jäger 404
136 Lefevre Archibald 403
137 Linus Persson 401
138 Victor Machart 398
139 Juan Antonio Martín Amaya 396
140 Tommy Machado 395
141 Cesare d'Atri 394
142 Joachim Reniers 392
143 Luc goovaerts 392
144 Rob Breyne 389
145 Tamás Odler 388
146 Dieter Bouckaert 385
147 Anthony Rorive 384
148 Bernard Dumont 382
149 Andy Bostyn 378
150 Zurkowski Aleksander 378
151 Erwin Deutschländer 377
152 Harry van Tubergen 377
153 Gábor Vanderer 376
154 Dimitri Van Hove 374
155 Martijn van Amsterdam 374
156 Daniel Nowak 371
157 Ronald Oenema 369
158 Kris Van Clapdorp 368
159 András Lugosi 367
160 Jens Wieland 365
161 Pascal Leroy 365
162 Penni Epstein 362
163 Vincent Chardome 362
164 Olivier Renders 358
165 Mario Vercauteren 357
166 Jonas Ingerlund 356
167 Stanislas Chabior 356
168 Fred Van den Bosch 355
169 Janos Kiss 354
170 Peter Van den Bergh 354
171 Jasmijn de Jong 349
172 Philipp Unger 349
173 Ad Jonker 348
174 Ovidiu Cacina 348
175 Dirk De Groote 345
176 Juha Iijalainen 345
177 Vin Jauhal 343
178 Morten Petersen 342
179 Mahé Laurent 341
180 Mario Kertels 341
181 Martin Mortensen 341
182 Mathias Leurs 339
183 Peter Reinhold 338
184 Thierry Lecomte 337
185 Fredrik Mellberg 336
186 Eric Andries 335
187 Christoph Scholte 330
188 Bart Evers 326
189 Stefan Holzaepfel 325
190 István Berecz 323
191 Jacek Wenda 323
192 Kevin Van Weyenberg 321
193 Pascal Vanwonterghem 318
194 Alain Boulieu 317
195 Jorge Villoria Aparicio 316
196 Tom Petty 316
197 Stefan Herold 309
198 Thomas Mall 309
199 Javier Núñez Pérez 307
200 Bjorn Erlend Hellem 305
201 Kim G. Hansen 305
202 Andreas Salathé 304
203 Anthony Struelens 302
204 Lemey Maarten 302
205 Damien Dumont 301
206 Milan Caranovic 299
207 Gabriel Molotov Gavrilita 297
208 Phillip Eaton 297
209 Tim Kreukels 294
210 Guy Wilem 292
211 Sven Elskens 290
212 Timo Valkonen 290
213 Yuri Helsen 287
214 Paul Jean-Marc 284
215 Alain Müller 284
216 Didier Dujardin 284
217 Olivier Leurs 283
218 Jan Anders Nilsson 277
219 György Kovács 273
220 Joeri Stroobants 273
221 Alexis Cossement 272
222 Ben Zaad 268
223 Rossetti Giancarlo 267
224 Gianluca Baiocco 266
225 Stefan Verhoelst 266
226 Anja Nielsen 263
227 Bart Vyvey 263
228 Fabio Squadrani 260
229 Thomas Doepelheuer 257
230 Kornél Kosdi 256
231 Thomas Binder 255
232 Steven Quintijn 254
233 Kay Kuster 253
234 Ernestine Lachnit 250
235 Klaus Löffler 248
236 Stefan Redetzky 248
237 Mario Vandermeulen 246
238 Cezary Glowala 242
239 Iris Forsberg 242
240 Evelyne Desot 241
241 Mikael Olausson 241
242 Wim Devos 241
243 Christophe Leroy 240
244 Dina Fukson 240
245 Christoph d'hanens 230
246 Jochen Jaspers 228
247 Johan Lööv 227
248 Dirk Verstockt 226
249 Gert Hammel 226
250 Laurence Boulieu 226
251 Kelly Lembrechts 224
252 Sebastian Ansorge 223
253 Mirko Lunden 220
254 Yves Bruynseels 217
255 Anais Giampietro 215
256 Bert Van 213
257 Gabriel Ortiz Llonís 213
258 Carola Kolbeck 210
259 Willy Sachet 210
260 York maes 209
261 Heinz Baumann 207
262 Ruben Dubelloy 206
263 Katrine Thomsen 204
264 Zsolt Somogyvari 199
265 Andrzej Cieslik 195
266 Clark potie 195
267 Bouckaert pieter 192
268 Axel Lindlahr 189
269 Christophe Stucki 189
270 Sander Debaere 188
271 Dennis verleyen 187
272 Karin Weilenmann 185
273 Christoph Korrodi 179
274 Cinthya Messiaen 176
275 Spronck Fabrice 172
276 Péter Szamosi 170
277 Pablo Crespo García 163
278 Sharis Dewulf 163
279 Alessandro Radica 154
280 Marko Ritosa 143
281 Peter Goossens 141
282 Jakub Cieplinski 139
283 Kevin Claeys 129
284 Nico Rosvelds 127
285 Kyoo Barbaix 123
286 Gwenn Versini Petty 121
287 Kevin Sultana 120
288 Tim Slow 93
289 Wim nolmans 82
290 Lieven Van den Bulcke 71
291 Wim Vermeulen 58

While the EPC qualifying was taking place, two other tournaments were also running.

The Team Competition featured eighteen four-player teams, split into three groups of six. Entry to this event cost €20 per team with the three groups playing on either Friday from 3pm to 7pm, Saturday morning from 10am to 2pm, or Saturday afternoon from 3pm until 7pm.

The registered teams were:

  • Team Switzerland

  • Team Finland

  • Team Italy

  • Team Romania

  • Team Belgium

  • Team Germany

  • Dutch Pinball Team

  • Team France

  • Team Spain
  • Team Sweden

  • Team Poland

  • Team Hungary

  • Team Denmark

  • Team VISNET

  • Team 3G&K

  • Team Spain 2

  • Team Dzikie Kaczki

  • Team Stadion

In each group every team played a single match against the other five teams in their group. Each match consisted of two games. In one game, two players from each team played against two of their opponents in a four-player game. The second game was the same but featured the other two players from each team.

The Team Tournament area
The Team Tournament area

Points were awarded for finishing position in each game; 5 points for winning, 3 points for second and 1 point for third. When all the games had been completed, the two teams with the most points in each group would continue to the play-offs.

It got a bit crowded in this part of the hall
It got a little crowded in this part of the hall

The Team Tournament was played on eight machines:

  • Fish Takes

  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's

  • Godzilla

  • Indiana Jones (Stern)

  • World Cup Soccer

  • Pinbot

  • Waterworld

Meanwhile, right at the back of the complex, the Classic Tournament was taking place and was extremely popular.

A score on Centaur is recorded in the Classic Tournament
A score on Centaur is recorded in the Classic Tournament

Entry to this cost €3 per entry, with an entry consisting of three games of your choice from the sixteen machines available. Somewhat annoyingly, entering required a token which could only be purchased from the front desk, right at the opposite end of the building, although one entry was included with your registration for the event.

The same queueing system used for the main EPC tournament was used, but the restricted space meant there was always a crowd of players either registering their machine selection, waiting for to play their game, or trying to leave the area.

The Classic Tournament machine board
The Classic Tournament machine board

The sixteen machines available were:

  • Haunted House

  • Kiss

  • Viper

  • Catacomb

  • Future Spa

  • Aztec

  • Four Million BC

  • Paragon
  • Ro Go

  • Meteor

  • Space Mission

  • Flash Gordon

  • Silverball Mania

  • Skateball

  • Centaur

  • Jack in the Box

The scores on all machines were ranked and the ranking points from the three scores gave an overall points total for that entry.

Classic Tournament machines from Aztec to Space Mission
Classic Tournament machines from Aztec to Space Mission

Entries could be voided at any point before the third score was recorded, since two good scores and one bad one may not be enough to qualify and could adversely affect the points earned in a previous entry.

The final bank of machines in the Classic Tournament
The final bank of machines in the Classic Tournament

Qualifying would be tough. 244 players took part in the Classic Tournament - playing from 12:45 on Friday until 2pm on Sunday, but only 16 would qualify for Sunday afternoon's play-off rounds.

You can take a look around the EPC venue in our exclusive Nine Minute Tour.

Also on Saturday, a vendor table was set-up near the entrance where guests could purchase from a range of commonly-needed pinball parts.

Pinball parts for sale on Saturday
Pinball parts for sale on Saturday

On Saturday evening, a barbecue was held at the rear of the main hall.

Saturday's BBQ
Saturday's BBQ

The cost of this was €15 per person which gave you a steak, a chicken breast, a large sausage and a buffet of salad items and bread. A €10 kids meal option with two of the meat items was also available but, as with the adult version, needed to be purchased at the time of registering for the EPC.

On Saturday at 9pm, the final of the Team Tournament took place.

In the three qualifying rounds, the top two teams from each group of six made it through to the final. This was then played in the same format, with each team playing a match against the other five teams.

At the end, the winners were the Italian team, with Germany in second and France third.

Winners of the EPC Team Tournament, Team Italy
Winners of the EPC Team Tournament, Team Italy
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

Second place, Team Germany
Second place, Team Germany
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

Third place, Team France
Third place, Team France
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

The venue then stayed open until 1am for those who wished to play more games and enjoy the music. We opted instead to enjoy some of Sint-Niklaas other attractions and ended up playing an Iron Man machine in the bar next door to the EPC, with the loser buying the next round of drinks.

Sunday was crunch day for the main EPC tournament and the Classic Tournament, while it was also the day for the Youth Tournament.

The top 4 qualifiers in the main EPC won two byes and so didn't have to play in the first two rounds of play-offs. The 5th-16th qualifiers received one bye. For everyone else, it was straight into the first round of best-of-three double-elimination head-to-head 3-ball matches

Players assemble for the first round of EPC play-offs
Players assemble for the first round of EPC play-offs

There had been a couple of changes in the machines available to play. With the Team Tournament now over, those machines were added to the mix, and a couple of substitutions had taken place at the far end of the main row.

Super Soccer had been taken out, and Batman and 24 added
Super Soccer had been taken out, and Batman and 24 added

The addition of these machines was no accident, as these for would be used later in the day for the Youth Tournament.

Lieven explains the rules and the format to the EPC players
Lieven explains the rules and the format to the EPC players

Unfortunately, despite repeated calls and a deadline being announced, one play failed to appear in time for the start of the first round and was thus replaced. Predictably, they showed up just moments after the decision to replace them was made.

The machines played were drawn at random and the results entered into the computer spreadsheet.

Results were shown on the big screen
Results were shown on the big screen

The winners of each match progressed to the next round in the winners' bracket, while the losers dropped into the loser bracket. Matches in the loser bracket were decided by a single 4-ball game.

Another match result is recorded
Another match result is recorded

As the day progressed, the number of survivors in the winners' and losers' brackets reduced, with some big names going out but many familiar faces still in contention.

Jorian Engelbrektsson and Daniele Acciari were amongst the players in the loser braket
As the tournament moved into the last few rounds,
Jorian Engelbrektsson and Daniele Acciari were still in

At midday, the qualification rounds for the Youth Tournament began, using those four machines at the end of the EPC row which had been rotate round ninety degrees and cordoned-off into their own area.

.Qualifying in the Youth Tournament
Qualifying in the Youth Tournament

Entry to the tournament was free for players aged 15 and under. Qualification consisted of a single game on each of the four machines with a joker available if players decided to use it, but unlike in the main EPC it had to be used on one of the four machines played in qualifying.

The top four would then go into the final which would be played a little later on Sunday.

Over in the Classic Tournament, there was a final qualifying session on Sunday morning which ran until 2pm. The qualifying results and the sixteen players who qualified were:

Pos Name Pts
1 Julio Vicario Soriano 249
2 Daniele Acciari 243
3 Dimitri Van Hove 228
4 Franck Bona 227
5 Carola Kolbeck 216
6 Gabriel Ortiz Llonís 209
7 Mads Kristensen 209
8 Greg Mott 208
9 Jens Wieland 208
10 Andreas Harre 206
11 Joonas Haverinen 205
12 Mats Runsten 205
13 Robert Sutter 203
14 Roberto Pedroni 203
15 Timo Valkonen 199
16 Richard Mallet 197
17 Andreas Salathé 193
18 Jérémy Reynaud 191
19 Carlos Javier Parra Moracho 187
20 Stefan Redetzky 187
21 urban bergh 186
22 Philippe Bocquet 185
23 Robert Lau 184
24 Kim G. Hansen 179
25 Topias Marttila 179
26 Dirk Elzholz 178
27 Juergen Letzel 178
28 Bo Mertins 177
29 Lars Ørskov Jensen 176
30 Alain Müller 175
31 Heinz Baumann 173
32 Jochen Ludwig 172
33 Mikkel Sjølin 170
34 Rafael Masedo Rodríguez 170
35 Roman Kunovic 168
36 Thomas Evrenos 168
37 Erwin Deutschländer 164
38 Peter Blakemore 164
39 Michael Trepp 163
40 Reiner Pfeiffer 161
41 Cayle George 159
42 César Dubon Martínez 158
43 Daniele Baldan 158
44 Helena Walter 158
45 Marcus Hugosson 158
46 Martin Ayub 158
47 Victor Stulemeijer 155
48 Fabio Francescato 152
49 Bjorn Erlend Hellem 151
50 Mathias Leurs 151
51 Laurence Boulieu 150
52 Cesare d'Atri 149
53 Enrico Giorgio De Stefani 149
54 Stefan Holzaepfel 148
55 Balázs Pálfi 147
56 Johan Genberg 146
57 Stefan Herold 143
58 Alain Boulieu 141
59 Andreas Frank Meyer 139
60 Jean Louis Mergny 139
61 Jonas Heide 139
62 Axel Lindlahr 138
63 John van der Wulp 136
64 Markus Schoeneberger 136
65 Peter Andersen 136
66 Wayne Johns 136
67 David Mainwaring 135
68 Fred Van den Bosch 135
69 Lyman Sheats 135
70 Martijn van Aken 133
71 Juan Escuder Miquel 131
72 Felix Yeboles 126
73 Anders Carlsson 124
74 Jorge Villoria Aparicio 124
75 Jürgen Wünschmann 124
76 lefevre archibald 124
77 Olivier Renders 124
78 fabio squadrani 123
79 Timm Dollinger 122
80 Javier Núñez Pérez 120
81 Jonas Valström 118
82 Philipp Unger 118
83 Richard Ramon 118
84 Santiago Elices Cereceda 118
85 Dirk De Groote 117
86 Harry van Tubergen 114
87 Sébastien Puertas 114
88 Frank Goeltl 113
89 Christophe Stucki 112
90 Paul Jongma 111
91 Anja Nielsen 110
92 Taco Wouters 110
93 Christian Skov 107
94 Pablo Crespo García 107
95 Devis Pierantozzi 106
96 Peter Franck 105
97 Mark Potter 104
98 Alessandro Radica 102
99 András Lugosi 102
100 Vin Jauhal 101
101 Johan Lööv 100
102 Romain Wilem 100
103 Teemu Vinnikka 100
104 Ad Jonker 98
105 Christoph Korrodi 98
106 Stefan Verhoelst 98
107 Glenn Pellis 96
108 Andreas Thorsén 95
109 Anthony Struelens 95
110 Roy Wils 95
111 Ernö Rotter 93
112 Juan Antonio Martín Amaya 93
113 Thomas Mall 93
114 Linus Persson 92
115 mario kertels 91
116 fredrik mellberg 90
117 Mark van der Gugten 90
118 Jakub Cieplinski 87
119 Jean Philippe Congnard 86
120 Jim Lindsay 85
121 Juha Iijalainen 85
122 Martin Mortensen 85
123 Jonas Johansson 84
124 Lieven Engelbeen 84
125 jacek Wenda 82
126 Juuso Mäkinen 82
127 Rossetti Giancarlo 82
128 Admir Peco 80
129 Jonas Ingerlund 79
130 Mathias Jäger 79
131 Karin Weilenmann 78
132 mario Vercauteren 78
133 Sebastian Ansorge 78
134 Clara Boulieu 77
135 Klaus Löffler 77
136 Gabriel Molotov Gavrilita 76
137 Penni Epstein 76
138 Jaroslaw Rupiewicz 75
139 Olli-Mikko Ojamies 74
140 Tim Slow 74
141 Andrew Highway 73
142 Guy Wilem 73
143 Ruben Dubelloy 72
144 tommy machado 71
145 Jörgen Holm 69
146 Kevin Sultana 69
147 Mirko Lunden 69
148 Christoph d'hanens 68
149 Pontus Qvarfordh 68
150 Daniel Nowak 66
151 Mikael Olausson 65
152 Ollivier Francq 65
153 Cezary Glowala 64
154 Rob Breyne 63
155 Olivier Leurs 62
156 Helen de Haan-Verbeeck 61
157 János Sándor 61
158 Kornél Kosdi 61
159 Peter Van den Bergh 60
160 Sharis Dewulf 60
161 Ari Sovijärvi 56
162 Boldizsár Botka 55
163 dina fukson 53
164 Kevin roelants 53
165 Nico Rosvelds 53
166 Thomas Binder 53
167 Greg Freres 48
168 PAUL Jean-Marc 48
169 Giuseppe Violante 47
170 Koen Willocx 46
171 Kris Van Clapdorp 45
172 Roald Nielsen 45
173 Edwin Nijs 44
174 Willy Sachet 43
175 Zurkowski Aleksander 43
176 Norbert Broman 42
177 Morten Petersen 41
178 Nick Marshall 41
179 Milan Caranovic 40
180 Pekka Salmia 40
181 bouckaert pieter 38
182 Jochen Jaspers 37
183 Filippin Matteo 36
184 Dieter Bouckaert 35
185 Lemey Maarten 35
186 Ales Rebec 31
187 Martijn van Amsterdam 31
188 thierry lecomte 31
189 Zsolt Somogyvari 29
190 Anthony Rorive 23
191 Mart Oenema 23
192 Berndt Ion Teodorescu 20
193 Victor Machart 20
194 Spronck Fabrice 19
195 Peter Boncza 16
196 mario vandermeulen 15
197 anthony Croes-Lacroix 11
198 Marko Ritosa 11
199 Kay Kuster 9
200 Mike Kindler 9
201 Thomas Doepelheuer 9
202 Peter Reinhold 7
203 Kelly Lembrechts 6
204 Michel Rorive 6
205 Ovidiu Cacina 5
206 Joris Stulemeijer 2
207 iris Forsberg 1
208 Alexis Cossement 0
209 Andrzej Cieslik 0
210 Bart Vyvey 0
211 Christoph Scholte 0
212 Christophe Leroy 0
213 Cinthya Messiaen 0
214 Dirk Verstockt 0
215 Ernestine Lachnit 0
216 Fredrik Andersson 0
217 Glenn Verhoosele 0
218 István Berecz 0
219 Ivan Geentjes 0
220 Jan Anders Nilsson 0
221 Jasmijn de Jong 0
222 Jean Philippe Passarieu 0
223 joachim reniers 0
224 Joeri Stroobants 0
225 Katrine Thomsen 0
226 Kevin Claeys 0
227 Lieven Van den Bulcke 0
228 Luc goovaerts 0
229 Mahé Laurent 0
230 Pascal Vanwonterghem 0
231 Péter Szamosi 0
232 Phillip Eaton 0
233 Roger Wijnands 0
234 Ronald Oenema 0
235 Stan Simpson 0
236 Stanislas Chabior 0
237 Steven Demets 0
238 Steven Quintijn 0
239 Sven Elskens 0
240 tim kreukels 0
241 Torben Jacobsen 0
242 Yuri Helsen 0
243 Yves Bruynseels 0
244 Zsolt Szabó 0

Those sixteen qualifiers were divided into four groups of four. Each group played a single four-player game on a machine drawn at random, with the top two progressing.

The play-offs in the Classic Tournament
The play-offs in the Classic Tournament

Once the sixteen had been reduced to eight and then the final four, the game which would be used in the final was chosen at random. The winner of the Classic Tournament would win that game, which was the Ro Go by Bally.

Back in the main EPC, three of the four finalists from the winners' bracket had been decided. They were, Jorian Engelbrektsson, Paul Jongma and Jochen Ludwig. They wold be joined by the winner of the losers' bracket which would be contested by Krisztián Szalai, Lyman Sheats, Mark van der Gugten and Daniele Acciari.

The losers' bracket final
The losers' bracket final rounds

That deciding match was won by Lyman, so he was the fourth finalist.

The Youth Tournament was also reaching its final with Emile Quintijn, Korben Van Wonterghem, Thomas Van Clapdorp, and Timber Engelbeen (all from Belgium) in the last four.

The final was played on Godzilla.

The Youth Tournament final
The Youth Tournament final

The Youth Tournament reaches its conclusion
The Youth Tournament reaches its conclusion

The winner was Thomas Van Clapdorp who was the fourth player and ceased playing when his last ball score overtook the others. Emile Quintijn was second, with Timber Engelbeen third and Korben Van Wonterghem fourth.

Winner, Thomas Van Clapdorp, receives his trophy and prize from Gary Stern
Winner, Thomas Van Clapdorp, receives his trophy and prize from Gary Stern

The final four in the Youth Tournament
The final four in the Youth Tournament:
Timber Engelbeen, Thomas Van Clapdorp, Emile Quintijn & Korben Van Wonterghem

Next came the Classic Tournament final which was a truly international affair, with Daniele Acciari from Italy, Andreas Harre from Germany, Gabriel Ortiz from Spain and Dimitri Van Hove from Belgium playing on the Ro Go prize machine.

Andreas Harre plays in the Classic Tournament final
Andreas Harre plays in the Classic Tournament final

Going into the fifth and final ball, Gabriel Ortiz was in the lead with 101K, Dimitri Van Hove was second on 74K, Daniele Acciari was third on 60K and Andreas Harre fourth with 47K.

The final ball shook up second to fourth but Gabriel remained in the lead to become with winner on 113,170. Daniele took second, breaking through the 100K level to end on 110,430. Andreas moved up a place to third with his 78,410 while Dimitri was very close behind on 77,330.

The top three in the Classic Tournament:
The top three in the Classic Tournament:
Daniele Acciari (2nd), Gabriel Ortiz (1st), and Andreas Harre (3rd)
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

Pos Name
1 Gabriel Ortiz 
2 Daniele Celestino Acciari 
3 Andreas Harre 
4 Dimitri van Hove 
5 Julio Vicario Soriano 
6 Mats Runsten 
7 Roberto Pedroni 
8 Rich Mallett 
9 Franck Bona 
10 Carola Kolbeck 
11 Mads Kristensen 
12 Greg Mott 
13 Jens Wieland 
14 Joonas Haverinen 
15 Robert Sutter 
16 Timo Valkonen 

And so we come to the main event, the European Pinball Championship 2015. The three-game final would be contested by Jorian Engelbrektsson, Paul Jongma, Jochen Ludwig and Lyman Sheats. The first three had won through the winners' bracket and so got to choose one machine each to play. Lyman, as winner of the losers' bracket, got to choose the play order of the first game.

The rules of the final are explained
The rules of the final are explained

The machines chosen were Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons, Terminator 3 and Guns N' Roses. Points would be awarded for finishing position in each game, with four points for the winner, two for second, one for third, and no points for finishing last.

Like the Classic final, the EPC final was streamed live on Twitch TV and is still available to watch.

The camera rig is set up for the final
The camera rig is set up for the final

Jochen went first but had the worst start of the four with just 48 points after ball 1, compared to Jorian's 173, Lyman's 239 and Paul's 389.

The first game of the final
The first game of the final

The second ball simply resulted in everyone more-or-less doubling their score, keeping the order the same.

Ball three changed everything.

Jochen pushed up his 117 score to 590 to temporarily put himself into second place. Paul had a nice ball and raised his 686 score to 2,192 and a comfortable lead. Jorian's 234 points after ball two could only be increased to 385, giving him a definite fourth place. However, Lyman had a great last ball and managed to boost his 427 score up to a game-winning 2,290

So the scores after the first game were:

Lyman 4
Paul 2
Jochen 1
Jorian 0

On to game two, which was Terminator 3.

Jorian on Terminator 3
Jorian on Terminator 3

Jochen had the best start on the second game, scoring 43.5M against Jorian's 9.8M, Paul 4M and Lyman's 1M on ball one.

Jochen starts multiball and scores a super jackpot on his first ball
Jochen starts multiball and scores a super jackpot on his first ball

Jorian started Assault on his second ball and managed to increase his score to 79M. Jochen was second on 54M, while Paul increased his score to 27M and Lyman remained fourth on 8.1M.

Jorian reached 100.9M on his third ball to take the lead. Lyman's miserable game continued as he ended in fourth on 11.8M. Paul remained in third on 48.2M, but Jochen passed Jorian's score to take the win. He stopped playing with his score on 110.9M.

Jochen 1 + 4 5
Lyman 4 + 0 4
Paul 2 + 1 3
Jorian 0 + 2 2

Any of the four could still win as play moved on to the last game of the final. This would be contested on Guns N' Roses.

Paul starts on Guns N' Roses in the EPC final
Paul starts on Guns N' Roses in the EPC final

Paul began well, scoring 202.5M on his first ball. Jochen had a fair start too, ending his first ball on 102M. Lyman was close behind on 93.4M with Jorian last with 59.6M.

Paul didn't manage to repeat his first ball and only added 27M on his second. Jochen did repeat his first ball and doubled his score to 200M.

But Jorian was the biggest scorer on ball two, ending on 709.7M, while Lyman was not too far behind with his 594.4M.

Ball three would decide everything.

Paul did well to raise his total to 637.8M but it wouldn't be enough to win, effectively putting him out of contention for the Championship.

Jochen 's 553.8M assured him of fourth place, also putting the overall win out of his reach.

Jorian has a great final ball, raising his score to 1.48B. If Lyman could push his 594.4M score above Paul's 637.8M, he would tie with Jorian on points and force a play-off. If he could beat Jorian's score he would win the EPC outright.

Lyman plays the last ball of the final
Lyman plays the last ball of the final

But it was not to be, as Lyman ended his final ball on 614.98M, putting him in third place.

With all three games completed, these were the points scores:

Jorian 0 + 2 + 4 6
Jochen 1 + 4 + 0 5
Lyman 4 + 0 + 1 5
Paul 2 + 1 + 2 5

So Jorian Engelbrektsson was the new European Pinball Champion. There was a three-way tie for second, third and fourth which was decided by a tie-breaker game. This was won by Lymanl who ended as runner-up overall. Paul was third overall and Jochen fourth.

EPC2015 Winner, Jorian Engelbrektsson
EPC2015 Winner, Jorian Engelbrektsson
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

The top three in the EPC 2015:
The top three in the EPC 2015:
Lyman Sheats (2nd), Jorian Engelbrektsson (1st) ,and Paul Jongma (3rd)
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

Pos Name
1 Jorian Engelbrektsson 
2 Lyman Sheats 
3 Paul Jongma 
4 Jochen Ludwig 
5 Daniele Celestino Acciari 
6 Krisztián Szalai 
7 Mark van der Gugten 
9 Carlos Javier Parra 
9 Greg Mott 
9 Anthony Croes-Lacroix 
9 Olli-Mikko Ojamies 
14 Mikkel Sjølin 
14 Cayle George 
14 Ernö Rotter 
14 Taco Wouters 
14 Andreas Harre 
21 Daniele Baldan 
21 Philippe Bocquet 
21 Matteo Filippin 
21 Thomas Evrenos 
21 Ivan Geentjens 
21 Jean-Philippe Passarieu 
21 Franck Bona 
21 Robert Sutter 
21 Ari Sovijärvi 
21 Roy Wils 
33 Sebastien Puertas 
33 Ramon Richard 
33 Timm Dollinger 
33 Peter Franck 
33 Kevin Van Rossum 
33 Peter Blakemore 
33 Helen de Haan-Verbeek 
33 Nick Marshall 
33 Evert Brochez 
33 Kevin Roelants 
33 John van der Wulp 
33 Michael Trepp 
33 Mats Runsten 
33 Jörgen Holm 
48 Fredrik Andersson (OGM) 
48 János Sándor 
48 Santiago Elices 
48 Bo Mertins 
48 Victor Stulemeijer 
48 Teemu Vinnikka 
48 Zsolt Szabo 
48 Axel Bouet 
48 Michel van den Elzen 
48 Topias Marttila 
48 Jürgen Wünschmann 
48 Julio Vicario Soriano 
48 Juan Escuder Miquel 
48 Johan Genberg 
48 Roger Wijnands 
48 Dirk Klaver 
62 Ales Rebec 
62 Peter Andersen 
62 Jean-louis Mergny 
62 Rich Mallett 
62 Pontus Qvarfordh 
62 Jonas Johansson 
62 Dirk Elzholz 
62 Pekka Salmia 
62 Marcus Hugosson 
62 Wilbert Der Kinderen 
62 Martin Ayub 
62 Helena Walter 

The play-offs for the Winner Takes It All (WTIA) tournament also took place on Sunday afternoon. The top scorers on the four WTIA machines on each of the three days took part in the play-offs.

Unfortunately, because the main EPC tournament was running very late we had to leave before the results were known, but we will update this report with them as soon as they are published.

With 300 registered players, of which 291 took part, managing the EPC was no small undertaking but the Belgian team who hosted the 2015 event managed it very successfully. They introduced a number of changes, such as controlling the starting of games and the machine queueing system which worked well and helped everything move along smoothly.

The timing of the six sessions was a little tight but it was manageable, and the staff were unfailingly cheerful, polite and numerous.

The EPC team with the special guests at the end of the EPC
The organising team with the special guests at the end of the EPC
(picture: Anthony Struelens)

Access to the Classic Tournament area was often difficult due to waiting players crowding the area, with the same thing happening on the stage where the WTIA games were located. But those were only minor issues in what was a slick operation.

Congratulations to the team behind it. It will be a hard act to follow.

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