Getting on Board with Monday Night Pinball
by Alexa Philbeck

MNP Season 1 pre-season meet up.

MNP Season 1 pre-season meet up.

When Monday Night Pinball (MNP) was in its infancy just three years ago, the pinball scene looked a little different. Add-A-Ball was still only one level, they had just opened Point-Break a few months prior. The 8-Bit Arcade and Flip Flip Ding Ding had just opened, and Another Castle had recently brought pins to their Edmonds location. Geoff Simons and Dave Stewart began the league, originally called Pinball Seattle, with the support of Tim Tournay, and based on the pinball league format used in New York City. The first season featured ten teams of eight players.

Since that time the league has seen steady expansion and today consists of twenty teams of ten players, competing in two ten-week seasons per year every Monday night. The league, like the pinball scene in Seattle, has exploded and has been a huge success for players and venues alike. Up until this season, Geoff and Dave acted in tandem as the commissioners of the league, making all the necessary rulings and decisions that come as part of a competitive gaming environment. But with 200 players participating every Monday night, and the inevitable rise of issues, they decided it was time to form a Board of Directors.

Season 1 score sheet

The MNP board consists of myself, Heather Loudon, Sophie Spickard, Michael Adcock, and Taylor Minter. Geoff and Dave selected us from a list of candidates after posting in the MNP Captain’s Page, and initially asked for our help to decide where to host the Fall season finals before setting the official board. We were then tasked with a list of concerns and prioritizing those that needed to be addressed before the beginning of the current season.

The reason for having a board is to create a fair and consistent decision making process, while also including more diverse representatives from across the league. Some topics we have discussed so far include expansion teams, qualifications for new venues, and some tough decisions about specific incidents that occurred in relation to league play. One of the major topics we are continuing to address is player, team, and location conduct. We are a friendly league, and a lot of our league members are our friends, but we are also committed to resolving conflicts in an impartial manner.

MNP Season 3 meeting.

One of the first choices we made as a board was to go public with an announcement of who the board members are, and a general push for greater transparency with league operations. We want league members to understand what our goals are, and also to be honest about the challenges we face as an organization. Some of our major priorities include creating a budget and establishing financial transparency, more specific qualifications and requirements for team captains, and creating a league mission statement. In fact, one of the our most important tasks is to establish the structure of board itself and how it will look going forward! We started as an “interim” board, but we hope to announce a more democratic process for rotating board members by the end of this season. We have a lot to accomplish in limited time, but we’re confident we can effect positive change by taking some simple steps forward.

Most importantly, we hope that everyone understands that they are welcome to start a conversation with any board member about the league. With our push for greater transparency, we also want to encourage league members to share their feedback and experiences with the board, so we can better serve you. Monday Night Pinball has gone through many transformations through the years, and we hope that by building a solid framework for decision making, we can see it through many more successful seasons.

Originally published in Skill Shot 47