Correct call for starting too many players?

I don’t know how to link the timestamps for a youtube video. Anyways at 30:40 into this video Player 1 starts a 3 player game for two players. The conclusion the announcers come to is that both players are responsible to ensure that just a 2 player game is started otherwise you can just consider it practice and the ruling is to restart the game. I don’t think this was the ruling that was made in this instance, but it isn’t stated clearly by the announcers so I’m not totally certain.

Has the situation ever come up where a player has a ball one house ball and intentionally hits the start button before draining to make it a three player game…thus trying to void that ball?

As the TD for this tournament the correct call is to restart. However whodunnit presents a unique problem where you can’t see the number of players when the skillshot animation is displaying.

The start button had become a little flaky on the last day and we had already restarted a game so the decision was then made to play on rather than keep restarting and hoping we get it right.

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I have witnessed a player in a tournament qualifying system punch in Player 2 at the end of a poor Ball 1, then ask a scorekeeper for a restart. I suppose there should be a rule for this in match play; the rule for qualifying is already specified (play on as P1, plunging off P2).

that’s really something else. where?

If I personally observed this as a tournament director or scorekeeper, I’d be somewhat inclined to call a cheating violation, which comes with fairly harsh penalties in most rulesets. But I can’t currently imagine a reasonable “excuse” from a player why they might have “inadvertently” pressed the Start button after ball 1, which would lead to the conclusion that they were trying to cheat by voiding their bad first ball. Fortunately there aren’t many unethical people like this in the pinball community.


one way to do it (as I did this to another machine last night) is to kinda turn around and back your butt into the front of the machine. The machine next to me had a credit on it and it started a game. I could see someone devious trapping up or something and then turning around to get a ruling and bumping their ass into the button to start another game/player up.

wait, now i’ve given away a sneaky idea!

I don’t know why it would need to be restarted if too many players were added. Just plunge the extra player…then there is no way a player can gain advantage by trying to cheat the system.

(Though I think it makes perfect sense in the other situation, where too few players have been entered).

some games like GoT have pop bumper awards that go from player to player so if player two in a game that had 3-players could effectively ‘earn’ the nice award that he was gonna earn from the player 3 plunge so his opponent couldn’t - although this would be hard to do on purpose. Some with games like Firepower II where if one player (player 2) locked and then plunged the ball away (for player 3) and the plunged ball claimed the multiball instead of his opponent that is pretty valuable

More common than this is P1 plunges and plays the P3 ball as though it were their own. Now doom: P2 may not notice and accidentally plays P1’s ball. Or P2 is pissed that P1 gets extra practice. Or, in some older rules, P1 is disqualified for playing out of turn. In any case it’s not cool.

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Seems like restarting is the cleanest and easiest way to deal with this situation, especially at bigger events. It’s easy to explain up front, and easy to point out in the ruleset mid-event. Restarting a game before ball 2 is way easier to swallow than the debacle resulting from people accidentally playing out of turn as a result of playing on.


If a player plays ball one and has a house ball or even worse an amazing ball, I don’t like the idea of taking that away from them. As long as you are clear in explaining that they need to stay aware of the players, I think you’re risk of playing out of turn is lower…especially once a TD has been brought into the situation.

A similar situation is when EM’s and even some SS games are intentionally started as a 4 player game when only 2 are playing. The idea being to help prevent a tilt-through. I recall a finals match between myself and Adam L where I mistakenly played the “dummy” player on ball 2 instead of plunging away. I had an absolutely killer ball which was all for naught. We determined no harm no foul but I lost that great ball and proceeded to play a very average ball on my real turn. Anything that can help a player to not play out of turn is a good decision.

No way, there’s far too much discretion here for a TD decision. Do I only reset them if I think P1 had an average ball? Heck no, I’m resetting every time. P2 is at fault if P1 gets away with a house ball, and P1 is at fault if they let a great ball disappear.