Deciding the penalties for violations


#1

Edit: After having a discussion with the player involved, I realize my understanding of the events is inaccurate and incomplete. Specifically, while 3 balls were in play, one was stuck, one was cradled and one was live. A comment was made about dislodging the ball, but it was not the intent of their flipping the live ball, they were attempting to cradle the third ball, and in the process the trapped ball got dislodge. Leaving my original post because it is still a scenario I want to discuss and learn from.

I was TD at an event this weekend. A player was playing WWE and a ball got stuck on one of the top lane rollovers during multiball. The player had the other ball cradled and asked opponents to call for a TD. By the time I got there, the player had decided to shoot the ball to try to dislodge the stuck ball and the ball was back in play and they were trying to cradle again.

I gave the player a warning, although I think I think I needed to be much clearer that it was an official warning. I have been thinking a lot about whether I should have DQ’d the player and where the warning / DQ threshold is.

Intent was clear, so the player failed the intent test. Although their intent was to dislodge the ball not to score jackpots, so I didn’t feel it warranted a DQ. It was also an experienced player I thought should no better which made me want to DQ.

Thoughts?


#2

Assuming this tournament was using unmodified IFPA rules, I think this was a correct ruling and within your discretion.

Here’s the most relevant section I found in the rules:

7. Stuck Balls
A stuck ball during multiball often represents a significant beneficial malfunction, and intentionally taking advantage may result in a penalty.

The most important thing is that you make this and other discretionary rulings consistently across all players and situations.


#3

Agree, warning only. Per the above language, the player was not trying to take advantage, did call for a TD, waited at least some time, and the penalty aspect reads “may” not “must”. Good use of TD discretion.


#4

Even if the player unknowingly gained advantage from the stuck ball for significant points I don’t think it would be a game DQ. That would fall under the rules for a Beneficial Malfunction, which at worst, would void the score of the player and they would replay their game.

For it to elevate to a game DQ, it would have to be clear that the intent of the player was to take advantage of the situation, but that gets into gauging intent which can be tricky. I’d have to be 100% certain watching it happen to rule that way. I’d be much more likely to call a game void and replay.


#5

That was why this was interesting. After asking for a ruling, while cradled, the player decided and declared to their opponents that they were going to shoot the ball. So I am 100% confident it was intentional. What is ambiguous is it was intentional to gain significant advantage or just minor advantage (I think they were motivated by some timer, but not sure)


#6

I think the proper ruling would have been to DQ WWE instead :wink:


#7

That happened about 2 mins later. Catastrophic malfunction and the game was thrown out. Only one group got the joy of playing WWE.


#8

And there was much rejoicing!!


#9

My first thought was that the ruling should have been “time served for having to play WWE,” but I decided to go with something more serious. :slight_smile:


#10

I don’t see anyone commenting on this part. Experience level of the player should have no bearing on the decision. It either is or isn’t a DQ, doesn’t matter if it’s a world champion or rank amateur.


#11

I will openly admit to using player experience as a factor. If I know you know the rules and you broke the rules that informs me about intent. A world champion saying “I didn’t know I had to trap up” is highly dubious. Some random dude playing their first tournament? Highly probable.


#12

I don’t think experience level played into the decision so much as understanding the intent. In the case of a newbie who didn’t know better, I’d explain the issue and tell them not to do it again. In the case of an experienced tournament player, I’d point out more explicitly what they did and tell them not to do it again. Same ruling, different implementation based on player experience.


#13

After having a discussion with the player involved, I realize my understanding of the events is inaccurate and incomplete. Specifically, while 3 balls were in play, one was stuck, one was cradled and one was live. A comment was made about dislodging the ball, but it was not the intent of their flipping the live ball, they were attempting to cradle the third ball, and in the process the trapped ball got dislodge. Leaving my original post because it is still a scenario I want to discuss and learn from.

I have editing my first post.

The thing I already realized before talking to the player yesterday and today is that when dislodging a stuck ball, I don’t take enough time to get the information from the players. It is a mix, part of me wants to look at the state of the machine and make decision based on where the ball is and rule. At the same time, since there are rules like stuck ball in multiball that require more context. In the future I will take the time to get clear information from the parties involved.