Disabled machine ruling clarification

(Hypothetical scenario)

4 player game. Player 4 playing on ball 3 when a ball trough issue prematurely ends his last ball. Player 4 was in last place at the time of the malfunction. Game cannot be repaired and is disabled.

Since no finishing positions are set at this point, I understand that the game would be thrown out and a new game played. Correct?

Even though one player would have been guaranteed no worse finish than 2nd and another player would have been guaranteed no better than 3rd? Seems to be not a particularly clean resolution but I imagine the only practical one?

“In the event that any players completed their game before the machine became disabled, and their finishing position on that game has been determined, that finishing position will stand and that player will not participate on the substitute machine. The remaining players will then play off on the substitute machine to determine the remaining finishing positions that were not able to be determined on the original machine”

@pinwizj, I know what the rule is, I was just wondering if there was any nuance here and inviting discussion.

If you’re playing by the defined rule, I don’t see any wiggle room out of it.

You could come up with your own rule for events that says in this nuanced scenario, you can finish no worse than one position lower than you were already locked into. You still need to play a four-player game, but it’s basically three individual comparisons of 1v4, 2v4, 3v4 to determine if Player 4 surpassed the specific opponent and therefore bumped that opponent down a notch.

1 Like

Let’s say players 1-2-3 finished the original game in that order, with player 4 in 4th at the time of failure. If in the replay on the new machine #4 beats #1 but doesn’t beat #2, or #3, how do you place everyone? If you knock #1 down a spot but don’t knock #2 down a spot, they’re both 2nd. And if #4 beat just one of the other 3, #4 would be third and player 3, who didn’t get knocked down, would also be 3rd. What you’d have to do is say player 1 is first since they beat 2 and 3 plus player 4 failed to sweep the replay; play 2 would be 2nd, since they have to finish ahead of player 3 and player 4 didn’t beat 2 out of 3. For 3rd and 4th, player 3 gets 3rd since they beat player 4 in the replay?

My very cumbersome but perhaps more fair(?) resolution would be to have player 4 play head to head against the third-place player. If player 4 loses, then he finishes last. If he wins he plays the second-place player. If he loses that match he finishes third. If he wins he plays the first place player for 1st place.

If the above scenario happened in the final match of a tournament I might consider this resolution.

1 Like

Ooof. You’re right. I wasn’t thinking through the combinations here. What I proposed won’t work, unless you work out the ladder internally on a single four-player game or do something like what @alveolus suggested…

If you were to embrace something like this, you would need to turn it into a ladder of individual matches.

There is no wiggle room on the IFPA rule. If a position is LOCKED, it stands, if it is NOT, then tough luck replay with the rest of the riff raff.


I would stop the thought after those three words. No way. Creative idea. But no way.

1 Like

FWIW, the current rule does have major downsides; I failed to make the top 40 in Pinburgh A one year when I was leading on a game in round 10 and it went out, then got last on the replacement. Stings. You can say, “play better, win the replacement game,” but if you’ve already “played better” and it gets tossed, it ain’t fun. But we all knew the rule as it stood, that’s the way it goes, you move on. Any play-outs like Alveolus’s get messy and time consuming, though I don’t see any problem with it for a casual event or local rule if time’s not an issue.

1 Like

Here is a crazier idea.

What if you give the first place player the option of taking a second place position and bowing out, and offer the second place finisher a third place position to bow out? If they chose to do this then the third and fourth place players would be playing for either 1st or 4th place.

Hey, I said it was crazy!

This is an extension of the benefits of going last. Not only do you know what score you’ll need to place wherever, you’re protected from being locked into a loss if the game fails. Rare, but still an advantage. Keep this in mind when choosing position or game…


So to get this ruling straight, if P4 is in last place, no final positions are locked and therefore all 4 play on a substitute game, but if any of P1, P2, or P3 are behind P4 at the time of the malfunction, they would keep their position and not play in the substitute game, is that correct?

Yes, a player locked into 4th or two players locked into 3rd and 4th do not get to play in the substitute game and are given those positions.

[And of course if the first three players are locked into 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, the game is already over at that point and no substitute game is needed.]


and what about games where you can give / take points from other players?

Ooh, the FSPA / Tacoma “bonus point if your score is greater than the sum of players B + C’s scores” … An even bigger mess.



If you’re playing a game where giving/taking points is possible, that would automatically disqualify it from being considered in this scenario. No score is set until the game ends, so if something happens to P4 on Ball 3, then the whole game gets tossed.

I vote for foot race in the parking lot if this happens again.


But games like that are not really in the rules at all for IFPA. As well games where you can lose your own points.