Failed kickback? Road Kings

Ruling question. We had this on a road kings last weekend.

Ball went up the center shot and fed the diverter and came to rest on the diverter. Ball search pushed the ball to the left. From what I understand, that left side of the ramp feeds the kickback lane and it will ALWAYS fire the ball back into play.

When the ball traveled down that path, the light for the kickback was NOT on, and it did not fire when the ball fell out of the ramp.

The game was seen operating properly when the ball exited this ramp on the left before.

What’s the correct ruling? I can honestly see it both ways. That’s pinball or a premature loss of ball due to malfunction.

Note that unrepeated physical failures, such as kickbacks or balls jumping off ramps, balls flying over flippers, or balls moonwalking into the outlane following a successful shot do not qualify as major malfunctions. This is the physical nature of pinball.

I’d rule no compensation ball.


Definitely no compensation ball. I would add however, that another failed kickback would lead to the game needing to be repaired or pulled from competition. Unless it was posted as a known issue before the tourney began, then it’s play on, but I would still rather not use it in competition that way.

The ramp leading down either side doesn’t actually have a switch it passes by. The software tells the game to kick back the ball without using the kick back light up when you shoot it into the ramp. My bet is that it’s timed, and that it stayed stuck long enough for that to time out.

So it’s not an issue that needs to be addressed. That’s just pinball.


Cool. Thanks!

What’s the reasoning on no compensation ball? The player lost a ball through doing something that shouldn’t lose the ball, the machine had an issue (ball stuck), and a bug (timer ran out)?

I used to own a Road Kings (Fight the Road Kings!) If half the time I hit the center ramp equalled end-of-ball I would never want to play that Road Kings.

Yeah imo I think that is just the same as if the game ended the ball while the ball is still in play.

It wasn’t a misfiring kickback imo. The game completely malfunctioned leading to the drain. No way for the player to do anything.

The more I talk about it, the harder it is for me to justify the compensation ball, but that’s pinball just feels wrong in this particular case.

Just wanted to have a consensus on what most would do. I’ll do it that way so people won’t be surprised.


I don’t like it, but, in the spirit of the player is screwed this is the same as a ramp shot that moon walks to the outlane. The player hit the ramp, the ball is supposed to be put back in play, but, the game decided otherwise.


To me it is no different than the hobbit at pinburgh that drained on 50% of ramp shots. Physical nature of the game. Nothing malfunctioned, it was just the path the ball took caused it to drain.


This ramp puts the ball in the outlane. It’s supposed to do that. The game is supposed to save the ball. It didn’t. What if a modern game didn’t do ball save when it was clearly lit? Same ruling?

I don’t know the game. But if it didn’t fire because it got stuck, or rattled around and took too long, that is the perfect example of physical nature of the game. If it just doesn’t work at all, it is probably catastrophic maulfunction, pull the game.

Ballsave light but not giving the ball back is certainly physical nature of the game. Ball took too long to settle into the through switch. Tough luck. Ball failed to get launched into play on Nascar, tough luck. Autolaunch fails to get into play on Starship Troopers, tough luck.

Yes these all suck as a player. But again as a TD the goal is to take judgement out as much as possible. The rules are the rules. If you start trying to interpret the intent of the game, which switches should have fired and what should have happened, it becomes impossible to be consistent, fair and unbiased.


Cool. The ball save analogy is much closer to this specific situation to me. The other two examples aren’t imo. Haha. So yeah I’m in the that’s pinball camp now. Haha

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Happens all the time on Fish Tales, same ruling.


The lesson here as a player if you are lucky enough to be at a tournament with a Road Kings is to get a stuck ball ruling before the game ball searches if it’s stuck on the divider.

It took a wonky stuck ball but we’re finally talking about Road Kings. It’s a very underrated game in my opinion especially for a System 11.


But it is not stuck until 4 ball searches have failed to dislodge it.

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I forgot about that. Well, back to the player is screwed.

The funny thing about the initial scenario is the stuck ball is irrelevant. The player hit the ramp, the ball went to the outline (as intended), the kickback didn’t work–end of ball.

And to be fair, depending on the Road Kings, that kickback can be as good as end of ball anyway.

Lesson learned here is, never shoot the center ramp while playing road kings in comp. haha

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That’s not necessarily true. Here’s the IFPA/PAPA rules verbiage:

“During the course of play, it is possible for one or more balls to become stuck on a playfield feature, usually after becoming airborne. If this happens during single ball play, the player must wait for four automatic ball searches to occur. At the discretion of the tournament director, the forcing of a ball search to be triggered can be waived. This is for situations where inducing a ball search has adverse effects on the current game state. The expiration of any timed feature during this period is not considered a malfunction.”

I’ve seen this used in situations where a ball search would reset a drop target bank (FART targets on Family Guy). I’ve cradled up in those situations and had a TD free the ball for me rather than the ball search freeing the ball when the ball search pops the targets back up.


That’s interesting. I would never use the discretion to avoid a ball going out of control, I would force the ball search. I have used that in situations where Ball search will kick out locked balls for example, and have certainly used it in games where chase ball can’t or hasn’t been disabled.