Fireball Classic ruling

Four-player game on Fireball Classic. I am player 3. I am in single ball play and shoot the ball into the right saucer which immediately kicks a ball into the shooter lane. However, the ball did not stay in the saucer and is back in play. I immediately plunge the ball and have 2 balls in play. After one ball drains I hear the bonus countdown commencing and I immediately stop playing before the end of the countdown. The second ball makes its way to the drain and when I look at the back box it shows player one is up with player 4 having scored 7000 points or so.

What say you?

…just as multiball was ending.

Sounds like a classic play-out-of-turn on fireball. mark it 0 dude.


Doesn’t sound like that to me.

Using only this as the information basis.

P3’s ball prematurely ended while it was in play
P4’s ball ended without them playing it

Both P3 and P4 should get compensation balls, no score adjustments.

If something else weird was happening, as often happens with Fireball and its multiball lock status, who the heck knows.


Is this what happened? Seems more like a beneficial malfunction to me. The player was able to play two balls in what should have been single-ball play. (The game expected the ball to stay locked, it ejected a ball into the plunger lane as a result of the lock.)

When the first ball drained, it ended the ball for P3 because the game did not know there were two balls in play. Presumably it then validated the playfield for P4 with the ball that was still in play. (@alveolus, was there another ball in the plunger lane?)

I think I’d be inclined to treat P3’s ball as a beneficial (or at least minor) malfunction and award P4 a compensation ball.


I’m inclined to go with MCS on this one, since player 3 never had fewer balls in play than they were supposed to, and the “out of turn” aspect was due to a machine malfunction rather than player error. Comp ball to player 4 only, no penalty to player 3.


Do you mean before the 2nd ball drained?

Not that I was aware of, but I did not specifically look for that.

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Assuming player 3 plunged immediately to prevent stuck-ball-in-multiball ruling, then realized later that was in error and let one drain properly, I’d say premature end of ball for P3 as well as P4. The no-stuck-ball rule clearly states balls in shooter lane must be plunged, and the game counting bonus while a ball is still in play is clearly a malfunction. Compensation balls for both players IMHO


I know it is a worthy discussion when highly experienced players/TDs have opposing opinions.

The only way I could in retrospect see this ending cleanly would be to have assessed the playfield to confirm that the machine was in a single ball state, at which point I could legitimately leave the ball in the shooter lane and continue single ball play. Then hope that when I either locked a ball or drained the machine would compensate for the malfunction appropriately.

Unfortunately FBC is unforgivingly chaotic and doesn’t lend to thoughtful assessments during a live ball.


This is a rather precise definition for premature end of ball, and the exact reason why P3 should get compensation.


But there weren’t supposed to be two balls in play. Why would we compensate P3? He was able to finish his ball AND got a couple extra points due to the beneficial malfunction.

Also, I thought Fireball was an exception to the ‘must plunge all balls in shooter lane’ rule because you can shoot into there during play. I can’t find any documentation to support that, am I mis-remembering?


I don’t think that’s ever been the rationale behind this rule. Pinbot is another example where you definitely have to plunge the ball, and it re-enters the shooter lane intentionally.

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There’s no official exception to this. The IFPAPA rule is that any ball in shooter lane during MB must be plunged. There are some TD’s (myself included) that have posted on the pin the exception to the rule on a Fireball (EM) that players did not need to plunge a ball in shooter lane during MB. It’s my personal opinion that for Fireball, that ball in shooter lane is skillfully earned advantage and does not lead to likely overly long game time. This exception to the rule was only valid on that pin, and only for that event.


At state championships last year, I forced a player to plunge this ball on Fireball Classic. It’s very much a TD decision whether or not to allow that. (I also never use this game in tournaments anymore because of these very issues.)


In my opinion, he wasn’t. The game moved from P3 to P4 while P3 was still in play.

Yes, let this be the true moral of the discussion :slight_smile:

We don’t use Fireball or 4 Million BC at Pinburgh [ahem … I guess we do when Doozie breaks down and we’re out of other options], even though it would be really useful, because of these very issues.

I want to make sure I understand your logic behind this. Since a new ball was provided and launched P3 should be able to play that beneficial malfunction to completion? No Pinball giveth and Pinball taketh away?

You can use them, just not in multiplayer games.


Although even that doesn’t block the ball-in-the-shooter issue.

That is not the rule. As an unearned multiball, the player is required to promptly drain back to 1 ball. When that happened, the game decided to end the turn prematurely, which is a major malfunction.


Did the player purposely drain one ball though? Or did they just play out the unearned multiball?

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