Flexsave malfunction: major or minor

Watching Erik’s video about malfunctions and rulings he mentioned flex save failure and how it was ruled a minor malfunction.

I can see the argument that a flexsave that fails to fire is like a failed kickback, and should be ruled as such.

I can also see the argument that the flexsave is a basically an impulse flipper, and should follow flipper rulings.

“A major malfunction is a gameplay problem with a machine that results in the premature loss of ball in play in a
fashion that is not a normal feature of the machine’s gameplay.”


A flipper is a flipper is a flipper is a flipper. I don’t see them as the same as a flipper. I see it just like if the kickback on defender didn’t work.

Tough luck, play on. If it happens again, fix or pull the game.


But the games only have one and they are inlane / outlane
was it an the auto part or the player pushed the button?

Also I thing light pulses can give small window of no power.
Where is this video?
It’s and odd device that is only in 2 games so it may need it’s own game local rule. That is not really coved by rules in place / it falls under 2 rules that conflict with each other.

The malfunction did not occur on stream. I am hypothetically thinking about button press, not auto activating.

There is definitely a delay in the mech when you try to re-activate it. Just like the saves in Rolling Stones. That makes things more messy and would have to make it a minor malfunction rule, because it could easily be the player misunderstanding how it’s supposed to behave.


What games have flexsave and what is it? I’m not familiar with that term.

It’s the inlane/outlane mechanism on Hardbody, BMX, and Dungons and Dragons.


even if you treat it was a “flipper” (it’s not), it still wouldn’t have been a Major Malfunction, because when I came over to the pin to rule on it, I pressed the Flex save button 3 times, and each of the 3 times, the Flex Save activated. I also watched the next couple balls, and every button press for the Flex Save activated it.

“Should a player lose a ball due to a flipper not engaging when the flipper button is pressed, or due to a flipper sticking in the held position when the flipper button is pressed, they should immediately notify a Tournament Official. The Tournament Official will attempt to recreate the problem by pressing the flipper button for up to 3 minutes. If the Tournament Official is able to recreate the problem, this will be treated as a Major Malfunction. If the problem is not able to be recreated, this will not be treated as a Major Malfunction and play will continue.”

As noted above, there is a “cool-down” period after every Flex Save, and I’m guessing this was the case. Also, that weekend, as a player I pressed the wrong button as I tried to react to a quick rebounding ball (I pressed the Flex Save button instead of the flipper button - doh!)


Also, there are player-controlled kickbacks, such as Devil’s Dare. I believe if this manual-activated kickback fails, it’s also not a Major Malfunction.

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Ultimately it was ruled a minor malfunction because the tournament director (Colin was called over cause I couldn’t make a ruling for or against myself) could not recreate the issue. He was called over after it happened to me (Erik) and activated the flex save over and over on the following player and it always activated. BMX doesn’t have auto activate like D&D. You have to manual activate every time.
Another TD decision in the tournament I forgot to put in the video was Jordan Semrow calling over the TD’s on a flipper malfunction on Strikes & Spares. He claimed he had a ‘full press’ of the left flipper and it never activated. The TD (Tom in this case I came over later) kept pressing the flipper button over and over again for a couple minutes (probably 100 flips) and it activated every time. No delay, no sticking, worked perfect. Ruled minor malfunction because the issue could not be recreated and we continued. Neither game has an issue that was brought to my attention the rest of the tournaments.


I’ve never really given thought to these questions before, but if we’re saying failed ballsaves are treated differently, does that mean a flipper malfunction during a timed ballsave - NBAFB, WOZ, is different? The problem being, there is no fair reward as compensation since awarding a ball is over generous?

Game state is irrelevant under current ifpa rules which is a conundrum as it doesnt seem to match the fairness sniff test here.

Though its an interesting question to debate. Imagine a flipper dies in the situation you describe - should a rule be written or changed to handle it?

I think with like WOZ - where the player could do something that would allow them to continue play, the current rules work fine - that is, give them a compensation ball because the time in which the end of the game was going to take place was unknown - it could have lasted 5 more seconds, or another hour just like a regular ball.

However, imagine like, some Zaccaria game, where when your 3 balls are over you get a countdown timed ball for N seconds of point scoring, and your game IS going to end at the end of that count-down. If a flipper dies there, a compensation ball is a pretty big benefit. I could see a rule that addresses this situation.

  • Loose thoughts would be something along the lines of re-creation of game state a-la kiss super bonus rules. Maybe a new game is advanced by the TD straight to end of game, and player gets to score any (if it exists) bonus time.

I think the better solution is to just turn Game Time Bonus off on any Zacc. Time only builds based on ball 3 switch hits, so hope you had a good ball 3 I guess.

Oh most deffinitely - Bonus time is trash for sure.

I guess I was more using it as an example of some rule that might exist on some pin and the compensation scenario plays out similarly. :slight_smile:

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well talking about new rules.
One thing that need to be added is that on games that start an ball with muiltball that loss of that on start is an major thing

also need to deal with the few games that have mode fail = loss of flippers and the ball. as an poorly written rule can lead to odd issues.

I started a thread asking about this exact situation a few years ago, and there was some discussion about it.