Handling a situation as a player and a TD

I was playing in a 4 strike event tonight on Target Alpha. It is a three ball game with no automatic double bonus on ball 3, and I am down by alot. Things start out okay, and I fire a shot up the playfield. The ball hits a target, and bounces into the right rollover lanes. It quickly rockets over an upper one, and then the right outlane. The only one lit for 5000 was the right oullane, but it changes just before the ball exits, I glance up and know that i don’t have enough bonus, so I turn and shake my opponents hand as the bonus counts. But when we turn around, I have 63000 to his 60000. The right outlane is lit for the 5000. We do quick math, and my score feels like it is 10000 more than it should be. It feels like a score reel skipped in the bonus count. But there is no way to prove it, Nobody saw the score reel skip if it happened… Did I somehow earn the 5000s for the rollovers, and the lights just hadn’t caught up with the game action or something like that?

As a player, would you take the win?

As a TD, how would you rule. (assume that the 60000 player is claiming what the score was, and what the bonus should have been, and the 63000 player agrees that the starting point is “in the ball park” of the other players claim, but doesn’t know how many points should have been earned after that,

For the record, I took the loss, but my opponent understood if I would have asked for a ruling to try to get the win.

I wouldn’t. That’s what assistant TD or co-TD’s are for. If your co-TD doesn’t show or has to leave, then you need to deputize a new one before you play your next game.

For this specific game situation, define “a lot,” because if all you did on ball 3 is what you described, it doesn’t sound like you should have scored many points on ball 3.

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+1 to this

There’s no reason not to have backup TDs in any tournament. I’ll always have x+1 TDs in any semi-serious tournament that I run, with x being the number of players that play a game in a match.

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I don’t think that the OP was inferring he was the player and TD. I think he wanted opinions as a player or as a TD. But, I may be incorrect.

As a player, good on you if you think the game malfunctioned. I don’t trust my math skills enough to do that. :slight_smile:

As a TD, if the players never call for a ruling, I don’t have to make one.


As a player, I would refuse the win if I had a strong belief that my displayed score wasn’t correct; basically if there was no conceivable way that I had achieved the indicated score. If it was a close situation, “well, I hit those lanes, maybe the 5K lamps were flaky”, I would go with whatever the indicated score was. My general rule of life is that I will never intentionally screw anyone over, but if it appears to just be a lucky break, I’m willing to accept that… I’ve gotten plenty of unlucky breaks too.

As a TD – and here I’m assuming I’m a TD not involved in the game, because I never want to rule on a game that I’m playing myself – I would abide by the displayed scores unless all players involved agreed on the same remedy. How do I know the displayed scores aren’t actually valid, and the players didn’t misread the numbers earlier? Or that some valuable switch was hit that no one noticed? Or perhaps the other player had a similar beneficial malfunction earlier in the game, but no one noticed, so it’s actually balancing out.

The flipped case of this is the situation where a player appears to successfully shoot an important lit shot, say a Super Jackpot, but for whatever reason the machine doesn’t register that shot. IMHO that’s part of pinball… perhaps the ball actually lifted off the playfield surface and didn’t trigger the switch. Unfortunately, that sort of thing is not uncommon in pinball, and it’s impractical to try to make scoring adjustments every time it happens. Again, as a TD I would generally let the displayed scores stand.


Here’s the steps I would take as a TD:

  1. void the game because you didn’t play it as single player only :wink:

  2. if a player wants to concede the match for any reason that’s fine, and totally on them

  3. assuming they don’t, I would write the scores down as displayed, start a new game, and give myself 3 minutes of trying to replicate any scoring malfunction issue with digits skipping or sticking.

In that time two things will happen:

A) I’m not able to find anything odd about the score reels functionality while testing, the scores stand as shown on the display

B) I’m able to replicate the situation and would consider the game VOID as the scoring reels cannot be trusted to be an accurate measurement of score. Players move to a different machine and that game is dead until further repairs can be done.

I would never ask for all players to agree to a ruling. This leads to those issues where player intimidation can read it’s ugly head. I’m more than happy for a player to be pissed at me for a ruling but in no way want the other players in the group to feel pressured to let a player get his or her way.


I would never ask players to make or agree on a ruling, but if they did so on their own in a case like this (e.g. players agreeing on an adjustment to displayed scores) and it seemed reasonable, I’d probably go with it.

The problem with the premise here is that the game messed up favorably for 1 player, but not the other. That is why, as a player, I wouldn’t be so sure and would call a TD. I don’t think it is ‘wrong’ even if I think the game messed up in my favor to say “let’s get a ruling.”

As far as allowing players to concede, is this actually a thing? If it is, since when? I heard of crazy stuff happening at the end of round 5 of Pinburgh last year - could that player simply have conceded the game?

Oh yeah, it’s a thing. We like to call it the Lefkoff maneuver. Remember Time Fantasy at SFGE a few years ago @Adam? :relieved:

To explain, Adam and myself were in the Classics finals. I was crushing Time Fantasy and on ball 2 or 3 I was around 2 million and Adam comes up and whispers in my ear “I concede this game”. He obviously didn’t want to waste the effort trying to come from way behind and he knew just what he was doing. We moved on to Target Alpha and he smoked me on it and won the match and event!

Perhaps the rules should only allow conceding in 2 player games, since such an action could impact the results in a 4 player group.

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Although instead of formally conceding, a player can just plunge and walk off, which is likely to have the same effect.

(Technically this violates the “refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played” clause of the PAPA/IFPA rules, though the prescribed penalty for that is hopelessly vague, and anyway, that too is a poor rule anyway – surrendering a battle in order to win the war is absolutely a valid approach.)

Yes. When I was asking, I was asking from perspective as two different people.

I was not the TD in this case.

But I had a good idea that if I had called for one, I would have got the favorable ruling. But I didn’t want to take an undeserved win because of what appeared to be a malfunction.

As luck would have it, I got to make a ruling for a similar thing last night. A player at league was certain that a score reel has skipped. None of the other players had seen it. So I watched as they played.

Fortunately for me, the problem replicated itself and made the ruling easy.


Prospector score at start of Ball 3: 140k

40k x 2 bonus

Ending score of ball 3: 150k

“Somethings not right here”

Agreed. @phendricks handled it well, even if it did pull him away from his group for a few minutes.