I blame the rules

It’s situations like this that I feel hold back the legitimacy of our sport. I’ll start by stating, from what I know, all the rules were followed as they should. I place zero blame or irritation towards the player or TD but I did want to bring this up here for discussion.

Last night, I was set up for a pretty good chance to make finals in league. In this situation, all I needed was player A to not take 1st and player C to take 2nd at the same time. Unfortunately, for me that is what happened (yeah, I know, play better) but technically I played enough to be “in” the event with 4 1st finishes and 2 3rds.

What occurred - Player 1 earned an extra ball (we play on location) and our rule is that ball must be plunged. Player 1 did this as they were supposed to but then player B, for some reason came up to the game and flipped the ball which happened to shoot it to a scoop that started a mode. This mode obviously didn’t complete but it is one you get pitty points for just starting (corvette). Those pitty points took player A’s score past what Players C’s score wound up being and as such, the only out for me to not making the finals occurred.

The rules state that the points earned by another player “playing out of turn” are still rewarded to the initial player. As such, the correct ruling was made, in accordance to the current rules, and Player A kept their points.

Player A felt bad about it but at the end of the day, they earned their spot and I have no hard will towards him. I was pretty irritated at the player that played his extra ball. This is the point I blame the rules. How, in any type of sport, does this become the correct outcome based off the rules of the game?

Yes, I know, a bit of sour grapes but these things pop up on occasion where everyone knows what “should” happen but the rules force a different outcome. Curious your thoughts on the above and also what other situations fall in this category.

It’s not usually possible to verify what a player’s score was before the extra points were scored. In my opinion, the rule as written is a good one, that can be applied easily and consistently.


This is why in all major tournaments there is NEVER a “plunge extra balls” rule. They are either disabled or they are played fully


This is just one of the infinite ways random bad luck can bite you in a game that’s a mix of skill and chance. Player B makes an inexplicable error that knocks one person out, and gets another person in. Sometimes it’s a ball jumping a lane guide to eliminate you, or a lazarus to keep you alive. Anything outside of your control is all just part of the variance stew you have to make peace with. If you play enough events, it’ll all even out over a lifetime.

Can’t blame you for venting, though. This time you were the bug. Hopefully next time you’re the windshield. And hopefully player B was DQ’d, not that it can undo anything.


I’d say the rule is a good one because it can be applied easily and consistently. It’s not inherently good though to just give free points to a player they didn’t earn, but we have no other feasible options currently.


Well there should be something to stop someone do collusion to help and other person win.

@yancy is spot on. Over the course of a lifetime in pinball, you’re going to see so many bad beats, bad calls, rules as written technicalities, and improbable situations play out. And you’re not wrong with being frustrated either; congrats on handling this bit better than I used to!

Every situation like this is a chance to learn how to better handle the next one and be a better person and player for it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Maybe I don’t understand the rules but, wasn’t player B DQ’d for playing out of turn and shouldn’t they have received a ZERO, or at least last place? How did he (or she) end up in 2nd place on the game?

Player B received a zero, but their actions affecting another player’s ball awarded them a significant amount of points, which caused a change in finishing position from the active players.


Ever watched any NFL? They have way more ridiculous rulings than pinball, yet it’s moderately popular.

Bummer of a night, but that’s all it is. You’re going to run into this in any competitive sport/hobby.

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Did you make an effort to stop B from playing that ball? All players are impacted by this. So it is all players’ responsibility to be aware, as stated in the rule.

What would you prefer as the rule instead of this?


I agree. However, I really like a third option @PressStart used at one of his local tournaments. If you encounter an extra ball, play it. If someone walks away from an extra ball and their opponent plays it, they are not DQed, all points stand. You do not have the option to take over the extra ball you walked away from.

Yeah, but the party in charge of the Senate refuses to vote on any of the bills to prevent it.

Sorry. Too political? Couldn’t help myself.


I didn’t as I wasn’t playing in that group. I walked up and saw the points awarded and talked to player A whom told me what happened.

I’d like the rule to be changed (or added if one is not present). “If an extra ball is awarded and it is required for it to be plunged and not played. The player awarded the extra ball is required to stay at the machine until the plunged ball has ended. If they do not stay and another player interferes, both players will be DQed from that game.”

I know most of us (myself included) will often times just walk up, plunge an unplayable ball and then walk off after we plunge. I never thought of the risk until Tuesday night. The above is an easy way to prevent this from happening to others.

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That’s a convenient answer of which I think is 100% wrong. I can’t think of any other sports to where one team would be allowed to advance in a playoff due to another team blatantly breaking the rules of the sport when everyone present knows what the outcome should have been.

Yeah, refs blow calls all the time but those are judgement decisions that affect outcomes. In a football example. This would be like a fan running out onto the field during a play, tackling the QB and the refs stating that a touchdown is awarded due to interference.

In this situation, both players that advanced understood what happened and the implications of it. Player A even said he was going to talk to the TD about it as he felt bad for the situation. I told him not to worry about it as it wasn’t his fault and technically speaking the rules were enforced correctly. I made this thread for 3 reasons:

  • Vent a little bit
  • Bring open what can happen to see if the rules should be modified or changed. I think I created a simple rule that could account for the issue.
  • To see what other rules out there may create situations like this as well.

This would typically change the game score drastically more than the points B scores on A’s extra ball until someone tells him to stop. Therefore, much more probable to change the order of the players in that game, and hence would more often affect 3rd parties. Am I right?

I don’t think a rule that states one player can cause another player to be DQed is ever a good idea, even if they have to DQ themselves in the process.


No, I don’t think you are interpreting right. How would not playing and ensuring someone else didn’t play drastically change a players score? It wouldn’t change their score at all, minus what they should be getting for the plunged ball as is.

Had a similar misplayed ball happen on a Johnny Mnemonic that advanced players mid ball. No one saw a bonus collect or assumed bonus collect was part of normal play. 100s of millions of points scored in my favor by another player until the score screen showed player status. Everyone left that game kinda sour.

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Well, obviously if no one breaks any rule, there is no problem. What I mean is, given that A walks away and B flips the extra ball, your extra rule seems to make it more likely than before, that 3rd parties will be affected.

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