If you are in a 3-4 player matchplay how do you handle if someone plays the wrong ball?

Do you stop, forfeit the player who messed up, finish the game without them and then give the person who lost a ball one ball on a new game and add it to their score? Is there any other way - also is this per the rules? Trying to clarify this and to hear if anyone does it different.

Lotta variables here but what you describe it the most straightforward way. Eg, if the player played too early on ball one, I’d let the correct player play in the wrong player’s spot so they still get all their balls on one game, no need for comp ball and shouldn’t really effect anything.

Also note the ifpa/papa rules allow the correct player to take over play if they want to (and the wrong player, once realizing the issue, is able to catch the ball).

If a game can have balls added, of course do that instead of a comp ball on a new game

On a game with lots of carryover features, if it’s ball 1, I might consider giving them a comp game instead to avoid splitting their game up but that’s more situational…

1 Like

On a game with lots of carryover features, if it’s ball 1, I might consider giving them a comp game instead to avoid splitting their game up but that’s more situational…

So you are saying in this case just start the game over minus the forfeited player? Does the player get forfeited or do they just get no points for the one ball?

According to IFPA/PAPA rules, the out-of-turn player receives a score of zero (i.e. last place on that game).

The affected player (whose ball was played by out-of-turn player) can choose to try to take over the ball in play and continue playing, or they can play one compensation ball played on that same machine after the game ends, with their scores from both games added together.

1 Like

Worth noting, on modern Sterns you can go into the settings on an active game and change the number of balls from 3 to 4. This lets the affected player have their comp ball without losing game progress. Probably possible on other manufacturers, but I don’t have first hand experience. Just remember to change it back after the game.


The person who went out of turn would still get last place for the game. Any other players would play as normal. Just, rather than having the affected player play balls 2-3 on one game and then ball 1 on another, you could choose to have them play balls 1-3 on a new game after the original game is finished

Person who plays out of turn gets a score of 0 (last place)
Person who had their ball played can either take over or get a comp.

IFPA Rules 2021.04.06
I. 9 Player Errors

A player who plays out of turn in a multiplayer game will receive a score of zero. The affected player may choose to
take over the ball in play, if possible, or he or she may choose to have the incident treated as a major malfunction.
In the event the player takes over, he or she shall be deemed “in control” after declaring his or her intent, taking his
or her position at the table, and making contact with the ball via the flippers. The affected player may not change
his or her mind once he or she is “in control”. Any player who plays out of turn deliberately in order to employ this
rule will be disqualified. Any points scored when a ball is being played out of turn count.

source: IFPA Competition Rules

1 Like

I had been wanting to make this kind or ruling (but hadn’t ran tournies in forever) and got to at my last one. Really nice feature though I did forget to change it back to three ball after :joy:. If you do this remember to record scores for everyone as they finish their ball 3 since if you have to plunge their ball fours out they will earn additional bonus etc (which can be significant on certain games like GotG)


Just want to say you’re welcome to house rule things in an IFPA sanctioned event…you don’t have to use IFPA rules set but obviously it’s assumed that’s the rules set being used (esp if you have keys to the machines).

If you differ from IFPA rules set that’s definitely something to tell everyone before a tourney/league meeting begins and how you differ.

And of course if you have some new people, you need to go over out how Extra Balls, Playing out Turn, how long to wait, and other rules are.

For example I think the IFPA rules say 60s of waiting for a player to start whereas I’m pretty sure most bar leagues/tourneys will obviously allow people to wait longer esp if they’re buying beer. :wink:


IFPA’s published rules don’t always cover all the nuances. In the case mentioned above where it’s player 1 ball 1 and someone other than player 1 plays player 1’s first ball and player 1 does not take control of the ball, the “simple” part of the proper ruling is to give that player a score of zero / a loss / a strike, whatever is appropriate in the format. The compensation plan is generally to do as described in the rule, i.e. a compensation ball after the game. In this particular limited situation, though, since the intent of the rules is to have all players play normal games whenever possible, and in the correct player order, having player 1 play as player 2, with the other two non-DQ’ed players playing in their proper order after that as players 3 and 4, is the ideal ruling. Player 1 on the machine would be plunged each ball after that. The “let player 1 play in the DQ’ed player’s spot” would not fit the “proper player order” criteria. For instance, if player 3 committed the error, machine player 1 is plunged, game player 1 plays as machine player 2, game player 2 plays as machine player 3 and game player 4 plays as machine player 4. That way, player order is preserved and all non-DQ’ed players play a normal game.

The same logic works if you’re still on ball 1 and player 2 or 3 gets their first ball played out of order by a player scheduled after them. Once you’re on ball 1 player 4, ball 2 or 3 of any player, or ball 1 player 2 or 3 but the error is made by a previous player, you can’t use this scheme and need to revert to the post-game-ball-compensation rule when you can’t reprogram the game to add a ball.

1 Like

I disagree with this. If this was the intent of the rule, the rule would state the intent. If someone made this ruling against me, I would request they read their rules again before making the ruling (and then accept the ruling, because they have final say).

I didn’t write the rules, so I cannot speak for intent, but I thought the intent was to have consistent resolution of the infraction. Which would mean ball 1 infraction should have the same resolution as ball 2 infraction.

1 Like

instead of record the score after ball 3 it might be better to tilt through one ball per player and the same thing if you have to play additional balls on a new game. Otherwise some players will have f.e. a double/triple bonus on Spiderman and others not.

1 Like

It boggles my mind how unwilling some TD’s are to read and master IFPA’s rules. Everyone goes off-script whenever a bad situation occurs. Already seeing a few pseudo-rules in this thread.

BMU has the best understanding of the spirit of the ruling here.

But players and TD’s saying “let’s start the entire match over” (only in BMU’s special case noted above) or “we’ll resolve it this way and make it a house rule” (no such IFPA provision for doing stuff "on-the-fly’ or changing core rules) or declaring all major malfunctions require a game restart (they don’t) shows we need to spend more time reading what’s already published.

1 Like

But BMU’s ruling isn’t the one from the official rules.

Overall I’m not in favor of moving players to other position orders, it creates extra complication for the players, and it’s not in the rules.


That’s the point of using the rules as a guide. In the end, you can make whatever rules you want.


How far of a deviation from IFPA rules is allowed before an event no longer qualifies as IFPA endorsable? For example, could I (as a TD) allow bangbacks and death saves without jeopardizing my IFPA endorsement status?


Being eligible for WPPR points does not require following the PAPA/IFPA ruleset at all.

I think there are some rules or some formats that will be not endorsed

I think the only “rules” are it has to be a competition between individual players on pinball machines. Thus no split flipper or team sanctioned events, and no split video game / pinball tournaments.

1 Like