IFPA tournament flexibility

Here in Adelaide, Australia, players are very concerned about their tournament results and points being cancelled by the IFPA because the TD does something wrong. e.g. last night we only had 16 players turn up for a group 3 strikes tournament so the TD suggested we play 4 strikes. Players were concerned this would make the tournament void so the TD phoned the IFPA country director to authorise the change.

What flexibility does the TD have to make changes to the format? What are the general principles at play here?

Another example, last night at the end of the night my group of 3 drew Champion Pub, it was set up very long playing. One player suggested we redraw at random, I agreed and the 3rd player said, “OK, I’ll agree but if we draw Dirty Harry then we redraw.” We all agreed to this and drew Strikes and Spares.

Is this kind of thing OK if everyone playing in the group agrees? What about if we all agreed that we change the arena to Iron Man, because it is very fast playing and we don’t want to be here all night. Is this OK, too? Are there any general principles we can apply?

i would assume both situation be ok under the flexibility allowed to the TD for making call on the spot.

I think the worst possible case is that you would end up with the TGP of having a 3 strike event. Seems like that wasn’t even what actually happened though. As for the latter, I tend to think that for casual events it’s OK if all players do truly agree (and aren’t being coerced; I’ve definitely put my foot down in that case before) but for major/“serious” events I would say you should never ever do that.

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For the number of strikes: You can put whatever you want in your calendar submission. Just start submitting events that say things like “3 strikes knockout, unless the event has fewer than 16 players: Then a 4 strikes knockout”.

For the arena choice: I would strongly caution against letting groups make these kinds of agreements. It opens you up to all kinds of group pressure situations where strong players can easily take advantage of weaker players.


TDs have discretion to disable arenas. When we run tournaments at places that have Sopranos (a very long playing game and notoriously ubiquitous here in Portland), we try to only draw it once in a round and drop it from the tournament once we don’t need every game. We also have a format specifically designed for those who like to go to bed at a reasonable hour: it starts with all machines in the tournament, but every hour the 2 - 3 machines with the longest average game time are dropped/disabled. This kind of thing does not impact the IFPA viability of the tournament; just because certain machines are there doesn’t mean they have to be played all night.

Other people have already covered that the players themselves shouldn’t be deciding to redraw an arena; it should be the TD’s decision and if possible should not impact a game draw that involves the TD. (Like, I shouldn’t remove Sopranos only when I discover I’ve been called on it; I should have a plan in place to remove it prior to drawing a new match on it, especially if I’m playing in that match.)


I would probably personally even go further and lay out the game disabling policy ahead of time in the tournament description / rules, just so that no one could complain about not being aware of it. Of course unexpected things always come up, but at least that provides a barrier to prevent people feeling (justly or unjustly) ripped off.


When I first started our tournaments, we had no idea what we were doing, nor did we know what to expect for turnout. I submitted the request to the IFPA using a “Number of strikes will be determined by turnout, format subject to change” line in our submission. They approved it and now when I submit results, I just edit the details to include the actual tournament format.

Sometimes we have 8 people and other times we have 14 people, so the number of strikes are sometimes changed on the fly.

I’ve never had any issues with my submissions, so I’m sure you’ll be fine.


Agreed. We have a similar turnout fluctuation in cincinnati. I just roll with it as the locals know we’re gonna do one of a couple different types of formats depending on turnout.

Just make sure when submitting to put the details of what actually happened for that specific tournament.

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Ha! Never say never. At the Silverball Showdown this weekend we were in serious danger of having to cancel an entire day of competition.

This is genius.

I can’t take the credit, it’s all courtesy of the mind of Noah Davis and his “I have a family and can’t stay out til midnight” excuses.


As a player, I won’t hesitate to point out a long playing game to a TD before the event begins. Too many TD’s want to use every pin in the building these days. You can get away with it sometimes, but if you have one or two exceptional players, things are going to run long. If you know a game is going to be a bottleneck, tell the TD and suggest it be removed from the rotation.

Same goes for games with issues that aren’t obvious. Flippers both work on WCS, but not strong enough to get a ball up either ramp? Leave that game out. TD’s sometimes don’t want to remove games due to popularity (everyone wants to play it!). If it’s not playing right or playing too long, it shouldn’t be used. A little extra preparation can save you from hard decisions and headaches later.