Interesting (?) discussion I just had with a player who was DQd for playing an extra ball out of turn

Under the newest revision, this would only get P2 DQ’d. Once P2 is out of the game, their turn on the machine is then considered “void” and nothing that happens on their turn is considered part of the game anymore. So P3 would have just been getting an allowed practice ball in that situation.

Adam, what is the “correct answer” in terms of what should be done? What’s your proposal?

I agree that it’s harsh. But the list of alternatives are limited, and many are equally/more asinine.
The next best alternative I can conceive that is less harsh with more equally-distributed penalty is: Once the error is discovered…

  • Player B must immediately stop play on Player A’s EB.
  • Player A has their final score reduced by 1/4. (because they now will have 4 balls played instead of 3)
  • Player B receives a similar penalty of having their score reduced by one ball, so their final score is reduced by 1/3.
  • If on a 5-ball game, then those reductions become 1/6 and 1/5, respectively.
  • No DQ.
  • Alternatively, if it wasn’t on the last ball, Players A and B could each forfeit/plunge their next ball without flipping.

List of Options:

  1. DQ only Player A (person who earned the EB).
    Others have already hashed out why this is rife with issues.

  2. DQ both Players A & B.
    Now we’ve taken something overly harsh, and made it even more over-the-top harsh.

  3. No penalty for either A or B. But Player B must stop playing A’s EB as soon as it’s noticed. Player A gets to keep all the points earned during B’s play of A’s EB.
    In an ultra-competitive cutthroat sense, this will provide incentive to walk away from an earned EB 100% of the time. Though in the application of ultra-competitive logic that we’re using, this incentive is already there.

  4. Re-start the whole game.
    I think I like this one the least, because it seems to unfairly penalize Players C & D, and provides incentive for either Player A or B to exploit the rule if they’re playing as well as they’d like to relative to the other players on that game. The expectation of all four players being involved with the start of a game and crediting up four players is appropriate, but I don’t like it in mid-game transitions between each player.

  5. Player B has their score reduced by 1/3 (or 1/5). Or forfeits their next ball. (I don’t mean for this to come across as an option for the Player – but an option for how the rules are written)

  6. The “best” option I listed at the beginning.

That’s enough of my brainstorming.

Really, Joe ? That’s the best inference you can make from my post ? I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually offer an alternative yet; I was merely pointing out the stupidity of the current rule. If you imagine that the only outcome of not DQing someone for doing this is that “anyone can play anyone else’s ball at any time without penalty”, then I certainly hope you aren’t ever involved in creating a rule set. LOL.

But since you “asked”. How about: “There is no penalty for a player who correctly follows the established “order of play” in a match but incorrectly plays the previous player’s awarded extra ball if the previous player has relinquishes their turn after playing their primary ball, but without having played their extra ball.”

Others can probably word this better than me, but its seems simple enough to keep all that silly anarchy arising from other random people walking around trying to play all the EBs in a tournament… Since, as Keefer correctly notes, it really is up to everyone in a match to be aware, the way you “fix” this situation is that as soon as someone realized that the player is not playing their intended ball, but an unbeknownst EB from the previous player, that player is to stop playing and let the ball drain. done. Whatever score was racked up by that player remains to the previous player. Whatever extra “practice” the no-longer-DQ’ed player on the other end of this transaction benefited from is “just pinball” (If you don’t like it, then pay CLOSER attention to what your competitors are doing!). Their will be no attempt to cradle the ball in play and hand it back to the previous player - The finished their turn without playing their EB, so the EB is forfeit.

And for all the other absurd scenarios naysayers will come up with to justify the status quo of: Well, that’s how it’s always been, so we should always keep doing it that way, even though is really does seem unfair, but gee, what can we do about it… You can add in a reminder that:

Any attempt to exploit or otherwise knowingly take advantage of this situation is covered under the standard “Player Conduct” section of the rules, and like ALL other attempts to subvert or otherwise exploit the competitive process, can result in warnings and/or DQs from the game and/or competition blah blah blah…

Anyone who has ever been DQ’ed by this rule, or seen someone else in their group DQ’ed by this rule knows absolutely that it occurred because neither player realized it at the time.

FIX THIS @pinwizj & @mhs!!!

Hi Colin,

That’s funny, because I didn’t read your post before I replied to Joe this morning, and I basically offered up an alternative that matches you #3. Some tournaments let you play EBs, if you get them, so for that, there would never be any incentive to walk away from the EB unless you felt (a) the next player will play that EB better than you and (b) oh yeah, and the next player has to not realize that it is an EB and screw me… so I think we’d all be ok there ? The other type of tournament is the one where you have to plunge and step away, or one flip the EB and, really, these are kinda out of vogue now… In qualifying, it’s just too hard to police the plunging of EBs so even at something like PAPA Classics, you get to play your EBs, which makes sense, because that way it’s fair as opposed to some who play it “unknowingly” and others who ethically plunge it away… so I would offer that if you are playing on Machines with potential EBs (older games, or modern games without a key etc), then you should always be allowed to play the EBs and if not. Cool. But then someone has to police the shit out of that. Cool. And if this unfortunate thing still happens (Hey Bowden, we need a clever PinballDictionary term for this event… .the EBDQ ?..), then fine. intentionally walk away from your EB (you unethical piece of shit ;-)… the Pinball Gods will Shat Heavily Upon You At A Later Date.

I would much rather let that theoretical (and most likely non-existent) dirtbag get away with it, then continue to punish EVERYONE else is just does it by mistake. ya ?

I’m not fixing this one. I like the current rule and knowing I’m responsible for every ball I step up to play … that right amount of paranoia keeps me interested :wink:

I don’t want to be monitoring players C and D and E and F and G when I’m not up. Once the game has started correctly my responsibility as a passenger on this journey is over. If I want to watch the other players play … Awesome. If I want to check email on my phone to get away from the moment of the game happening… Awesome.

Plunge a ball that isn’t yours is a DQ. Nine simple words (not sure how to count contractions in this) that are super easy to understand and follow. Accidents happen and players are DQ’d for accidents all the time (tilting through, slam tilting, sliding a game off rubber feet).

Anything not accidental is player conduct and that player gets an ejection from any tournament I’m running.


Hey Adam,

In the same league last season, I was DQd when the player in front of me failed to notice he had hit not switches on Paragon and walked away thinking his turn was over. I played his ball without realizing what had happened until I drained that ball.

It’s very similar to the EBDQ scenario, but not quite because the player who’s ball got played would theoretically get a compensation ball at the end.

If the rules are updated*, what would you suggest should happen in this other scenario?

*I see they aren’t changing.

^^^^ This.

@pinwizj: If the powers that be, or majority, or whatever, feel that a penalty/punishment is necessary… why does it need to be a DQ? Just substitute “lost ball” for “DQ.” Forfeiting my next ball (1/3 or 1/5 of my opportunity to play) is still adequate incentive … imho … for everyone to pay close attention to whose ball they’re plunging.

I would note, jr, that all those other accidents you describe are completely “personal” things. that is, there isn’t another player involved in you: tilting, or slam tilting, or sliding a game off its little, tiny, poorly-made-chinese-rubber feet, or what have you.

The thing here, is that it takes two to tango this mess! But you’re only arbitrarily punishing the second half of the fiasco. That’s why it’s different from all those other examples and that’s my it needs a special case.

BTW, as you well know (and I know you KNEW I was gonna bring this up at some point…) I plunged a ball that wasn’t mine once in PAPA Finals but wasn’t DQ’ed (14 words). So perhaps its not even as simple as you think ? :wink:

Hi Steve,

That’s an excellent use case you describe, and I suspect is probably a way more common occurrence than the straight EBDQ (this would be a NSWADQ (No Switch Walk Away DQ)), but it is essentially the same sequence of events as the Classic EBDQ. I think it would be trivial to broaden the language from an “Extra Ball” to a, I dunno, “Previous player’s ball that has been abandoned by that player” or something like that… I would absolutely apply the same rule to that event.

Without this rule I wouldn’t be able to watch you talk your way out of DQ situations … And that’s an immense amount of entertainment for me :wink:

The ‘ball penalty’ is something I compromised on for the IFPA / PAPA ruleset (we used to have that for tilt throughs and wrong player playing - but no longer).

It may take two to tango for this situation but the responsibility for having a shitty dance partner is something I don’t mind making players deal with.


I’ll bite: What’s the justification for DQ instead of just ball penalty?

Two reasons …

  1. easier to implement - mostly because of the situations where you are adjusting score as a penalty instead of a lost ball because you were on the last ball in play.

  2. the DQ rule for playing out of turn is about player interference (which is regrettable but may happen according to the rules). How that person comes to interfering with another player isn’t something that needed any additional clarification. The preference on the papa side was to keep it nice and clean this way amongst the other interference rules, and I didn’t fight hard against it.

I know that we switched to “play it as it lies” for EB’s partly to limit this from happening, so the opportunity for this to happen at a tournament I’m actually running is limited to those 0 point balls that may not advance player. In all situations I don’t think it’s unfair to ask players to be skeptically optimistic that it’s their turn to play whenever they step up to a game.

As a member of the “I played out of turn club”, checking the player that is on is part of my routine, as is checking it at least two more times before actually plunging, sometimes with a good helping of confirming with the TD that I’m actually player X before stepping up :slight_smile:

I agree with Josh and don’t see a compelling reason to clutter the rule. I also agree with Josh because it’s an opportunity to annoy Adam.


Besides the points that have already been mentioned: situationally, there are certainly times when it’d be a worthwhile sacrifice to give up one of your balls in order to, hmmm, maliciously flip an opponent’s ball. And while that would certainly be a repugnant thing to do, there are players on the competitive circuit who exploit every inch given to them by the rules (plus maybe an extra centimeter for good measure). Therefore, interference in another player’s game should always have a harsh enough penalty (i.e. machine score of zero) so that it’s never worth considering as a viable strategy.


Hear hear!

What was the situation?

1 Like

Ask me about it next time we’re waiting in line at a tournament. It’s a long story.

Couple of things here:

You need to define “abandoned” here because it’s not limited to just extra balls. I offer you the Pinburgh A semifinals this year as an example. Keith was playing Scared Stiff and made a pretty good move on the machine and managed to lock a coffin ball for what he thought would be a chill. He immediately sat down, leaving no player on the machine. Unfortunately for him there was a coffin kickout instead of a kickout to the plunger, but if it had kicked to the plunger, wouldn’t this fit the “abandoned” situation just the same as an extra ball, in that it looks like the previous player is done?

Many players like to take breaks in the middle of their ball to calm down. Some players leave the machine completely during this time. If you’re suggesting that a player cannot leave the immediate front of the machine without somehow being culpable for someone else screwing up and playing their ball, then you’re kind of dictating how people can play and that’s not a road I want to go down. I don’t think we should assume that leaving the machine for any period of time constitutes abandoning anything.

As for how the next player can be DQ’d, that’s easy. It is always your responsibility as a player to check to make sure it’s your turn before you touch the machine. Always. If you are not sure, you can always call a TO over to explain the situation.


I like the phrasing “be skeptically optimistic” for this. I’m still crossing my fingers to stay out of the play-out-of-turn club and only be a member of the tilt-through club.

1 Like

Sounds like we need to add some new badges. :wink: