NW Pinball - Malfunction...?


Interesting… the PAPA and IFPA rulesets seem to give final ruling authority to Kevin Martin and Josh Sharpe (respectively), not the tournament’s director.

The FSPA rule set says this:

1.2 Discretion of League Officials

These rules are a guide. At times situations will arise that aren’t specifically covered by these rules. In these cases, the SLO should make a decision in the spirit of the rules. This decision shall be documented for later reference, and be applied consistently should the situation arise again.

(“SLO” is our term for senior league official, including phrasing that defines a hierarchy of officials and prohibits an official from making rulings that directly impact themselves.)


I don’t quite understand this. Do you mean that, if everything had worked “normally”, the ball saver would have served up another ball for the one that just (should have) drained, and it’s business as usual?

What I don’t get is the “we do not have a ball that normally should have ended.” Can you explain? I’m genuinely trying to understand what you mean here, not trying to argue.


I strongly suspect it’s not that simple. Just consider a league that runs over, say, six events, not all of them with the same TD.


Yes, exactly what I’m saying. The design of this feature, and when it works as intended, means that the current ball does not end. We therefore cannot apply a rule to this situation if the rule is stipulating what happens when a ball does not end as expected/intended.


For what it’s worth, I agree with Adam that this is not as cut and dry as it might first seem. In my opinion, all three scenarios he describes should be ‘play on’. The player earned the award through the rules of the game, and in the case of WoF, actually used up the free spin(s) in the process of getting the multiball. Getting a lazarus after it triggers an outlane ball save is a different situation IMO and in that case it should be ‘drain the extra ball(s)’…

Note that in the case of WoF, if the ball triggers outlane switch(es) and serves the ball(s) back into play, and then the drained ball somehow bounces back up into the playfield, THAT ball should then be drained!

I’m sure there are other games besides CSI, Star Trek, or Wheel of Fortune where someone could earn a legitimate single-ball play multiball…heck, even old EM’s you could serve yourself multiple balls and play them in ‘single-ball play’ if you wanted.


I can’t find the term “league official” or “SLO” in the IFPA rules. Do you have a link to the rules you quoted? (Which rules should I be using when we run our Saturday afternoon local tournament in Brisbane, if not the IFPA ones?)

For what it’s worth, in a private conversation with Josh where I asked for clarification about a TD’s decision, Josh confirmed that a TD is at liberty to make a decision that violates an IFPA rule. (Josh, please correct me if I misunderstood this.)

These rules are a guide. At times situations will arise that aren’t specifically covered by these rules. In these cases, the SLO should make a decision in the spirit of the rules.

In principle, I agree. In a way (and maybe this should be codified), it says “resistance is futile. Do not dispute a TD, he has ultimate power.” Most sports have a rule along these lines. “If you argue with a TD in the middle of a competition, you are toast.”


Those terms aren’t in the PAPA/IFPA rules. I was quoting from the FSPA league ruleset, which is (AFAIK) the longest serving ruleset in competitive pinball. Of course, that doesn’t make it “right” or “wrong”, just provides another perspective.

Your event can use any ruleset that you wish. Something like the PAPA/IFPA rules are a great baseline, because they’ve evolved to handle most situations you’re likely to encounter, but you’re always free to customize for your event. Just make sure the ruleset you wind up using is well documented to your players, and consistently enforced by event officials.


Yes, the FSPA rules [25 year old now?] always had the intent of “fairness” being the top priority - - the “spirit of the rules” section. When a machine didn’t operate as intended, was the irregularity a “minor” or “that’s pinball” one, or was it something far enough removed from “normal abnormalities” that it needed to be compensated for, either pro or con? We always considered having an “incorrect” number of balls in play that arose from something other than just weird ball bounces, a kickback misfiring, etc. as something that needed correction. Served two balls? Gotta drain one.

Senior League Officer was used in part exactly because “who’s in charge” changed from year to year. I was an SLO for a while, as was Dave Stewart, and many other people have come and gone. And the documenting part was so whomever had to deal with it next, if it was someone different, would know what to do. We weren’t really thinking 25 years down the road at the time, but it’s now clearly useful we did what we did.

Joe, I’ll have to miss your party again this month.:wink: Would you and Julie give my regards to the gang? Thanks!


TD’s can absolutely do whatever they want, whenever they want. They can declare somebody the winner “Because they said so” … The reputation of the TD is really the only thing at stake.

Make enough decisions against your own written rules, section 10 every decision you want … At some point you’ll be running an event and nobody will show up.


Technically, you should be in one ball. I didn’t find out about this until it was too late. Didn’t really expect it to happen. I’d probably put in an adjustment to switch it from an instant save to a ball saver to avoid this situation.

That’s a system thing that works that way mostly because I haven’t implemented short-circuit yet. We do use the kickback (for free), though, if ballsaver is on.


I’d link to the “expert witness” Marisa Tomei clip from My Cousin Vinny … But I’m too lazy.

The defense rests your honor :slight_smile:


What’ll you give me for it?


Probably not as much as @pinwizj will give us not to :wink:


Hmmm… How about one of these?

But, seeing that I’m not really into bribery, how about I give one to you next time I make it to Pinburgh (hopefully next year)? And Josh can decide then whether he wants to risk giving me his phone number :wink:


Noticed this when I played Dialed In recently. Nice feature!


Just had an interesting one last night. Playing GOT. Had multiball running with LOL outlanes lit. Had one ball on the flipper. The other ball screamed down the outlane, bal save kicked in and immediately kicked out another ball, while I let the draining ball laz back into play by lifting up the left flipper.

So what’s the ruling here since I had more than one ball in play when the ball was saved?


What did you do? Did the mulitball end when you had 2 balls in play, or 1?


I had a ball trapped when the other went out the outlane, so multiball continues. But I kept the ball the game gave me, and also the one that came back to life from draining really quickly like sterns tend to do.

So went from 2 ball multiball to 3. Multiball ended when only one ball was in play.


Since it occurred while multiball was running, it’s ok that you had multiple balls in play.

If the multiball mode had ended while you still had 2 balls in play, you would be required to drain one.


I disagree. @chuckwurt had 3 balls in play when he should have had 2. Drain one of the three on the fly, or trap up and drain one. Get back to the intended 2-ball multiball state.

It’s similar to getting one ball stuck during a 3-ball MB: you don’t get to keep playing with just two balls simply because there is more than one ball actively moving on the playfield – you trap up with the two balls, and request that the 3rd ball be unstuck by a TD/tech.