Oversensitive slingshots, ruling

Oversensitive slingshot, triggering just because you flip. It was on POTC. Possible to score unlimited without plunging the ball, 1000 at a time.

What would the ruling be, had this been in a tournament?

This happened to a game of mine at pinburgh. They recorded the scores, then took the ball out and attempted to fix it live. When they couldn’t manage to fix it, they moved us to another game :frowning:

It’s a beneficial malfunction. TD may void the game if a significant point advantage occurs. An extra thousand with every flip for every player isn’t a significant advantage.

Obviously the players are not allowed to take advantage of the malfunction. I’d make everyone aware of the issue and let them know abusing the situation will result in disqualification for the game.

One concern I have, would the sling start machine-gunning during the game? That could overheat the coil, burn out the drive transistor, and worst case start a fire. My preference would be remove the game if it couldn’t be fixed.


Is this one of those grey areas of being a TD where you have to judge if a player is or isn’t taking advantage of those extra points? Some players like to flip their flippers when the ball is no where near them…is that taking advantage?

Before I launch the first ball on a table I often flip at least a few times while lining up the shots in my head just to test the feel and the angle for each major shot on the table. For a game like No Fear with a ton of major shots it’s a significant amount of flippage.

It’s very common for players to take a few test flips before starting a game or a ball. (Personally, I do LLL RRR pretty much every single ball. Whether legit or placebo, I believe this gets my mind engaged with the feel of the flipper buttons, gets my hands settled in position, and I also try to pay attention if any flippers are not responding crisply. Also really helpful when playing unfamiliar games, ala Pinburgh, since it can reveal upper/alternate flippers you may not have noticed.) I would not consider that unreasonably taking advantage of a hyperactive slingshot, especially if a player is known to have that walk-up ritual.

What would be taking advantage would be if every time they made a shot that sent the ball away for a few seconds, they started flipping a bunch. Or caught the ball on a flipper and then gave a gratuitous bunch of flips with the other flipper. Things like that. It is admittedly a gray area; if an opponent expresses concern, I would expect the TD to observe play for a bit, and issue a warning (not immediate DQ) if the TD felt there was potential abuse of the situation.


Besides considering the amount of phantom points being scored, you also have to consider the title. It’s very difficult to get short ball times on a POTC. 1000 points may not sound like much, but it adds up with long ball times. If I was TD, I’d void the game, fix the sling and restart.

Last week at league my group started on POTC and the optos at the top of the Tortuga ramp starting scoring points and spinning the disk with any vibration on ball 1. With no keys, we quickly bailed to another game. Phantom points scoring on POTC is never good.

1 Like

This is true, but if we assume that no one is abusing it, it should add up for all players in a similar way, as described. Longer balls will probably get more freebie sling points, but longer balls are probably also getting more points overall, so for the purposes of comparing scores of players in the same group with the same machine conditions, the net effect should be modest.

This sort of thing is an example of a common difference between typical modern tournaments and leagues. In most tournaments, if a group encountered this problem, a TD or tech would get paged, the machine opened, the switch regapped, and everyone is on their way. In a league, you’re much more likely to be playing “street conditions” like this, and have to be able to roll with it while still keeping the competition as fair as possible.


i like the term street pinball. We had a situation like this last night in our league when The Hobbits sling started firing for no reason on ball 3. We didn’t have keys to open the machine to fix it and it was the same for all players so we ruled to play on and finish the game. I felt this was more fair than restarting on another game. Had a player started using this to his/her advantage than we would have to make a different ruling.