Player "Space" / Batter's Box for Tournament and Competitive Play

We’ve run into a couple issues recently that have caused various levels of complaints, and I’d like to hear the rules on the topic of the space a player is entitled to occupy while playing a game. Is there a concept similar to a batter’s box in baseball.

Scenario 1: We had setup equipment to stream a game and the cables (taped down, no chance of moving / tripping people) were exiting down the middle of the game between players feet to get to the computer. A player complained and we moved them between games (admittedly a better spot). However, a player with a wide stance may have also stood on the cables. What is the side to side space allowed for a player before we just say ‘tough, play on.’ ?

Scenario 2: We have a couple of very physically animated players including some with some mule kicks. Crowded tournaments can be tight and it’s not always possible to not walk behind these players. How much space is reasonable to force behind an active player for a walkway?

Scenario 3: Similar to scenario 2, we all know players who get low and have a deep front-to-back stance like a deep lunge. At some point, it can be silly IMHO and prevents free movement around the games. Again, how much space is the player entitled to occupy alone and have a legit complaint if other players encroach?

Guidance is appreciated.

I would not be okay with this. There has to be a better way to run cables between games or outside of normal standing positions. If not, then the streaming isn’t worth messing with how players stand to play their game.

With regards to your other scenarios, I’ve had to play within close quarters in various tournaments (ex. PHOF) and can always manage to make it work. Basically as long as no one is bumping into me while I play it’s not a big deal.

scenario 2-

We have a league night in a pretty crowded bar and we have a few people that do mule kicks who are pretty animated. I try and take the brunt of the hit (which is rare) or say “Hey I’m passing behind you” and if it messes with their play- that’s on them. There is no reason for people to kick back that far, and if they do- that is on them for initiating contact.

The question mainly revolves around the: ‘no one bumping into you’ bit. Where is the line between your responsibility to not bump into others and theirs to not bump into you?

Agree on the cables, that’s why we moved them to a better spot.

I’m not a kicker or an animated player in general, so I stay pretty close to the game. Some others with a long stance could probably give a better answer about how much space they need.

I can get animated when making saves and also have a Long stride stance sometimes. Doesn’t bother me at all if doing that bumps me into a spectator. Nothing is going to break my concentration of missing shots constantly.

Basically I think a player should adjust to their surroundings. Venues are going to be tight sometimes. So if you normally need lots of room, might not be possible so you’ll need to adjust.


Obviously, the “ideal” answer is that there should be enough room around the game in any direction so the player can make any move they want (while still touching the machine) and not touch anything/anyone – call it a 6 foot radius (or 7 if TMac is playing in your event :wink: ). Equally obviously, this is impractical for almost anywhere except the PAPA Red Carpet, so just give as much space as you reasonably can and players will adjust to the situation.

But yeah, running cables out the middle of the game should be avoided.

I have a long stance and I occasionally do a donkey kick while attempting a save. Thankfully I’m kinda skinny, so I’ve never hurt anyone. More like a german sheppard kick. My stance and playing style have evolved over more than four decades of playing. It’s not a concious decision to see how much space I can take. It may look silly to you, but I really can’t play competitively any other way.

Playing standing straight up is very uncomfortable for me. I don’t think I’ve ever backed out of a tournament because of lack of space, but I know I have played in some where the tight quarters definitely affected my game. Running wires anywhere near a player’s feet is a bad idea IMO. If Stetta plays in your tourney, he’s going to trip on them.

There are often lots of reasons to complain after a tournament. Unless it’s a tight location and everyone knows it going in (Shorty’s), you don’t want players complaining afterward about space. If you have the space, give them as much as they need. A player’s stance is directly related to how well they play. You cut into that space and players won’t be happy.

I ended up going the other direction with this. As a stance guy, I made a conscious effort this year to move upright because a) it was throwing me off when I was in crowded spaces where there wasn’t room and b) I was hated that people constantly were tripping over me.

I always saw this as my problem, not the TD’s.


I think the player has the right of way and prior to the start of your events i would recommend telling participants to not stand so close behind the players.
I would also ask participants to look for out for non participants and ask them to do the same. This is the same as letting your participants know not to leave a machine vacant while in the middle of a match as it always seems a non participant thinks the machine is free and wants to plunge. As the TD you need to keep reminding folks about stuff like this and they’ll get conditioned eventually…


The answer I’m hearing is: “The more room for the player the better, but there is no official guideline.”

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