Playing out of turn on an unallowable extra ball

I agree. It’s always unfortunate when this happens, but I feel like seeing it happen here and there has trained me to be especially careful about making sure it’s my turn and paying attention to game state when I step up.

It’s always a good idea to take a moment at the game before plunging anyways (except on Frankenstein :sunglasses:). It gives you a chance to consider what your approach is going to be based on what progress you’ve already made on the game and what ball you are on.

Whenever people complain about this rule being “BS”, it usually seems to be a casual observer or someone who was recently burned by it. No on ever offers a solution that is more fair, or broadly enforceable.

Last time I served as a TD, I used rules that specifically stated that there is no penalty for playing someone else’s unallowable extra ball (except for hurting yourself if you accidentally score them points) nor is there any compensation to the “victim.” It did actually come up in the tournament too, because P2 plunged P1’s EB without giving P1 a chance to plunge for a skill shot (and it was a close enough game it could have made a difference). At this tournament, EBs were all turned on, so players had the expectation that if they earned an EB they could make some hay with the skill shot. P1 was understandably a little upset about this. I felt bad for P1 but as the written rules covered this, my ruling was obvious.

However, absent a specific, written rule about playing unallowable EBs out of turn, I would treat it as any other case of playing out of turn and rule as you did. It feels harsh, given the circumstances, but enforcing rules is about fairness rather than perfect justice.

Unless P1 was upset with himself, I don’t understand the problem. Don’t walk away from the machine when you have an extra ball under these rules. (Or ever, really.)

I’ll just point out that if it’s a >2 player game, you’re not necessarily hurting yourself by playing someone else’s eb, you can be hurting your opponents. In fact, I could easily see a circumstance where it would be to your advantage for someone else’s game to beat a 3rd party, so “accidentally” playing an eb would be extremely to your benefit.

That’s why the best rule is just punish out of turn.


Yes, I realized after I posted that I should have clarified this. All play in this tournament was two-player match play, with no third player affected (at least not directly). I would not have used such a rule in a tournament with >2 player games.

I get the point of the rules is to make things more fair. But if the outcome here is essentially that the ball was plunged, then why DQ the player. If the issue is that P1 didn’t get their valuable plunge, then they shouldn’t have gone and sat down. In reality, we all know that P1 didn’t know they earned an EB. They forfeit the right to complain about the plunge, in my opinion, since they have now made it possible for another player to be DQ’d.

Since there was no real harm committed here, I don’t think there should be a foul called. I’m sure there is an argument about how this is a slippery slope, but TD’s have to make calls about what constitutes a major advantage in the case of stuck balls, so why not here? If we don’t think the players are colluding or that P2 ran up P1s score to affect other players, then why DQ them? Give them a warning and move on. And if they answer is because rules say DQ, then change them to match the stuck ball where you only DQ if a material advantage was earned by P2.

Seems a bit slavish to just say “The rule says to DQ you, so even though it has minimal or no effect on the outcome that’s what we are going to do.”

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I agree with this: it’s probably the biggest reason why we have “play the game as is” for Pinburgh. (PAPA Classics and other divisions use the same rule.) We still get many questions about whether to play or not play EBs when they occur, even though posted signs try to identify the games with EBs, and the one-page rules summary explicitly says to play EBs and identifies playing out of turn as one of the two biggest things to watch out for. (Tilt-through is the other.)

“Play your turn” :slight_smile:

If I’m following the rules, this is a clear DQ, no matter what happened. Some TDs and some events will decide to bend this rule when they feel it is appropriate, and that’s their right. Such a thing would never be done at any level of a real sport except in the most basic training levels (pee wee hockey, tee ball baseball), so that’s where it would be appropriate (to me) to bend the rules.

As TD it’s not my job to decide whether real harm was committed. Changing the rule to require this harm means a whole lot of gray area and player argument that I don’t think serves a positive purpose. Players shouldn’t have to argue with one another, and argue with the TD; the rules should serve these purposes.

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It could also benefit someone to play the other player’s extra ball in a two player game as well. If the player who earned an extra ball has a multiball ready to go and the other player starts it and doesn’t do much with it, that can be extremely detrimental to the player that earned the extra ball.

I’m wondering if you could plunge someone else’s extra ball, and then go ahead and tilt it since that ball isn’t ‘active’.

That could come in handy on Johnny Mnemonic if there’s a big hold bonus waiting for that player :wink:

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Or on ball 3 on those Gottliebs with the weird ball-3-only bonus.

Fair enough. This was a tournament that I was expecting a lot of casual players to attend and I just didn’t want the penalty for something like this to be quite so harsh because of that. Given that the rules were publicized ahead of time, I’ll stand by the reasoning that a player ought to make sure his/her ball is over before walking away. But I’m not dogmatically committed to the value of such a rule and can certainly see the drawbacks to it. My only real point was to say that I concurred with the original poster – that is, absent a specific rule dealing with out-of-turn EBs, I would treat it as any other out of turn play.

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I think it’s totally reasonable to change or abandon this rule if you think it will impact casual play and will make people no longer want to compete. It’s a tee ball tournament :wink:

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If you tilt on the not active ball, but then accidentally tilt through the next player which would be yourself, would you be DQ’d but then also get a new ball on a fresh game because You were the actual player tilted into? I think I’m starting to like this :slight_smile:


It happens frequently and surprisingly, it is not always new players.

I completely agree that a TD disregarding the rules shouldn’t happen in high level play, I’m simply suggesting a change in the rules to match those of the stuck ball. This is taken from that thread:

“Any beneficial malfunction which provides one or more players with a significant scoring or strategic advantage in a way that is not part of normal gameplay will void the score of the affected player(s), unless all immediately-affected players and tournament officials can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage.”

So, if we changed the rule to match this, then it wouldn’t require a DQ. Now, maybe the argument is that adding any ambiguity is a bad thing since it leads to arguments, but in that case the caveat above should be removed to be consistent.

Anyway, I guess the obvious answer is to double check before plunging. :slightly_smiling:

I don’t understand this. The person is still playing someone else’s turn, that’s clearly a DQ. I don’t see how this is a beneficial malfunction at all. Maybe you meant something else?

I don’t want ambiguity or arguments – they’ll still happen, of course – I just want fewer of them!

I understand that it’s not a beneficial malfunction, I’m just saying that the rule around beneficial malfunctions gives the TD discretion. I’m arguing that if P1 cedes the machine and P2 plunges their ball, P2 shouldn’t be auto DQ’d. Given this is a common occurrence, it seems like we could do better in cases where no harm was caused.

I’m assuming no one wants to win on a DQ. So, if we could roll back the game state we would do that. We can’t, but if the ball wasn’t meaningful then the only reason to DQ a player is because “that’s the rule”. If one changes the rule then a DQ isn’t required.

I assume that there is another sport where a player can “invite” their opponent to commit a game ending offense with no threat to themselves, but so far I haven’t come up with one. Maybe if I play your ball in golf?

P2’s activity is interference. Whether they just plunge, plunge and nudge, plunge and play, plunge play and tilt, plunge play tilt and tilt through, plunge play rage slam tilt, etc.

If you allow no consequences for P2’s behavior for the interference, now you have to decide which one of those examples above would be “too much interference for us to ignore the interference and actually DQ you”.

Twice during Pinburgh finals I walked up to Hot Tip and noticed it was still on Zach’s ball (the game wasn’t always resetting from player 4 to player 1) It’s not that hard… What player am I? Is my score lit/ flashing? It’s kinda like the outfielder jogging in with the ball with 2 outs while the runner at 3rd tags and scores… The less attention you pay the more likely you’re gonna screw up :wink: