Plunging an Extra Ball

I have a question about plunging an extra ball during a tournament or league event. We allow one extra ball and all others must be plunged. I know you’re allowed to stage the flippers before the plunge, but what about plunging multiple times? At what point does the ball become unallowable?

For example, are you allowed to use the plunge exploit on Ghostbusters when plunging a ball? Technically the ball never leaves the shooter lane prior to the second plunge. Is that legal since the ball is still in the shooter lane?

The IFPA / PAPA organizations have no official stance on this, as their rules simply state to play games as they lie, and to disable extra balls before hand if possible.

So it’s completely up to you


As Raymond says it’s all about house rules when it comes to extra balls. We’ve tried to unify the rules in the SF Bay Area so people can expect identical extra balls rules at as many leagues and tournaments as possible. The SFPD rules states:

If a player gets an extra ball, they may use the flipper buttons to lane change before plunging. Once the ball is plunged, no further action to affect the ball or machine is allowed. Should the ball return to the shooter lane, the player may yet again use the flipper buttons to lane change before plunging.

You can attempt to plunge as many times as you want, but staging a flipper would be a no-go in our league.

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FSPA’s language for this:

When a player is required to plunge an extra ball, the player may touch the machine to set up a skill shot before launching the ball. Once the ball is set into motion, the player may no longer touch the machine. If the ball is returned to a launcher lane that requires a manual plunge (e.g. by a ball saver), the player may re-plunge the ball.

If a plunged extra ball becomes stuck somewhere on the machine, the player may attempt to nudge the machine to free the ball. If nudging fails to free the ball, and there is no operator present to free the ball, the player (or SLO) will be required to tilt the game in an attempt to free the ball. No compensation is provided in this event, nor is it considered a major malfunction.


Our super league score:

Extra ball must be plunged with 1 pull/hit on plunger and NO FLIP before or after (no contact with other part of the machine). Intentional tilt can be allowed to avoid potential damaging impact with prior TD approval. Some specific games may have exception at the TD discretion.

You disallow Extra Balls in a selfie league? That seems pointlessly unenforceable.


ah yes, my statement was missing the “finals” of the “selfie league finals” :slight_smile:


On GB, you can always add a note to the apron that says PLUNGER EXPLOIT NOT ALLOWED ON EB’s. Or just plunger exploit not allowed. Tape it to the outside of the glass, so they don’t miss it.

BAPA allows one flipper to pinball flip on EB’s. It occasionally has an amusing outcome.

Oh look, you started WCWS MB and now you can’t flip any more!

On the one flip rules, has anyone ever tried to get away with a staged flip to get 2 shots made from one press of the button. I would like to see it and would argue it is the same as everyone else that flips both flippers triggered by that button, only slower.

I’ve never seen that. Assuming it was legal, what two shots are you shooting? Maybe I’ll try it. d;^)

Sometimes a player will take their legal one flip, then accidentally flip again. Like trying to do a save when the feed was bad. This is virtually always happens to someone who is newer in league and rarely scores meaningful points. Once you get used to it, you take your flip and hope you don’t start CIU.

Crank it Down! 5M! :slight_smile:


Our local events have always specified “skillful plunge” as allowed, but no nudging or flipping once in play.

This means that playfield validation exploits related to skill shots or trying to trickle the ball out of the plunger lane (Congo, Whirlwind, Who Dunnit, CFTBL, AMH, Sorcerer, etc. etc. etc.) are fine - plunge as many times as you like as hard or soft as you want. This would be no different on GB, and 20% of your score makes that EB worth shooting for.

On Mustang, I had to plunge an EB that started a Gear 5 MB in a knockout tourney once because of the convenient placement of the saucer by the pops. That was… quite fun to watch. Fortunately the game result was moot in my favor anyway. :slight_smile:

I like this idea and think this is the way I’ll go. Thanks for everyone’s ideas. I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t some rule expressly forbidding it.

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When you’re an event director, you make the rules! Want to allow players to play all extra balls? Go for it. Just ensure your rules are known to your players and enforced fairly and consistently.


I played in a slap save tourney where extra balls were one hand only. Some people are surprisingly good at one handed play!