Power outage: how would you rule?

I find these thread that get info from experienced TDs on how they would rule really informative. We had an interesting event at league night last week. Shortly after we started, the neighbourhood lost power.

  1. Fireball: zipper flippers saved the ball, when the power came back 10 minutes later, the game was still in progress. He had missed the skill shot, so all state was correct except for playfield qualifying. I was suprised the interlock didn’t trip on start, have not gone back to read schematic to decide if this was correct behaviour.

  2. All other games.

This is probably not actually interesting, but who knows maybe people will have different opinions.

How did YOU rule?

I wasn’t TD, just host. But we restarted all games except fireball. The guy was so excited about the fact he didn’t loose his ball.

Catastrophic Malfunction. No debate.
Fireball was handled appropriately, in my opinion.
Read the PAPA Competition Rules on the subject: http://papa.org/learning-center/players-guide/?target=competition-rules

  1. Catastrophic Malfunctions

A catastrophic malfunction is any event, not caused by a player, which immediately ends play for all players on the machine.

Examples of catastrophic malfunctions include:

The game system crashes and/or resets due to a software error or component failure.
Power is lost or interrupted.
A new game starts.
A major malfunction repeatedly recurs in spite of attempts to repair the machine.
Any event caused by a player, intentionally or unintentionally, including Slam Tilts, is covered under “Player Errors” below.

When a catastrophic malfunction occurs, if the scores are able to be recorded, players will be provided the appropriate number of additional ball(s) of play on a new game once the machine has been repaired. If the scores are not retrievable, players will be forced to start their game over. No attempt will be made to estimate scores, or reestablish state, at any time.

If a machine affected by catastrophic malfunction cannot be repaired in order to continue play, it is considered disabled; please see “Disabled Machines”.

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I figured for all other games “play the appropriate number of additional balls and sum the scores if possible” was probably the correct ruling, but the logistics of this when ever machine had this issue simultaneously and a fair amount of time passed before power was restored was tough.

immediately ends play for all players

Technically, it didn’t really though since state was saved. At least that’s how I see it. Doesn’t seem like playing on results in any unfair advantage for anybody in this particular situation.

As always, rules are meant to be interpreted reasonably by event officials. If you’ve got a game that can survive a power outage without losing game state, I see no problem at all for the event official to make the reasonable ruling that that particular game was not affected by a catastrophic malfunction, so play on.

(Coming soon: Baffle Ball league! All Baffle Ball, all the time! We laugh in the face of power outages!)

For Fireball: Correct. That’s what I meant by “Fireball was handled appropriately” referring to gamma’s saying that all were restarted EXCEPT for Fireball.

Yep. At Pinburgh 2012 (?) there was a power outage during Round 1 that killed off ~20 games in progress all at once. We were back in action fast:

  • Game shows scores? Everyone gets enough balls to finish out, including the player whose ball was in progress at the time of the outage. No compensation, no added or subtracted points.
  • Game doesn’t show scores? Start over.
  • Fireball? Play on. :slight_smile:

Wouldn’t this cause problems with most modern machines, as you could be partially in progress towards something but have to start over? For instance, if you’re playing White Water, your rafts are cumulative across balls, and the end-of-ball bonus for rafts are similarly cumulative. Someone who has to start over mid-game would be at a disadvantage against someone who was able to play continuously without outside forces because if they begin a new game but pick up where they left off, they’d have to start from the beginning with their rafts.

That is true, but this falls into the “that’s pinball” ruling. It sucks, but its just part of the game. For as many disadvantageous situations, there are just as many games where its advantageous to get to add new balls from a new game. I could argue the opposite of what you did on whitewater, getting to restart with your previous score added on means having two shots to start whirlpool challenge again. That could be HUGE in match play.


What @harmon1728 said. An additional Whirlpool Challenge MB far outweighs raft progress. Not to mention that it’s far easier on Whitewater (and many other modern pins) to start the first regular MB than subsequent ones due to # of hits to dangerous lock targets.

The other reason for not starting over from square one: Time.

With the rise of competitive play, it would be nice if modern machines had an option to recover. It might be too costly to serialize the state to non-volitile storage. As long as the recovered score and serialized state were atomic, it would seem safe. People might loose 5 seconds of progress, but it would solve the potential issue of hitting a jackpot twice. I am probably way over simplifying things.

You could imagine opening the coin door selecting resume previous game, and identifying that P2 replays (extends really) ball 2.

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Kickstarter for backup generators at the PAPA facility in .3…2…

All the answers in this thread are technically correct, although one huge step has been missed. When the power initially goes out, everyone in the room is required to either take a shot, or chug a beer (player’s choice). Once the power is restored, repeat. Then, and only then, gameplay should resume.

Come on people! These are basics.