Question On Stuck Ball Ruling - Volcano

Ball got stuck on edge of pop bumper near outlane as pictured. Note there is not inlane on that side. I ruled that if I unstick it, it goes in the drain, otherwise player can try to unstick it. Is this correct decision?

Now, I’m pretty sure I made the right call on that but then I started thinking what the ruling should be if the gate was open as shown below. My thinking is this would be put on a flipper since the outlane is now more like an inlane. What is the correct ruling for this scenario?

Both correct, in my opinion.

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Basically what we’re saying is “Because the gate would have fed the ball to the flipper, we will give the player the ball to the flipper.” However doesn’t the act of using the gate cause it to close? If so doesn’t this basically mean the player gets an extra gate use if you just put the ball on the flipper? (I actually can’t remember how this works on Volcano but let’s just assume yes for this scenario.)

Think of a similar situation on say Royal Flush. Ball is stuck on a cupped insert over the right oiurlane and the gate is open. I would just push it down, activate the gate, let it go into the shooter lane, and play on (which would also cause the gate to close.)


Good point, the gate does go back to the “closed” position after it’s triggered.
So then would the better ruling be to put it on the flipper and activate the switch to close the gate?

Hmmm, I guess I see this differently. You don’t mention what rules were in force at the event, so I’ll assume it’s the PAPA/IFPA ruleset. In this case, I don’t see any of the documented stuck ball exceptions being applicable: the ball is not directly over the outlane, no portion of the ball is below the outlane post, the ball is not stuck on an inlane/outlane post/guide (because there is no inlane). The ball is just stuck in the vicinity of the outlane. The TD may try to free the ball through nudging, else open the machine and place the ball on a flipper of the TD’s choosing.

However, if you really feel that counts as “stuck on an inlane/outlane divider” (the only interpretation I could see justifying a drain-out here), then yes, those rules specifically mention placing such a ball into the outlane, which would cause the ball to be routed to the right flipper, and the gate closed. I would say in an outlane stuck ball situation, it’s always appropriate to trigger the outlane switch, since on some games ( ::cough:: High Hand ::cough:: ) that could be an important switch.

Isn’t there a post at the bottom there presumably for an attempt to bounce it into the flipper return?

Tough call… do the rules even address the multitude of outlane configurations?

The spirit of the rule is the “No Get Out of Jail Free Cards”.

If there’s ANY chance freeing the ball from where it is rested CAN result in a drained ball, then there will be no help in freeing that stuck ball from a TD.

Part of the continued all encompassing “You’re f*cked” rules that guide us so well … Unless you are an FSPA member :wink:

Good point. Yes, I agree. Do this as part of putting it on the flipper for this Open Gate situation.

New IFPA T-shirt coming soon! :wink:


This is the PAPA ruling if there is a kickback/gate feature:

Malfunctions and Rulings Section 7:

A ball which has come to rest on top of a center post, an inlane-outlane post/guide or a lamp insert/playfield divot directly above an outlane will not be considered a stuck ball. Players may choose to free balls resting in these positions through nudging of the machine, or request that an official end the ball in play by manually placing it in the drain for center post incidents, and the outlane for inlane-outlane incidents. If an automatically-triggered kickback exists that will send the ball back into play upon draining it in the appropriate outlane, that feature will be manually triggered, and the ball will be treated as a stuck ball from that point and placed on a flipper or other suitable location.

As long as the TD feels that the first part of the paragraph applies to the situation, the second part would come into play.


Does Volcano lack a ball search? Seems like the pop bumper would free the ball from that position.

I thought the spirit of the rule was that the ball would be drained through the outlane to get whatever award there was, be it 3 bonus advance, high hand collect, special, etc.

Therefore on a gate, I would expect the ball to be drained then sitting on the plunger. If Argosy, lane triggered to close gate and ball on left flipper.

No ball search

This gate feeds to the flipper when open.

Sorry, was hard to see on cell phone. Then ball on flipper like Argosy :wink:


Hey this happened on a Volcano that was in a tournament that I played this weekend… Hey Bill ; )

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This post and opening means that the player could nudge the ball back into play. If the TD freed the trapped ball by shaking the machine, this would take away the ability of the player to save that ball.

You’re decision to opt for the player trying to free the trapped ball was correct, since they could them try to save the ball at the mini-post. But, what would you have ruled had that player tilted the game when trying to free the ball?

Exactly. This is the player’s option to attempt to nudge for her/his desired outcome, whether it’s nudging it out of the area entirely, or nudging off of an outlane post/bumper back into play like this one, WMS IJ, Centaur, Viking, etc. And if they tilt, they tilt.

If they’ve got substantial bonus built up that’s at risk, that’s when a player would typically choose to have the ball drained.


If the player tilts the game while in control of the machine, it’s their action, their tilt.

The rules allow for the TD to nudge the machine to free the ball, at their discretion, and if the TD tilts the game, it is not the player’s fault.

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