Ruling: bangback when not technically draining?

I feel like this has come up before related to Wheel of Fortune, pretty sure that was decreed alright. Slightly different take:

A player demonstrated the ability to recover the ball from the lower lane guide on silverball mania without it hitting the upkicker, pretty much a textbook bangback but the ball was technically in no danger of being lost as the kicker was lit, the player just saved the kickback for later.

I said I’d still rule that illegal but it’s a gray area, particularly with the recent emphasis on “influencing the game once the ball is past the point of no return”. Thoughts?

Even though it looks like a bangback, if the ball is not on the apron I wouldn’t rule it a bangback. If this becomes a common technique for one or more players, I’d set the tilt tighter or avoid using SBM.

We have no control over the tilt. My take is that it’s still machine abuse and against the spirit of the rule. You really have to slam the lockdown bar.

I would rule that a bangback all day long. If there was any confusion on the players part that it was against the rules, I would make them fully aware of it.


Even though it’s not designed to function this way, the move has more in common with a Centaur side bump out than a death save/bangback IMO.

The fact that it’s borderline abusive to the machine is unfortunate, as is not having the ability to adjust the tilt to make this move impossible.

I consider that a bangback. The only legal way for the ball to return to play from that point is via the kicker.

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We have a player who has developed a shimmy that allows him to return a side drain on Grand Prix about 50% of the time. I totally think that is a play on personally, and see not a ton of difference to this ideologically.


Not a bangback. I agree it’s undesirable, but it’s within the field of play, as it is when you use a center post, side posts as mentioned on Centaur, or the lower bumper to pop the ball back up on WOZ. While that wire is not intended to be used in this manner, the move seems technically legit to me. That said, I have no issues with making a local TD ruling that it is not allowed owing to being unable to set the tilt to prevent it; I’d make that ruling myself. The “official” rules are a guidebook, but local adjustments can and do need to be made at times.


Edited because I answered the wrong question

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Again, the seeming two-sidedness of when it’s OK to do things rears its ugly head.

While I have not seen the move in question, I’m assuming basically it’s hitting the front of the cabinet Bangbacks are purportedly banned to avoid abuse, and that’s fine, I can appreciate that. If that’s the reason for avoiding them, then it should be illegal here, too.

At this point, I usually non-sequitur to a related example, so I shall do so: why is hitting the front of the cabinet abuse, and hitting the side (typically to avoid a ball from an orbit catching a slingshot) not?


I had to read the OP several times, but I’m certain we’re not talking about that pin.

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Are we talking about Grand Prix? There’s no pin, just getting the ball moving such that it slides back into the opening on inlane / outlane rail.

@ClevelandPinball is, I assume, talking about the pin in SBM. Which is not what the OP was talking about. The OP was talking about the ball rolling on the guide toward the lit ball save.

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re: Grand Prix that’s not a bang back at all that’s just shaking the machine. Legal. Even if they just wait as the ball is passing by and slap the side of the machine, still legal. The point of no return is defined as the area BELOW all the stuff they are influencing - not the more upper part of the outlane.

re: SBM their only point is to save the kicker for later, although I’ll assume that they can also do this move when it’s not lit at all. I’d say it’s legal, but if they have to abuse the lockdown bar to do it… that’s illegal in another sense. It really sucks on a laterally fast moving ball to hit the kicker switch enough to activate it and it’s moving up the other side of the rail, so the kicker kicks with no ball in it, then when the ball come back… drain.

To be clear what we’re talking about, this isn’t an issue with a little tap off the outlane pegs, the player is pounding the front of the lockdown bar hard enough to cause the ball to pop up off the lane guide rail and back into play:

If you’ve experimented with bangbacks, you can exert a lot of force on the lockdown bar without risking a danger or tilt, it’s not in the same ballpark as an upward nudge or a slap to the side of the cabinet.

Even if we had access to the tilt on this game, setting it so this kind of thing caused a danger would make the tilt unreasonably tight for a game of this era.

So- some people think this situation is fine, but what if the kickback isn’t lit? At that point the ball is basically out of play.

Maybe we should just treat it as if you are in danger of draining even when lit (if it doesn’t fire = you drain).

Call it abuse of the machine since it takes a lot of force to do it, and it should be disallowed because of that. Now, if there was a way to do it with a nice sharp shove of the machine you probably can’t disallow it. It could be argued that a ball heading down an outlane can’t be shimmied up, or you hit the side of the machine to use the side rail to make the ball safe otherwise.

The one person who is doing it is going to see it as picking on them specifically no matter what you do, and if they figure out a way to do it without banging the lockdown bar, how would you block it then? I’d argue that anytime there is a ball guide or something for the ball to interact with besides the apron, you would be allowed to influence the ball as long as you weren’t into the abuse of machine territory (itself a slippery slope…)

If the tilt is that loose on that SBM you can ‘twist’ the cab as the ball is coming out of the kicker to go through the horseshoe to relight it anyway. That will become the move of choice then. (that one isn’t even that hard to do).

The only thing that really makes it abuse of machine is that you have to hit the lockdown bar to move the ball.

You can just define in the rules that in the case of SBM being used in a tournament, the area allowed to influence the ball does not include the area below the flippers, near the kicker. (To allow the pins on the side to still come into play, since they are clearly there to percentage the ball path). As long as people are aware of the rule upfront, there it is. If they think it’s that unfair that they won’t play, well, that’s too bad for them.

You could probably just say “no hitting of the lockdown bar vertically” or something like that, would probably cover it. There’s really no reason to hit the lockdown bar vertically anyway, other than bangbacks or moves like you’re describing. You can say “hands must influence the lockdown bar which also gripping the sides of the machine”.

I can bet that the person involved will try to do it anyway and you’ll have to depend on the others in the game to report it.

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That’s a damn bangback.


Yeah I retract my previous statement based on the fact that I no read good. I would certainly call rule that a bangback.

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