Ruling: phantom top rollover on Volley

Because I enjoy talking about ruling (maybe I should have studied law), and the more examples we talk about the better for everyone.

Scenerio: 4 player game on Volley. P1 plays and puts up 65k. P2 ball 1, plunges and misses all the top rollovers. However, pop bumpers cause green target bank to become lit for 5Ks. P2 attempts to cradle up and get a ruling, but cannot and eventually drains ball 1 at around 7K with 1 green target bank hit.

TD identified it as a beneficial malfunction, but was not sure what to do. They went to talk it over with one of the other people making ruling. Their answer was “hey, I think that happened to me.” TD ruled “Its been doing that.” Same for all players, play on.

How would you rule?

You may have guessed, I was P2 and one of the TDs, but couldn’t rule here. It was not the ruling I would have made. I pulled the game from the tournament next round.

Related note, anyone know what can cause the hold relay to trigger that isn’t the lane switch gap? I thought it was going to be simple, but it wasn’t that switch. I need to pull a schematic up to help the owner narrow down other places to look.

This exact same thing happened at indisc. I have no idea if a TD was ever involved or if the players knew. The chat in twitch definitely knew though.

Paragon. was player one I think. Ball one. They got their base bonus up to max extremely quickly making the chat wonder how it happened. Then P2 and P3 it became apparent (to the twitch chat), that there was a phantom switch registering that advanced bonus.

I don’t think anything was done here, so maybe the “it’s been doing that” ruling is the correct one. Eventhough it feels wrong.

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It’s not the correct ruling. The correct ruling is to abandon the game in progress. The current player’s progress can’t be trusted, and neither can the previous players’ scores.

The decision the TD has to make here is whether the problem has a substantial impact on scoring. A switch adding a few 5000 point hits to players’ scores on Addams Family or Centaur could be considered “play on”, while this one on Volley is clearly major.

When something major happens, the general choice should be to change games immediately, rather than adjust off the one issue you know about – and this is because the same thing probably happened more than once. In the case of Volley it should at least be a restart for that player, and if it’s a known or repeating issue, you don’t want to have to do it again so you abandon.


What if it is a beneficial malfunction that’s predictable, consistent, and known for all players involved? Was at a location recently with an Addams with a bear kick ramp that was also giving the players credit for the side ramp on every shot.

“Known Malfunction” covers this. Let the players know what to expect and go for it.


Volley… The game that almost ended @bkerins gauntlet run!


I was also playing in this game with @gammagoat but did not receive the benefit of this phantom switch. I ended up taking 3rd, losing by around 1k to another player who DID receive this added benefit. Wish the ruling had been different, but what can you do?

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Agreed. But: weird stuff like that can happen in pinball at any time. When it’s that close, you could have lost to a score reel malfunction, or hitting two drops at the same time, or a bumper firing an extra time, or…


Ugh- score reel malfunctions. I’ve seen this happen a number of times, are there any go-to rules for stuck reels or similar?

If a game doesn’t zero out for player 1 ball 1, reset, if it happens mulitple times pull the game. No problem - right?

If someone claims the 10k reel didn’t engage and they went from 49k to 40k, is that just mechanical nature of pinball? Without video or photographic evidence this is a tough one.

"d. When playing an electromechanical machine, players must understand that some score reel skipping or inaccuracies are inevitable over the course of a tournament due to the mechanical nature of the mechanism. If a score reel is not operating properly, players must notify officials immediately. No ruling will be made unless the score reel in question is the highest, or next-to-highest value reel. Tournament directors reserve the right to adjust scores on electromechanical machines if an obvious error has been made and the integrity of the match in question can be maintained. If the error in question was not witnessed by a tournament director, or it did not occur in a way such that an obvious correction can be made, no adjustment will be made and the score shown will stand. In the case of a continuously malfunctioning score reel, tournament directors reserve the right to declare a game invalid for the affected player, or for all players involved in the match."

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Geez, missed that completely in the 18.x updates way down in Misc. Time for me to re-re-read everything. Thanks!