Ruling: Player says they didn't play their ball

TL;DR Player says their turn was skipped while they were out of the room. No one else in the group has any information to confirm (though all denied plunging the ball). What’s the ruling?

Longer version below.

The game is Stern Batman: Dark Knight. Venue is a barcade, during league night.

After finishing Ball 3, Player 3 (the TD) is approached by Player 4.

Player 4 says they left the room to get a drink at the bar, and returned to find Player 3 at the machine (playing the correct ball), and realized that their Ball 2 had been skipped.

Player 4 had immediately asked Player 2 what happened, and Player 2 said something like: “Yeah dude, I plunged your ball”.

TD calls Player 2 on the phone, as Player 2 had left for the evening (having played their final ball of the night, and not wanting to wait around to see the outcome). Player 2 laughs at the question, and says: “Absolutely not, I was just messing with him”. TD is certain Player 2 is telling the truth (and they have known each other for 10 years).

TD asks Player 1 if he plunged the ball. Player 1 says no.

What’s the ruling?

(I have already scolded Player 2 about his “I plunged your ball” response, as it set off a huge unnecessary discussion.)

Does this game have auto-plunge turned on by chance?

If a game was sitting there unattended in a barcade, is it possible some random patron walked up and played P4’s ball?

I was about to type “this game absolutely does not have auto-plunge turned on”, because I turn that off on all my games.

This game has been off location for a while, so it’s possible that the setting could have been changed. I’ll double check it.

Either of your scenarios are possible.

I’ve played in 200+ events, and I’ve never had this happen before. Usually someone sees something in either of those situations. I don’t remember there being any/many non-league players in the room at the time, but I wasn’t specifically looking for that. It was the last game of the night, and the other two groups were probably finished with a few people lingering.

I think I would make them replay the game. None of them dispute P4 ball two was skipped but none of them know how it happened.
Shenanigans happened. Game voided.

All players replay the whole game? Why not just a compensation ball for player 4?

(All three players were finished, and did not dispute their own outcomes).

Comp ball for player four. The end :slight_smile:


Because it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure the correct player is on the machine at all times. They did not do that. Nor do any of them have an explanation as to how it happened.

I’m not sure where in the rules it says this. Everyone is responsible for a game starting with the correct number of players. Nothing beyond that.

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I was actually surprised to see this in the IFPA rules (though I don’t agree with YeOldPinPlayer’s interpretation)

Someone probably played P4’s ball. Accidental interference -> comp ball.

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Lol that’s awesome. That verbiage makes no sense to me. I typically pay no attention to the game at hand when I’m not actively playing so I’ve been shirking “my responsibility” :slight_smile:

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The rule is there and wasn’t followed. Player errors by P1, P2, and P3 (the TD).
I can see the rationale for awarding only a compensation ball. Given the violation by the other three players I think replaying the game is appropriate. If the rule shouldn’t be there then no replay.

I thought that was there to explain to the other players that it is their fault for the accumulated points and they have no recourse for the possible disadvantage this gives them.


If this wording can be applied as “total game restart for all players”, then it must be changed. I’m in last place, I notice no one is watching, plunge my ball. Later tell the TD I didn’t get to play and no one can say otherwise.

This was my understanding also. It is the responsibility of all players to ensure the correct player is on the machine at all times with the implication that “you better speak up or else your opponent might be getting free points”…not “the game will need to be restarted if all players cannot conclusively say that each player played each ball correctly”.

Even so, if a third party not involved in the match plunged the ball…that’s a classic compensation ball, and should not be able to be ruled as “players failed to execute their duties to ensure that the proper player was on the machine at all times and therefore we need to replay the game”.

In this situation, no one is claiming that another player played out of turn. One player said they didn’t get to play a ball and none of the others could conclusively dispute that.

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All you know is P1-3 made errors and P4 didn’t get three balls. P1 likely played out of turn but no way to know for sure.
NOW we know the rule verbiage makes no sense and El Presidente didn’t know it was there.

Your opponents didn’t follow the rule, they don’t get to complain if the TD decides a replay that follows the rule is the appropriate remedy.

From the information you have it sounds like a compensation ball for player 4 is the best option.

The only reason I don’t like it is the possibility player 4 played his/her ball, it was an unmemorable ball, went to get a drink, forgot s/he had already played, and is now asking for a compensation ball. And, not to knock anyone who drinks over a long evening, but, if there were several trips to the bar during the event this becomes the more likely possibility.

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This is the correct interpretation of the rule. If it meant more than that there would be verbiage explaining what the ruling was for this action.

This is done with the verbiage regarding starting a game with the correct number of players:

“In any multiplayer match on any machine, it is the equal responsibility of ALL players involved in the match to ensure that the correct number of players are started.”

So what happens if the incorrect number of players are started?!?!? The next sentence handles that explicitly.

“If a game is started with the incorrect number of players, anything that occurs within that game is considered void, with no penalty to any player.”

The verbiage regarding responsibility has no such verbiage explaining what the ruling is, because there is no ruling to make in that situation. It definitely doesn’t point to this triggering a full restart of the current game played. If it did, it would explicitly say that.


Am i the only on that thinks though luck? We are making assumptions someone played out if turn or a random person plunged. It is possible the game plunged it even with auto plunge off. Happened to me on several games. Fortunately, i was paying attention each time and got to the ball before draining. Every time the TD said ruling would be tough luck if it drained. Used to happen all the time on a congo we used to play locally.

This goes to my frustration about competing in pinball and its driving me away from the sport quickly. The constant waiting of people to be at the game they should be at. Sometimes i feel more like a babysitter constantly chasing after kids at events now. If everyone was there their would be no questions on what happened.


I think you’ve misunderstood something about what happened.

There is no evidence that anyone played out of turn. One player said one of their balls was skipped over.

There are ways this could have gone down with no one making any errors. (Many already mentioned above: ball auto-plunged, or non-player stepped up and plunged/played a ball, or P4 actually played Ball 2 but it was so short, and so much time elapsed between his balls that he forgot about it).

Agree. The group had been pretty on top of playing when it was their turn throughout the night.

Player 1 is thinking: why would I have walked up to the machine and played my ball unless Player 4 had just finished? Player 3 is thinking: why wouldn’t I have told Player 4 that it was his turn after I was finished with my ball?

Not sure what happened…I think the heated discussion that ensued trying to figure it out made people start to doubt what they had seen.

I see a couple of things “wrong” in the scenario as presented:

  1. Not all players are present (as in, player 2 has to be called on the phone because they left).
  2. No indication that player 4 told anyone “I’m going to step away for a moment” (to get a drink/ smoke/potty).
  3. No one can confirm or deny if the ball was plunged and unplayed.

In the absence of anything definitive - literally none of the four players can account for ball 2 of player 4 - I’m inclined to rule “sucks to be you” and that’s it. You can’t prove that you didn’t play ball 2, and I have no indication that anyone played it for you, so I’m not sure I can say a compensatory ball is warranted.


The error P1-3 made was not making sure the correct player was on the machine at all times. Not that one or more played out of turn. One of them probably did but not necessarily.
My position is those players didn’t follow the rule. If they had followed it at least one of them would know what happened to the missing ball.
I think the most reasonable solution is replay the game. I also think comp ball is fine, and @chesh solution of no comp ball is OK.