Ruling - Playing out of turn

Citation needed. :smile:

Here 's all I found:

“A player who plays out of turn in a multiplayer game will receive a score of zero.”

This rule would appear to apply to player 2 and player 4, and both should receive a zero.

EDIT: I seem to remember a conversation here or elsewhere that seemed to indicate that the first player would be considered DQd when he plays out of turn, and no player playing this DQd turn should be DQd. I wonder: A) If I imagined this; B) if it matters when the first player is ruled to be DQd.

From 9. under VI. Malfunctions and rulings at

“If a player does get disqualified from a game, their position in the game is considered open. Any interference caused by player error (for example, tilt throughs or accidentally playing out of turn) in that position will have no additional consequences to the offending player. Any activity played in that open position will be considered void.”


I stand by my (stealth edit) question. Technically, player 4 is not disqualified until an event official declares him disqualified. At least, that’s an easy argument to make.

That’s an interesting way to look at the semantics of the rule.

I was Player 4, the first to play out of turn order, but since no one noticed until after ball 2 I wasn’t officially DQ’ed until after Player 2 also played out of turn.

The sad part of the story is that you can have 3 league officials in a group who aren’t noticing that anyone is playing out of turn. The person who took notice was the only non official in the group!

P4 disqualified for playing out of turn. P2 no penalty (note this is a new rule; at Pinburgh 2014, P2 would have also been disqualified for playing out of turn).

PAPA rules don’t seem to have wording on the point-scoring consequences, though I may just not be finding them. In these situations, points earned on P2’s balls by another player count for P2; this has happened many times and ruled the same. (This is an extreme case, but I don’t see why that should change the ruling.) This might seem unfair to P1 and P3, but they weren’t vigilant about whose turn was being played.

P2 gets what you said: two balls on a fresh game, with the score added to the score on the board.


I know this is a year later since the last posting in this thead … but we encountered basically the same situation this past weekend. In this case, P1, P2 had poor first balls, P3 had a very good first ball. P4 average ball. On ball 2, P1 and P2 both have poor balls again, but P4 plays ball of P3 and nobody notices … P4 has a good ball that nearly doubles score for P3. Obviously P4 is DQ’d. But then the question is what to do with P3’s score, as it is a “tainted” score. Usually when I’ve encountered this in the past, the number of points added by player playing out of turn were negligible. This time, however, it was significant.

This was the one ruling all weekend that we went to the IFPAPA rule book for guidance, but could not find anything explicitly stated. We weren’t in a position to search tilt forums to see this thread, so had to make a judgment call. We went with basically what Bowen said, those points stand. P3 was clearly winning the game even without the help of P4, it would have been unfair to have him play a new game from scratch (which is what other players recommended, stating it was a corrupted score).

It would be really nice if there was a sentence added to the IFPAPA rule set about what to do with the player who has a significant increase in score due to another player playing out of turn. I.e. state explicitly that any points earned, the player will keep, no matter how many or how few points (and maybe a note that other players are also responsible for stopping a player out of turn to reduce the impact on another person’s score). Right now it only states that the player could take over the ball, or treat as a major malfunction (which means get additional balls). But this is more of a “beneficial malfunction”. The other two players were clearly not happy about the fact that P3’s score had doubled, and P3 still gets two more balls. At least if this was explicit in the rules, then we can just show the players “that’s the rule” rather than it being a judgment call.

I agree it should be clarified.

I like when the responsibility is put on all the players - like with the rule about starting the game with the correct number of players.

At first thought, the idea that the score will stand no matter what, and its up to the other players to stop the offending player seems sound - but, in this case, one of the players in actively incentivised to NOT say anything so that their score continues to increase from the player who is out of turn. I think that is a bit weird. I think its probably the best solution, but it might be worth some more thought.


Whats the difference if I have an awesome ball and have a major malfunction and given another ball or someone playing my ball and putting up a lot of points and I’m given another ball?

In both cases I have points + another ball and in both cases they are major malfunctions.

Yeah, I’m not sure what else can be done besides what is currently done (score counts, play on). There’s not enough information about players’ scores to consistently make the same decision.

It is odd that one other player is incentivized to keep quiet, but there are enough other such situations already :wink:

Also my note to the storyline @dbs posted: none of the other circumstances should matter, such as who is having poor or great balls, or what recommended rulings other players in the game suggest! Those players should have paid more attention when they had the chance to influence the outcome :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ll get with MHS on some updated verbiage, but the only rule that works is that any points scored stands. There’s no way of enforcing that line of it being a “material amount” or not by any sort of objective measure.

It is the responsibility of all players to stop the person playing. While that one player is incentivized to not say anything, that situation mirrors the player playing out of turn in the first place. If P3 sees P4 walking up to play the wrong ball, our rules already incentive P3 to not say anything, so this verbiage is just an extension of that rule with the same motivation at play.

If P1 and P2 are pissed … Pay more attention to the game at hand next time.

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What if the P3 score from the prior ball was known and/or documented (the score prior to P4 playing P3’s next ball out of turn)?
Does P3’s new score from P4’s misgiuded efforts still stand? Or is P3 given the compensatory ball with their score reverted back to the prior known score?

IMO with rulings you want the ruling itself to have as little impact on the result of the match as possible, so similar to the catastrophic malfunction verbiage, I’m okay with P3 starting that fresh game with his original score, but ONLY if it’s documented. No attempt will be made to estimate scores.

I’ll hash this out with the PAPA guys and we’ll have something written up soon.

Thinking on this a bit more: Another thing to consider is that you don’t want to have rules that encourage documenting mid-game (ball 1, ball 2) scores, because that will add to the duration of each match. For finals matches, perhaps it’s worthwhile because it also addresses power failures on pins. I don’t know — but seems nightmarish to consider the thought of every group in Pinburgh pausing between players to document each player’s score after every ball. (shudder)

With multi-player games it’s not that difficult to record scores of the previous player when the next player is playing.

I know I’ve definitely been in a situation where I’m killing a game, suddenly get some rage of paranoia that the game is going to reset, and for fear of losing scores I do start writing down everyone’s score after every ball :slight_smile:

It will be worthwhile in these situations when certain players are motivated for those games scores to stand, so I don’t mind letting that be the motivating factor with people tracking scores.

You’ll often see Zach and myself if we’re officiating finals matches for IFPA . . . the back of the scoresheet is a hot mess of score tracking, not only ball to ball, but also ‘in progress’ balls. Depending on the significant digits of the machine at play, I’ll tick a mark for every 10K points, or 100K points, or million points, etc . . . just in case the machine goes poopy.

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For reference, in the Pinburgh rules section VI - 5, Player Errors, the following is written:
Any points scored when a ball is being played out of turn count. It is the responsibility of all players to ensure the correct player is on the machine at all times.


That certainly saves a bunch of time in needing to create some verbiage :slight_smile:

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Section I, Paragraph 9 - Player Errors verbiage has been updated:

“A player who plays out of turn in a multiplayer game will receive a score of zero. The affected player may choose to take over the ball in play, if possible, or he or she may choose to have the incident treated as a major malfunction. In the event the player takes over, he or she shall be deemed “in control” after declaring his or her intent, taking his or her position at the table, and making contact with the ball via the flippers. The affected player may not change his or her mind once he or she is “in control”. Any player who plays out of turn deliberately in order to employ this rule will be disqualified. Any points scored when a ball is being played out of turn count. It is the responsibility of all players to ensure the correct player is on the machine at all times.”


Awesome guys. That was the sentence I was looking for! If you can add that to the combined IFPA/PAPA ruleset, that would be great! It would have made it so much easier to convince the players that it was the right call, by the rule book :).

I agree with all the reasoning that all players are responsible for noticing it, just like the rules that all players are responsible for making sure right number of games are started.


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i second that, I was hoping this would pop up here :slight_smile:

One follow-up to this, that should also be captured in the rules. In the case the playing out-of-order occurs on Ball 1, is it the same rule? P4 plays P3’s ball 1. Even though Ball 1, I believe the ruling is still playing out-of-order, thus DQd. Does P3 then just take P4’s ball, which now becomes the third player if we disregard the P3 score and plunge that ball? Or does P3 still get the points earned? I think in this case, the more fair rule is that P3 assumes the position of the unstarted P4 game, rather than inheriting points earned and getting an extra ball at the end.