Ruling: When is your ball officially over

Unless you are playing one of the players that takes pictures of ever score (at least when they are in the lead).

Yes, but then what you get is likely Player 4 with a post ball 1 score and players 1-3 with a post ball 2 score.

so that is an no valid playfield that will just give the ball back?

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Hah, yea would have to validate playfield. Maybe trigger the outlane switch and subtract its score. Still hosed on bonus but that’s pinball.

If you have a verifiable means to know earned bonus (the stream replay), why wouldn’t you just adjust P4’s score according to that bonus, and then one comp ball for all? Wouldn’t this be similar to what IFPA does at IFPAWC when the TD is manually tabulating either score or bonus using tick marks for major score/bonus increments as a means to adjust the score post-ball-drain?

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For everyone saying “game was streamed so ____” I would like to point out as someone who was there…the stream camera actually cut out (whaa whaa) shortly before P4 drained/game reset. So it wasn’t possible to see the exact bonus / situation at time of drain/reset.

But all that is besides the point, DDP is asking for official ruling/stance on when a ball is over, I would like to know too especially since I find myself running tourneys on location where machines often have wonky things happen (like Bride of Pinbot resetting after a player scores the Billion shot…)

If I am reading @pinwizj response correctly, it seems like in this case it’s over and option 1? So would that be true in other situations/on other machines if the ball is draining down an outlane but hasn’t hit the trough?

@pinwizj agreed with Joe - who stated option two was the right way to go -

“The PAPA/IFPA rules, under section 5 “Catastrophic Malfunctions”, do not make any comment about whether the ball is “unrecoverable” at the time of the malfunction. In the situation described, the system reset with a ball in play, and so I believe the player up is entitled to a compensation ball for that lost ball, plus the additional ball 3… i.e. the score of two balls added on from another game. (Your option 2.) This solution naturally provides some relief for the loss of bonus that should have been earned by the player up when the system reset, as well as the slight but non-zero chance of a Lazarus, etc.”

By IFPA rules you are not allowed to add any points manually to a score that were not earned by the machine itself. The assumption you make is that the player would get these points no matter what - but there are cases where they may not - and all games it is not always the case where you know bonus.

What if the 3X multiplier light was out and the Playfield read 12K Bonus? Who is to say they earned 12K or 36K?

The ruling was deemed as option 1 - The TD in his judgement had ruled, with the best knowledge he had at the time, that because there was no player available means for the ball to be put back in play that the ball was over.

Player 4 got no comp ball and all players played out Ball 3 on a new game.

It was an understandable decision, but we all were still questioning it and wanted to know the answer.

We don’t all have a direct line to @pinwizj or @PAPA_Doug unfortunately :wink:

And I am interested as well as @gammagoat - are we saying a ball is officially over when the machine has moved on to the next player/next ball (in a single player game) - after any and all bonus count, animations, what have you?

Thanks for all the responses, all!

Good to know what the correct ruling is and thanks for clarifying, I apparently failed my “follow forum reply threads” check.

It’s Option 2.

We made a similar ruling at Pinburgh under these circumstances:

P4 Ball 3 on Cirqus Voltaire. Ball drains, and instead of going to Fun With Bonus the game locks up completely. It requires a reboot. After reboot, scores come back up.

We ruled that the catastrophic malfunction occurred during P4’s turn, and they were given a compensation ball.


Thank you for the RL application perspective - @bkerins - appreciated

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This ball wasn’t “post-drain” :wink:

At IFPAWC, due to a known issue on an EM, TDs would manually keep track of bonus earned, and watch the score reels during bonus count up. If the game missed awarding some bonus, that player’s score was adjusted (and the adjudicated adjustment immediately announced).

Sorry, I should have phrased differently: to adjust a mis-awarded bonus. In @DDP’s case, it’s the known full bonus unawarded. It’s the same intent, right?
Or are you drawing the hard line that the game never reached the point of attempting to award bonus (reaching outhole), so no manual adjustment of bonus is provided?

::swoon:: :slight_smile:

For many reasons, I’m not sure we want two different sets of rules based on whether a video replay of a game is available.

Consider signing up for the Pinball TD Slack channel. Operators are standing by 24/7 to handle your ruling requests! (Someone will have to post the invite URL please, I’m not immediately seeing how to locate that.)

I would say that a ball is over when nothing else could possibly happen to affect the player’s score for that ball. Could the ball Lazarus? Ball is not over. Could the player tilt? Ball is not over. Is bonus still counting? Ball is not over.

I suppose there could be some ambiguity in a teeny tiny window where a game seizes up after it appears that bonus has been credited to the player but before it moves to the next player. I’d probably be inclined to say that unless you’re 100% sure that bonus was fully credited correctly, err on the side of considering the turn not over.


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I believe TD slack was split 50/50 on the ruling, but I think the TD only consulted the slack after ruling was made. Good point it should have been consulted in this case.

Since it was split 50/50 exactly the TD still needed to make a decision. I also love the TD slack but I’m worried if it’s overused players will start “challenging” the TD and asking “Did you consult the TD slack?” “I want my ruling posted, etc.” Are TDs allowed to be / should state things like “no sorry not consulting the slack on this” and/or “ruling is clear in my eyes”? I think in the NBA they have a video replay room of all live games (heard it on a public radio show), but refs don’t always consult it unless it’s a certain case? I guess that should be the policy on TD slack? I’ve definitely wanted to use it more in my events, but fortunately my last 6+ events have gone smoothly enough from rulings perspectives with obvious rulings covered by written doc/PDF.

Is this going to become like (American) football (the sport with the challenge flags?) and every player is gonna get 2 challenges a tourney? :wink:

It’s the TD’s responsibility to run their event according to its published rules. They – the TD – can do this however they deem best. They are under no obligation to accept challenges from players (unless the event’s rules have some clause allowing that). If the player doesn’t like that, tough; the player can attend other events if they don’t agree with how a particular TD runs things.


I think we need to sections, one for “I am a TD who believes in the literal interpretation of the rules beyond all else.” and a section for “I believe in using TD discretion to rule in the way I consider the most fair and just based on my own value system.” It would reduce arguments.

Yep, as described the player had a catastrophic malfunction mid ball. So, if all player’s scores are known, then it is + compensation balls.