Rulings Questions - again

Post tournament, a couple new scenarios want to get feedback on.

  1. With new IFPA/PAPA rules, if a player doesn’t start 2 games in a head-to-head match, then the game is voided upon discovery and match is restarted. What to do if the player starts 3 games by accident instead of 2? Simple answer is they plunge player 3. However, in this instance during ball 2 on player 3, player 1 played the ball, then walked off after it was over and player 2 then walked up and played player 1s ball 3 by mistake. The rules state player 2 would be disqualified, but this could also lead to players potentially adding in an extra player with the intent of playing out of position to ‘fool’ player 2 into accidentally playing the wrong ball. This is NOT the case in what happened in my tournament, but it is a possible this could occur in the future. So should the rule be enforced as written and player 2 disqualified, void the game as if only 1 game was started, or treat as a major malfunction and allow player 1 another ball on another game, added to their first game score?

  2. In another scenario, a player had a major malfunction that resulted in loss of ball (trough error and the bonus started while ball was in play). This occurred on ball 3 to player 1. While that player was trying to figure out what just happened, player 2 started their ball 3 and played it out even though the score indicated he had already won. Nothing wrong there. But while this was going on, player 1 told me about the major malfunction. I instructed both players that in the future, it is imperative that the match be held until I can make a ruling on what occurred. Now they both know, but what to do about the major malfunction now that player 2 also finished out their game?

In this instance, player 2 was gracious and accepted the result of the major malfunction after I explained that player 1 would have received another ball on a new game, added to the final score of the original game. So that is what happened, even though it could have hurt player 2 if they didn’t really play out their ball 3 before I was made aware of the malfunction, which I was while player 2 was still playing ball 3. So what to do, say too bad you should have told me about the malfunction before player 2 started ball 3, or enforce the loss of ball major malfunction rule regardless?

  1. This is not correct. If the wrong number of players is set up, the game is void. “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.”

  2. P1 is out of luck for not stopping the game in progress, and should not have allowed P2 to play on. “When a major malfunction occurs, it is the player’s responsibility to notify the scorekeeper, calmly and promptly.” That’s my reading of this one, anyway; I’ve never seen this happen in competition. That reading is somewhat similar to the rules requiring challenges and appeals in other sports to be made before the next play occurs.

To play devils advocate here, “calmly and promptly” seems to have a broad interpretation and could easily apply to the scenario as it played out. To me, in no way would I interpret the rules other than to award P1 an additional ball. If anything, to me, P2 could have been out of luck if they plunged out and didn’t play their last ball.

I think there’s a missing piece here that ends up determining how this ruling gets played out. I see it with rulings that I have to make all the time.

Does P1 say, “Hey I’m going to go find a tournament director to make a ruling, because that was some bullshit right there. I’m going to go alert the front desk for a ruling and be right back.” That player then comes back to P2 playing his ball, thinking that they can still simply play on and that the ruling will be hashed out whenever it gets hashed out. In that case I full support what Cayle is saying that P1 should get the compensation they went out and asked for, and that P2 ‘not waiting when asked to wait’ is simply them giving up their P2 advantage in that situation.

What happens far more often . . .

P1 has a malfunction, the group plays on, and then at some point (sometimes after the game is over), I’ll get pulled over and explained what happened ‘during the game they played’, with some sort of look on their face like I’m going to compensate them for something that happened now that the game is completely finished, or everyone is now a ball ahead on that same game. In THAT situation I agree with Bowen 100%, those are the ‘I should have called over a TD for a ruling’ situations, but that player didn’t at the correct point in time. This happens surprisingly often when players assume that they wouldn’t have been compensated anyway, or don’t want to take the time to pull a TD over, only to then talk to me about the situation later and my only response is “Why didn’t you call me over the moment in happened?”.

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Great feedback guys, especially on #1. I should refer to the cheat sheet I created more often and then would have voided that game.

In #2, player 2 apparently jumped on the game immediately and player 1 came over and found me, but your feedback makes sense.

Last year had a match on meteor where the drop targets didn’t stay up on game start, awarding points to player 2. Player 1 said keep playing as it was only 2k points, but then lost by 1k points, then complained after the fact. I screwed that ruling up but won’t again. If the game is over, rulings are over too, you have to stop and get an official.

Very much agree with what Josh said here. There’s a lot of “oh man that would have been a malfunction?” I wonder if there’s anything we can do to better inform players of their options, or just that they can stop and ask for TD input whenever they want.

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I think this is responsibility falls on local TDs. It’s something we work a lot on in the Bay Area, training players to grab officials for any little thing. Even during casual weekly tournaments and league nights. The theory is that when players then move to participate in CAX, INDISC or Pinburgh it’ll be second nature and hopefully they won’t feel nervous in calling for a ruling.

I can’t say if that plan works, I can only say that we have a lot more players calling for rulings in local tournaments. So the first half of the plan is working at least.

Pinburgh-specific: I think the buttons/poles was a great addition last year. It made asking for a ruling impersonal. You didn’t have to go find a specific person and ask for help. Just push the button and no worry that you might be bothering an official.


Plenty of times i’ve seen someone try and get a ruling much later, AFTER the game hasnt gone the way the expected. At that point, you’re out of luck.

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What @haugstrup is correct here in the Bay Area, but what typically actually happens is the newbie asks the other players there what to do and a player will often say ‘i think this is what should be done’ and if that is something that doesn’t necessarily require a TD to come over the newbie will be OK since they are new and don’t really understand any/most of the rulings. This is unfortunate since it’s a bit of intimidation (even if it’s a nice person) and I think the whole ‘bothering the TD’ thing keeps people from asking for a ruling.

What are some ideas aside from just saying, “if something weird happens, come get a TD, it’s not a big deal and is the right thing to do” at the beginning of tournies?

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That, plus actually doing it habitually. If known experts/TDs are seen calling the TD, it helps. Explaining the procedure helps, too: if it’s as simple as holding up your hand and calling for one, say that in the pre-event briefing. If it’s the pinburgh button-of-summoning, ditto.