Seeking clarification on a ruling (split from Incorrect Rulings thread)

Unrelated to the original post, but I’m trying to educate myself in hopes of being a TD someday and couldn’t find a general rulings thread. Was watching a stream last night of a local tourney and tuned in right as final game was starting on Tron. 4 player match. Player 1 had finished his game in 4th place. player 2 had a huge lead and was in 1st place with over 100mil, player 3 was currently in 2nd place (around 15-16mil i think) but Player 4 only needed a mil or so to pass into 2nd and another 90+mil to catch player 2. He was on ball 3 and the plunge gave disc multi ball immediately that still wasn’t qualified via playfield (phantom switch was suspected). He recalled that he still needed 2-3 disc shots to start it. He trapped up and called TD. I couldn’t hear discussion at machine obviously, but the thread commentators said that a major malfunction was determined and the game was thrown out for all 4 players and a new game restarted. Player 1 got 1st on the new game. In reading rules later, I could see some stuff referring to this being a beneficial malfunction and not a major malfunction. It was unclear if this had happened to any other players, but I recall seeing a suspect multiball when player 2 was playing also, but hard to confirm since stream had some cutouts at time. Thoughts on ruling?

This is a major, beneficial malfunction. One or more players gained a significant advantage. I probably would have ruled player one keeps their score if a new game were played on TRON. Unless the machine were repaired it’s better to switch games to avoid the problem.
“Any beneficial malfunction which provides one or more players with a significant scoring or strategic advantage in a way that is not part of normal gameplay will void the score of the affected player(s), unless all immediately-affected players and tournament officials can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage.”

I would have asked P4 to drain out all except one ball, since they had gotten an unearned multiball.

Was the new game on Tron, or a different machine? I don’t see any reason why it should have been replayed from scratch on the same machine. If it was ruled a catastrophic malfunction, and the problem was unable to be fixed, a new game should have been started on a substitute machine… without P1, since they were already guaranteed last place.

“In the event that any players completed their game before the machine became disabled, and their finishing position on that game has been determined, that finishing position will stand and that player will not participate on the substitute machine.”


New game was on LOTR with all 4 players.

Player one may not have been last if TRON had not malfunctioned. Therefore if a different machine is played player one plays it. If TRON is replayed player one’s score is kept and compared to the scores from the TRON game with no beneficial malfunctions that gave a significant scoring advantage.

Not according to @pinzap . Said player one was locked into 4th.

So no matter how this was resolved I don’t see player one getting to play any more pinball.

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They were not locked into 4th. A malfunction occurred that gave one or more opponents a significant scoring advantage. Those opponents must play a game without that advantage. That score is compared to player one.

Well I assumed after player ones ball 3 their score was lower than everyone else’s. This was before the malfunction. Hence, locked into 4th.

No tilt throughs or playing out of turns possible either.

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No. Just, no.

If P2 received a beneficial malfunction, it should have been ruled on during (or immediately after) their ball. Otherwise, their score stands.

Malfunctions don’t occur until they occur. Everything up to that point in time where the malfunction occurred is normal play. This is true even if those players did receive some sort of beneficial malfunction but nobody noticed it and asked for a ruling.


Maybe we’re miscommunicating. You don’t give player one last place if players 2-4 play a new game on TRON. You would compare player 1’s score to players 2-4.
If TRON can’t be used you can’t compare player 1’s score to the other players. Everyone gets a new game.

Well this is never an ideal outcome :sleeping:


I don’t think I agree here. When player 1 finished their game, in 4th place (I’m assuming this means they were still behind every other two-ball score on display), and before any malfunction occurred, then they earned 4th place. They don’t get another crack at the group due to any replays, that would be unfair to players 2-4.


We don’t know that. The TD voided the whole game. If the TD had awarded compensation balls I would agree, record the scores as best you can and go from there.

Since the TD voided the game you shouldn’t essentially give player one a zero, you should compare their valid score to player’s 2-4 valid scores.

I want to be clear that I’m not questioning the call that was made or even saying it was wrong or right. It’s just that I’m so new to “rulings” that I want to dissect any that occur so that I can understand the basic rules behind them or how they are made. I went to the Papa and IFPA rules last night to read up on them myself and just got more confused, so turned to Tilt Forums to get some discussion. Thanks for entertaining my question with such good discussion points.


I will add that this was what confused me the most because I couldn’t find any rulings that allowed a complete replay for ALL players. So I guess in my mind, I was questioning why everyone got a new game.

If that player was 4th after ball 3 as player 1, and no mafunction had yet been ruled, that player is done and in 4th place.

The other players can play a game on El Toro instead, or a different Tron, or the same Tron, that doesn’t matter. Those three players are playing for 1st through 3rd.

If Tron started on fire during player two’s ball and burned to the ground, player 1 would still be 4th place.


Yeah this was all I was getting at. Player one’s position was locked in and verifiable.

No matter what the decision is for this situation, P1 will get fourth place when the dust settles.



I don’t think I agree here. When player 1 finished their game, in 4th place (I’m assuming this means they were still behind every other two-ball score on display), and before any malfunction occurred, then they earned 4th place. They don’t get another crack at the group due to any replays, that would be unfair to players 2-4.

It seems to me you are right about player 1 already finished 4th and shouldn’t play the replacement game. But the reason isn’t that its fair, it’s because the rules explicitly say so. This is imo not fair. If an early player finishes bad, it counts, but if he finishes good, it doesn’t count. That is Double Jeopardy. Not fair. But again, the rules are clear, he is out.


“When in doubt, screw the player”