Slingshot failure, major or minor malfunction?

I played in a tournament today on a TAF, two player head-to-head match. I was player 2. Starting my second ball, I was about 30 million ahead. In the middle of my ball 2, I noticed that both slingshots had stopped working. I called for the TD and tried to trap up, but ended up draining before the TD arrived.

I explained what had happened, and the TD gave me the option of either abandoning the game and choosing a different machine (I had choice of game for that match), or to continue playing and finish the match with the slingshots not working. It was my call; player 1 didn’t get a say. (I asked whether this shouldn’t be ruled a major malfunction, but the TD thought it was minor.)

I consulted with player 1 anyway, and he was fine with continuing the game with the defective slingshots, so we finished the game with the slings not working. I ended up winning with my ball 2 score and plunged off ball 3, so the outcome was quite clear-cut.

So, would you rule failed slingshots a major or minor malfunction? I would have said it’s at least a beneficial malfunction because the game is remarkably easier to play when the slings don’t introduce side-to-side motion. But I can also see the sense in the TD’s ruling because I ended up draining pretty much as soon as I noticed the failed slings, so neither player ended up getting a big advantage from the malfunction.

Should the ruling have been different if I had managed to trap up and could potentially have racked up a huge ball 2 score (with my opponent having played his ball 2 while the slings were still working)?

“A minor malfunction is any incident without external cause which deviates from the normal course of gameplay, without directly causing a player’s loss of turn and without providing any player a significant advantage over others. A minor malfunction is considered part of normal play.”

If I was the TD, I would of had you finish the game and if possible not use it for the rest of the event. If this wasn’t possible I would announce or post a note on backbox saying the slings aren’t working.


I would have ruled minor malfunction, play on. I would not consider it a significant advantage that you would get to play 2 balls with no slingshots and your opponent would play one ball without them. As far as attempting to trap up and losing the ball, that is on you. No compensation for that.

Also, as a TD, If the problem could not be repaired, I would probably leave the game in the competition as is, unless there were plenty of other games available. Just announce it as a known issue.


Play on, call tech when game over. If machine can’t be fixed then it’s play on forever.


Seems strange that the TD would give you the choice to change games if you wanted to. It seems like it’s either a minor malfunction and you play on, or a major malfunction and you change games. Why would they give you as a player the option to choose?


Yeah, players should never have choice like that.


Thanks for chiming in everyone, I appreciate it!

As a compensating control, turn on the power magnets for the entire game.