TD Guidance - Dealing with a player who "forfeits"

I’m looking for advice and feedback on how to handle a particular situation that I have witnessed 4 times by the same person. 3 of those times I was the TD, the other time I was playing in a tournament that I was not the TD. No actions were taken by any TD’s during these 4 times.

Removed - not relevant.

The issue: Said player makes it to the finals, which is PAPA style, 3 game format. After 2 games said player is either mathematically eliminated from advancing out of his group or the player is guaranteed last place overall. In three of the incidents, the player was not going to advance to the next round and simply plunged all 3 balls. In the fourth incident, the player was in the final group and was guaranteed last (4th place overall) and plunged all 3 balls. Said player gets extremely upset with oneself when they lose, thus refuses to play.

Now, I know the IFPA has a section in the rules titles Interference, Collusion, & Cheating that states something along the lines of “or to otherwise refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played, will be looked upon very poorly and may result in disciplinary action.”

I do know that the most recent incident with said player allowed player B to advance by default. Meaning had this specific player played, and tried their best, they could have knocked out Player B and allowed player C to advance. I will also point out that this person has no ties to anyone at the tournament and could care less who wins or loses, they simply plunge because they are upset with their own play.

So, how should I handle this moving forward? Do nothing? Or take action? Said person will be playing in 2-3 more events that I run this year and it’s definitely possible this situation arises again, whether it be with this player or another player.


It doesnt. peoples personal lives outside of your league should never impact what kind of ruling you make.FULL STOP. If this person wants to plunge, let em. Its not your job to force people to play when they dont want to.

IMO, you are drastically overstepping your boundaries as a TD and bordering on invasion of privacy.

seriously, if you care about this individuals mental state more than your tournament (which you should) you should talk to them in private about whats going on, and if need be, let them know how their behavior affects others instead of gossiping about your players on the internet.


Removed that part. With that said, the issue at hand still needs to be answered.

Can ANY player simply plunge away without penalty, especially when it can potentially have an impact?

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Yes. Its not your job to force to people to play the way you want. If players wanna go home, Let em. If players wanna play blindfolded with one hand, let em. Stop looking for ways to discipline people for making decisions they feel are best for them and their time.

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I TD a lot. I always ask the player to please play it out, as their performance can certainly affect the outcome of the event for other players. But I cannot force them to. Also, I don’t think there can really be any penalty for deciding to leave/plunge off. It is poor sportsmanship, however.


The only penalty possible is if that player was in collusion with another player still looking to advance that round.

If the player tanks of purpose to help that other player advance, then both should be thrown out of the tournament.


To be clear, I’m not “looking” for ways to discipline anyone. A few players questioned the outcomes and actions and I want to make sure I haven’t given the incorrect ruling(which was no ruling) since I’m still new to TDing.

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Definitely no collusion. This is standard procedure for this specific player no matter the opponents.

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Like the intentional tilting rule, that rule is pure BS imo. Who’s going to sit there and judge whether the player tried ‘hard enough’?

There’s tons of other ways players can attempt to help their friends, like telling them rules or giving advice when they’re not playing, why is this singled out?


Do answers change if the player storms out of the tournament in the middle of a round without speaking to the TD? I’ve witnessed a player do this multiple times.

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We can look at the inverse, said player won the first two games (PAPA Finals Format) has 8 points and needs to leave. They can win while being absent from game 3. Their forward progress continues unless they either win or lose (eliminated/event is over).

I’d do that regardless of the situation. It seems like an easy solution.

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I have no problem with the player plunging off if they want, assuming no collusion as has been mentioned. It’s their game, they can do what they want with it.

I’ve been in a similar but different situation before: I was playing in a tournament with 4-game PAPA-style groups (top 2 advancing), and one player had zero points through three games, and therefore was mathematically eliminated from advancing. Had this player gotten a single point on the last game, I stood to at least end up in a tiebreaker to advance. Again in last place on game 4, instead of taking what I would call a normal approach to the game, this player chose to go for the throat and try for a max stack of game features for fun, but failed and took last place and zero for the group and I was eliminated.

Was I pissed? A little bit, since it didn’t matter at all what this player did and their ultra-risky actions affected me, but of course I could have avoided this by just playing better and they had the right to play the game any way they chose.

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I was just gonna make a note on this. Because, one thing is the tournament. Another is the disiplinary.

For the tournament, I say, the score stands for mid-game departure. And the player stays in the tournament with zero score for any future non-started games. This is to have a simple rule and no choices to be made. And, more importantly, to not give a player the power to have a zero noted by voiding an ongoing game.

But I expect players to clearly state to TD that they wish to forfeit or leave. If not, they may be remove from the official tournament result. And TD is plunging out. Plunge out points not added to recorded score.

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Ah, the Irish goodbye. One of my favorite goodbyes, havent used it during a knockout pinball competition tho :smiley:

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It’s poor sportsmanship.

We teach kids at every level to compete and respect your competition… even when you are losing or have lost.

Imagine if all the guys not setup to win in a nascar race just pulled off. Or all the Golfers not within striking distance just quit the course in the final round.

And since it’s match play, the player’s placement DOES impact other players, even if they can’t win the event.

I find it hysterical people are up in arms about ‘rage tilting’ or screaming or whatever… but something like this which is re-enforced at every level of sport… from peewee to pro sports… people are like ‘they should do whatever they want’.


Imagine all those guys get paid for their time, either by their sponsors or based on how well they finish. Imagine theyre part of a professional organization which has a well defined ruleset. Imagine the backlash from abandoning your career in the middle of a performance.

Now recognize that pinball and pinballers are none of those things, and were hobbyists playing a game in bars and basements with people who often cant remember if they even played a ball or not, with organizers who frequently disagree on how to handle the rules, and were doing this in our free time with no promise of financial compensation.

If people wanna go home early, let em. Say thanks for coming, and hope to see you soon.


Those people would get scolded and roasted in the media and coverage… and none of it to do with them opting to walk out on their compensation.

I used those examples because they are generally filled with ADULTS and not just kids… if people don’t want to be preached at as adults.

8yr olds still developing emotions and cognitive skills still need teaching. Grown men and women should be able to be something other than selfish.

A great summation of why calling anything where people play together a ‘tournament’ under the current IFPA model is a joke.


see, i dont think its selfish to use your personal time as best you see fit. but were sidetracking and mostly agree.

absolutely agree.

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I don’t know about Nascar, but it formula 1, it was actually common to do this when they implemented the “engine must be used for 2 races rule.” When someone is far enough behind they are either testing things (like reliability) or different adjustments to see if it helps, or saving them car / themselves for future races and just parking it.


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