The "Assisted Death Save" . . .

My opinion:

  • perfectly legal to nudge at that point if not attempting to return that ball into play
  • link ball being able to nudged into the switch is a malfunction. Maybe all Avatars are malfunctioning all the time, but that is fine, remove them all.
  • use malfunction rules. Beneficial, yes. Either it was ok, once per game, or the game should have been removed.

Malfunction interpretation is in TDs hands. I think it should have been the player’s responsibility to ask the TD if it was a malfunction. The nature of our sport is that almost all these rules are honour system. Again, my interpretation. Maybe I am just bitter I didn’t know this during qualifying :slight_smile:

To me, this is a game setup issue and not an illegal move issue. The tilt bob is there for a reason, set it tight enough, so that a game feature can’t be triggered with nudging or shaking, and there’s no problem. Then the TD has no “fuzzy” ruling to make—the game tilted, player appropriately punished, done. Otherwise, if it can be triggered without tilting, play on. Adding rules that are vague for player conduct that is vague puts more pressure on the TD to make a ruling that is not vague.


Unfortunately the debounce code in a lot of the Stern games makes it difficult to setup tilts properly. On the Nascar we had at CAX, I set the tilt so there was maybe a millimeter between the bob and the ring and the %$&#$&*( thing still wouldn’t tilt. I’ve actually wondered since then if it would have been more likely to work if I had actually set the tilt way “looser” because it would add more time between hits as opposed to the way it was where when you gave a shove it was probably hitting the ring almost continually. My better option would have been to reduce the number of warnings for sure, but that would have required me knowing all about what code manages debounces in what ways and how to address them all, and this changes from game to game even within a specific era/operating system. In a lot of these cases saying “its an error of game setup” isn’t as clearcut as it might seem at first.


I’ve seen plenty of bang backs with no dangers, so the whole “tilt bob limits this” argument (as previously mentioned I believe) doesn’t work for this.

I will say it’s probably worthwhile in our IFPAPA rules to not have pinball slang in the official rules, and to actually lay out the explicit definition of the behavior of a Death Save or Bang Back, rather than assuming everyone knows what they both are.

I mean . . . all this time I thought Ghosting had to do with LED’s :slight_smile:


Yeah, the debounce is pretty bad on some games. My Godzilla has the most ridiculous debounce ever. I can whack it, hear the bob clattering around the ring, and not even get a single warning. But there’s no game feature that can be triggered by nudging either so it wouldn’t be a problem. If I were to set it up for a tournament, I’d do other things to the game to make it harder knowing the tilt is just going to be soft no matter what. Greg’s point is fair though, nobody can possibly know everything about all these things, but I still would hate to see rules put in place for something that’s generally, fairly easily addressed ahead of time.

Agree with this. I don’t think this should’ve been allowed. There’s nothing stopping you from doing it every outlane drain to get a couple link hits. You could potentially start link without making a shot which seems silly and against the spirit of competition. I don’t think you could fairly “limit” it to just the example shown. Would it be different if someone nudged gently and got the link hit with no warning? I think it would be arbitrary at that point but would show why this shouldn’t be allowed.


I’m sure this is somewhere in PAPA rules, but what about those rare moments when a ball drains down the center or right side, travels over to the right (player assisted or not) and activates a lit kickback? I’ve played on in that case in low stakes weeklies, though I could see it being more of a thorn in majors. Treated like an accidental Lazarus?

Yup that is totally a play on.


I’d love to see an anything goes tournament format. Sponsored by Excedrin and Icy Hot.


You can’t ‘not allow it’ because someone COULD HAVE been doing it all game every game, especially because I still don’t see anything in the current verbiage that addresses moving the game after the outlane switch has been triggered.

It’s on the TD to setup the game however they want. If I was the TD and this had happened in the semifinals, I would have allowed it, then adjusted the game after that round was over by setting the tilt to no warnings, and making sure I couldn’t do it without tilting.

And: note that if a player tries to nudge the ball into that kickback, they are making an illegal death save and should be disqualified.

For this reason I feel that plays like Mist and Link-nudge should be allowed during general play, but should not be allowed after a ball has drained (definition: passed beyond anything built to nudge the ball back into play or to aid in scoring).

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Tie goes to the runner if the nudge is started before the outlane switch but ends after the outlane switch is triggered? :slight_smile:


Nudging while the ball’s still in play, sounds good to me.

What’s your call here, then? Shoving after draining for benefit is A-OK as long as you don’t tilt?

My call is shoving after draining for benefit is definitely A-OK based on how the rules are written NOW . . . unless I’m just not seeing the paragraph you are talking about related to the ball hitting the outlane switch and then blah blah blah something. I can’t find anything.

If I was emailing with MHS/Doug about it (which I’ll probably do), I have the feeling none of us will want to deal with determining whether or not the ball was “in play” making a move legal/illegal at different points in time. It’s much easier dealing with moves that are ALWAYS ILLEGAL, like Death Saves or Bang Backs, so I’m guessing we would say A-OK on this, and TD’s should set their games up accordingly for games that are prone to these situations.


I’ve got a BSD at home and I can not for the life of me nudge that Mist ball away from the magnet. Even if the tilt is super liberal, I just can’t get it to budge. So if someone can do that in tournament settings, good on ya.


To me, this was a death save. It was a nudge on a drained ball that resulted in a continuation of play. There are perhaps enough gray areas here to be a problem (Martian Bomb comes to mind, or using the Smart Missile after a center drain but before trough). The rule for nudging the game after a drain for player benefit should be the same as the rule for tilting the game after a drain for player benefit. Such a rule would then cover death saves and bang backs, too.

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. . and that’s what makes the IFPAPA verbiage that simply uses “Death Saves are illegal” really bad verbiage.

I would never think of a death save as anything other than ‘forcing a lazarus’ of that drained ball via Leo’s death slam nudge and holding the flipper up, blah blah.

If Death Save = any force of nudging once the ball has exited play to derive player benefit and the continuation of the ball in any way, shape or form . . .that’s fine . . . I just didn’t consider that the definition. We need the Bowden dictionary to clear this all up!

I think the “Smart Missile After Ball Has Passed The Flippers But Before The Trough” example is perfect. I would say that basically nobody would consider this an illegal move, however by this definition it would be and I think that is totally wrong. Ditto the Martian Bomb example. Is it player action if I am on 2001 and I see the ball heading down the middle at a specific angle and hold up one flipper in order to give it more space to potentially lazarus? (I have done this with success on multiple occasions.) I guess you could say none of that is a “nudge” but again, that is going to be very hard to define. In order to make the rule stick you would have to say something along the lines of “player action after the ball has passed the point of draining” aka once you cross the line you have to be hands up and walk away. I just fail to see how you make that work.