The Bat City Open 2019

actually, a similar issue has come up almost everytime ive played lexy in tournament. The problem is no one knows the rules. so when weird shit happens like too many balls, misfiring flippers, nobody knows if its a malfunction or part of some wacky ruleset. The exact same issue that happened to colin has happened to myself and others multiple times. the reason you havent heard about it is because everytime it happens people shrug their shoulders and play on. It cant be replicated, therefore is usually chalked up to player error and not reported.

The difference this year is that it happened to colin during the finals. Had the exact same issue happened to any other player at any other time, i can guarantee we wouldnt be talking about it. we wouldnt have stopped for a clarification of the rules, and we wouldnt have opened the game to try and recreate the issue, and we wouldnt be talking about deep dives into its rulesets and known software bugs. The ruling that was made within five seconds would have still been made and that would be the end of it. when a ruling is made, challenging the tournament directors ruling and demanding the game be opened and looked at by one of its lead developers is not an opportunity most players have. Colin does have that opportunity so he used it. Didnt do him, the viewers at home, or the other tournament players any good, but oh well.

In the game in question, I was on Ball 3 down by a significant chunk from where I felt safe and knew that going for a high scoring Agent would have been risky (potential mode start, hitting into the side targets). I took the lower scoring Agent and used it to try and convert into LOMB for better scoring potential. The shift was to trade one risk (drain while building, get stuck in a mode, fail in Agent) for another (fail to light LOMB, fail in LOMB 1, quick drain in LOMB 2).

Not familiar with the tournament or the players involved, but I am curious as to why Colin has/had the opportunity to challenge the ruling but most other players do not? Trying to understand this from a TD perspective, since I TD all of the Delaware events.

I think this is a little unfair, the same thing was true for many spike games where the bus was overloaded and the flipper would fail, it didn’t stop those games from being used, it was just “oh, that is just the way it is”

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Makes sense, and of course that makes lighting Agent MB much harder the next time (requiring 4 side target hits instead of 2). So that adds to future risk, which seems like a fair trade for getting into LOMB earlier.

Because his name is hanging in the rafters at Pinburgh.

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Well shit, my name is hanging in my basement!


Colin, complained about the ruling (fair enough, he didn’t like it, and I understand that) The TD’s that consulted each other stuck to their ruling (as they should have), minor malfunction, play on.
We happened to have a spare set of flipper mechs for the P3 available and one of the mechanical engineers from Multimorphic on site at that time so, not knowing about the weird edge case we determined to swap out the assembly to rule out a possible short in the wiring harness (as suggested by another Co TD @YeOldPinPlayer)
As far as that goes the swap took less than a minute with obviously no way to replicate the issue that we didn’t know about.
At no time did I witness Colin getting preferential treatment due to any past pinball acheivements, Co TD @spraynard stuck to his guns, Colin continued his game… (Colin also agreed later that the ruling was correct at the time, as much as he still didn’t/dosen’t like it).

Anyway that’s my two cents as I saw it, I could be wrong, it’s happened before…


Now on to the really important stuff…

My thanks to the following people in no particular order
Zach Palmer, Tom and Lisa Ramey, Kelli Raisler, Thomas Law, Ray Ford, Phil Grimaldi, Dick Curtis, Colin Mac Alpine, What’s Brewing? Coffee Roasters, Christopher Doyle, Michael McKenna, Brandon Haney, Laura Davis, Jordan Bruger, Rebecca Saalam, Brandon Nuss, Deborah Tahlman, Steven Bowden, Mark Messerve, Matt Quantz, Tony Cheiber, Trent Augenstein, and my staff here at Buffalo Billiards.
And finally my wife and child for putting up with me being missing for the last week and a half.


We also used the Slack channel for TDs and confirmed the ruling we were considering was correct.

Every player has the right to question a ruling. The higher level events should have multiple TDs available to consult with one another (which we did).
Attempting to replicate a machine failure is permissible as spelled out in the rules at
Section 3 …“Should a player lose a ball due to a flipper not engaging when the flipper button is pressed, or due to a flipper sticking in the held position when the flipper button is pressed, they should immediately notify a tournament official. The tournament official will attempt to recreate the problem by pressing the flipper button for up to 3 minutes. If the tournament official is able to recreate the problem, this will be treated as a Major Malfunction. If the problem is not able to be recreated, this will not be treated as a Major Malfunction and play will continue. If the game is in multiball play and one or more balls are lost as a result of this kind of issue, possibly ending multiball but not ending the ball in play, this will be considered no worse than a minor malfunction.”

This section of the rules should not have applied, because the machine was in multiball, and nothing that happened caused the player to lose a ball.

Indeed, the rest of the rule you quoted cites this situation rather precisely as a situation where there should not have been an attempt to replicate the failure.

I’m interested to hear why you interpret it that way. I see nothing specific about number of balls in play.

Is it your position that “loss of ball” only means all balls in play, ending the player’s turn?

The paragraph before the one you mention is pretty clear to me:

Any malfunction that results in the loss of one or more balls during multiball play, without losing all balls so as to end the player’s turn, will only be considered a minor malfunction.”

That sentence to me clarifies that every instance in this entire section when discussing “loss of ball” refers to the loss of a player’s turn as the trigger for a Major Malfunction ruling.

The first sentence in the entire section also lays the foundation for this IMO:

“A major malfunction is a gameplay problem with a machine that results in the premature loss of ball in play in a fashion that is not a normal feature of the machine’s gameplay.”

Depending on how much you’re willing to pay Lefkoff and Associaties, I’m sure he would put up a good fight for you regardless :slight_smile:

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I wasn’t arguing about the ruling that one instance of a flipper not firing — costing a loss of Multiball, but not costing loss of ball (turn) — being ruled a Minor Malfunction. Even Lefkoff and Associates can’t win that one. :wink:

I was arguing that the repeated minor malfunctions I experienced could be ruled as a Major Malfunction, per the 2nd paragraph of section I.2. “A minor malfunction that occurs repeatedly, to the extent that it is markedly affecting play of the machine, may be considered a major malfunction at the sole discretion of tournament officials.” My opinion was that the three times that the flippers didn’t fire markedly affected my play of the machine. And given my position to Lewis’ score, in particular, I felt my best chance for catching his score was with a compensation ball 1 that would give me access to another Shooting Range MB, another Agent MB #1 with normal qualifying Lite Lock rules, and also access to qualify another LOMB via LOMB#1 rules.

After officials trying to recreate my claim of repeated minor malfunctions (which turned out to be fruitless because the game was no longer in the LOMB game state where the firmware-based malfunction can happen), the ruling of the officials was that it was not a Major Malfunction — play on. As I stated earlier, it was much to my chagrin in the moment, but post-game I agreed with the decision on the basis that the flippers repeatedly not responding for one player in an edge case (only one Multiball game-state) doesn’t necessarily constitute “markedly affecting play of the machine.”

A question for all TDs would be: what would be some good examples of “markedly affecting play of the machine” when you would rule a Major Malfunction due to repeated Minor Malfunctions?

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I thought I heard you on the broadcast say “it happened 3 times, it’s 3 major malfunctions.” It’s absolutely not that.

Wait is Colin openly stating that he strategically wanted a compensation ball to access features easier and thus asked for it to be deemed a major malfunction right away instead of just playing the game out and investigating the minor malfunction after the game is over? I mean, I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask!

If I said three major, indeed, I was absolutely wrong.

As a player, why wouldn’t you factor in the expected outcome of a Major Malfunction ruling when deciding whether to dispute a ruling that you believe the repeated minor malfunction(s) situation and rules should result in a Major? In a similar vein, there’s even the rule to allow a player to request to decline a Major Malfunction ruling. A player should only do that when the expected outcome of the Major ruling is worse off than simply playing on (or dealing with the loss of ball), that doesn’t provide an unfair advantage to the player. Correct?

It doesn’t clarify it because it can’t be ruled a major malfunction until it’s tested.

The section regarding flipper not responding doesn’t even require loss of any ball according to the rules.
Edit: yes it does. Too much reading on a small screen.

… but you’ve cut off the first sentence of that paragraph, which specifically says the whole thing applies under loss of ball situations.

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