To flip or not to flip - The extra ball issue

I’m seeking input on how to handle extra balls for our league, the SF Pinball Dept. We currently use a “one flip” rule, that basically allows a player to play the eb with 1 flip only. ( change the trajectory of the ball once by using the flipper buttons.)

While I like the quirkiness of this rule, it also comes with side effects such as how to handle video modes, the power field on TZ, RPG on T3, the sandtrap on NGG, and so on.

I was wondering how other leagues deal with eb’s and if there are leagues that employ the one flip rule. In a perfect world, eb’s would be turned off, but that’s just not a realistic option for our league.

Ideally, the rule would allow for 1 flip, but also be very simple for everyone to understand. We have many members who play mostly casual pinball, and I want it to be easy to understand this rule for them.

I’d appreciate any input.

ClPL allows players to play one extra ball during league matches. This keeps the strategic element of aiming for extra balls, without the risk of stupidly long game times.

At our weekly knock out, where 20 people can end up waiting for one long match to end before the next round starts, we are no longer allowing any extra balls to be played.

In casual matches with highly skilled players, we like to play all extra balls one-handed.

Springfield MO typically uses one flip EB rules, but not sure how they do video modes, etc.

One flipper button press post ball launch versus one flip? Would allow changing skill shot lane once versus flipping.

In Columbia MO, we do plunge extra balls where you can hit the flipper buttons before the ball launch, but not afterward.

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In Portland we implement ‘One flipper button press after the ball is launched’. Some side effects of this:

  • Lane changes post-launch count as a flip, so if you decide to waste your one flip to get a skill shot, that is your choice, but no flips after that.
  • This DOES apply to video modes, so no going into TNG video mode and navigating your way through. But…
  • This does NOT apply to any other buttons. So if you can get into the Fish Tales video mode you can actually play it. You can fire the canon in AC/DC. You can use the bonus buttons on the handles in Demo Man (but not the flipper ones.)

The thing I like about this rule is that it brings strategy into extra balls while still gaining the time savings of not playing them. I have many times won on my EB through strategic play. For instance, once I started multiball on Dirty Harry with my one flip, then got a super from the gun, and won the rest of the way out through pop bumpers on ball saved balls. Skill Shots and Super Skill Shots can be super valuable. I really like it.

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With this rule, would the following be acceptable?

Press and hold left flipper button
Launch ball
Release left flipper for a loop pass
THEN use your one flip

Also, what is the ruling if someone accidentally flips more than once as a reflex but doesn’t gain anything from it? DQ for the game?

TOPL uses the one flip rule as well, but its existence has more to do with trying to trigger a valid playfield so the ball can actually end.

We’ve had lots of questions about what you can and can’t do strategy wise, our logic is since playing extra balls is not allowed and the one flip is only to help create a valid playfield, get ball saver started and allow the ball to actually drain, anything beyond the one flip (Video mode, nudging, etc.) doesn’t fit within the spirit of the rule.

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No this is not legal, your press and hold counts as your flip.

If someone makes a single extra flip as an honest mistake, we generally aren’t sticklers about it. However the official ruling is loss of game, yes.

Am I missing something? Aren’t those the flipper buttons?

You can play FT video mode with the launch button.

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WOW! I have been playing that game for a long time, and had no idea.

It’s far far easier to use the flipper than the launch button, so you’re not really missing anything. Especially for rapid-fire like right at the beginning.

i hate letting people play video modes or other ‘non-pinball’ stuff esp in our league since many people don’t realize how valuable the STTNG video mode is (or even the pattern even though it’s on a sticky on the machine) so I think that’s not as fun.

I like the only-one-flip-at-all (or button press) like @PressStart uses. Eliminates any confusion and let’s you be somewhat strategic (let’s say you are down 6M on Monster Bash and have only to light mummy to get MB lit - you plunge, let it bump around, then drain, with a ball save it kicks it out again, hits enough pops to light mummy, then you flip one shot in to start Monster Bash you’ll likely get enough on the multiball playing out by itself) - seen this happen - brilliant :slight_smile:

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Played in a tournament in KC over the weekend. They let your opponent plunge your EB. Thought that was interesting. It really makes you think.

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I play primarily in the KC area and I like this rule because it’s about the closest you can get to having extra balls disabled. We had a strange situation at the tournament this weekend though, where that plunge just happened to start a multiball with a ball save. It nearly won the game.

Ha, yeah that was my opponent plunging my ball. It bounced into the coffin lock and started coffin multiball on MET. Not the way I would have wanted to win, but I got him on the other two so it didn’t matter.

Hahaha I had no idea you could play it with the flipper buttons!!! I have always used the caster!

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Hm… I’ve never heard of the “one flip” rule for EB usage. In our leagues here, we allow the full play of one extra ball. Any subsequent EBs have to be plunged, the player is not allowed to touch the machine once the ball is in motion.

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FSPA rules allow for one extra ball per player per game. I’ve always been in favor of this, as on many games it adds quite a bit of strategy choice to a game: going for EB is a worthwhile endeavor (as intended by the designer), do you choose to shoot something that advances you toward the EB instead of just, say, pounding modes? Much more interesting that way… especially in the common league situation of playing at a public location with “street” settings, i.e. EB’s don’t even award points, like they might in tournaments.

Also, @akm’s comment above is subtly incorrect… we don’t actually say that “subsequent” EB’s must be plunged. We just say that one may be played and “others” must be plunged. This offers additional strategic choices… for example, if you’ve collected two EB’s and also Hold Bonus, it’s often better to plunge the first EB and then play the second one.

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Touche! :slight_smile:

Interesting… But I must be missing something here, please elaborate.

If I’ve got a big Hold Bonus on ball I just played, I always want to play the immediate subsequent ball so I can take advantage of that held bonus (multiply it, etc )