To flip or not to flip - The extra ball issue

Thanks to Greg and everybody else who contributed to this thread. I took some from Portland and mixed my own ideas to make a rule that looks like this:

• We’re changing the extra ball rule from “one flip” to “one button press”. This change is made as a way to prevent the playing of video modes/the power field/the RPG/etc on the extra ball, while still retaining the entertaining value and strategic choice of being able to flip once. It hopefully will also make it easier to understand for everyone.
• Pre-launch: unlimited lane changing ok, as well as holding in a button for super skillshot. I.e. the holding of the button for super skillshot is considered a pre-launch action, but the button must be released immediately after the plunge, otherwise it’ll count as your one button press.
• Post-launch: lane changing count as a button press, so if you decide to use your one button press to change the light on a lane, that is your choice, but no more button pressing after that.
• This does apply to video modes, so you could start STTNG video mode, but you can’t navigate your way through the maze.
• A press of a gun trigger is also considered a button press, as well as any other “action button”, or claw triggers that can be found on the machine.
• Should the ball return to the plunger lane, you are now free to perform normal pre-launch actions. Same thing if you lock a ball with your skillful plunge and a new ball appears in the plunger lane. This does not apply when the ball returns during an automatic ball save.
• Nudging is OK until the eb drains.
• Please help each other out by reminding the player who is about to launch the eb of this rule change. Softly whisper “one button press only” in their ear for example.

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Do your league rules specify exactly what volume level constitutes a soft whisper? :wink:

I got DQ’d for using a careless whisper :fearful:


Depends on how Hold Bonus works in the game, certainly. First example that comes to mind is Road Show. Base bonus never decreases between balls (it’s cities + miles + blasts + souvenir/city pairs), so Hold Bonus is really Hold Bonus X. Let’s say you had 50M base bonus X4, held, with two EB’s waiting. If you play the first EB and plunge the second, your maximum bonus would be 50M6 = 300M bonus on the first EB, and 50M1 = 50M on the second EB, for 350M total bonus. If you plunge the first EB and play the second, your max would be 50M4 = 200M on the first EB and 50M6 = 300M, total = 500M. (I’m glossing over extra bonus earned while playing those balls, which would be favorable to playing the first EB, but probably not enough to make up the bonus X differential.)

Overall a fringe case, but one of those things where knowledge of the machine rules AND event rules can help you squeak out extra points.

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Not a fan of implementing strategy on an extra ball, or the free flip at all. Too many exceptions, chances for missed communication, etc. Flip before the plunge don’t touch the machine after the plunge.


Excellent question! We are after a whisper that is not too soft, nor too loud. Ideally, if I were to whisper to Aaron Nelson, I should be able to see his beard flutter somewhat from my exhalation.


Thanks. Yes, that case makes sense where Bonus AND BonusX are held over.

I like the one touch rule. That way you get something for your efforts that rarely affects the outcome of the game. I generally go for skill or SS shots and don’t linger. Flip and out. I do enjoy watching guys (and ladies) that play their one flip EB like it’s the last ball they’ll ever play. That’s entertaining (and again, rarely successful).

I think it’s good for noobs too as earning an EB is often one of the first game specific skills they learn. Let them show their stuff on game day (even if it’s not really a good idea in the big picture).

Isn’t that all the more reason to ALLOW playing the EB? “Congrats, newbie, you got that extra ball, that’s awesome! Now throw it away.” <-- not very newbie friendly

To me this rule just complicates things and leaves the possibility of getting DQ’d for doing it wrong. We just allow one extra ball. Others must be plunged, but you can do anything you want before the plunge. After the plunge no touch. There really aren’t that many games where getting multiple EB’s is a regular thing, at least where we play.


While the strategic nuances of how to use a limited # of flips is cool, I’m in agreement with keeping it simple on EB’s. Either allow one extra ball, or don’t. And any other extra balls have to be plunged without pressing any buttons after plunging.

If you want to have fun with limited flips, then ask @kdeangelo for his Limi-Flip setup. :smile:

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To each their own I guess. I like it my way. The good news for you is that if you get an extra ball when you come and guest play with us next week, you can always just plunge it and walk away…

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Oh, don’t get me wrong… Me personally,I’ll enjoy figuring out how to use my one flip EB’s. :smile:

For making rules easy to understand and enforce as a league organizer, I’d go the other route. See you next week!

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see ya at league @Snailman!

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Ideally, absolutely. Hell, I wanna play my EBs too. A lot of leagues are growing these days though. It’s hard to get 35+ players through in two hours on a weeknight if you have a few really good players and not enough games.

Seems like the things you want to consider when deciding on how to play EBs are:

  1. The quality of the players you have

  2. The time you have available

  3. The amount of games available

If the answer to those questions are low, lots and dozens, by all means play all the EBs.

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I agree. I love the concept of allowing an extra ball to be played in league, but alas, time stops for no man or woman.

Our league allows one EB, but in my group each week, as long as there aren’t any pre-plays in the group, I try to get the group to agree to forego EB’s for the sake of finishing on time.

This tends to work fairly well for the top ladder groups (which are typically composed of higher-skilled players who have longer ball times), and still allows the lower ladder groups to play their EB’s while still finishing prior to the top ladder groups.

Interesting thing happened to me at a league on location today. EBs where on. Rule was 1 flip. Playing DH, ball 2, multiball light, magnum force light. On my eb I choose bonus x and choose not to flip as to not risk playing my multiball.

Strangely, game went into an infinite loop of

  1. Autolaunch ball
  2. Award 10M for magnum force
  3. Ball saved.
    GOTO 1.

They made me reply my game as this was unfair beneficial malfunction. Don’t know if this is reproducible.

Well the 1-flip rule was originally introduced, as I recall, because of JD which would basically do the same thing of saving your ball forever unless you hit something else.