Tournament ruling: phantom switch hit, valid playfield, autoplunge

Ghostbusters Pro, ball 1 of a 4 player game
Player 1 plays and tilts.
Player 2 plays and tilts.
Player 3 waits to step up to give the tilt bob time to settle. While waiting, with the ball in the shooter lane, two ghosts are scored, presumably because of some sort of phantom switch closure. More time passes, and more points are phantom scored, and the autoplunger shoots the ball. Ball drains and it moves to player 4.

What’s your ruling or decision process?

Player 3 plays a 1-player game after the current game ends. If this continually happens, pull game and replace with another.

Major malfunction that doesn’t require resetting the game to fix. Play the rest of the game and give the affected player a consolation ball on a new game.

If it keeps happening then consider pulling the game.

Devil’s advocate: Even if the player is waiting for the tilt to settle, shouldn’t they be present at the game and prepared in case something of this sort happens?

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Don’t think so. I don’t think it’s practical, for one thing. And, if the player happens to touch the machine while “being present”, we’d then have to work out whether the new player or the previous one caused the issue.


Yeah I don’t know I just see it as the game caused a premature loss of ball due to a malfunction. I don’t think I can fault the player for not standing right at the game and being prepared for something like this. but after this occurs I would maybe warn the other players of it and have them be ready to go if it happens again.


Change the settings to a 4 ball game and you don’t have to play that extra ball on a fresh game.


I think this scenario come up enough that it should be an explicit example. One could argue that the malfunction did not cause loss of ball, because it didn’t. It just caused the playfield to be validated. That caused the autoplunge, which was not a malfunction, and did not cause loss of ball. The only thing that caused loss of ball was the player not taking control of the game.

That said i would give a compensation ball, and be too chicken to set the game to 4 balls mid game.


Should a player ever be held responsible for a ball they did not launch themselves, especially if they have yet to touch the machine?


If I’m taking a potty break and let the TD know, and this happens while I’m washing my hands on the way back to the tournament area, there’s NO WAY I’m responsible for that launched ball.

Major malfunction, additional ball given to the player that had to take the wee wee.


Well they definitely are responsible for an auto-launched ball from ball save.

Out of curiosity, was it a stuck Scoleri drop? I’ve seen two different machines now where the left Scoleri drop got stuck, causing ghosts to slowly increment without any player intervention.

Everybody’s looking out for player 3 here. What about players 1 and 2? They got jobbed too. Here’s what I would do:

  1. Firmly reprimand setup guy for adjusting the tilt too tight
  2. Loosen said tilt
  3. Start a new 4 player game

It’s the only sensible thing to do, really.

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I’m not following you. Sounds like you’re saying anytime someone tilts then the tilt must be too tight. Josh nailed it with the pee break example. Players do not have to address the game immediately after the other player finishes. If something causes their loss of ball and they are not even addressing the machine they should get compensation.


As @pinwizj said, it’s a major malfunction for P3; set game for 4 balls if you can. Otherwise play on, no adjustment to player scores. P3 should not get a full 1-player game.

If there’s a feeling that a major scoring feature is messed up (with these phantom switches) the other option is to void the entire game for all players since you no longer trust its scoring. This doesn’t sound like it is major.


I wonder; it may have been. My theory was that it was a “Slimer-through” where the Slimer was still swinging a little bit like a tilt bob would. This is the new replacement Slimer mech, and I heard players say that this one was quite responsive.

From what I saw, it seemed within reason for them to get dangers/tilts. If you’re talking about the delayed tilt that player 2 got, I think it was probably caused by an off-center tilt bob or misshapen metal ring around it, based on the tilt bob documentary. Are you referring to something else?

What ended up happening
Ruling was that p3 gets a compensation ball.
Same problem happens on p4 ball 2 (though I can’t remember if p3 tilted right before that).
Ruling is catastrophic malfunction, move to The Walking Dead.
On ball 3, p1 gets some phantom points before plunging, but gets to plunge their own ball, and notices that skill shot wasn’t available and they didn’t get a ball save. Ruling: play on.
On p3’s ball 3, the game gets some phantom switch hits, plunges itself, player traps up and gets a ruling of play on.
Everything is normal from there.

I was kidding. Ruling in everyone’s favor. I find it both interesting and somewhat amusing when several different rulings are suggested for the same incident. Figured I’d go in a compltely different direction. Carry on.

I completely disagree. At start of ball, a game autoplunging is absolutely a major malfunction.


I think that they meant that the game launching the ball once playfield validated itself was not an indication that the game was malfunctioning, not that under our rules that was not considered a malfunction.

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Yikes. That is a ton of unfortunate labor. Solid rulings.