Tournament TD Ruling Question on Fish Tales

FWIW, I absolutely agree with your interpretation of the rule and that it was obviously beneficial, etc. etc. To me, it was just interesting in that most people would definitely not want that.

Can you imagine having a 6-monster setup on MB, for example, and you shoot the left orbit to start the first one, wolfman, and it somehow triggers multiball start?

That’s a far, far worse scenario because of the ridiculous increase in difficulty of getting that mb again, even putting aside the giant lost setup.

I think most people would argue that actually starting mb on mb is trivial when it’s lit, so if it started accidentally, I’d almost be inclined to let it go. The trivialness seems like it should come into play, “all” you have to do in this case is survive a jet exit.

If this were being watched and somehow understood by millions of people (LOL) do you go for the “lucky break” angle or the “unfathomable heartbreak” angle?

EDIT: What it comes down to, the more I think about it, is are you really willing to throw away all the work done to get to ANY multiball (which can obviously vary significantly from game to game) because the one switch that went wrong happened to be the final one that started it? Going through all the work to complete an entire compass x2 on your 5th whirlwind mb gets thrown away because a phantom side ramp switch gets made? What if the ball airballed onto the ramp and triggered it (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it on WWind).

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I don’t think so. Just leave it up to TD judgment like it currently is.

I would rule this the opposite way (WCS situation) because of my points made before and tell the player not playing sorry about your luck

I think we would all tell the player to play on if the shot to start multiball didn’t register. So, as long as the switch registering to start multiball when it shouldn’t have is an isolated incident, I’m calling that a play on too.

There’s heartbreak all the time with malfunctions that happen. At FPF in the Classics finals I had a malfunction on 2001. Instead of getting to play ball 5 with 3 out of my top 4 saucers lit . . . I got a fresh ball on a fresh game . . yippee!

My biggest issue here is looking at the verbiage as it sits today, and if there’s an area to be more clear and leave less things up to TD discretion, then that’s great.

The verbiage as it is written does not give a s*it about HOW the multiball is started. The ONLY THING the verbiage talks about is a TD needing to clarify whether a beneficial malfunction is deemed “significant” or not.

If the thought process is that receiving a multiball that wasn’t actually earned is ALWAYS NOT SIGNIFICANT, then IMO the rule should be updated to clarify exactly that. It gives a TD something to directly point to and leaves nothing ambiguous.

The other item being discussed is WHAT caused the malfunction to happen. In a situation like this, or the LOTR example, or the Whirlwind example, it’s the triggering of a SINGLE SWITCH, ONE TIME, that causes this to happen. If the thought process is that “any beneficial malfunction shall not be considered significant if it was caused by a single switch triggering in a non-repeated fashion” . . . then that’s AWESOME to be added to the rules for clarification.

All I’m saying is that as it stands RIGHT NOW, the rules don’t ask the WHO/WHERE/WHEN/WHY . . . it’s only asking to assess the significance of the award the player received.

Personally I’m all for adding clarification regarding these ‘single switch’ situations, especially if that’s any part of the rational of deeming something normally considered “significant” as “not significant”. Some of the opinions here are already applying this kind of evaluation of the situation beyond the verbiage of the current rules.

I’m for the verbiage being added. I think. Haha

For the record . . . getting multiball started on WCS ain’t no gimme :wink:

It’s cool though because I rarely think about this . . . like every single f*cking day of my life.


Also to note, in the case of WCS, the player would still have “second chance” lock ready to go after the dump.

…I’m in Josh’s court on this. A free miltiball start on WCS is no way in hell a trivial benefit.

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Completely agree. However. I also see making that player kill that multiball, and work ALL the way back towards it with increased difficulty more significant, hence why I’d let it play and tell them that’s pinball and play on.

It’s a very tough situation either way especially if it happened to decide serious coin.

So that’s what you’re analyzing in this situation?

So where is the difference between “all the way back” and “that’s not so bad”? Is it strictly based on the number of shots?

For example a game like Barracora you have to complete the left bank and shoot the scoop. A game like Godzilla and you might be one shot away from relighting one of the multiballs to get you back in.

So if you’re measuring that difficulty as part of your ruling, what objective criteria are you using?

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Funny, when this scenario first came up the first thing that I thought about was how difficult that Final Draw shot can be! Josh, I watched the video clip and I feel the pain. Hind sight is 20-20 right? On the flip you made just prior to the drop catch, when the ball was rolling down the inlane, you could have used the magna save to trap up on the left. Who knows if you would have made the shot?

Yes but it’s merely a justification for my ruling in this particular situation. I would rule the same no matter what game it was or the situation.

I’m all ears for why that wouldn’t work. I’m learning here.

Most of you are ignoring the fact pattern of the original question. pinballcorpse is right on point in his analysis where most others have strayed from the actual facts of this particular incident. I was present when this happened, although I wasn’t the player, but I had contacted pinballcorpse for his thoughts on the

At the time, the actual multiball mode was NOT started so no jackpots could be earned. With regards to his progress towards towards multiball, the machine should have kept track of the balls virtually. The machine simply kicked the unearned balls into play out of the lock. As the player attempted to gain control by trapping up to put the machine back into normal state and call for the TD per the rules, he fumbled and drained all the balls.

The player has two duties: 1. The written rule to get the machine back to normal state to not take advantage of the beneficial malfunction and 2. unwritten rule to do it when he can do it safely so as not to penalize himself.

Now if player deemed it safe to try to trap up, fumbles and drains, should he get a consolation ball for his misjudgment?

My thought is he doesn’t get a consolation ball because he deemed that he could safely trap up, tried and failed.

Yep. This 100%. I think most agree there.

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Right. If the player fumbles the trap, or releases one or more balls thinking he can gain control more easily, but fails, that is on the player. However if the balls all get released, and in the chaos they all drain, I wonder how is that the player’s fault.

That is why I was trying to determine at what point the TD saw, (or needed to see) what was happening to make a ruling versus ruling on a hearsay argument.

It sounds like it is a judgement call based on the TDs interpretation of what happened versus a refer to rule x.x argument.

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Compensation is given when the “major” malfunction causes the loss of ball. This is something like the flipper stops working, etc. It was physically impossible for the player to save their ball.

Having chaos of multiple balls in play when it shouldn’t be is not a Major Malfunction. At no point in time is that chaos directly causing the loss of a ball.


TD wasn’t notified until after it had occurred simply because there was no time to notify him from malfunction to drain. All of the players agreed as to the facts of the malfunction and drain.

Not sure I agree that the sudden unexpected change of game state had no effect on the loss of ball. But that’s for me to ponder.

In any case, it seems the basic rule is that in any situation if theoretically the player has the ability to control the balls, then as long as it is not a major issue like a flipper stops working, getting the game back to normal is on the player and there is no compensation. Correct?

I feel obligated to reiterate my biggest problem with these rules as written. The player should not need to know the rules of a particular machine to avoid violating tournament rules. They should not need to know how to start multiball, therefore should not be expected to know if they earned it legitimately or by a false switch hit. Maybe this game has a pop bumper award that starts multiball if you get 15 Pop hits without another switch. How am I to know.


You got it. I never said it had NO EFFECT . . . it’s certainly a clusterfuck and is far more likely to be a ‘negative thing’ for the player that has to deal with it.

There is of course the off chance that whatever “true ball” was in play is heading towards a certain drain, only to ricochet off one of these other balls that are now accidentally in play, thus being a ‘positive thing’ for the player in giving them a second chance to save their ball in play at all . . . but I digress :slight_smile:

Your understanding of the basic rule is correct, if a player theoretically has the chance to control the ball, that control is their responsibility without compensation should they fail to do so.

A player “not knowing” comes down to any penalty being applied to the situation.

This happens ALL THE TIME with stuck balls in multiball and a player not having any idea they were in a multiball mode and just assumed it was “single ball play”.

That lack of knowledge doesn’t give them the right to “PLAY ON” and keep that score earned. That lack of knowledge would only lead to the player not intentionally taking advantage of the situation, so the game would simply be voided versus the player being DQ’d from the tournament.

I think everyone agrees that player is SOL. It just branched into other interesting areas of discussion.