What would you rule? (another DQ topic!)

Here’s the situation:

Player B expects that he’s about to be up next on a game (STTNG) however before he gets a chance, Player A plays his ball. He is DQd. Player B steps up, not knowing that this happened and plays player A’s ball (the DQ’d player). What’s the ruling for player B?

Can’t pay someone else’s ball. DQ. This happened but with a tilt through at Orlando last fall. Second player’s action was still a DQ even though they tilted into a DQ’d player.

Two DQs in same game = tiebreaker of doom


Can the tie be settled with a dance off, rap battle or beat it style knife fight?


The tie can also be settled by a round of The Fast & The Furious.

Tie breaker of doom? We just gave them both 1’s, and then the other two people got 7 and 5 for 1st and 2nd respectively (in a 7,5,3,1 scoring system)

Some points that were brought up against DQ’ing:

  1. On STTNG, the scores do not display as instead the skillshot flashes and takes up the whole DMD, very hard to make sure you’re playing the correct player

  2. In IFPA official rules for games with tilt throughs, they play players 1 and 3. If for, whatever reason, a player plays player 2 or 4, no penalty is given since those players were not being used (similar to playing a DQ’d person’s ball, playing a dead, pointless game)

  3. In the same game, people who were not DQ’d were plunging the ‘dead’ games away. While this is a stretch, technically using the same logic, they are playing someone else’s ball, and should be DQ’d too

Some points arguing for the DQ’ing:

  1. He technically played someone else’s ball, end of story
  2. There is no easy fix for the situation, as he now has extra practice on the game and basically played a ball that we have no way of counting in any meaningful way

The player 1/ player 3 game option is something decided by the tournament director before the start of the game.

To assume that specific rule verbiage should be used at anytime when a game wasn’t started as player 1/ player 3 only wasn’t our intention with that verbiage at all.

I guess I don’t really care that player b got dq’d, but it seems fishy to me that no one mentioned what happened. In general, though, I always check the player #, so it’s kind of hard to believe this happens at all.

No, the skill shot takes up the bottom half of the DMD but it shows all players’ scores and status at the start of any player’s ball.

By that same logic - If a player is DQ’d from a 4 player group, if any remaining players plunge out the “dead” balls when the DQd player’s turn keeps coming around, all those plunging players should be DQd as well for “playing” out of turn.

I dont buy it. if its a 2 player game and one player is DQd, then the game is over. There could be a strong argument that the remaining player wasn’t actually playing anyone’s ball at that point.

How clueless was player B to not know that someone had played their ball and had been DQd? You would think a TD would have informed player B that their game had been compromised, I usually confer with any player that was affected by a decision before leaving a game in question. What decision was made on how to proceed with Player B’s subsequent ball before the DQ?

1 Like

There is something interesting here with respect to playing someone else’s ball being “interference”, as the verbiage starts to head in that direction quickly:

“A player who
plays out of turn in a multiplayer game will receive a score of zero.
The affected player may choose to take over the ball in play, if
possible, or he or she may choose to have the incident treated as a
major malfunction. In the event the player takes over, he or she shall
be deemed “in control” after declaring his or her intent, taking his or
her position at the table, and making contact with the ball via the
flippers. The affected player may not change his or her mind once he or
she is “in control”. Any player who plays out of turn deliberately in
order to employ this rule will be disqualified.”

It’s interesting that after a player is DQ’d there’s no longer an “affected player”. It’s definitely a little ambiguous here whether this would be considered just ‘invalid play’ so no harm/no foul, play on in the proper spot. I’d probably just hire Lefkoff and Associates, LLP to get you the ruling you wanted :smile:

Probably worth cleaning up the verbiage as to what happens in the DQ’d player spot. Obviously those balls have to be plunged and the idea of not allowing any other player to plunge those balls out is a giant waste of tournament director time and resources (especially at a big tournament like Pinburgh).

Events in a pinball match do not happen all at once, but rather there is a sequential order to what happens, and as such, applicable rules should be applied to the current state of the match, and not some previous state. There are lots of reasons, mid-match, why there could be “open” positions on a game; Someone already mentioned the case where it’s a two player game, but the players are playing as Players 1 and 3. In that case, anything that happens to players 2 and 4 doesn’t affect play (including a player tilting through!). Another reason could be one or more players is unable to complete the game (either because they are unwell (“The Basler”), they have wandered away for an unacceptable amount of time (“The Nickel”), or they’ve been arrested for “drunk driving” because they were sitting in their car having a beer between balls (“The Cissel”), and yes, this really happened to someone in league once!). Regardless of how it happened, I think there is plenty of established precedence that what happens during once of these “open” spots is simply a non-event, and so it shouldn’t be possible to play our of turn in one of these spots because, again, it’s an open spot not being used by an active player.

This is all seems perfectly reasonable to me, so I would then point out that another way an “open” spot can be created during a game is for someone to be disqualified (“The Too-Many-Names-To-Name-It”). Once a player is disqualified their position in the game is “open”, and no additional disqualifications should be possible on that spot.As such, you can’t play out of turn on an open spot (or tilt through to an open spot, or anything else!) so no double DQ, IMO! Also, any player can then plunge the open spot’s ball, because, again, the rules of the match do not apply to that open spot - whether it’s open because of a Basler, a Nickel, a Cissel, or a Zen!


Perfectly and logically explained. Bravo!

@Adam Splitting hairs here, but is the ability to tilt-through to an open position and not be DQ’d an excessive advantage when the other players in that 4-player group can’t (because the position after them isn’t open)?

@pinwizj Also, what happens to the score of the player who was interfered with via playing out of position? Example from league last week: four player group; player 3 plays player 2’s entire ball without the rest of the group noticing. So, major malfunction, player 3 takes a zero on the game. Does player 2’s score stand plus an extra ball on a new game if needed? (The group in question knew, to the nearest 1M points, what player 2 had before the misplayed turn.)

Based on the current written rules player 2’s score does stand plus an extra ball on a new game if needed.

You would have to do some behind the scenes, let’s not call the tournament director over and handle this ourselves for any type of score adjustment (this exact situation actually happened at our league meeting this past session funny enough).

If I get called over it’s an easy call to make. For any of the other players that think it’s unfair that player 2 gets these ‘bonus points’ really only have themselves to blame for letting that ball get played improperly for as long as it did.

This was posed to Adam, but I’ll answer it with the standard part of pinball where for any given game played the pinball gods can give players advantages/disadvantages depending on how something plays out. Rack this up with a player tilt warning into the next player’s ball, or there being a malfunction where a player loses a significant amount of state that can’t be recovered. I would call this situation far less excessive of an advantage than many other malfunctions end up causing. I’m sure we could create a top 10 shittier list pretty quickly :smile:

Whew! That’s what I ruled… just felt weird to let the points stand and compensate with the extra ball. I considered letting them roll player 2’s score back to the nearest (rounded up) 1M, as that was the best they had to work with.

@pinwizj: I’m confused, you can or can’t tilt through into a DQ’d players ball? Wouldn’t that be the same as playing it?

Or is the premise that the official DQ rule is that you play any ball but yours, DQ’d end of story, BUT it’s an interesting discussion that could deserve different, more specific rule changes?

I think the current verbiage definitely leaves some interpretation as to whether it’s the act of interference with the other player that is being penalized, or can you have a penalty without causing a malfunction to another player?

I probably would have gone with DQ’ing that player for playing out of turn, because I think that’s the most reasonable interpretation of how the rule has been handled in the past.

I do think Cayle brings up a great point that TECHNICALLY anyone plunging out that open position is in fact “playing out of turn” and should also be DQ’d, which to me means there needs to be some clarification here.

I just sent a proposal to Mark at PAPA to review, adding a paragraph in the Player Errors section to clear this up:

“If a player does get disqualified from a game, their position in the game is considered open. Any interference caused by player error (for example, tilt throughs or accidentally playing out of turn) in that position will have no additional consequences to the offending player. Any activity played in that open position will be considered void.”

We’ll update the IFPA/PAPA combined rules once Mark and I come to an agreement on what we feel is best.


Change has been confirmed. This verbiage has been added to the IFPAPA rules in the Player Errors section, available here:



I was player B in the game. It was rather unfortunate. As far as being clueless I may have not been paying that much attention, but what had happened was i was away from the game grabbing a snack really quick and the player before me came up to me saying they had just finished their ball so it was my turn. I walked from where I was getting my snack to the machine and stared playing. Part way through my ball I saw i was on player 2 not 1 and i thought i was player 1 so I played the ball out then went and checked the score sheet. The score sheet said I was player 1 so I was like well thats a problem. I went to find a tournament director for some help on this matter. The irony here being that if I had said nothing I would have at least had a chance at not getting 1. Even after missing a ball I was still in all right position.

What had happened was that player 2 had played my ball between when player 4 left to grab me and when i got back and no one saw it happen. I should have done a better job of watching the player number, but no one really expects someone to ninja play their ball.

While it sucks I got DQ’ed I guess its cool having my failure forever memorialized in the IFPA rule book.