When must a ruling be made?


So…if something happens that you need a ruling on, immediately notify the players in your group and/or a TD. If concerns have not been raised by the time the next player plunges, then play continues and no retroactive rulings will be made.

Any reason that a more eloquently worded version of the above shouldn’t be added to the rules? Is there some situation where the above could be abused or prove to be inadequate?


I am really concerned about creating a collusion situation to prevent a retroactive ruling from being made. It is important to remember that the outcome of the game impacts players outside of the game as well. TD’s certainly need to reserve the right to make the ruling retroactively. For example, if someone in a group violated a rule, the group decided to play on but a player outside of the group reported it to me, I might still DQ the player. I would also probably issue an official warning to the other players that they need to get a ruling, not make them themselves.


It’s hard to prove intent without them admitting it.


Here’s a situation where a ruling was made after the game was over and I believe it was the right call.

This happened during a team league event. Jack and Jill were playing a game of Harlem. Jack ended up tilting through the game. He played dumb and convinced Jill to start a new game since the game was “malfunctioning”. During the new game he told her how he tilted through and was laughing that they started a new game. Jill felt embarrassed and powerless. Jill lost the game. She ended up going to an official after the tournament night was over. Since it’s a team league, he ended up being DQ’ed from that game retroactively and banned from the next night of team league.


That makes sense- in that case, the ruling was more about player behavior, and players persist between games :wink:


A good point. It could be as simple as “I’m going to break a rule to score some quick points, you’re after me and safe this round, so hurry up and plunge after I drain so a retroactive ruling can’t be made.”

At the same time, I do think there should be a time limit. Might not be better than some subjective “within a reasonable amount of time after the violation” sort of thing.


For the majority of rulings/ruling requests, shouldn’t the sequence be - 1. question arises 2. official sought 3. ruling made? Once 1. question arises = players wait for ruling.

I think the problems arise when players in that game explain what the ruling will be and try to play on. Even when all the players know what the ruling will be, often times it is to everyone’s benefit to get an official ruling anyhow - in case the situation rises again. For example - minor malfunctions. Get a ruling so that if/when it happens again - the officials might weigh throwing out a game. Also - as a player within a group, I don’t have the authority to DQ someone from a game (even if that is the rule that will be enforced).

More experienced players that know the rules are not equal to TDs, but often understand how a ruling will go and might come across as having authority. The best thing that player can do is let the others know that a ruling is needed. Not make the ruling and play on.

On a final note - one of the biggest TDs in our area, @PAPA_Doug can correct me if I am wrong, basically insists that rulings happen at the same time as the issue that requires the ruling. Don’t come to him with a situation where the game is over and something happened on ball 2. I think it’s a very good policy. I have stolen this from him and require the same when I TD.


I’ve got a couple questions.

Was this IFPA endorsed? If so, I thought the rules for IFPA stated that games must be played as they stand. I.E. - If extra balls are on then they are played and if a TD doesn’t want them played they must be turned off.

Since the above may not be a rule (it’s not enforced much if it is), I’ve also been advised that playing an extra ball is OK as long as you state so before playing it and you just plunge a future ball. I’ve seen this happen a lot with lock stealing games.


Good point.

Great example, and good call banning this person.

I guess I’m suggesting that someone needs to take action. It could be a player in the group saying “hang on” and calling for a ruling. It could be a player outside the group going to get a TD. The ruling wouldn’t be contingent on if the next player had plunged, but instead if any action was taken.

But the example above is a good example of how that isn’t always appropriate.


It’s a general rule, found under the machine settings: https://www.ifpapinball.com/rules/
"II. Machine Settings

1. Software Settings

In general, the software settings of each machine will be adjusted to best accommodate tournament play. The following settings will be employed on any machine that supports them:
_ Tournament Mode_
_ Free Play_
_ 3 Balls_
_ Extra Balls disabled_
While efforts have been made to eliminate extra balls from machines, any extra balls earned should be played unless otherwise noted on the machine. If a machine is awarding extra balls, please bring this to the attention of tournament coordinators, who may need to address a problem with the machine between rounds."

Our Bat City league rules reflect our situation regarding playing on location with limited access to keys and we’ve opted to limit games to three played balls due to time constraints. If a player chooses to play an earned extra ball they will plunge ball three instead.


There’s a difference between the rules that are used by the IFPA for their events and the requirements for a tournament to be IFPA endorsed. IFPA-endorsed tournaments do not have to exactly follow IFPAPA rules, but they have to meet certain criteria, such as including head-to-head play, taking X% of the field to the finals, etc. Extra ball settings are not one of those requirements; as @YeOldPinPlayer says above, locations/leagues/TDs can make their own choices on extra balls provided they’re consistent. Flip City Pinball in Portland uses an “extra ball gets one flip” rule because

  1. We don’t have game keys, so we can’t turn off EBs at locations;
  2. Sometimes just plunging an extra ball doesn’t hit enough switches for the game to move on, so one flip typically ensures that enough switches will be hit.

However, other tournaments in Portland use a “EB gets no flip” rules, and I’ve played in tournaments in Seattle where extra balls earned were played. It’s similar to tournament format: many tournament formats are accepted by the IFPA, and it’s up to the TD to decide what rules are appropriate for the format and audience they’re working with.


This needs to be emphasized for all tournament directors. The IFPA guidelines primarily address how they will “value” your event, based on the degree of difficulty of both the format and the players who participate. They do NOT require you to follow IFPAPA rules for an event to count. You can have games set to 5 balls with extra balls on and allow players to continue playing multiballs with a stuck ball. They don’t want to use these in their events, but they make no prohibitions of them for yours. They want to get more people to play more events with whatever rules work. If you look at their eligibility rules, rather than their own playing rules, you’ll find an absence of references to game play specifics.


Another challenging situation for the ruling to be made is if a player plunges someone elses ball. If another player in the group says - “hey you played someone else’s ball!” and the other player is like “no i just locked a ball” (thinking they might have or what not) and they need a ruling that’s a quick decision to be made…

Let’s say it’s Ball 3 on a modern 3-ball game that can’t be set to 4-ball (or no keys and no EBs are available/on etc.). P3 plunges P4’s ball accidentally thinking they had an EB or for whatever reason. That means P3 is immediately DQ’d.

BUT if P4 wants to play it b/c s/he’s got Monster Bash lit and is behind by 30M points s/he can get control and play on. However, this kinda thing has to happen super quick and I’ve had to make rulings like this when a newbie runs up to a mis-plunged ball to save it and once they take control (or attempt to), it’s then their ball even if they flub it up and drain (which incidentally sucks).

So in this type of case the timing for ‘let’s get a ruling’ to what a player has to decide upon is quite quick…


I’m pretty frequently told things about WPPR requirements that aren’t true at all. Lots of players turn any single tournament specific rule (like “plunge extra balls”) into a system wide requirement (“What, I thought you couldn’t play extra balls in a WPPR tournament? I wish the IFPA was consistent”).


Yep. 30 days to schedule. Open to the public. That’s it. After that, TD makes the rules.


The part where “practicing” somehow included touching the game.

Where do you draw the line? So touching or bumping a game before it has started is “practicing” huh? DQ you say? What about the guy that just touches the game with his finger to hit start? I mean, I’ve seen feather tilt games before that would absolutely tilt on a firm start button press - was the guy hitting start “practicing”?When does a game start? Does it start only after the ball is plunged? After points are scored? What about the player that takes a flip or two before they launch the ball - are they “practicing”? At what amount of touching a game before it has “started” is considered “practicing” the tilt? How do you measure that? What about games where you can tilt with a score of 0 and get your ball back?

Common sense would dictate everyone at that event would assume a very undefined rule like “no practicing” would mean that you should not fire up a game and start flipping the ball around outside of a match.

That is why I think its horseshit. :slight_smile:


The TD explicitly said no practicing between games. So you don’t think that testing for a tilt is considered practice? It, at least to me, seems like an unfair advantage. On EMs where tilt ends game, it can be quite a big advantage.

What if someone did this at Pinburgh when they find out their bank and go straight to the EM to test the tilt? Do you think that should be allowed?


Even if we assume it was illegal practice, player 2 (a very experienced player playing in the final 2) should have pointed it out when the violation occurred. You can’t pull out a Get out of Jail card when you’re just about to lose.

Reading through the thread, it seems apparent that there can’t really be a hard rule on this. That said, if I’m TD and an experienced player says something happened before the game they just played, I’m gonna suggest they bring it up when it happens next time. No retroactive red cards.


my point is - What constitutes testing a tilt? Literally you could argue that touching the machine at all, in any way shape or form is testing a tilt.

“Pinburgh TD! My opponent imparted force on the game before we started, dq! Practice!”


I think this is all pretty cut n dried… As soon as the game is started, the player who is up can do anything to test the tilt, subject to normal tournament rules. Other players can do whatever they want when it’s their turn. No touching the game before starting; the first touch should be P1 pressing the start button, and no touching out of turn (already in the rules).