Where does this rule come from (plunged extra balls)?

We use a rule in DFW area that has been cited as an “IFPA rule” by tournament directors regarding extra balls in which you can “defer” plunging an extra ball to a later ball if you declare your intent to do so.

(For example, on ball 2 you earn an extra ball on Metallica and drain with Crank It Up lit. Rather than plunge the extra ball you just earned and risk accidentally starting CIU on a ball you can’t play, you can declare you wish to play the extra and plunge ball 3 instead).

I think it’s a good rule if you are going to have the plunge extra balls rule, was just curious where it originated.


Not sure where it originated, but just checked the IFPA rules, and the only mention of extra balls is the recommendation yo disable them.

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I remember some discussion about requesting a TD to manually drain or tilt an unplayable EB to avoid starting a game feature. Not sure if that’s ever been inserted into any custom event rules but I like it as a strategic option to have. And it’s definitely cleaner than players getting to chose which balls they play, which could get messy.

My personal favorite blooper wrt this was plunging an EB that went sling sling scoop to start Monster Bash when I still had a ball to play. Pretty funny, but also cost me a win. :man_shrugging:

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Pseudo related:

Some local tournies let us skillfully plunge extra balls, but not flip.

Should holding the left flipper in and plunging be allowed on MET and GotG?

It was ruled against when I asked. Thoughts?

We don’t allow that in my league and local tournaments because our rules are that your hands have to be off the flippers when you plunge your extra ball. Since we have to leave extra balls on and don’t always have key access, we have a number of rules amendments that supersede some of the IFPA ruleset, including a section on how extra balls may be plunged. Also of note is that we have a specific rules amendment that permits the player to tilt out their extra ball before plunging, which is not allowed in the pure IFPA ruleset.

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I think the IFPA rule is PLAY EXTRA BALLS but TD’s can make there own rules.
Now Maybe the IFPA rules can be updated to say that player can tilt an unplayable EB under an local rule.

Now some places have differnt rules on skillfully plunge extra balls, but not flip.
About holding flipper buttons / makeing skill moves with them / makeing choices.
Also in some cases the rules can differ on what happens on
valid playfield over and over
weak shot back to plunger
some have rules just for an few games that differ from the over all rule for that event.

Since these aren’t in the IFPA rules to begin with, any sort of playing/plunging of EBs is purely up to the TD.

For me, if I cannot disable them, I have everyone just play them.


The IFPA rules don’t really need verbiage to allow local rules to supersede them because the IFPA already does not require sanctioned tournaments and leagues to use their ruleset. We use it locally because it’s a convenient basis and because it is the ruleset that will be familiar to the most players, and then have an additional document that contains amendments to it for our local purposes.

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Yes, I think this is a rule best left for each tournament to decide, hence the lack of an official IFPA rule.

In our league, each host gets to decide the EB rule. Most say just plunge EBs, but one host allowed them to be played last season. Games ran a little longer than average but it wasn’t too bad.

When I host, I’m thinking of EBs being plunge only, with the player being allowed to nudge all they want-just no flipping. You can try to bump the ball where you want, or tilt to avoid starting something prematurely.


Keep in mind that with some games in the lineup this can lead to very long game times. If your players are up for long tournaments/games, that’s fine, but plan accordingly.


You shouldn’t have drained with Monster Bash lit! I’m half joking, but players know the rules going in. This is part of the game and luck involved. I know it still hurts when it happens. Another situation I saw was a plunged extra ball on The Getaway where the kickback put the ball in burn rubber and wasted 2 videos modes.

Around me we can set up a skill shot with the flipper, but you must remove your hands from the flipper buttons before plunging.

The reason it’s silly to play extra balls if you can’t turn them off is it doesn’t add anything to TGP, makes the games play longer, and usually doesn’t affect the outcome. The typical two situations are (1) the player that’s way ahead is the one that earns an extra ball, plays it and wins by even more, and (2) extra balls are easy to earn on the game, so everyone earns one and everyone plays 4 balls.

We had a situation last night on a plunged extra ball on Iron Maiden where it wouldn’t auto-plunge up to the top so the ball would only hit the slingshots, drain and get re-auto-plunged, over and over and over…

Maybe your local rule originated in your area when Colin plunged an extra ball in Metallica and ended up getting Crank It Up. I thought I remembered some discussion of this a few years ago on this forum.

I’ve seen too many situations where I have to DQ someone for playing someone’s EB that was walked away from.

I hate that. But usually I have access to the games to turn off EBs. Usually the only games I don’t turn off EBs are older or the games play so short, playing EBs is welcomed and helps with strategy.

The local rule permitting people to tilt out extra balls before plunging 100% originated in my league with me – I wrote the rules – after reading the discussion on this forum that you’re referring to!

There was this.

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Interesting idea, but I think I’d vote against it. Personally, I believe EB rules should be different between league and tournaments. Leagues are meant to be more fun, lure more new folks into the sport. Tourneys want to see who the best player is. If you can’t turn them off for a tournament, no flips or flipper button touches. Plunge, go away.

BAPA has always allowed one flip. Also allows holding button to set up SS shot. You can even play video mode on STTNG before taking your one swing. It rarely makes a difference, but the ball saver is still running anyway and the player gets a last chance. I say give them a last swing. I blew up SW at league once and started lightsaber duel with my single last flip. Didn’t care. Already blew it up. I quickly walked away after the flip, but it took a while for the LS duel intro to play before the next player could play. Enjoyed that walk off. Give them a single flip (in league).

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Also, on the play EB instead of later ball idea, this wouldn’t work with games with lock stealing. Would likely affect other players. If you are going to allow it, make sure lock stealing isn’t possible.

and in some games you can just plunge over and over. and on some you need to flip or the ball may never start

I don’t get it. This situation happens whether extra balls are to be played or plunged.

All our local TDs use the same rule, plunge extra balls, so the consistency helps. And it all falls back on the rule of look at the display and make sure it’s your turn before plunging.

Not consistent around here. So lots of confusion.

I’ve seen the EB plunge to start Crank it Up multiple times. Getting from the slings to the scoop on Bash seems a real feat though, unless the game was pitched like a wood rail.

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