After getting extremely red, mad, and nude in the IFPA Nationals chat today and generally pissing everyone off I decided to look at the rules more.
I would like to apologize for my conduct in the twitch chat and for accusations I made of cheating.
From PAPA Rules
If a ball becomes stuck during a multiball mode, the player should attempt to trap the other ball(s) in play and request assistance. A stuck ball during multiball often represents a significant beneficial malfunction, and intentionally taking advantage may result in a penalty. Please note specifically that a ball ending up in the plunger lane during multiball on a machine where there is no autoplunger (or where the autoplunger for some reason refuses to fire) counts as a stuck ball, and the ball must be plunged by the player. See “Beneficial Malfunctions” for further details.
Furthermore, the following sections are related.
Any beneficial malfunction which results in a player being able to continue play of a ball that normally should have ended is allowed once per game. Examples of this would include an unexpected software ball save or a ball that comes to rest on an unlit kickback in the outlane (which will lead to a ball search, kicking the ball back into play). Any such behavior shall not be allowed if it repeats, meaning that tournament officials may require players to allow the repeatedly-saved ball to drain, or play on the machine may be terminated in accordance with catastrophic malfunction rules, at which point repairs may be attempted.
Any beneficial malfunction which provides one or more players with a significant scoring or strategic advantage in a way that is not part of normal gameplay will void the score of the affected player(s), unless all immediately-affected players and tournament officials can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage. If the beneficial malfunction has been specifically avoided by the player, it is unlikely that a penalty is necessary. If any player score(s) are voided, the affected player(s) may then replay the game after the other players have finished, and the new score(s) are used for the affected player(s).
Any situation which indicates the presence of a beneficial malfunction should be brought (by who?) to the attention of the scorekeeper promptly, who will alert tournament officials. Any player who intentionally takes advantage of a significant beneficial malfunction may be given a warning and/or have his or her affected ticket interrupted and disqualified by tournament officials.
Based on all of this, I have a few questions. My first is why should I ever do what it says in the first sentence? (Attempt to trap balls and request assistance)
Invented Scenario A: I'm playing No Good Gophers. I'm in multiball. I'm getting auto-plunged saved balls and kickbacks left and right. Balls are also going into the "hole" scoop and disappearing very often. Eventually 2 balls go down the kickback lane at the same time and only 1 gets kicked back into play, the other coming to rest on the kickback opening. I have 2 balls remaining in play. I shoot a jackpot and drain one ball down the center. I miss the super jackpot and regain control. I shoot the orbit and hit another jackpot. I miss the super jackpot and that ball drains.
As this scenario unfolds it becomes obvious at different times to different players what happened. The best player with the best object tracking might notice the stuck ball immediately. For most players with strong familiarity with the ruleset it becomes more odd with each passing second in which they are observing multiball with no ball emerging from the hole or pop bumper area and no other light, sound, music, speech, and display changes to indicate multiball has any plans on ending. For a person playing his first pinball game ever who has no concept of the "state" of the game being in multiball or not they would never notice this until they don't see the pinball on their flippers or in the shooter lane. Eventually the ball "magically" appears during ball search.
Let's say I'm the best player in the world and I always know exactly where every pinball is during multiball. I'm also not having a particularly great game up to this point. Why should I trap up when I notice this? Why shouldn't I play on, acting like I have no idea?
For simplicity lets say I have 3 million points before the ball rests on the kickback hole. I ripped off 2 jackpots worth 3.5 million during Multiball for a total of 7 million points to bring my post-mutiball score up to 10 million.
Here are some ways this may unfold:
- Nobody else says anything to a TD or the player during the game. I keep my 10 million.
- My observant opponent notices I got a jackpot while it looked like i had 1 ball in play. While I was acting like I didn't know what was going on after the multiball ended and I wasn't getting my bonus they noticed the ball return to play on a ball search. They notify a TD who instantaneously appears to tell me to trap up and stop my game and address the situation.
2a. They make a strong case to the TD that I absolutely must have had that ball sitting there for the jackpot I got and thus those points should be deducted. Everyone agrees. I lose 3.5m and play on. I have 6.5m
2b. They don't make a strong case to the TD of "exactly" what happened because they aren't quite sure what happened. They can't reasonably say what the scoring advantage was. The TD asks me and I say "I dunno I wasn't paying attention." The TD gets distracted by another player coming up to them and asking "so how does scoring work today is it 5-3-2-1? And do you have a link to the standings?" and forgets what was happening. I turn around with a ball trapped and shrug my shoulders at the other player and say "play it?" They shrug their shoulders too and I turn around and continue to play. Nothing seems to come about and I brick my next shot and drain. Keep my 10m points.
2c. The TD confidently states that my game must be voided immediately. I'm given a new game to play. (Is this really the rule? Or is this just supposed to give me a new game in like a PAPA ticket and not for a finals game?) I get a brand new game.
3.I do the responsible thing and trap up once I immediately notice the ball come to rest on the kickback. I raise my hand to alert the TD. They come over and I explain what happened. They say "thank you, we'll take care of that right now." and they remove the glass and place the stuck ball on my flipper. I'm not assessed a penalty. I currently have my 3m points. I may not have as easy of a time getting the jackpots in my honest and true mutiball.
What am I missing here? Soccer players dive all the time. Why shouldn't I do the pinball equivalent and play dumb every time this happens UNLESS I'm way in the lead and don't want to jeopardize my score and progress in the game.
Also, as an outside observer what should I do here when I notice this either as an opponent or a bystander? Am I allowed to tell the player "yo trap up?" Should I just make some mental notes of exactly what the score is as soon as I notice the exploit and after it's not being exploited any longer? Do I scream the TD's name at the top of my lungs?