Yellow Cards, behavior and penalties

This would anger me as a player. I would much rather you say something like:

It is crowded. Please respect the space of the player at the game and make every effort to avoid bumping into them. But it likely will still happen, and when it does, let it go. Do not let things distract you. Embrace the distractions and you will play better!

Generally, bumping into the player at the game is caused by people not being aware of the space around them and is almost entirely avoidable.

I am much more understanding of people standing in the “donkey kick zone”. It still get frustrating when I miss a save because I step back into someone and it throws off my timing / balance.


Good idea! Thanks.


I will strongy advise against using term that already have its place in the pinball vocabolary.

Why not stick with yellow card and red card. In addition to a mild warning, that can go for general guidance and do not have to be formalised in a rule book.

Of course anyone can be ejected on one account of misbehave, if it is bad enough. The direct red card.

Clever idea. But I concur with the other feedback already given.

Further, your system seems to align with tennis’ progressive consequence system for code violations. But in tennis, you have the luxury of a chair official who is focused on solely the one game taking place before her/him. As a pinball TD, you’re bouncing all over the place, to different pins, different players, handling registration issues… you get the picture. Because of this, keeping it simple (yellow, red card) seems superior.


Thanks for the comments!

I was thinking that using pinball terminology would make it easier to understand, but I can see how it could be confusing.

What I was trying to address were degrees of violations. The event will be at a show with lots of kids running around, so I don’t want people dropping F bombs, but a heated (but not overly loud) expletive is different than someone yelling and violently shaking the machine, IMO.

However, I guess there’s nothing stopping me from issuing an immediate yellow card. I’ll post signs stating expectations and make sure the rules are printed and available. (It’s a pump-and-dump format, so difficult to establish expectations via group announcement at the outset.)

What about shaking a neighboring machine. ALA - The Josh Sharpe?

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He’s not going to let that move take on his name, but I’ll let him correct you on that. :slight_smile:

I’d consider that a violation. You may not be disrupting the game in play, but you get the tilt bob swinging on that other machine, cause unnecessary wear to it, and potentially disrupt other competitors. Not to mention it can be alarming to bystanders.

As the rules state, “Outbursts, especially those including indecent language, are unacceptable. A wide variety of players and observers will be present, including media, and these types of outbursts do nothing to promote pinball as a sport.”

Has anyone ever broken the glass by slapping it with their hand? I’m not aware of that ever occurring.

I don’t see a random curse word being offensive to the nature that discipline is necessary. Someone going on a raid is one thing but a random frustration, “That’s BS” to me isn’t that big of a deal. We all get frustration out in different ways. Me saying “BS” may be offensive to some but someone going off to the corner to pray or meditate may be offensive to someone else. I just hope that we don’t take this TOO far. At some point people need to grow a thicker skin as well. If the frustration isn’t pointed at you and it’s not creating a scheme then, to me, it’s none of your business.

I know the effort is to create a more inviting atmosphere but we also shouldn’t be broaching on peoples personalities.

Golf - It’s not a fine or penalty if a player slams their club into the ground (unless it makes a hole in the green). They don’t get fined if they say a curse word after a bad shot (which happens frequently). They don’t get fined if they throw their ball in frustration into the woods or lake. Etc…

Soccer - It’s not a penalty to curse to yourself. It is one to do that at an official though. It’s not a penalty to kick the goal post in frustration after shanking a shot nor is it one to kick the ground. ETC…

In every sport frustration is shown in different ways. As long as it’s not a violent act towards another player or person it’s normally not a foul, penalty, etc. Some may “look down” on the action but that is their own personal preference towards it as others will understand it.

I’m not posing this to be argumentative but I do think that in our ever growing over PC world that we often times take things to far. I may not agree with things some players do but as long as it’s not directed towards another player/official, could cause actual harm to a machine and isn’t overly done (gone on a minute long F this raid) then I’m of the personal opinion that it’s not that big of a deal.


Sorry, he was the first I’ve seen do it at a tournament and someone that I think others are familiar with seeing do it. No offense was intended towards him or others.

Devils advocate time -

Other game is not in play when this happens - Doesn’t disturb anyone’s game
Unnecessary wear - Like what? You saying a tilt bob will wear? These are commercial machines. Giving a little shake like that isn’t hurting anything long term.
Alarming to bystandards - I say, “and?” The guys with lights on their hats is alarming to some. Do we outlaw that, and yes I know for one it’s a medical need. How about slap saves. That can be alarming to others, “he’s beating on that machine”, do we outlaw that? How about those mule kick people. This CAN actually do harm to someone walking by or even a neighboring player gets caught in the cross fire. Why isn’t this looked down upon as it can be alarming as well to bystanders. I could provide other examples but I think we go to far sometimes with bystandards. Someone elses rights are not more important than the rights of the other individual.


The official conduct rules for events I help organize are as follows (from


Pinball players are a passionate bunch! Nonetheless, we need to act with decorum at all times.

All players (including league officials) will receive a warning for any unsportsmanlike conduct, including but not limited to:

Slam Tilting
Rage Tilting
Excessive Swearing
Donkey Kicks
Death Saves (attempted or successful)
Verbal abuse of any player, official, or location staff
Unnecessary roughness
Slide saves that result in a game or game’s cupholder coming into contact with any other object or person
Any conduct that makes any other person feel unwelcome or unsafe.

Players are allowed two verbal warnings per season. If at any time a player accumulates three warnings in the same season, they are disqualified from that season and will receive last place overall. There are no exceptions to this rule, including during or at the end of finals. There are no exceptions for league officials. If any player witnesses conduct that falls under one of the above categories, it should be reported to a league official immediately.

Repeat offenses will be addressed as necessary. Multiple season disqualifications or an excessive number of warnings over multiple seasons may be grounds for a temporary or permanent league ban.

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I wish I could take credit!

“The Dave Hegge” FTW :slight_smile:


Although I thought that was funny, I’d still give a warning for it.

Re-using the tilt/danger/double-danger stuff feels clever but that kind of thing can be very confusing for new players. If someone’s new to your events and overhears someone saying “if you Tilt you are DQed” it could severely negatively impact that player’s time at that event.

It’s also not clear if these warnings you have proposed accumulate.

If you are planning to terminate people’s balls/games, define how you will do it and what obligation they are under to stop playing prior to a ruling being made - is end of game a score of zero or do they stop playing where they are? I don’t like the feel of this rule since the most intense players will know they have probably broken a rule and will try and pull out as many points as possible before being told to stop playing. It’s unlikely that players will stop playing to ask if they’ve sworn too loudly mid-game and wait on a ruling.

Don’t add intent to your rules “A player who slaps the glass out of frustration” - what if they say they weren’t frustrated and were slapping the glass out of excitement because they couldn’t reach their knee? @pinwizj has brought this up many times.

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Slam Tilting - Illegal action that impacts the other players (restarts the game)
Rage Tilting - Self explanatory. Impacts other players in the group negatively and often times can pass over a tilt warning.
Excessive Swearing - Key word here is “excessive”. This is good.
Donkey Kicks - Not familiar with this term but assumed it was kicking the game. Damage to game so agreed
Death Saves (attempted or successful) - Illegal action
Bang-backs - Illegal action
Verbal abuse of any player, official, or location staff - Obvious here. No disrespect should be presented towards other people as that now impacts “their” rights.
Unnecessary roughness - Violent acts that can lead to game damage. Makes sense.
Slide saves that result in a game or game’s cupholder coming into contact with any other object or person - Damage to other games. Makes sense.
Any conduct that makes any other person feel unwelcome or unsafe. - This one leads to some gray area. People drinking around me and being intoxicated makes me feel unsafe. Should that be a yellow card? Assumption is not and this rule is about harassment types of things.

I think the above list is excellent. It allows for some removal of frustration in ones personal style but also limits things to keep people and machines safe.

I’ve never seen it either, but you know what has a 100% guarantee of never breaking the glass? Not hitting it.

I agree especially if you literally say “BS”

Not my intention at all at my events. If I ever get feedback that my rules are too strictly enforced I will certainly revisit them. So far I’ve only received complements on them.

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I understand this viewpoint, we have handled overly intoxicated individuals in the past. None of them were/are regulars but it has happened a couple times over the years.

My suggestion is that if you actually feel that the conduct of an individual or individuals are making you feel unsafe or unwelcome to the extent that they need to be talked to and/or given an official warning, bring that complaint to a league official for a ruling.


Events at shows (at least the ones I run) only happen thanks to the generosity of home collectors donating machines. They aren’t taking place in a commercial venue where they expect the machines will be abused. Is giving the machine a shake going to cause serious damage? Probably not, but it looks bad, can jar something loose, etc. I want people to know that their machines will be treated with respect (as best as can be enforced) if they lend them to me for a tournament.

Fair enough, but I think we may disagree on the degree of this. I tend to err on the rights of the many over the rights of the individual. It’s about context. In this case the event is being held at a family-friendly show, so I’d be more strict about an outburst than I would be at the local barcade. I want to set a certain tone for the event and if your actions go against that, I’ll respond accordingly.

@Law, the “ball-ending” and “game-ending” weren’t literal but rather a stand-in for “temporary” and “permanent”. A “ball-ending” warning might expire (as in it would be like you didn’t get a strike eventually) whereas a “game-ending” warning would stay on your record for the entire event. The more we talk about it, the more I realize how confusing it is!


Would this still be legal? It definitely looks bad, can jar something loose, etc.


Congo 3-way combo - GRAY, Lock, Camera fix