Yellow Cards, behavior and penalties


+1. I always hate to hear “I’m gonna go out for a [beer|smoke].” Even if it’s a four-player game, somehow the next three players always insta-drain and we sit there drumming our fingers. (Play better, right?)

(For the non-Austin crowd, O.G. Pinballz is BYOB, but it’s Bring Your One Beer, so people go to their vehicles to replenish. With the above I wasn’t implying that anyone makes a jaunt to the corner store for some brew. That might explain those large delays, though…)


We joked in Pittsburgh about starting a “smokers bracket” at knockout tournaments. Since there’s no smoking inside, smokers tend to not get tournament updates or sometimes even check for them.

Good thing we’re not alone on this one.


Related: “Oh I was just hanging outside, I figured you’d be playing for a while.” Everyone gets house balls.


HUGE pet peeve. The houseball stings worse when I have to go looking for someone to keep things moving. This is exactly the kind of situation that makes me want to get the player delay clock going immediately.


This is the biggest problem, in my experience, at leagues with a lot of casual players. One league I’m in has a big problem with it but it’s also not the kind of league where they would enforce a clock like that. If you get grouped with other “serious” players you’re fine, but a lot of players in the league are there for socializing and beer first and pinball second and you will have to go track them down for every. single. ball.


I have a “solution” to part of this problem that I’ve used a few times. Disclaimer: it makes you look like a turd but who cares.

When it’s a players turn to play and I see them playing another machine I walk up to them and say in a confused tone: “oh, you didnt wanna play X anymore??? You should have told me, I’ll plunge your balls for you and come get ya when we’re moving to the next game”.

Only works when they’re on another table but it sure is effective. As with most of these issues, it’s the same small group of offenders over and over despite being made aware of the rules several times prior. Of the seven or eight times I’ve used this tactic, all but one has been directed at the same player.

I have a lot of patience for people wandering off because I consider our league to be social rather than competitive, I draw a hard line in the sand when the delay is caused by people moving to another game while in the middle of one already.


It’s up to the league organizer to communicate these rules to players. We had a similar problem in the league I’m in. Our league organizer communicated before each league night, “Do not smoke in between rounds. If you have to step away, tell your team. If you go out for a smoke, you might be disqualified from the round. Be ready for each game. WE WILL NOT TRACK YOU DOWN.”

That put a stop to it.


Just set timed launch at 3m. Set it in the rules and communicate their will be no compensation. Simple.


There are several people in this thread defending poor behavior. I’m sorry, but when someone SCREAMS at a game that it’s a “ HAIRY C—-“ or turns around and punches the wall, or when someone picks up and drops a game, or slides a game in to a wall, I no longer want to play there. That means less coin drop for the operator, less booze sold for the venue, less entry fees going to the pot.

By not yellow/red carding players that display this behavior, you are telling me that you value THEIR tournament/league experience over mine and over everyone else who dislikes that behavior.

BTW, every one of those examples is something I witnessed in tournaments around the country in the last year.

I yelled across my shop last night (louder than I intended to) at someone shaking Iron Maiden violently. I yelled at someone else for a slap save that literally made the floor shake. If you’re OK with that behavior, cool. Just understand that we’re not snowflakes for thinking you’re an asshole, and don’t do it on my machines.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


I don’t see anyone defending that kind of behavior.

The reason I’m posting in this thread is because I worry that some TD’s may go too far with their rules to the point where it hurts attendance at events, I weigh a lot of different things when I decide whether or not to compete in an event. Entry fees, prize pool, travel/ lodging/ food costs, who else will be there, etc. i dont want to add TD rep to that consideration list. I rarely swear (never loud and never around kids) or shove games, but it happens occasionally. I’ve never shoved a game into a wall or another game.

As mentioned above, there are areas where it can be subjective. An occasional F bomb in a bar in Portland isn’t likely to earn a yellow card. Dropping an F bomb with young kids around is always a yellow card in my book.

Would you agree that there are varying degrees of swearing? And that not all shoves deserve a yellow card?


I’m uncomfortable with a co-competitor telling another player to change their behavior. I don’t think that is appropriate, even if the original behavior was over the line. We have TDs, and disciplining players is one of their jobs.

So, if someone yells, swears, or otherwise carries on beyond what I think should be tolerated, I go to a TD with my concern, instead of speaking to the player directly. Otherwise, there is a real risk of things degenerating into a shouting match between players, which can only make matters worse.

As to the proprietor disciplining a player, I think that is within their rights. After all, they own the machines and/or the venue. It gets really hairy though if the proprietor is also a competitor. In that case, I’d still take things up with the TD.

If the proprietor is also a competitor and the TD, I’d say that the offending player is in deep trouble :wink:


I can attest to @chesh not being in the tournament - Sarah and I were in before going to see In Bruges to say hi because Wednesdays can be crazy.

From the aspect of my minor things being scrutinized and the hypocrisy of calling out others while having a history myself, I feel uncomfortable calling out others or getting a TD for issues. It’s hard to be everywhere as a TD, but I wish there was a way for things to be easier to communicate or discover.


To be fair… while I know NIB games all use tempered glass, I’ll bet there are plenty of pinball machines out there that don’t have tempered glass in them. I’ve heard reports of finding a long diagonal crack in pinball glass after moving a game, and I’m pretty sure had that glass been tempered it would be unbroken or rather much more broken.


Absolutely. What I am objecting to is the statements and sentiments that people who dislike and call out aggressive behavior are somehow making the hobby soft, the attitude of “well if you don’t like it pinball is a bad boys club after all”. The four examples I gave were extreme, but they also all happened in the last year and none of them ended in a red card.

FWIW, I wouldn’t have yellow carded Becker for cursing. I would have told him to knock it off and issued a yellow card the second time. But saying “fuck” like he did in the video looked above is degrees different than shouting it.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Tempered glass has been used in pins since the 60s, when Wayne Neyens granddaughter was playing on a machine and broke the glass.

It’s certainly possible to find plate glass in a machine but your odds are slim.


For the record. I don’t think anyone outside of the pinball community would consider us bad boys. It’s quite the contrary. Everyone I’ve ever encountered has thought of us more as dorky and far from cool or bad boys.


We don’t have a big problem with folks leaving at league, but I do get frustrated by players who take forever to launch a ball.

  1. Step up to game
  2. Remove music device from pocket
  3. Select song to play to
  4. Select a different song to play to because the first choice didn’t work last game.
  5. Insert left ear bud
  6. Insert right ear bud
  7. Test flippers
  8. Look at playfield and ponder what to do next
  9. Test flippers again
  10. Test shooter
  11. Finally launch the ball



You missed excessively wipe the glass and lockbar down with their shirt or towel :wink:

P.S. - I’m guilty of that one some times.