This situation happened in our Seattle Monday Night Pinball league last night. I only heard about it after the fact, but was asked the question by one of the team captains. Due to the ambiguity, I’m curious what other TD’s would rule.
The situation: Player 1 tilted. As he stepped away from machine, next player’s ball got launched. Other player took over and kept playing, so they just played on. But supposed that player did not take over and the ball drained. What would be the ruling, considering the following.
The reason for the auto-plunge is unknown. Three possibilities were raised:
1- Switch misfired with ball in plunger lane, some machines will cause an auto-launch if that happens.
2- Previous player accidentally hit the launch button.
3- Tilt carried through as a danger warning, and some machines will cause an auto-launch if that happens.
If it’s case 1, then it’s a machine malfunction. So compensation ball.
If it’s case 2, then it’s player interference, a DQ.
If it’s case 3, then it’s ambiguous, because in this case, the IFPA rules say no consequences on first offense. But some machines will auto-launch the ball if there’s a danger warning. I think this should be a DQ (treated like a Tilt through), and the IFPA rules state, “Any player who tilts their own ball, which then results in a tilt warning given to the following player will not have any
consequences for the first offense.” needs to be modified to read, “Any player who tilts their own ball, which then results in a tilt warning given to the following player BUT DOES NOT CAUSE AN AUTO LAUNCH will not have any
consequences for the first offense. If the ball auto-launches, player DQ like a Tilt Through.”
So two questions,
- Do you agree with my interpretation of Case 3, that if that is shown to be the reason, then it’s a DQ?
- How would you determine which case it is, if the players call you over for a ruling and hypothesizing on what happened, because none of the players know for certain?
Since I wasn’t present, I didn’t have to make the ruling, but if I was there, one thought I had is let the player who tilted ball and maybe caused the subsequent auto-plunge, to finish their game, and that we would determine the cause at the end of the game, which could yield their game void if we determine they should be DQ’d. Then at end of the game, start a new game, and verify, does a tilt warning cause a ball launch. If it does, then highly likely that’s what happened, claim case 3, and player DQ’d. If that doesn’t cause auto-launch, and I have keys, then open machine and force a switch to fire. If ball does auto-fire, then assume machine malfunction, and player keeps their score. If it doesn’t auto-fire, then player must have hit the launch button, so DQ. If I didn’t have keys, I’d replace that step with lots of flipping and bumping machine to see if that can cause a misfire, if not, then yield answer is not a malfunction.
What would you do if faced with the above situation?