You make the ruling - loose tilts, skidding legs

Had Cincy Pinball finals today on games with very loose tilts.

Player A on T3 slidesaves several inches to the left and manages to survive with two warnings. As they’re settling, player B on GZ slidesaves several inches to the right, tilting and also bonking his hand into A’s hand and finishing A’s tilt. The resulting position:

Normally, player A would get a compensation ball and B would be DQd for interference. However, B wouldn’t have contacted A had A not slid so far to the left in the first place, so A may share culpability by being out of position. There was no real way to see who invaded the others’ space more.

What is your ruling?

Same as was made. Player from GZ should’ve stopped play and waited for the T3 to be moved back to avoid the issue.

Maybe Ken will get some rubber feet now. Haha


Unless there were markings indicating where each machine was required to be (presumably with some documented penalty for moving it outside of that region), there doesn’t seem to be much objective basis for overriding the published rule. So, player A gets a compensation ball, player B gets DQed for interference.

Kind of an unfortunate situation, but it’s always a little problematic to compete when the machines are packed tightly.

but player B is in not in the game with player A so why should the other players in player B game get an free pass?
the IFPA rules for Accidental interference don’t say DQ
so maybe just comp ball and no DQ.


I was going with @metallik’s comment about what would “normally” happen in that situation, since there was no mention of which rule set was in force at this event.

The ruleset was undetermined, something we need to clarify for next season. I had assumed the IFPA rule was DQ, but I see now (thanks Joe) that they just mention warning for accidental interference.

In this case we did not DQ; not because anyone looked up the rule, but because we tend to be more liberal in rulings and it was inadvertent contact.

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DQ - TD can take care of the subsequent complaints and moaning :slight_smile: in the future by adjusting the TILT so such a move gets TILT - players won’t then risk it and you avoid this situation in the future not to mention the possible damage to the games.

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You need to ask the player if they intensionally bumped the other player to cause them to tilt. If they say no, then there is no penalty, they were all playing “within the parameters of normal play” as set by the tilt. If they say yes, “Any player who intentionally interferes with tournament play or otherwise disrupts the tournament setting will be warned and/or ejected from the tournament, at the discretion of Tournament Officials.”

His machines aren’t close at all. But easy to slide on concrete. T3 would’ve had to move a good 6 inches to create this conundrum.

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Turns out this was the right call under IFPA. Good to know. If accidental interference causes loss of ball in play, it’s treated as a major malfunction. You have 3 options when that occurs:


Terrible concept, IMHO. Can you imagine this in any other competitive sport?

“Hey, football defender, did you mean to grab the receiver’s jersey? No? OK, we won’t assess a Holding penalty.”

“Hey, hockey player, did you mean to hit your stick in that guy’s face? No? OK, we won’t charge you with high-sticking.”

I’m of the belief that competitive rulesets should be as objective as possible, and where subjectivity exists, that should be solely in the form of an official studying what actually happened and making a ruling – not asking the offender what they were thinking at the time.


I agree with you. But given the state of the IFPA/PAPA rules, which are full of “player intension” rules we need a means to evaluate them @pinwizj has in the past always recommended the “ask the player” approach.

I will come back to curling as the professional spot where players mostly self enforce the rules. There are rules that involve for example accidentally kicking a rock. The offending player if responsible for determining if it was an accident or if the cheated. It is not a big money professional sport, but it is a professional sport.

Yes … This is usually the part where Ian talks about curling (which he already did), and I come in and talk about golf :smile:


While self-reporting of violations are expected as an initial means of conflict resolution in both sports, doesn’t curling expect competitors to reach a consnsus on the spirit of a given rule, and doesn’t golf allow for and expect reporting of a violation by another competitor when that competitor fails to self-report?

Every time I see this topic in the context of pinball, I can’t help but feel like we got a weird mix, where the TD always overrides competitor consensus, but has stated ahead of time that their override will always favor the opinion of the accused competitor.

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also in the context of pinball the rules wording is an mess.
Golf has had issues with that.

Now in pinball you have rules covering dirty pool (But they only list an few Examples of games that it is ok and 1 that it is not)
But the root of the rule says it’s based on how the game software rules are written.
So who should be the judge on that??? (Also conflict of interest issues if an game dev is playing in the event to make ruling like that)
Same thing for game bugs.

Also the IFPA rules are mixed with rules for 1 tournament format as part of an basic multi format rule set.

Do we want some player who say has to make an do or die move to save there game to slide there game into the space of an other game that say under the rules there is no DQ for. But say if that player on the other does now touch your game they get an DQ (that may help your over all tournament rank) and you get an comp ball as well?

I know. But remember: the PAPA/IFPA rules are not the only option. They’re an excellent baseline. But events are free to use their own variations. (Many in fact do this.)

Also, re: curling and golf… I don’t watch enough of either (though I adore curling) to know: does either sport have referees at all? Self administration of rulings can be okay when it happens, but not exactly the same as a referee asking a player about their intention.

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ask the player can work but things like
this game is doing something maybe it’s odd or maybe it’s just that I don’t know alot about this game to know if it should be doing that or not.

For golf there are referees available. Players can ask for help with respect to rules interpretations, but part of the responsibility of the player is that they “are expected to recognize when they have breached a rule and to be honest in applying their own penalties” (USGA Section 1.3 Paragraph B)

Your example here is not really applicable (at least how you applied it). Typically player intention is a player conduct issue. This issue is separate from the incident itself happening.

In a pinball example of this, the fact that “holding” happened, that penalty is still valid because it happened (intent doesn’t matter). Whether the player did it intentionally or not would move to a player conduct issue. That would then focus on the question of whether there should be any disciplinary action for the player in question (DQ’d or not). It does NOT negate the holding penalty in totality from the situation.

now what about the other player intent?
Is ok for them to do something that there is no clear rule saying that you can’t do that to draw an non intentional penalty??
and for things in where the only penalty is DQ?? Do we need lesser penalty’s?
Some kind offsetting ruling that wipes out both? (there are other offsetting things that can happen that should wipe out penalty’s)
If we want to start talking football

Intentional grounding is a better football example. Ironically, intent doesn’t matter in the ruling.