PAPA 9 World Pinball Championships
Note: These rules have been adapted from PAPA 8, and there will be further revisions and clarifications made before PAPA 9 takes place. Please do not consider these rules final until this paragraph has been removed.
PAPA 9 is the World Pinball Championship event operated by the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA). This document specifies the official operating rules and regulations of the event.
The event coordinators for PAPA 9 are Steve Zumoff, Kevin Martin, and Rob Chesnavich. Event coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and rulings, delegate responsibilities and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Event coordinators and designated officials are not excluded from tournament play but will be recused from any situation that directly affects their actual or potential standing as a player. Any coordinator who qualifies for final rounds of singles play will be recused from final rounds as if absent.
I. Quick Overview
PAPA tournament rules are quite lengthy and detailed. They reflect the experience of many years of tournament and league play, under many different systems. The underlying ideas are simple, however.
The majority of the tournament consists of qualifying rounds for singles players. During these rounds, each player may make as many qualifying attempts as they like, within a single division chosen according to skill. Attempts may also be made in the special divisions (Classics and Juniors/Seniors), separately from qualifying attempts in the A, B, and C divisions.
Each qualifying attempt consists of play on a set of machines the player selects from those available in the division. The player's performance on those machines is ranked and a composite score is determined. The highest composite scores within each division will advance to the final rounds.
In the final rounds, qualifying players play against each other in 4-player games. A point system is used to determine who advances and ultimately wins.
There are also mini-tournaments and other miscellaneous activities. Complete details are available here in the official rules, as well as on the Web site http://www.papa.org/papa9/.
II. Singles Competition
1. Divisions of Play
For singles play, there are six divisions of play. Three of these are skill divisions; each player may enter only one of these. There are also three special divisions which may be entered independently of the skill divisions. The six divisions are:
Please note that there is intentionally no women's division; women are free to participate in any division on equal footing with male players. Note also that the Juniors and Seniors Divisions will share the same bank of machines during qualifying rounds. Other divisions will not usually share machines.
- C Division - Novice players, who are casual, first-time, or relatively inexperienced.
- B Division - Intermediate players, usually with league or tournament experience, or any player seeking a greater challenge or reward.
- A Division - Expert players, such as league or tournament champions.
- Classics Division - All machines used in this division were manufactured before 1986, and may use electromechanical rather than electronic features. The Classics Division runs on Friday and Saturday as two separate events.
- Juniors Division - Players in this division must be no older than 16 years of age, as of the last day of the tournament.
- Seniors Division - Players in this division must be no younger than 50 years of age, as of the last day of the tournament.
1A. Skill Division Restrictions
Each registered player must choose only one skill division in which to play. A player may choose to move to a higher skill division, automatically voiding all entries in lower divisions (no refunds are provided), but no player may move to a lower division without special permission from tournament officials.
The following restrictions are designed to discourage any player from intentionally competing beneath his or her level of skill:
- Any player who has placed in the top four of the B or C division at the finals of any previous PAPA or Pinburgh tournament must enter the next higher division in their next PAPA tournament. If they fail to qualify in the higher division, they may return to the original lower division in the following year.
- Any player who has qualified in the A or B division of any previous PAPA or Pinburgh tournament may not enter a lower division in subsequent tournaments.
- Any player who has placed in the top four (or three, if only three players are ranked as winners) in any skill division of any other major pinball competition (e.g. Pinball Expo, IFPA, California Extreme, etc) may not enter the C division at PAPA.
- Any player who has not qualified in five or more years may, at the discretion of tournament officials, be allowed to enter a lower division. If any such player demonstrates an inappropriately high level of skill for that division, they will be required to move up to a higher division.
- At the discretion of the tournament officials, any player may be required to move to a higher division based on his or her performance or past league or tournament standings.
A one-time $5 registration fee is required of each player who wishes to compete in any division. Registration is not required to play mini-tournaments, to play practice bank machines, or to simply watch. Each registered player receives an identifying number and this number is used to track his or her subsequent play. Registration does not include entries in any division; each entry is sold for an additional fee. Coupons for entries may be included with registration packages or available in other forms. All players who reside outside of the United States and travel to the tournament to register as a player will receive one free entry coupon. Coupons for entries must be redeemed at the registration desk.
Players may enter in their chosen division(s) as many times as they like. No more than one entry may be purchased at a time, and each purchased entry must be played before another may be purchased. The fees for each entry are:
Any entry left unplayed or uncompleted at the end of qualifying rounds will be voided and refunded. Entries that are intentionally unplayed or otherwise left incomplete through no fault of the tournament will not necessarily be refunded.
- C Division - $10
- B Division - $15
- A Division - $20
- Classics Division - $10
- Juniors Division - $10
- Seniors Division - $10
The tournament features a guaranteed package of cash prizes. Tournament expenses are recouped through entry fees and practice bank play; in the event of an overrun beyond expenses, tournament revenue will be retained to finance the next PAPA event. In the event PAPA discontinues its events or is disbanded, any such retained revenue will be donated to charity.
The guaranteed prize package for each division is as follows.
A B C Classics Juniors Seniors 1st Place $10,000 $3000 $1500 $500 + $500 $750 $750 plus trophy! 2nd Place $3000 $1500 $750 $250 + $250 $250 $250 and plaque 3rd Place $1500 $750 $500 $125 + $125 $125 $125 and plaque 4th Place $750 $500 $250 $50 + $50 $50 $50 and plaque Top Qualifier $500 $250 $100 $50 + $50 $50 $50 Mini-Tournaments Seven with $200 prize each for Expert and Novice Total Prize Package: $33,250!
The winner of the A Division will also receive the title "World Pinball Champion".
Other non-cash prizes may be awarded for special competitions, door prizes, top scores on certain qualifying machines, top scores on practice machines, etc, at the sole discretion of tournament officials. Cash prizes may be paid by check in lieu of cash, and appropriate IRS regulations for tax reporting will be followed. In the event the winner is not a U.S. Citizen, we will provide the appropriate forms.
III. Singles: Qualifying Rounds
1. Purchasing entries
Before purchasing any entries, players must be registered. A registered player may purchase qualifying round entries in one or more appropriate divisions (at most one skill division, plus special divisions if eligible). Each purchased entry is specific to one division. Players should keep their registered player number handy for use when purchasing entries. Only one entry may be purchased at a time by a player, and the entry must be played to completion or voided before a new entry may be purchased. Any coupons for free entries must be redeemed at the registration desk.
Entries will not be sold for any division beyond the posted time, nor will entries be sold for the Classics Division except when it is operating. Entries are non-refundable unless by special permission.
2. Playing an entry
When a player is ready to play a qualifying round entry, he or she approaches the bank of machines designated for the division corresponding to the entry. The player must select the appropriate subset of those machines to be played for the qualifying entry. The exact counts of machines in each bank and machines to be selected per entry may vary from division to division and from tournament to tournament. A typical example might be a bank of ten machines, from which five are selected for each entry.
No machine may be selected more than once on a single entry. These selections must be indicated on the player's scorecard before he or she begins play. The player then provides the scorecard to the scorekeeper for the division. The scorekeeper will indicate which machine is to be played next by the player, or will indicate that the player must wait. At no time may the player begin play on any machine without being instructed to do so by the scorekeeper.
Players may select a different set of machines for each qualifying entry. Players may not change their selections once they have been accepted by the scorekeeper, except in case of malfunction, or with the express permission of tournament officials.
The player will play his or her selected machines at the time and in the order designated by the scorekeeper. At the end of each game, the player will request that the scorekeeper record his or her score before leaving the machine. It is the player's responsibility to ensure that the scorekeeper takes down the score, and to doublecheck the recorded score for correctness.
When all games for the entry have been completed, the player must sign his or her entry for the scorekeeper, who will regularly submit completed entries for scoring. Players may not take their completed entry from the scorekeeper.
At any point during play or immediately after play has been completed, the player may elect to abandon his or her entry by notifying the scorekeeper. This will void all scores recorded so far for the entry, and the entry will not be entered into the scoring system except as a "void", which does not affect scoring in any way. No money will be refunded, but the player has no further obligation to complete his or her entry, and is free to purchase another if he or she wishes. Once all games have been completed and the entry turned in for scoring by the scorekeeper, the void option is no longer available for that entry. A completed entry may be submitted for scoring at any time, so if a void is desired, the scorekeeper must be notified immediately upon completion of the entry.
Once the player has begun to play their entry, they may not take their scorecard from the scorekeeper, whether it is complete, incomplete, or void.
All scores posted on a particular machine, including multiple entries from individual players, are maintained in a ranking. Point values are assigned to each position in this ranking. The overall score of a particular entry is the total of the point values assigned to its ranked scores on the selected machines for that entry. Because the rankings will change as new scores are posted on each machine, the overall score of each entry may change as the qualifying rounds progress.
It is important to note that each entry is scored separately from other entries, based on the sum of the point values for the ranking of its scores on the selected machines. Each entry a player completes has its own score, and there is no consistent way to compile a score based on "best of" results, nor is this the intent of the tournament system. The intent is to reward consistently good play within a single entry. Players should be aware that on each entry, they are also competing with their previous entries on the selected machines. Remember that a player may void an entry at any time during its play, but once turned in by the scorekeeper, no entry may be voided by the player for any reason.
In the unlikely event of two or more scores on a machine being tied, the highest point value of the tied positions will be awarded for each tied score.
There are no scoring normalizers or other adjustments. Scores cannot be compared across divisions. As the qualifying rounds progress, players may wish to adjust their choice of qualifying machines according to the scores already posted, as well as their personal skills and preferences.
The rank of the player's result on each machine contributes the following points to the score for that entry.
Rank Score 1st 100 points 2nd 90 3rd 85 4th down to 87th 84 down to 1
Tournament officials will endeavor to provide up-to-date scores and rankings at all times, using a projected screen. The up-to-date scores and rankings are also available on the http://www.papa.org/ Web site at all times. Detailed results for every scored entry are also available online.
4. Scoring Example
A player purchases a qualifying entry in the B Division, and is assigned an entry number of 2058. She plays five of the eleven available machines, and the scorekeeper records her scores. At the time the entry is completed, her scores are ranked in the 3rd, 13th, 7th, 98th, and 31st positions on the five selected machines. Her total score for entry 2058 is therefore 85+75+81+0+57 = 298. This score may change as other entries are played, by this player or other players. For example, at the end of qualifying, the scores for this entry may only rank 8th, 21st, 9th, 121st, and 35th, providing a total score of 80+67+79+0+53 = 279.
Note that barring the correction of errors in scoring data, the total score for any qualifying entry can only remain the same or decrease as new entries are played; it can never increase.
IV. Singles: Final Rounds
1. Advancing to Finals
When qualifying rounds have been completed, a final calculation of entry scores will be made. Those scores will be ranked, and the top unique players in each division will advance to the final rounds. Only the highest entry score of each player will be considered. No player may qualify in more than one skill division. The number of qualifying slots which will advance to the final rounds is partly dependent upon the number of players competing. At a minimum, each division will take the top eight qualifiers to the final rounds. This may expand to nine, twelve, sixteen, or other numbers as determined by tournament officials. The final decision on expanding the number of qualifiers in each division will be made no later than 11 pm on the Saturday night of the tournament. In the event that any chosen number of qualifiers does not match the groupings described in these rules (for 6, 8, 9, 12, or 16 players), the groupings will be posted at the time of the decision.
Finals in each division will consist of a semifinal round and a final round, unless twelve or more qualifiers are playing, in which case a quarterfinal round may be employed.
There is no bye for the top-ranked player, but a special cash prize is awarded to the top qualifier in each division, regardless of final results. Note that qualifying position determines the seeding in final rounds, as well as choice of machine or order of play.
In the event a qualifying player is not available, he or she will be skipped in the ranking as if he or she had not qualified. Upon discovering that a player is not present, tournament officials will make a specific announcement for that player, allowing at least ten minutes but no more than twenty minutes, for that player to appear. Substitutions or late arrivals are not allowed.
In the event that two or more players have the same score in this ranking, a tiebreaking procedure will be utilized. A single game will be played on a machine selected randomly by tournament officials from the qualifying bank of the division. The tied players will play, in randomly determined order, in a multi-player game on the selected machine, and will subsequently be ranked in the order of their scores on that game. If more players are tied than the selected machine will support in a single game, multiple games will be played to accommodate all tied players, and the resulting scores will be compared as if they had occurred in a single game on the same machine.
The random order of players for the tiebreaking match will be determined by drawing numbers, under the direction of tournament officials. In the event of any further tie after the tiebreaker, which is highly unlikely, an additional tiebreaking game will be used only for the affected players.
2. Machines Chosen
The machines used for final rounds in each division will be designated before the beginning of the final rounds of play. This designation will be determined solely by tournament officials, and may include in each division machines that were not utilized in the qualifying rounds for that division, as well as machines not previously utilized in the tournament at all. There will be at least three machines available in each division, possibly more.
For simplicity, the rules treat all games played in the final rounds as three-player or four-player. In the event a machine being utilized does not support four simultaneous players, multiple games will be played on the same machine, with playing order preference going by original seeding as usual, and the resulting scores will be compared as if a single multi-player game had been played.
3. Quarterfinal Rounds
A quarterfinal round may be employed only if twelve or more qualifiers are playing in a division. Tournament officials may choose to skip this round even with twelve or more qualifiers.
In the quarterfinal rounds, the qualifiers in each division will be divided into three or four groups as follows:
# Qualifiers 12 16 Group 1 #1, #4, #7, #10 #1, #5, #9, #13 Group 2 #2, #5, #8, #11 #2, #6, #10, #14 Group 3 #3, #6, #9, #12 #3, #7, #11, #15 Group 4 n/a #4, #8, #12, #16
Each group will play three separate four-player games, each on a different machine from among those designated for that division.
Games played by the groups will be scored according to the rules listed below in "Semifinal Rounds". If there are twelve qualifiers, players with the six best point totals will advance to semifinals. If there are sixteen qualifiers, players with the eight best point totals will advance. Ties will be resolved according to the rules listed below in "Semifinal Rounds".
4. Semifinal Rounds
For the semifinal rounds in each division, the qualifiers in each division (or players advancing from quarterfinals, if those were played) will be divided into two to four groups of three or four, as necessary depending on the number of qualifiers. The groups will be organized according to the qualifying rank as shown below:
# Qualifiers 6 8 9 12 16 Group 1 #1, #3, #5 #1, #3, #5, #7 #1, #4, #7 #1, #4, #7, #10 #1, #5, #9, #13 Group 2 #2, #4, #6 #2, #4, #6, #8 #2, #5, #8 #2, #5, #8, #11 #2, #6, #10, #14 Group 3 n/a n/a #3, #6, #9 #3, #6, #9, #12 #3, #7, #11, #15 Group 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a #4, #8, #12, #16
This table includes the scenario in which twelve or sixteen qualifiers go directly to the semifinal rounds; this is at the discretion of tournament officials and would not normally occur.
Each group will play three separate three-player or four-player games, each on a different machine from among those designated for that division.
Each four-player game will be scored as follows:
Rank Score 1st 4 points 2nd 2 3rd 1 4th 0
Three-player games will be scored as if a nonexistent fourth player received the 4th place finish (i.e., 1st earns 4 points, 2nd earns 2, and last earns 1).
The group that contains the highest-seeded player gets first choice of machine and order of play. The highest-seeded player within each group may choose either the machine to be played, or the order of play. If the highest-seeded player chooses order of play, the remaining players may choose their order, in descending order of seeding, and choice of machine then goes to the lowest-seeded player in the group. Conversely, if the highest-seeded player chooses the machine to be played, then the lowest-seeded player chooses the order of play, with the remaining players choosing order of play in increasing order of seeding.
If at any point a high-seed or low-seed player declines to make a choice, the choice is deferred to the next highest or next lowest player, as appropriate. The affected group still retains its order of choice among groups, however. If no player in a group will make a choice, the choice(s) are determined by tournament officials, who may or may not choose randomly.
Note that in every round, "highest seeding" and "lowest seeding" refer to the original seeding of players when entering the final rounds from qualifying. A player's seeding does not change from round to round; therefore the advantage of qualifying in first place can be significant.
No group may select a machine which has already been selected by a group in the same round, nor may they choose a machine on which they have already played in that round (unless machine malfunctions have made this unavoidable; tournament officials may choose to provide additional or substitute machines, however). If the machine selected is currently being played by another group in a previous round of play, the group may wait for that round of play to be completed.
In the event too few machines are available during any round of play, the group(s) with the lowest high-seed players will be forced to wait until a game becomes available. As soon as a game becomes available, as indicated by the scorekeeper, the next highest-seeded group must begin play on that machine. In this situation, choice of order of play will be made by the highest-seed player in the group (unless they decline, as described above).
When all three games have been completed by a group, each player will have a point total for the semifinal rounds in their division. Players with the top four point totals in each division, regardless of which group they played in, shall advance to the final round of that division. Only four players will advance to the final round in each division, regardless of the number of players competing in the semifinal round.
Ties between players at the end of the semifinal round are resolved by one tiebreaking game on a machine selected randomly by tournament officials from among the machines used in that semifinal round. Note that a tie is only significant if it affects whether or not a player will advance to the final round. Insignificant ties, such as between 2nd and 3rd, do not require a tiebreaking game, except in the final round.
In a tiebreaking game, the highest-seeded player has choice of order of play, proceeding in descending order of seeding. If more players are tied in one group than the selected machine will support in a single game, players will play in groups (or singly, if the machine is single-play) arranged by their selected order of play. The resulting scores will be compared as if they had occurred in a single game on the same machine. If more than one group of players are tied, the machine is chosen for the group with the highest-ranking tie first, and that machine is not available for random selection in lower groups. All such tied groups will play their tiebreaking games in parallel. In the unlikely event of an exact scoring tie on the tiebreaking game, only those affected players will play another tiebreaking game, on another randomly selected game, under the same rules.
5. Final Rounds
In each division, four players advance to the final round. The final round for each division is conducted in the same manner as the semifinal round. The total scores for this round will determine the ordering of winners in each division. Tiebreaking in the final round will be determined in the same fashion as in the semifinal rounds, with the exception that all ties are considered significant.
Unless otherwise determined by tournament officials, the same machines will be used in the final rounds as the semifinal rounds.
Winners will receive cash prizes as cash or check during an awards ceremony shortly following the conclusion of all final rounds on Sunday. Winners need not be present to receive prizes; prizes will be supplied via postal mail if necessary. All taxes are the sole responsibility of winners. All decisions by tournament officials regarding winners and prizes are final.
All players, winning or not, grant PAPA, the SCPA (Steel City Pinball Association), and all other event sponsors and organizers the right to use their names, scores, and likenesses for the purpose of promoting this tournament as well as other pinball-related events.
The top winner in the A Division will receive the title "World Pinball Champion". This title remains in effect until the next annual PAPA tournament, or will expire after two years if PAPA tournaments are discontinued.
7. Classics Division
The final rounds of the Classics I and II divisions, as played on Friday and Saturday of the tournament, will utilize a single-elimination format consisting solely of head-to-head matches on a single machine.
The top eight qualifiers for the day will play a quarterfinal round of four two-player games, followed by a semifinal round of two two-player games, followed by a final round of one two-player game. During the final round, the losing players from the semifinal round will play a game to determine who is the 3rd place winner. The seeding of players in the quarterfinal round shall be #1 with #8, #2 with #7, #3 with #6, and #4 with #5.
Whenever possible, four machines will be available to choose from; the first selection is made by the pairing of players with the highest originally seeded player, proceeding through all pairings in descending order of seeding. Within that pairing of players, the higher-seed player may choose either the machine or the order of play; the remaining choice will go to the lower-seed player. If either player declines either choice, the choice will be made by the other player. If no player will make a choice, the choice(s) are determined by tournament officials, who may or may not choose randomly.
In the event too few machines are available during any round of play, the pairing(s) with the lowest high-seed players will be forced to wait until a game becomes available. As soon as a game becomes available, as indicated by the scorekeeper, the next highest-seeded pairing must begin play on that machine. In this situation, choice of order of play will be made by the higher-seed player (unless they decline, as described above).
Note that in every round, "higher seeding" and "lower seeding" refer to the original seeding of players when entering the final rounds from qualifying. A player's seeding does not change from round to round; therefore the advantage of qualifying in first place can be significant.
Ties will be resolved in the same manner as in other divisions. In the event that a selected machine only supports one player, the players will play two one-player games in turn, with the resulting scores being compared as if a two-player game had been played.
Winners for each day of Classics competition will receive their awards promptly and do not need to wait until the awards ceremony on Sunday. We appreciate everyone's understanding of the unique challenges and limitations of using older machines for a competitive tournament.
V. Doubles Play
For logistical reasons, there are currently no plans to feature doubles play at PAPA this year. There may be unofficial team competitions in the practice banks; if this occurs, further information will be available at the registration desk.
VI. Other Competitions
At any time when qualifications are open, players may choose to enter any of the special mini-tournaments offered. Each entry costs $5 per player and registration is not required. Each player may enter as many times as he or she likes. In each case, play on the designated machine is under a specific set of rules, and the high total score in each category (Expert and Novice) wins the assigned prize.
For each mini-tournament, entries are separated into Expert and Novice categories. This is done automatically, according to which player(s) have participated on an entry. If an A or B Division player has participated, the mini-tournament entry automatically becomes an Expert entry. If no A or B Division player has participated, the entry automatically becomes a Novice entry. Any player who is not registered, or who has not played in any skill division, will have his or her entries treated as Novice. In the event such a player later enters the A or B Division, his or her mini-tournament entries will automatically be reassigned to the Expert category.
At any given tournament, most if not all of the following mini-tournaments will be offered:
- Single-Handed - $5 Entry Fee
Player must play with only one hand and may not switch hands. Player should hold the unused hand behind his or her back.
- Tense Two-Minute Drill - $5 Entry Fee
Player may play normally but after exactly two minutes, must step away from the machine and allow the ball to drain if it is in play. The scorekeeper will record the score at this point. Timing is provided by the scorekeeper.
- One-Ball - $5 Entry Fee
Player may play normally but after the first ball of play drains, the scorekeeper will record the score. Extra balls may not be played.
- Doubles Split-Flipper - $5 Entry Fee, per player (2 players)
Two players will share a normal game, with each player controlling one flipper button (specifically, all buttons on one side of the cabinet). Players may not switch positions during the game. If either player is entered in A or B Division, the entry will count as Expert.
- Triples - $5 Entry Fee, per player (3 players)
Three players will play a normal game, with each player playing one ball. Three different players must play. If any one player is entered in A or B Division, the entry will count as Expert.
- Tommy Mode - $5 Entry Fee
Player may play normally but the machine has the lower flipper area obscured from view. Player may view from any angle but may not employ a spotter (ie, a person helping) or a device such as a mirror.
- Mystery - $5 Entry Fee
Player may play normally but the machine has unspecified modifications which may increase the challenge.
- Bulls-Eye Blind - $5 Entry Fee
Player plays normally, but the display is covered. When the player finishes or chooses to stop playing (allowing the ball to drain or remain in the plunger lane), the score is revealed and recorded. The player closest to the target score, whether above or below, wins.
To participate in a mini-tournament, players should pay the entry fee at the registration desk, where they will be assigned a score sheet and scorekeeper. The scorekeeper will submit the completed entry for scoring. In the event no scorekeeper is available, players may be required to wait.
The prize for each winning player in each category (Expert and Novice) for each mini-tournament is $200. Thus, the three players who post the highest score in the Expert category for Triples will each receive $200. These are guaranteed prizes which are not dependent on the number of entries in each mini-tournament.
In the event of major malfunctions or other problems, tournament officials may elect to discontinue any mini-tournament at any time.
2. Scavenger Hunt
We are planning to provide a pinball-related Scavenger Hunt or similar contest(s) for the entertainment of young players, as well as the young-at-heart. This will be free and open to all attendees regardless of registration; a prize drawing will be held Sunday morning from all completed entries.
3. Door Prizes
Other door prizes and/or random drawings may be offered as tournament officials see fit.
VII. Malfunctions and Rulings
1. The Nature of Pinball
The unique charm of pinball lies, in large part, in the physical nature of the game. Unfortunately, this means that unusual events and outright malfunctions cannot be prevented. Nor can they all be perfectly compensated for. PAPA attempts to strike a balance between compensating for malfunctions and accepting the physical nature of the game.
In certain cases, malfunctions will be dealt with more strictly during finals rounds than during qualifying rounds, at the discretion of tournament officials.
2. Minor Malfunctions
A minor malfunction is any incident without external cause which deviates from the normal course of gameplay, without directly causing a player's loss of turn and without providing any player a significant advantage over others. A minor malfunction is considered part of normal play. Tournament officials shall determine what constitutes a significant advantage; in the event that such an advantage is obtained, refer to "Beneficial Malfunctions".
3. Major Malfunctions
A major malfunction is a gameplay problem with a machine that results in the premature loss of ball in play in a fashion that is not a normal feature of the machine's gameplay. These may be unusual one-time events, or they may indicate a recurring problem that will need to be addressed by technicians.
Examples of major malfunctions include:
- The bonus count begins while the ball is still in play. This can happen if, for example, the machine loses track of how many balls are in the drain trough.
- A lit kickback fails to return the ball to play, ending the player's turn. This does not apply to other ball saving devices such as timed ball savers, ball traps, gates, or "virtual" kickbacks.
Any malfunction that results in the loss of one or more balls during multiball play, without losing all balls so as to end the player's turn, will only be considered a minor malfunction. Loss of Tilt warnings, without loss of ball, shall not be considered a major malfunction.
When a major malfunction occurs, it is the player's responsibility to notify the scorekeeper, calmly and promptly. The scorekeeper will request advice from a tournament official. If the official(s) agree that the incident is a major malfunction, the player will be provided with one additional ball of play at the beginning of a new game, after the current game has been completed. No attempt will be made to re-establish the state of the machine at the time of the major malfunction. The player's total score on the additional ball of play will be added to his or her previous score, and the new game will be terminated.
In the event that two or more major malfunctions take place during the same game, the player(s)' game(s) will be terminated and replayed. The terminated scores will be temporarily recorded, and except in any case where the original score was unfairly improved by the malfunction, the higher score for each player will be recorded as his or her official score. In the event that a recurring major malfunction cannot suitably be repaired, the failure must be treated as a catastrophic malfunction.
Under certain specific conditions, a major malfunction may be declined by the player. This must be approved by the tournament official, and must not result in a situation which provides an unfair advantage to the player.
4. Known Malfunctions
Any malfunction that is determined to be relatively minor but unusual enough to merit comment may, at the discretion of tournament officials, be posted for players to be aware of before playing the affected machine. Players who have played the machine before this notice is provided will not be allowed to replay the machine nor to replace it with play of another machine. The occurrence of any posted malfunction will be treated as a minor malfunction unless it worsens or interacts with another feature to yield a major malfunction.
5. Catastrophic Malfunctions
A catastrophic malfunction is any event not purposely or inadvertently caused by a player, which immediately ends play for all players on the machine.
Examples of catastrophic malfunctions include:
- The game system crashes and/or resets due to a software error or component failure.
- Power is lost or interrupted.
- A new game starts.
- A major malfunction repeatedly recurs in spite of best attempts to repair the machine.
Any event caused by a player, purposely or inadvertently, including Slam Tilts, is covered under "Player Errors" below.
When a catastrophic malfunction occurs, the scores of the terminated games will be temporarily recorded if possible, any player(s) whose game(s) was/were not already completed must replay their game(s) from scratch. The higher score for each player will be recorded as that player's official score. In the event the machine cannot be repaired in order to continue play, see "Disabled Machines".
6. Beneficial Malfunctions
Any malfunction which provides at least one player with a significant advantage over any other player competing on that machine is known as a beneficial malfunction. Tournament officials shall determine what constitutes a significant advantage.
Any beneficial malfunction which results in a player being able to continue play of a ball that normally should have ended is normally allowed once per game. Examples of this would include an unexpected software ball save, a ball that bounces back into play without player action, or a ball that comes to rest on an unlit kickback in the outlane. 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).
Examples of beneficial malfunctions would include a jackpot switch that registers when a different target is hit, a valuable switch that scores repeatedly without the ball contacting it, a failed Tilt sensor, or a ball stuck during multiball. See also "Stuck Balls".
Any situation which indicates the presence of a beneficial malfunction should be brought 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 entry interrupted and disqualified by tournament officials.
7. Stuck Balls
During the course of play, it is possible for one or more balls to become stuck on a playfield feature, usually after becoming airborne. If this happens during single ball play, the player must wait for automatic ball searches to occur. The expiration of any timed feature during this period is not considered a malfunction.
If the stuck ball has not been freed after four such searches, or if the machine is not performing searches for some reason, the player must alert the scorekeeper, and a tournament official will be brought to the machine. The player must remain alert and at the machine, as he or she is responsible for the ball if it becomes freed at any point. Where possible, machines will be configured with "chase" features disabled, so that additional balls will not be released into play as a result of ball searches. However, in the event this occurs, the player is responsible for continuing play, and a suitable malfunction will only be ruled if the machine is unable to function normally from this point forward.
A tournament official may initially choose to try to free the stuck ball through judicious nudging, tapping, etc. The player must remain ready to resume play at the machine during this attempt. If actions by the official result in a Tilt, this will be treated as a major malfunction (not the fault of the player). If the official frees the ball but the player does not successfully continue play, this is normal play (the fault of the player). Loss of Tilt warnings due to tournament official nudging is considered normal play.
If the tournament official is unable to free the stuck ball, the machine will be opened, and the stuck ball freed and placed either in the plunger lane, if it is manually controlled, or on the upraised right flipper, with the flipper button held by the player. In the event this is not possible, the official may select another location or feature where the ball can be placed safely while the machine is being closed in order to resume normal play. If more than one ball is stuck, all freed balls will be placed on the right flipper before play resumes.
If the ball is inadvertently freed while the machine is open and drains without the player regaining complete control (stopped on a flipper), this will be treated as a major malfunction. If the machine cannot be opened successfully, or if opening or closing the machine terminates the game(s) in progress for any reason, this will be treated as a catastrophic malfunction. If the ball is freed and the machine closed without the player's loss of ball, play continues as normal. If the game is in multiball play and one or more balls are lost as a result of freeing stuck balls, possibly ending multiball but not ending the ball in play, this will be considered normal play.
Any player who chooses to shake or bump the machine in order to free a stuck ball does so at his or her own risk. No allowance will be made for a player who tilts while attempting to free a stuck ball, whether or not tournament officials are present.
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. See "Beneficial Malfunctions" for further details.
Any player who misuses a game feature in order to intentionally trap a ball during a multiball mode, such as holding in the plunger on Tommy in order to defeat the autoplunger, may be given a warning and/or have his or her affected entry interrupted and disqualified by tournament officials.
8. Disabled Machines
Any tournament machine that breaks down during play will be attended to by technicians as promptly as possible. In the event that a breakdown is severe and cannot be repaired promptly, the machine may be taken out of service temporarily or permanently. During qualifying rounds, players in the affected division must choose an alternate machine in place of a temporarily disabled machine. A permanently disabled machine will be replaced with a designated substitute by tournament officials. During finals rounds, tournament officials will designate an alternate machine; the game in progress on the disabled machine, if any, will be discarded, and play will continue on the newly designated machine.
Any machine that is temporarily disabled for more than two hours will normally be considered permanently disabled. During qualifying rounds, a permanently disabled machine presents a unique problem, as it is no longer possible for new qualifying entries to compete against ranked scores on that machine. If the machine in question is disabled before noon on Saturday, all scores recorded on the disabled machine up to that point will be voided. A substitute machine may be added to the division, which will have its own independent ranking of scores from that point forward.
Any player who has previously posted a qualifying score on the disabled machine may be eligible to play a "make-up" game on a substitute machine; his or her resulting score will then replace the previous score on the disabled machine. However, if the existing ranked scores for other machines in a completed entry are insufficient to allow the entry to affect qualifying standings, a make-up game will not be played for that entry. Each affected player who is invited to play a make-up game may select as his or her substitute any machine in the division that was not already played on the entry that is being modified; he or she is not required to specifically select the substitute machine which may have been provided to replace the disabled machine.
In the event that a machine is disabled during qualifying rounds at any time after noon on Saturday, the scores and ranking up to that point shall stand. In this case, a substitute machine will not be added to the division, and no entries will be eligible for make-up games.
Qualifying entries played before noon on Saturday therefore enjoy a slight theoretical advantage in the event of machine failures. The addition of a substitute machine to a division does not allow existing entries to be modified except in the case of replacing a score from a disabled machine.
In the Classics Division, scores for a disabled machine will be allowed to stand after 3 pm on that day. If a machine falls disabled before this time, affected players will be invited to amend their qualifying entries as described above.
9. Player Errors
A player error is any player action, purposeful or accidental, which affects the normal play or outcome of a game in progress.
Any player who tilts his or her ball in play will not receive any penalty other than the normal loss of ball. Note that some older machines may penalize the player with loss of game; this is equivalent to tilting all remaining balls in order. Abuse of machines is covered under "Player Conduct". Any player who tilts the ball of another player, either through interference or by tilting his or her ball so roughly that the next player's ball is affected before play continues, will receive a score of zero for that game, unless tournament officials grant an exception based on the behavior of the machine in question.
Any player who slam tilts a machine, thereby ending play for all players, will receive a score of zero for that game. The slam tilt is treated as a catastrophic failure for any other player(s) who have not completed their game(s) in progress; they will be allowed to replay a new game and choose the higher score. If a tournament official rules that the slam tilt sensor is not functioning properly, the slam tilt will be treated as a catastrophic failure for all players.
Any player who deliberately tilts or slam tilts a machine in order to derive some benefit to his or her own play, or the play of others, under these rules, may be ejected from the tournament.
Any player who deliberately interferes with the play of another player, through distraction, touching the machine or player, or disrupting tournament procedures, will receive a score of zero for the game. Any repeated offense under this rule will result in ejection of the player from the tournament. Any non-player, or tournament participant not playing in the game in progress, who deliberately interferes with the play of any tournament game, will be given one warning. On the second offense, the offender will be ejected from the facility.
Accidental interference is regrettable but can happen. Any player or non-player who accidentally interferes with the play of any tournament game will be warned. If the interference was sufficient to cause the loss of ball, this will be treated as a major malfunction. If the interference terminated play for all players (for example, tripping over a power cord and pulling it from the wall), this will be treated as a catastrophic malfunction.
A player who plays out of turn in a multiplayer game will receive a score of zero. The affected player may choose to take over the ball in play, if possible, or they may choose to have the incident treated as a major malfunction. In the event the player takes over, he or she shall be deemed "in control" after declaring his or her intent, taking his or her position at the table, and making contact with the ball via the flippers. The affected player may not change his or her mind once he or she is "in control". Any player who plays out of turn deliberately in order to employ this rule will be ejected from the tournament.
Because the tournament divisions consists solely of singles play, coaching of any player during a game, in any round, is not allowed. If a player specifically requests advice on a game feature during play, his or her question may be addressed only by a tournament official, and answered only in terms of whether or not the machine is functioning correctly. Players are not to seek assistance from other players or spectators. Outside of play, players are of course free to discuss features and strategies as much as they like.
In mini-tournament events which feature team play, players on a team may freely discuss game features and strategy without penalty.
Tournament officials will be the sole determiners of what constitutes interference and whether or not it is accidental or deliberate. Scorekeepers are strongly encouraged to watch for and, if possible, prevent incidents of interference.
Rulings shall be made by tournament officials, which includes event coordinators and any person(s) designated as officials by the coordinators. Designated officials may have restrictions on the breadth of rulings, and may be overridden by tournament officials. Any designated official or event coordinator is excluded from ruling on any play situation that directly affects his or her actual or potential standing as a player. Final authority for any ruling rests with the President of the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (Kevin Martin). All tournament officials are excluded from receiving any cash prizes.
VIII. Machine Settings
1. Software Settings
In general, the software settings of each machine will be adjusted to best accommodate tournament play. The following settings will be employed on any machine that supports them:
- Tournament Mode
- Free Play
- 3 Balls
- Extra Balls disabled
- Buy-In or Continues disabled
- Game Restart disabled
- 2 Tilt Warnings (may be 0 on older machines)
- Flipper AutoLaunch disabled
- Timed AutoLaunch disabled
- Standard Factory Settings for Ball Savers, Difficulty, Timers, etc
- Specific Difficulty Settings as determined by tournament officials
- Automatic Reflexing Features disabled
- Replays disabled (no score or Extra Ball awarded)
These settings may vary according to division, at the discretion of tournament officials.
Certain older machines, as used in the Classics Division, may include extra balls and/or five-ball play. In this division alone, these features may be utilized by the player unless otherwise posted. Classics players should also be aware that some machines end gameplay entirely for a Tilt (similar to modern games' Slam Tilt), that scoring mechanisms can malfunction (this is handled as minor, major, or beneficial, depending on the situation), that in some cases features that resemble pop bumpers and slingshots are not powered, and that some older machines employ gobble holes which end the current ball in play.
2. Hardware Settings
Machines used for tournament play will be prepared and kept in good working order to the greatest extent possible. Each machine will be properly leveled left-to-right and inclined front-to-back.
Any player with a complaint or question about the hardware setup of a machine should make his or her inquiry in between games, or in between balls, if urgent.
3. Machine-Specific Settings
In order to best suit tournament play, certain machines may be subject to specific settings or rules adjustments, at the discretion of tournament officials. These adjustments will be made before tournament play begins, and will be documented if possible. The intent is to eliminate features which can be abused by skilled players, or which arbitrarily extend play time to a degree that would hinder the smooth progress of the tournament.
IX. Player Conduct
The PAPA facility is private property and must be treated with respect. PAPA reserves the right to refuse play to anyone at any time, as well as to remove anyone from the property at any time.
The tournament facility and playing areas must be kept clean. Food and drink are not allowed in the practice bank areas. In the tournament area, drinks are allowed only for actively qualifying players. Spills of any kind should be reported to officials immediately. There is a cafe area adjacent to the tournament where food and drink should be consumed. Trash should be deposited in the provided receptacles. Please do not remove chairs from any area where they have been placed.
All areas inside the building are strictly non-smoking. Smoking is restricted to designated areas outside the building. Violation of this and/or other rules may lead to ejection from the tournament.
Weapons, illegal drugs, and alcohol are prohibited on the property. Naturally, any and all types of illegal activity are prohibited as well.
2. Personal Conduct
All players are expected to conduct themselves in a polite and sensitive manner. 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.
Any express or implied threats or actions of violence are grounds for immediate ejection from the facility, and authorities will be contacted. Other possible grounds for ejection include but are not limited to fraud, theft, illegal activity, harrassment, inappropriate behavior, public drunkenness, etc.
3. Abuse of Machines
Tilt sensors are employed to determine what constitutes unduly rough handling of each machine, within the parameters of normal play. Abusive handling such as punching, kicking, lifting, tipping, or rocking a machine, or hitting the glass in any way, is grounds for a warning and possible disqualification of game or ejection from the tournament, at the discretion of tournament officials.
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.
Any player who delays the progress of his or her game for more than 30 seconds, for any reason other than to await a ruling or resolution of a temporary inconvenience, will be given a warning.
Temporary inconvenience is defined as any condition which can reasonably be expected to be resolved quickly, such as unusual noise, lighting problems, etc. An inconvenience such as sunlight glare does not normally qualify, unless easily resolved. A player may choose not to play a game that is experiencing glare; they may reschedule their play or choose another game, within the rules of the tournament. Sunlight glare tends to be temporary.
If the player is choosing to let a game mode time out, the total delay must be less than 30 seconds. Delay is defined as time during which the ball is left in the plunger lane, or held on a flipper by the player. Stuck balls do not count as intentional delays. If delays are repeated or willful, tournament officials may terminate the game in progress and record a score of zero for that player.
6. Death Saves, Bangbacks, etc
Techniques known as "Death Saves" and "Bangbacks" are sometimes practiced by certain advanced players. Because the effectiveness of these techniques varies from machine to machine, and because of the risk of injury to either player or machine, these are banned from tournament play. In the event that a drained ball bounces back into play without deliberate or significant player action, the ball may be played. This may require a ruling from tournament officials if there appears to be abusive force employed by the player.
7. Wagering or Gambling
Please note that gambling is illegal in our venue and the tournament does not endorse, condone, nor support wagering between players. We also feel that pinball is at least 75% skill-based, making any wagering at best ill-advised, in addition to being illegal.
8. Internet Use
The facility provides access to Internet kiosks as well as a wireless Internet access service, at no charge. This is provided to our players and guests as a courtesy and we expect proper behavior. Any abuse or misuse of the service may result in ejection from the tournament and/or facility.
1. Special Score Handling
a. Any player who reaches the maximum possible score on a machine that has such, will receive that score as their total. For example, Guns n Roses stops scoring at 9,999,999,990 points.
b. Any player whose machine "rolls over" to a zero score is responsible for immediately advising the scorekeeper, both when this is imminent, as well as when it happens. The score keeper will then make a note to record the appropriately increased score. If the player fails to notify the scorekeeper, he or she may not receive the increased score.
c. On the game NBA Fastbreak using basketball-style scoring, each championship ring collected by the player shall cause their recorded score to be increased by 1000 points.