Match Rules for Monday Night Pinball

(Last updated: 2019-08-23 by Stephen Rakonza)

M0.00 - Overview

M0.01 Version History

M0.02 Terms

M1.00 - Before The Match

M1.01 - Venue Availability

M1.02 - Captain Responsibilities

M1.03 - Start Time

M2.00 - Lineup

M2.01 - Requirements

M2.02 - Substitutions

M3.00 - Match Flow

M4.00 - Scoring

M4.01 - Scoring Errors

M4.02 - Match Tiebreakers

M5.00 - Malfunctions and Rulings

M5.01 - Rulings

M5.02 - Additions and Exceptions to IFPA/PAPA

M5.03 - Extra Balls

M6.00 - Player Conduct

M6.01 - Death Saves and Bang Backs

M7.00 - Miscellaneous

M7.01 - Tardiness / Early Departure

M7.02 - Forfeits

M7.03 - Game Payment

M7.04 - Idle Machines

M7.05 - Minors

M8.00 - Commissioner of Rules and Regulations

M0.00 - Overview

Monday Night Pinball is a co-ed team league where each team has a host bar (AKA Venue), which serves as the team's "home." Once a week for the duration of the season, each team will compete against another team in their league, either at "home" or as the visiting team at their opponent's venue. Each team will score match points based on the results of the individual pinball games. At the end of each match, the team with the most points will record a win, while the other team will record a loss. League standings are determined based on a simple win/loss record then cumulative match points as the main tiebreaker.

NOTE: For more information on league standings and rules related to playoffs, see League Rules for Monday Night Pinball.

M0.01 Version History

M0.02 Terms

M1.00 - Before The Match

M1.01 - Venue Availability

M1.01.0: Venues need to continue to meet the same requirements set forth in the League Rules for Monday Night Pinball.

                

M1.01.1: If a team has advanced knowledge of a location not being available (or otherwise ineligible) on league night, they should notify the league and opposing captain when the issue is identified. The league and captains will discuss the best plan for upcoming league night, including the option of moving to another location preemptively based on the risk of the location not being available.                 

M1.01.2 - Locations must have at least 8 machines per the location availability rules. On league night, at least 5 of them must be in league-worthy condition to host league play, or the match must move to another location. The league should be notified any time a location failed to meet this requirement. Repeated issues could lead to a team being forced to choose a new venue.

M1.02 - Captain Responsibilities

M1.02.0: Captains on each team are selected for the difficult task of helping to run a smooth league that is distributed at many locations. The league relies on the captains to negotiate with one another to manage as many rulings as possible without league official intervention, in as fair a manner as possible. The league retains the right to remove captains who are not cooperative, and who put the advantage of their own team ahead of the interests of the league to run smoothly by not being willing to negotiate fair terms with the other captains.

M1.02.1: Machines that are not league-worthy should not be used. Any machine that the venue has flagged as out-of-order, or is powered off, should not be used, even if both captains think the machine is OK to play. Any other machine is to be used, unless both captains agree that it is not league-worthy. If only one captain thinks a machine is not league-worthy, then the machine is "in" and available for selection. However, upon first occurrence of a situation that requires a major or beneficial malfunction ruling, then malfunction rules shall apply to that game, and the machine should not         be used in subsequent rounds for the rest of the evening. If a minor malfunction continues to happen and is the same for both teams, then play continues.

NOTE: See League Rules for Monday Night Pinball for details related to machine worthiness.

M1.02.2: In all cases, league officials are only a text message or phone call away. They also play in the matches and might not be able to answer in a timely manner, but please feel free to contact league officials when necessary for help in making fair rulings.

M1.02.3: Anytime captains are uncertain about how to deal with a situation, they may contact any board member for advice. During league night, Commissioner of Rules and Regulations is on standby to quickly address issues if possible. Other board members are available as-needed to answer questions via text, voice, or in person if one happens to be on your team or the opposing team.

M1.03 - Start Time

M1.03.0: Start time for MNP matches is 8:45pm. By 8:45pm, captains on both teams should have their lineup approved and the visiting team begins making their picks (see M3.00 - Match Flow). Match Flow and Scoring are managed by custom MNP software. All players can log in to enter scores. Captains are provided special permissions to enter match information and approve results. Instructions for using the software are provided to captains via the Captains group, with demos provided during warm-up week scrimmages.

M1.03.1: For Round 1, teams should take no more than 5 minutes to make their picks, and responding team should take no more than 5 minutes to respond. To support this aggressive time table, players on the team should be planning their pick ahead of time. This guideline is in place to encourage all league members to be courteous to all, as many players work early on Tuesday mornings. Adhering to these limits enables most matches to end by 11:30pm, and longer nights due to some good games to still be done by midnight. If players want to warm up before a match, they should arrive much earlier than 8:45pm.

M2.00 - Lineup

M2.00.0: Each team must submit a lineup for the match.  The lineup consists of roster members, and optionally, one or more substitutes.  A full lineup consists of 10 players.  Team captains must confirm and approve the opposing team’s lineup.

M2.01 - Requirements

M2.01.0: The lineup must meet the following requirements.

NOTE: Teams are awarded match bonus points for having 9 or 10 players, and thus it is in every team’s best interest to find substitutes every week to fill in for missing players.  If a team is missing players, Captains are encouraged to become ambassadors for the league by recruiting new pinball enthusiasts from their host bar location and give them the opportunity to sub for one night. The match bonus points make up for the fact that they are likely not as strong as the majority of the players in the league.

M2.02 - Substitutions

M2.02.0: Substitute players can be anyone but must meet certain constraints to be eligible to play for a team.

M2.02.1: A person can play as a substitute for any team as many times as they like during the first 9 weeks of the regular season, with the following restrictions.

M2.02.2: On any given league night, team restrictions are reconsidered for the purpose of determining if a substitute player can play for the team (see League Rules for Monday Night Pinball for more information). The eligibility, as it relates to Team Rating, of subs is computed as follows:         

M2.02.3: If an opposing captain identifies a lineup violation prior to start of the match, a different substitute must be used. If the violation is discovered after the match has begun, the substitute is permitted to play, but the team loses the match bonus points associated with having that player in the lineup. (e.g. if the lineup violation involves the 10th player, the team loses the opportunity at 5 bonus points, and match bonus points counted as having 9 legal players who all play 3 games.  See M4.00 - Scoring below). Match results could be updated retroactively by the board due to use of a lineup violation from an illegal substitute.

M3.00 - Match Flow

M3.00.0: Match flow is managed by custom MNP software.

M3.00.1: A match consists of four rounds. Match flow is as follows:

NOTE: The times listed above produces a timeline that has a match finish by 11:30. While there is no penalty when things take longer, we've found the enjoyment for all league players is maximized when a match doesn't drag on. For players who aren't time-pressed, they can hang out longer when match is done.

M3.00.2: Some constraints on selecting players for each round:

M3.00.3: At the end of each game, players or their captains submit scores for each game via the MNP website software. Players should take photos of all games and upload them along with scores for review. Any score issues or loss of scorecard can be fixed with photos of the games. In the case of a player DQ or forfeit, the player should be given a score of '1', to distinguish from a '0' which causes the system to think the score is not yet entered.

M3.00.4: At the conclusion of all games in a round, both captains should review the scores, points, and total. Once confirmed, that round is complete and cannot be changed, so make sure both sides agree before confirming.

M3.00.5: All machines and players should be selected before the games of that round are started.

NOTE: If a tiebreaker is needed, see M4.02 - Match Tiebreakers.

M4.00 - Scoring

M4.00.0: Each match awards 82 game points. Teams can also earn up to 9 bonus points described below. If a match is tied after round 4, including bonus points, the winner of the tiebreaker gets 1 point and the win for the match. See Tiebreaker rules. Points are earned as follows:

M4.00.1: A team that is found to have played with an illegal sub, will forfeit any match bonus points that the illegal substitute helped them obtain. For example, a team with 10 players, but one an illegal sub, will only receive 4 match bonus points due to 9 legal players.  

M4.00.2: 5 points for each doubles game are scored as follows:

M4.00.3: 3 points for each singles game are scored as follows:

M4.00.4: At the end of the match, the team with the highest point total will be declared the winner. If the match is tied after 4 rounds, see the Tiebreaker rules below.

M4.01 - Scoring Errors

M4.01.0: Each captain will have the opportunity to review all reported scores at the end of each round. If no errors are found, the round is confirmed and no longer able to be changed. This is different from prior seasons with paper scoresheets. There will be NO score corrections for any errors discovered after the match is confirmed and all points will be officially calculated by the software. If for any reason paper sheets are needed for a night, make sure to go through the same confirmation process as we will not alter scores. Even if incorrectly confirmed scores result in a loss for your team, the result stands.         

M4.02 - Match Tiebreakers

M4.02.0: In the event of a tie after round 4, including bonus points, there will be three shared singles tie-breaking games to determine the evening's winner.

M5.00 - Malfunctions and Rulings

M5.00.0: MNP operates on the standardized IFPA/PAPA Rule set (https://papa.org/wp-content/uploads/Professional-Amateur-Pinball-Association-Complete-Competition-Rules-5.pdf), except when a rule is overridden by statements in this MNP rule set.  

M5.01 - Rulings

M5.01.0: Rulings are the responsibility of the team captains for the match, and the MNP Commissioner of Rules and Regulations.

M5.01.1: If the captain or co-captains from each team come to agreement on a fair alternate ruling, that ruling will stand.

M5.01.2: If the captains cannot agree on a fair ruling, and they are uncertain how to interpret the rules, captains are encouraged to ask one or more players on their teams, especially those with significant tournament experience, to help interpret the rules.

M5.01.2: If there is still no resolution, then a text message can be sent to the Commissioner of Rules and Regulations (Dave, 410-507-9020, who might be playing at another location), with a maximum 10-minute wait for a response. If there is a response, then the response is binding. Since a response cannot be guaranteed, if there is no response in 10-minutes, and no resolution per rules, and captains cannot agree, then the game is voided; BOTH teams get a 0 for that game.

M5.02 - Additions and Exceptions to IFPA/PAPA

M5.02.0: Exceptions to IFPA/PAPA rules include the following:

M5.02.1: Unfortunately, not all locations have key access to every machine. In case of stuck balls during multiball on such machines, the ruling is to play on. If this leads to a situation that is clearly not fair as it leads to an exploit, then the rules for beneficial malfunction should apply. Captains should agree on a fair ruling.        

M5.02.2: A player who experiences a loss of ball, or is otherwise denied the opportunity to play one of their balls, by way of an award to an opposing player, shall be granted a compensation ball (for each ball denied).

NOTE: Rule M5.02.2 applies to Jersey Jack’s Pirates of the Carribean, and the “plundering” award.  However, it applies to any machine which offers a similar award.  Also see section M5.03 - Extra Balls, for applicability to the “plundered ball”.  If an opposing player is awarded with the ending of another players game, effectively denying them the opportunity to play their remaining balls, rule M5.2.02 applies.  This rule only covers loss of ball.  It does not cover any other “asset” being transferred: points, tilt warnings, locks, mode completion, etc.

M5.02.3: Any machine awarding a Midnight Madness, or any similar experience, shall be treated as normal play.

M5.03 - Extra Balls

M5.03.0: An Extra Ball is, any ball awarded to a player, above and beyond the standard number of balls, to be played after the current ball drains (a drain usually results in an end-of-ball sequence, such as tallying bonus).  An extra ball need not be referred to as an “extra ball”; nor does the extra ball have to come immediately after the current ball drains.

NOTE: Extra balls do not include balls such as ball-saver, virtual kickback, add-a-ball feature, or a switch counted retry - none of which trigger an end-of-ball sequence.

M5.03.1: To help keep matches from running too long, extra balls are no longer played. Players are allowed to attempt a plunger skill shot. They may flip before launch to change a lane or make some other selection that might help. Once a ball is in motion, the player must step back from the machine with no further flips, nudges, or other button presses (like FIRE on AC/DC). The player can retry the skill shot only if the ball returns to the plunger lane and the ball is not auto-plunged upon returning. A player earns any points and end-of-ball bonus associated with plunging the extra ball.                 


M5.03.2: For strategic reasons, a player may choose to tilt their extra ball rather plunging it for the skill shot. To prevent confusion, the player should notify their opponents of their intent to do so, prior to intentionally tilting the ball while the ball is still in the shooter lane. Once a player attempts the skill shot, even if it returns to the plunger lane, any subsequent tilt on that ball will be a disqualification from the game.

M5.03.3: **NEW RULE** (Exception): if a player has been awarded a compensation ball due to a major malfunction, they may choose to play an earned extra ball as the compensation, in lieu of one ball in a fresh game after the current game has ended.

M5.03.4: In tiebreaker games, teams may play 1 extra ball, if they can get one. In 1 or 2 ball tie breakers, no extra balls are allowed.

M5.03.5: If a player forgets to plunge their extra ball and someone on the other team starts playing it, neither player is penalized. As soon as the mistake is realized, that player should drop flippers and step back, as they are inadvertently earning points for the other team. Any points earned will count to the player who earned the extra ball.

        

M5.03.6: If a player starts a normal ball that is not theirs, they forfeit the game as a zero score (to be recorded as a score of 1). If it is a doubles game, the remaining player on their team can finish the game, and still earn as many as 3 of the 5 points for the doubles game for their team.         

        

M5.03.7: Some machines (e.g. Space Shuttle) provide timed bonus balls. Any bonus ball that is timed and ends by disabling flippers CAN be played; these are not considered extra balls.

M6.00 - Player Conduct

M6.00.0: All players should read the IFPA/PAPA Player Conduct rules, listed in Section III here: https://papa.org/wp-content/uploads/Professional-Amateur-Pinball-Association-Complete-Competition-Rules-5.pdf

M6.00.1: We are all guests of the bars that host our matches, so we must behave like guests. If a player displays unsportsmanlike conduct or threatens the safety of any individual or machine, then that player should be reported to a league official. The league will investigate the incident and, if necessary, disciplinary action will commence. Mild infractions will incur a warning, while extreme misconduct or repeated infractions will result in suspension or expulsion from the league.

                

M6.00.2: Monday Night Pinball prohibits discrimination or harassment of any kind and will strive to create a safe and fun environment for all participants. Any threats or intimidation of other players or teams will not be tolerated. Any league member who has experienced or witnessed harassment, discrimination, or violence toward another league member or guest, or believes a particular person, team, or location creates an unsafe environment for any reason should contact the league immediately. All league members have a responsibility to submit complaints to their captain or to the MNP board in a timely manner. The league encourages prompt reporting of all incidents, regardless of who the offender may be.

                

M6.00.3: In the event that a formal complaint is submitted to the league, an impartial investigation into the complaint will begin. This investigation will be kept confidential to the best extent possible, and will be conducted by the MNP board. Every reasonable effort will be made to rationally, objectively, and promptly resolve all complaints. At the end of the investigation period a ruling will be made by the board.

                

M6.00.4: Any league member who is found to be in violation of the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action as determined by the league board. This action may include suspension or expulsion from the league. Any league member who is found to have initiated a false complaint at the end of an investigation may also be subject to disciplinary action.

                

M6.00.5: The staff or management at any location has the right to evict any player from the location at any time. Should that happen, that player is disqualified from their current game if they are in the middle of a game, and cannot play in any subsequent round that night, nor can they remain on the premises. Any player that is evicted from a location,whether it be that night only or a longer period of time, will automatically incur a disciplinary review by the board. Captains are responsible for reporting such incidents to league officials within 24 hours of the incident, which should include their best assessment of what happened.

M6.01 - Death Saves and Bang Backs

M6.01.0: Techniques known as "Death Saves" and "Bang Backs" are not permitted during match play. However, should the drained ball bounce back into play without deliberate player action, the ball may be played. A player caught ATTEMPTING one of these techniques during match play will forfeit their score.

                

M6.01.1: Exception: if the machine has a post with rubber in areas after the ball drained whose purpose is to provide the player a final chance to regain the ball, then in those cases only, the player can attempt to nudge the ball when it gets to the post. Notable machines with such features include Centaur with posts in each outlane and a gate to let ball in, the right-side post on Indy Jones for narrow escape, and the center post that is close to drain on Xenon.         

M7.00 - Miscellaneous

M7.01 - Tardiness / Early Departure

M7.01.0: Matches should start on time provided 8 players from each team are present. The match should not be delayed simply because a "better" player is on their way. If there are not enough players to start, but more are on their way, or the captain is speaking to locals at the bar to recruit a substitute for the night, then the start of the match may be delayed for up to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, league must move on, and games of missing players get forfeited. Team captains are encouraged to use players who are on time in Round 1, and have late arriving players only join in for Round 2.

M7.02 - Forfeits

M7.02.0: If a team cannot field at least 7 players (including substitutes) within 15 minutes of the scheduled starting time, then they forfeit the match. The team that is present will receive the win and 41 match points (50% of 82 points) for purposes of standings. The team that forfeits receives 0 points and 0 match points. If 7 or more players from the team that is present remains at the location for at least two hours after the start time, then they will receive an additional 20 match points for a total of 61 points (~75% of 82 points). This additional reward in points is out of respect for the location owners who host the league, who may be counting on business brought in by league participation.

M7.03 - Game Payment

M7.03.0: It is the shared responsibility of both teams to pay for the individual pinball games. In the event that a player "Matches" or earns a "Free Play" then that player's TEAM will earn the extra credit and it will be passed along to the next match up. TEAMS, not individuals, earn extra play.

M7.04 - Idle Machines

M7.04.0: During a match, players are allowed to practice on those machines which are not “in use” under a few conditions.

M7.04.2: Those practicing MUST allow other players, from either team, to join them in the practice game.

M7.04.3: Once machine selections are made for a round, those selected machines are considered “in use”.  No player may practice on a machine selected for use in that round.  A player already practicing while the opposing team is making machine selections, is permitted to finish, as long as it does not delay the match. A selected machine remains “in use” until the game for the round is over, and the machine is no longer needed for the round.

NOTE: Rule M7.04.3 falls under the category of player conduct of the PAPA rules.

M7.05 - Minors

M7.05.0: Monday Night Pinball is a 21+ bar league. Minors are not allowed to participate in the league. In addition, league players are not allowed to bring minors to matches at a location that has an age restriction. Age restrictions of a location are based on state licensing, and the league and location must abide by them. Use of a minor in a league match at an all-ages location will be penalized as an illegal sub, and subject to match bonus points penalty accordingly.

M8.00 - Commissioner of Rules and Regulations

M8.00.0: Dave Stewart is the league’s Commissioner of Rules and Regulations.  He can be reached by text at 410-507-9020. Understand, and be respectful, that Dave is also a player in the league.  So be patient when reaching out for a ruling during match play. Per rule M5.01.2, if there is a response within 10 minutes, then the response is binding.