©2019 by Lyman's Pinball Crüe

Locks n’ Shots Rules 

Tournament Officials:

Brian Weingartner – Tournament Director (TD)

Additional Tournament Officials can be named on tournament day.


Entry Fee: $5

Fee is due prior to tournament start.

$1 for IFPA Endorsement Fee. $4 to the prize pool. 


Tournaments with 30 or fewer players

The top 3 finishers receive prizes. The payout is as follows:

1st Place: 50% of prize pool

2nd Place: 35% of prize pool

3rd Place: 15% of prize pool


Tournaments with 31 or more players

The top 4 finishers receive prizes. The payout is as follows:

1st Place: 40% of prize pool

2nd Place: 30% of prize pool

3rd Place: 20% of prize pool

4th Place: 10% of prize pool

General Tournament Format:

4 Strike Group Knockout Tournament

4 player groups: 3rd & 4th place players receive a strike

3 player groups: 3rd place receives a strike

2 player groups: 2nd place receives a strike

Once a player has accumulated 4 strikes, they are out of the tournament.



Initial seeding is randomly drawn from the tournament software. Swiss pairing will be used after the first round. Machines are selected using the tournament software, based on the “Balanced” setting.

Extra Balls:

There will be no extra balls during the tournament. Extra balls earned during play must be plunged. Players may set up a skill shot, but once the ball is plunged the player must not touch the machine.


Practice on any pinball machine is not allowed once the tournament begins. 


Final Match Option:

If the final 3 or 4 players all have 3 strikes heading into a round, the “finalists” have the right to play one final match with the finish of that match equaling the finish for the tournament for those players. Any finalist can veto this option, all finalist must agree to this prior to match play otherwise play will continue as normal. 

Player Conduct Expectations:

Lyman’s Pinball Crüe is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof). Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Any express or implied threats or actions of violence are grounds for immediate ejection from the facility, and authorities will be contacted. 


Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.


Penalty Cards:

The tournament director can officially warn a player that their conduct is not acceptable by issuing them a yellow card. Any additional action which violates the player conduct rules can lead to a red card, and expulsion of the player from the tournament. At the discretion of the tournament director, it is possible for players to be issued a red card immediately. 

The Fine Print (and there’s a lot of it)
Right to Make Rulings:

Rulings shall be made by the Tournament Director unless delegated to a tournament official. Final onsite authority lies with the Tournament Director. Final authority for any ruling, rests with the President of the International Flipper Pinball Association, Josh Sharpe. The Tournament Director reserves the right to temporarily change the format of the tournament to adjust to issues regarding time restrains, and amount of players that arrive. 



Wagering or Gambling: 

Players are strictly prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet, whether directly or indirectly through a third-party, on any IFPA sanctioned tournament in which they are a participant. This rule extends to Tournament Directors, Scorekeepers and tournament volunteers of that event. This includes betting on game outcome, statistics, score, performance of any individual participant, or any other kind of “proposition bet” on which wagering is offered.


*The penalty for such offenses will be a 1-year suppression of that person from the IFPA World Pinball Player Rankings (WPPR) system, forfeiting their right to any IFPA related perks during the time of suppression. In addition, the IFPA grants full authority to the organizers of the IFPA sanctioned tournament in question to levy any additional penalties as appropriate to the offending person at their discretion.

Malfunctions and Rulings:


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 be perfectly compensated for. Also, you’re playing in a bar… chill. 


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. The Tournament Director shall determine what constitutes a significant advantage. 


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. *Note that unrepeated physical failures, such as kickbacks or balls jumping off ramps, balls flying over flippers, or balls moonwalking into the outlane following a successful shot do not qualify as major malfunctions. This is the physical nature of pinball.


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 any lit feature, running mode, or other gameplay specifics, shall not be considered a major 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 a tournament official, calmly and promptly. If the official(s) agree that the incident is a major malfunction, one of the following steps will be taken, in order of priority:


  1. If the machine’s software supports adding balls to a game already in progress, a tournament official will add a ball to the game in progress and the affected player will complete their game. All other players will continue to play their game as normal, without skipping a ball.

  2. If the major malfunction cannot be fixed without resetting the machine, the player’s score will be recorded, and their game will be terminated and restarted. The affected player will continue their remaining balls on the restarted game and their score from the aborted game will be added to their total. For example, if such a malfunction occurs on Ball 2 of a 3-ball game, the player will be given two new balls on a restarted game.  In multiplayer games, all players will receive the same compensation.

  3. If the major malfunction can be fixed without resetting the machine, 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. The player’s total score on the additional ball will be added to his or her previous score, and the new game will be terminated.


Tournament officials may allow the player to play ball 3 or 5 of the new game, if that player has been denied certain features that are freely awarded by the machine.
If a recurring major malfunction cannot suitably be repaired, the failure must be treated as a catastrophic malfunction.


Known Malfunctions
Any malfunction or unusual behavior that is determined to be relatively minor but unusual enough to merit comment may, at the discretion of the tournament director, be announced or posted for players to be aware of before playing the affected machine. 


Catastrophic Malfunctions
A catastrophic malfunction is any event, not caused by a player, which immediately ends play for all players on the machine. 

When a catastrophic malfunction occurs, if the scores are able to be recorded, players will be provided the appropriate number of additional ball(s) of play on a new game once the machine has been repaired. If the scores are not retrievable, players will be forced to start their game over. 


If a machine affected by catastrophic malfunction cannot be repaired in order to continue play, it is considered disabled; please see “Disabled Machines”.


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. The tournament director 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 or a ball that comes to rest on an unlit kickback in the outlane (which will lead to a ball search, kicking the ball back into play). Any such behavior shall not be allowed if it repeats, meaning that the tournament director 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.


For situations where a ball goes through the drain trough area without triggering the trough switch and is spit out into the plunger lane as the same ‘ball in play’ will be immediately placed in the drain. This mostly occurs in EM machines, and early Williams Solid State machines. For situations where the playfield isn’t yet valid players will be allowed to continue play as normal. Please contact a TD immediately should this situation arise.

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 the tournament director can agree on a suitable adjustment of the score or other elimination of the advantage. 


Any situation which indicates the presence of a beneficial malfunction should be brought to the attention of a tournament official promptly. Any player who intentionally takes advantage of a significant beneficial malfunction may be given a warning and/or have their affected entry interrupted and disqualified by the tournament director.


Stuck Balls (so freaking complicated)

During 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 should wait for  2 automatic ball searches to occur. At the discretion of the tournament director, the forcing of a ball search to be triggered can be waived.

If the stuck ball has not been freed after such searches, or if the machine is not performing searches for some reason, the player must alert a tournament official 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.


In the case of a “chaser” ball being released into play as a result of ball searches, 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, or on the upraised flipper of the tournament official’s choosing, 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 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 because of freeing stuck balls, possibly ending multiball but not ending the ball in play, this will be considered no worse than a minor malfunction. If any feature or mode that is lit or active times out while one or more balls are stuck, this will not be considered a malfunction.


Any player who chooses to shake or bump the machine 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.


Any ball that comes to rest in an outlane, where any portion of the ball is below the outlane post, is not deemed a stuck ball. In these instances, players will have the option of attempting to free the ball themselves or to ask a tournament official to manually trigger the outlane switch and drain the ball for them. Please note that when this happens in multiball, in no way will a player be allowed to take advantage of this situation by continuing to play any other balls currently available. The situation of this ball that has come to rest needs to be dealt with immediately by either the player or tournament director. Also, please note that any ball coming to rest on the apron is considered as having come to rest in the outlane and should be treated as such.


A ball which has come to rest on top of a center post, an inlane-outlane post/guide or a lamp insert/playfield divot directly above an outlane will not be considered a stuck ball. Players may choose to free balls resting in these positions through nudging of the machine, or request that an official end the ball in play by manually placing it in the drain for center post incidents, and the outlane for inlane-outlane incidents. If an automatically-triggered kickback exists that will send the ball back into play upon draining it in the appropriate outlane, that feature will be manually triggered, and the ball will be treated as a stuck ball from that point and placed on a flipper or other suitable location. Player-controlled kickback features, such as mini-flippers, posts, or manually-controlled kickbacks that send the ball back into play, do not count toward establishing stuck ball status in this case, and the player will not be permitted to utilize these features or touch the game until the ball has reached the ball trough. If the ball is stuck on any playfield element that is located between the flippers, the ball will be considered a stuck ball if there is no chance of a drain from the ball rolling off its resting place.


Stuck Balls: Multiball

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 and the ball must be plunged by the player.


Any player who misuses a game feature to intentionally trap a ball during a multiball mode may be given a warning and/or have his or her affected game disqualified by the tournament director. Please note that intentionally causing ball searches is also prohibited.


In situations where a ball is trapped in a way that it can be released through player action other than shaking or bumping – for example, a ball at rest underneath a flipper or any other mechanism which the player controls – this is not deemed to be a stuck ball. 


In multiball, some games offer the opportunity to stick a ball in an area that can only be freed if the player uses another ball to free it. The ruling in this situation is based on whether the game has software written into it to specifically address the mode or situation. Usually, this will not be considered a stuck ball.


Disabled Machines

Any tournament machine that breaks down during play will be attended to by technicians as promptly as possible. If a breakdown is severe and cannot be repaired promptly, the machine may be taken out of service temporarily or permanently. If the failed machine is eventually repaired, it can be returned to the competition. 


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 the ball of another player will receive a score of zero for that game, unless tournament officials grant an exception.


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. A second offense by the same player anytime throughout the tournament, will be treated as a tilt of another player’s ball, with the rules from the previous paragraph being enforced. 


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 malfunction for any other player(s) who have not completed their game(s) in progress.


Any player who deliberately tilts or slam tilts a machine to derive some benefit to their own play, or the play of others, under these rules, will receive a score of zero.


Any player who moves a game to the point it slides off a rubber foot beneath the game’s leg will be given a score of zero for the game. This is determined based on any portion of the leg leveler being in physical contact with the ground. A tournament official will then attempt to put the game back onto the rubber foot. If successful, the game will continue.


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 and a yellow card. Any repeated offense under this rule will result in ejection of the player from the tournament. 


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 enough 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.


It is the equal responsibility of ALL players involved in the match to ensure that the correct number of players are started. If a game is started with the incorrect number of players, anything that occurs within that game is considered void, with no penalty to any player. The game must be restarted from scratch, with the correct number of players started, even if you can add players to the game after the original game has already started


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 they are “in control”. Any points scored when a ball is being played out of turn count. It is the responsibility of all players to ensure the correct player is on the machine.


Player Coaching

Coaching of any player while they are playing their turn is not allowed except for notifying a player of a ball save, pointing out a stuck ball, or preventing a player from playing out of turn. 

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 the machine is functioning correctly. Players are not to seek assistance from other players or spectators during their turn. 

No player may use a camera or visual aid of any kind, other than the instructions provided by the machine, while standing at the machine. A player may review electronic or written notes in between turns of a multiplayer game or between games, but not during their own turn or between balls of a single-player game. While not actively playing, players are of course free to discuss features and strategies as much as they like, including between balls during a game, but no spectator or other player is compelled to answer, nor are they responsible for incorrect advice or answers to questions.


Machine Settings: 


Software Settings

In general, machines will be set using standard location settings. These settings will often be very close to the factory defaults.

Attempts to notify players of software differences will be made, but are not guaranteed.

All machines will be set to 3 Balls, unless otherwise noted (PBR is 5).

2 Tilt Warnings will be standard though older machines may have no warnings.


Hardware Settings
Tournament machines will be in the best possible condition based on the operator’s availability. Attempts to make sure the machines are clean and properly leveled will be made.


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.


Player Conduct:


The Tournament location must always be treated with respect. The tournament director or members of the location staff reserve the right to remove anyone from the property at any time. Any person(s) may be banned from the property at the discretion of tournament director or location staff. 


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 the tournament director.


Interference, Collusion & Cheating

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 the tournament director.

Any form of cheating, including game restarts, tampering with games, tampering with recorded results, scorekeeper intimidation or collusion, or anything else not covered here, will be addressed by the tournament director as appropriate, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament.

Any collaborative effort between players in an attempt to unfairly affect the outcome of the competition, or to “lock out” a third player, or to otherwise refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played, will be looked upon very poorly by tournament officials, and may result in disciplinary action, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament. 

Intentional Delay

Intentional delay is defined as time when the player is intentionally making no progress towards in-game objectives, including but not limited to time during which the ball is left in the plunger lane, held on a flipper, or passed from one flipper to another. Stuck balls do not count as intentional delays. Holding one or more ball(s) while one or more ball(s) remain in play does not count as intentional delay.

A player may not intentionally cause a ball search in order to activate any feature of the game. A player is permitted to wait a reasonable amount of time, as determined by the tournament director, for a tilt mechanism to settle.

Players are expected to be at the machine they are competing on when it is their turn. While this is a casual tournament it is expected that tournament players will be respectful of each other’s time. 


If a player is missing from a game for a prolonged period of time, (approximately 2-3 minutes) the tournament director should be notified. The tournament director reserves the right to plunge the ball of a missing player to move the tournament along. Multiple violations this rule during a tournament will result in a score of zero on that game for the offending player, and possible expulsion from the tournament. 


Death Saves, Bangbacks, etc.

Techniques known as “Death Saves” and “Bangbacks” are sometimes employed 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 techniques are banned from tournament play. 

In the event that a drained ball bounces back into play without deliberate player action, such as in the case of a “lazarus,” this is considered the mechanical nature of pinball and the ball may be played. If this situation occurs repeatedly, and there is question as to whether the lazarus ball was naturally occurring or induced by the player, tournament directors may end the game in progress and award a score of zero.

Special Scoring Circumstances
Any player who reaches the maximum possible score on a machine that has such a limit, will receive that score as their total. If two or more players reach the maximum possible score on the same game, those players will be considered tied for that game.


During any round, any player who causes the machine to "roll over" beyond its scoring capacity, thereby showing a lower score than the actual score, should draw attention to this, reasonably promptly, before the machine rolls for other players in the session and/or available tournament directors, to avoid any confusion over the actual score. Failure to do so may result in a disqualification.

The tournament director may declare a player as a winner of a game in progress; that player will not get a strike for that that game. This will generally occur only if the pace of the tournament is at risk due to exceptionally good play. The affected player must stop play immediately. Any other player reaching the same score in that game will not receive a strike, even if all players reach the same score. 


If a player verbally concedes for any reason, the concession will only be considered valid if it is witnessed by the tournament director, or all members of a group. If a player attempts to use an invalid verbal concession to interfere with an opponent, the issue and resolution will be treated on a case-by-case basis, and the offending player risks receiving a score of zero for the game in question.


Due to the complex and imperfect nature of pinball machines, rare and / or unusual scoring situations may arise that are the unintended consequences of programming oversights, errors, mechanical issues, or wiring issues. If a tournament director deems a player is taking advantage of an unexpected scoring situation or an obscure “programming bug”, the tournament director reserves the right to warn the player in question to not abuse the situation further, end the game in progress at the current score, award a score of zero, or ask the player to restart the game. 


The determination of whether a player is taking advantage of a software or scoring issue and the subsequent penalty, if any, is left up to the discretion of the tournament director and will be based on the circumstances of the specific situation.


Creative Commons License

These rules are a mashup of PAPA, Pinburgh, IFPA, and FSPA rules, and was completely built on the work of those before us. So like do the whole, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, thing. The intent is that the rules can be adapted and reused, with attribution, with the license preserved.

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