Midwest Pinball Championship Rules – test

Note: These rules have been adapted by using portions from past Midwest Pinball Championship Tournaments. There may be further revisions and clarifications made before the 2018 Midwest Pinball Tournament takes place. Please do not consider these rules final until this paragraph has been removed, or until the tournament has begun. Also, please note that due to rule changes within the IFPA, no Midwest Gaming Classic tournaments will award WPPR points this year. Additionally, this change has allowed us to return to our popular “ladder” style tournament format that was used in earlier tournament play.

The Midwest Gaming Classic is an all-encompassing electronic gaming event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2018, the Midwest Gaming Classic will hold the 10th annual Midwest Pinball Championships (MPC).

The event coordinator for the Midwest Pinball Championships is Dan Loosen. Event coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and provide ultimate rulings, delegate responsibilities and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Because of this role, event coordinators are excluded from tournament play. Designated officials may play, but must follow all rules regarding tournament play and may not officiate themselves.

I. Quick Overview

MPC 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 first day of the tournament consists of qualifying rounds for singles players, while the second feature head-to-head elimination bouts based on the ranking from the first day. During the qualifying rounds, each player makes two qualifying attempts on each machine, with their combined score being used to determine ranking position for the next day.

Each qualifying attempt consists of play on a machine. The player’s combined performance on that machine is ranked versus all other players. The highest composite scores across all qualifying games will advance to the final rounds.

In the final rounds, qualifying players play against each other in 2-player games, with head-to-head games being played

II. Singles Competition

1. Divisions of Play

Due to the fact that the tournament is free to enter, and all people are welcome to play, there are no longer any divisions of play in the tournament.

We suggest that any players aged 9 or under participate in the “Midwest Junior Pinball Championship.” The children’s tournament is played on a different game and has no ranking impact on the MPC. Those players may still participate in the Midwest Pinball Championship if they so choose, in which case all of the same rules apply to them as outlined above.

2. Fees

There are no registration fees to participate in officially sanctioned tournaments at the Midwest Gaming Classic, however a one-time registration is required of each player before play begins in any tournament, regardless of division or tournament type (ie mini-tournament, pinball tournament, hybrid tournament, etc). Registration is not required to watch or to play non-tournament games at the Midwest Gaming Classic. Entries into any tournaments do not have any fees associated with them, although entry is limited.

It is up to the players to ensure their play is recorded.

The last entries for the MPC must be started no later than 8pm on Saturday, as qualifying is only available for the Saturday of the show. Any entries that are not started by this time will be considered voided through the fault of the player. A decision by the head judge may be made at 8pm to extend qualifying, players must be present and in line for them to be considered for this.

3. Prizes

Top participants will receive a certificate commemorating their play. All players will receive WPPR points, regardless of if they participate in Sunday’s play-off or not.

III. Singles: Qualifying Rounds

1. Purchasing entries

Entries are free.

2. Playing an entry

When a player is ready to play a qualifying entry, he or she approaches the bank of machines designated for the tournament and gives their scorecard to the scorekeeper. At no time may the player begin play on any machine without being instructed to do so by the scorekeeper. The player will be directed to a machine to play for their entry, with each player playing two qualifying entries on three different titles (total of six scores).

At the end of each game, the player will request that the scorekeeper record and verify 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 double check the recorded score for correctness.

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. Because all scores count this year, the Midwest Gaming Classic strongly encourages players to NOT abandon any scores.

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.

3. Scoring

All scores posted on a particular machine are maintained in a ranking with the two scores for each machine being combined together to give the player their score. A player’s score will be listed in the ranking system if they have played only one of the two entries, and the player will still be ranked overall in the tournament even if he or she has not completed all of their entries when qualifying ends. Point values are assigned to each position in this ranking. The overall score of a particular person is the total of the point values assigned to its ranked scores on all machines in the qualifying rounds. Because the rankings will change as new scores are posted on each machine, the score of each entry may change as the qualifying rounds progress.

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. 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 and Score

1st Place – 300 points
2nd Place – 293 points
3rd Place – 287 points
4th Place – 282 points
5th Place – 278 points
6th Place – 275 points
7th Place – 273 points
8th Place – 272 points
All places beyond 8th decrease by one point until place 279. Any competitors placing below 279 will receive zero points for that particular game

Tournament officials will endeavor to provide up-to-date scores and rankings at all times. This has traditionally been done with a computer and monitor, but may be done using another acceptable method.

4. Scoring Example

A player is ready to play one of her qualifying entries in the the first machine, and a scorekeeper directs her to the machine to play on. She plays one entry on a qualifying machine, and the scorekeeper records her score. At the time the entry is completed, she has not yet played the second time for that machine, but her score is ranked in the 3rd position on the selected machine. Her total score for entry 128 is therefore 287. 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 20th, providing a total score of 172. If a score is moved out of the top 279, it does not count for any points.

The player may use her second entry on the same title later on in the qualifying session, improving her score at that point.

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 entries are played from other players; it can never increase for a competitor without a second entry being played. If the second entry for the player has already been played, his or her score for that machine may only go down.

If you wish to qualifying highly in the Midwest Pinball Championship, we strongly suggest that you play both entries for all three machines. It is possible, although highly improbable, to qualify using less than all three machine entries.

IV. Singles: Final Rounds

1. Advancing to Finals

As soon as players are finished and scoring is confirmed, players who qualify for the finals will be posted at the Midwest Gaming Classic in a public spot, as well as on the web site. Upon opening of the show on Sunday morning, this posting will also be at the place where the tournament is being played. Final rounds will start promptly at 10:15am Sunday morning, so the first report time will be 10:10am.

Note that qualifying position determines the seeding in final rounds. Due to the nature of the round system, players will be asked to report for their game at different times on Sunday. Players report times will be five minutes earlier than their match is scheduled to begin. In the event that a qualifying player is not available, by the time the round starts, the person they were supposed to play against will win the round as a forfeit. In the rare case where both players do not arrive on time to start their round, measures may be taken to re-shuffle that qualifying round’s field so that the top players get a bye and the following round does not start with an open spot.

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 five minutes for that player to appear. Substitutions or late arrivals are not allowed except in the above situation.

2. Tie Breaking Procedures

In the case of two players having an equal amount of ranking points, a tie breaking procedure will be used to separate the two players. This procedure will be decided by tournament officials, but will generally be a single game face off, unless external factors such as timing force a change. These players will be identified and asked to report additional 5 minutes early before their regular play time Sunday to break the tie.

3. 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.

For simplicity, the rules treat all games played in the final rounds as head-to-head games. In the event a machine being utilized does not support two 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.

4. Player Report Times

Player report times will be listed as 5 minutes before the start of the round time listed below.

5. Round Structure

In order to maximize the number of qualifiers, the use of the equipment, and the player’s time the finals for the Midwest Gaming Classic will be a ten round format, with a special last chance “play-in” game. If the lowest ranked qualifier is able to play throughout the entire tournament, he or she will play 19 head-to-head games. Top players will get byes based on their position, with the top four players getting a bye all the way to the final eight players.

The games played in the 10th grouping to the 5th grouping will be played on a single game head to head. The top ranked player will get to pick the game based on availability (a player may not choose a machine that is already taken by another group in that same grouping). Here is how the groupings will look for these rounds:

10:15am – Last Chance Play-In. The players ranked 36th and 37th will play to determine who advances into the 10th Grouping.

10:30am – 10th Grouping. Qualifying players 29 through 35 will join the winner of the last chance play-in to determine who advances to the 9th Grouping.

10:45am – 9th Grouping. Qualifying players 25 through 28 will join the four advancing players from the 10th Grouping to determine who advances to the 8th Grouping.

11:00am – 8th Grouping. Qualifying players 21 through 24 will join the four advancing players from the 9th Grouping to determine who advances to the 7th Grouping.

11:15am – 7th Grouping. Qualifying players 17 through 20 will join the four advancing players from the 8th Grouping to determine who advances to the 6th Grouping.

11:30am – 6th Grouping. Qualifying players 13 through 16 will join the four advancing players from the 7th Grouping to determine who advances to the 5th Grouping.

11:45am – 5th Grouping. Qualifying players 9 through 12 will join the four advancing players from the 6th Grouping to determine who advances to the 4th Grouping.

When the 4th Grouping begins at noon on Sunday, all remaining rounds will played head-to-head in a best of three format. The top ranked player will get to pick the game based on availability (a player may not choose a machine that is already taken by another group in that same grouping). After the first game, players will immediately be asked to begin their second game. Choice will be given to the player who lost the first game based on availability (a player may not choose a machine that is already taken by another group in the same round, or a title which they have already played). If a third game is needed, it must be the third title and the player who lost the second game will choose which machine to play it on, based on availability. The final round structure works like this (note, timing is approximate, rounds after 1pm may begin quicker depending on player input):

12:00pm – 4th Grouping. Qualifying players 5 through 8 will join the four advancing players from the 5th Grouping to determine who advances to the 3rd Grouping.

1:00pm – 3rd Grouping. Qualifying players 1 through 4 will join the advancing four players from the 4th Grouping to determine who advances to the Semi-Finals.

2:00pm – Semi-Final. The four winners from the 3rd grouping will play each other head-to-head over three games to determine which two players advance to the finals. The four players who lost in the 3rd grouping will play head-to-head over one game to determine their ranking against each other.

Final. The winning players from the Semi-Final round and the players who lost in the Semi-Final round will play each other in a best of three format to determine who is the 2018 Midwest Pinball Champion! This round will begin immediately after the completion of the Semi-Final round.

A player may have their games filmed and projected or televised in a way deemed acceptable to the tournament officials. Filming equipment shall not be placed within 6 inches of the flipper buttons of the machine, and monitoring devices may not be placed within 12 inches to the left or right of the edge of the machine.

6. Final Placement for WPPR Rankings

When a player is eliminated, with the exception of the Semi-Final and Final rounds, that player’s position will be based on his or her round elimination as well as their original ranking score. For instance, if the 30th ranked player is eliminated in the 6th grouping, his or her rank would be no lower than 20th.

A player may not fall more than four spots in the ranking in this way, even if he or she does not appear for their set time. For instance, a player qualifying 17th who does not arrive for his or her start time would be considered as being “out” as of that round of the tournament, but seeing as how they had the 17th ranked score they would be the “top” player to be eliminated that round, moving their final position down four places.

Due to the nature of the final rounds where the players that lost get to play again, the final rounds will be ranked based on final positioning.

7. Winners

As players are eliminated, they will receive a certificate noting their achievement and the round reached or, in the final positions, their final spot. All decisions by tournament officials regarding winners and prizes are final.

All players, winning or not, grant the Midwest Gaming Classic 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. If you have any problem with this clause, please speak with a tournament official before beginning play to see if we can accommodate your request.

The top winner will receive the title “Midwest Pinball Champion.” This title remains in effect until the next annual MPC tournament.

VI. Other Competitions

More competitions will be announced soon! For their rules, please check the other Midwest Gaming Classic tournament pages.

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. The MPC tournament 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 game play, 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 game play 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 game play. 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 current player will be asked to allow the ball to drain. This ball, and all others after this point will be considered “lost.” At this point, each player will be asked to plunge any remaining balls he or she has remaining into play, but will not be allowed to touch the flippers. When all balls are drained, the current scores for all players including the plunger skill shots and / or bonus count downs will be written recorded.

At this point, once any issues with the game are fixed, a new game will be started with no attempt to re-establish game state. Each player before the player affected by the major malfunction will be allowed to plunge one ball into play to reset the correct “order” to the players in the game, and ensure the advantage for each player for skill shot attempts are equal. At this point, play will resume with each player getting to play their “lost” balls on the game.

Note that if a player or official notes a major malfunction and the player opts not to drain the ball immediately, this ball is treated as a “normal” ball and not a lost ball, and the major malfunction is treated as if it occurred between the end of that ball and the start of the next players ball. A player may not choose to play a ball on a machine normally where a major malfunction has been noted.

If the official notes the major malfunction as a beneficial major malfunction, or if the game is in a situation where draining the ball is deemed to be impossible (IE ball trough not ejecting ball, but still scoring points), the official may require the player to step away from the machine, and if necessary the official will help to remove the ball from play.

Scoring features that the player may utilize without ball interaction (ie Jurassic Park’s Smart Missile, Last Action Hero’s Smart Missle, etc) a specific ruling will be determined on how players may or may not use those features.

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 on an upraised flipper, with the player holding the flipper button, or in a manually controlled plunger lane, based on the desire of the player. In the case of games with lucrative skill shot features not accessible by the flipeprs in normal gameplay, the tournament official may disallow the placement of the ball in the plunger lane. If a game does not allow the player to raise a flipper while the door is open, or a game automaticalyl fires the ball into play when placed into the plunger lane while the door is open, those locations shall be barred for stuck ball placement.

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 has the following choice:

– The player may continue multiball play as normal, but when he or she drains to only one freed ball in play, that freed ball must immediately be drained.

– 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 not informing a tournament official 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 counts as a stuck ball. See “Beneficial Malfunctions” for further details.

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 will be invited 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. Each affected player may select as their substitute any machine in the division that was not already played on the entry that is being modified; they are 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 2:00pm 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.

Qualifying entries played before 2:00pm 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.

10. Rulings

Rulings shall be made by tournament officials, which include 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 Dan Loosen and Gary Heil.

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 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

1. Facility

The Midwest Pinball Championship is held as part of the Midwest Gaming Classic event, which is held on private property that must be treated with respect. MPC 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. In the tournament area, drinks are allowed only for actively qualifying players. No food is allowed in the qualifying area at any time. Spills of any kind should be reported to officials immediately. Trash should be deposited in the provided receptacles. Please do not remove chairs from any area where they have been placed.

All areas in the event area are strictly non-smoking. Smoking is restricted to designated areas outside the building or specific areas that are marked. 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, harassment, 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.

4. Interference

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.

5. Delay

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 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.

X. Miscellaneous

1. Special Score Handling


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.


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.


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.