Rules EPC 2014

1 Introduction

2 Main Tournament (EPC)

3 “80’s” Tournament

4 Team competition

5 Player Conduct

6 Malfunctions and rulings

7 Pinball Settings

 

1 Introduction

The European Pinball Championship 2014 will take place  on friday, saturday and sunday March 21st, 22nd, 23rd 2014. The tournament will be open up to 192 players.  The event will have three tournament: the main one, the “80’s” tournament and the team competition, tournaments  that will be explained in details in the following sections. The registration fee is 30 Euro that allow to play the main and the “80’s” tournament and also includes the three days pass for  ENADA SPRING International Amusement and Gaming Show starting on Wednesday March 19th. Registrations will be open around November 15th 2013.

Program: 

Friday March 21st
17.00: Registration EPC opens
19.00/23.30: Team competition
19.00/24.00: “80’s” tournament

Saturday March 22nd
09.00/12.00: Registration EPC
09.30/22.00: “80’s” tournament
09.30/14.00: Qualifying EPC Groups A, B, C, D
14.00/18.30: Qualifying EPC Groups E, F, G, H
18.30/23.00: Qualifying EPC Groups I, L, M, N

Sunday March 23rd
09.00/13.00: Second Phase EPC
13.30/18.30: Finals EPC
16.30: Finals “80’s”


2 Main tournament (EPC)

First qualifying phase

All players will be equally divided in 16 players groups based on ”World Pinball Player Ranking” (www.pinballrankings.com) on February 28th 2014 and assign to banks of 10 pinball. Every player will play 15 games against each of the 15 players of his group. Each game is a 2 players game. Order of playing for each game will be determined by a coin flip by the players. The player who play second, if he is ahead on the third ball, must drain the ball since he already won the game. Standing for each group will be determined by win/lose ratio. The machines for each game will be pre-assigned by the organizers. A sign with all the pairs and the correspondent pinball will be posted. 4 groups at the time will be playing simultaneously on 10 pinballs assigned to that group. The players need to call the tournament judges at the end of each game in order to homologate the result. Top 4 players of each group will move on the second phase on Sunday morning.

Second phase

The 48 qualified players will be divided in 4 groups of 12 players based on the previous day results, and assigned to a 10 pinball banks. Each player will play 11 game against each of the 11 players of his group. Each game is a 2 players game. Order of playing for each game will be determined by a coin flip by the players. The player who play second, if he is ahead on the third ball, must drain the ball since he already won the game. Standing for each group will be determined by win/lose ratio. The machines for each game will be pre-assigned by the organizers. A sign with all the pairs and the correspondent pinball will be posted. The 4 groups will play simultaneously on 10 different pinball. The players need to call the tournament judges at the end of each game in order to homologate the result. Top 4 players of each group will move on the final phase on Sunday afternoon.

Finals

The top 16 players will get to the finals phase who will be inserted in to the head-to-head bracket as follows:

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All matches will be played at best of 3 games on 3 pinball assigned by the organizers (Only the final will be played at best of 5). For each match, the players qualified with a better record will chose the order of the first game, while in the following games the order will be chosen by the looser of the previous game. The final for third place will be played by the losers of the semifinals in a math of best of three games.


3 "80's" Tournament

The "80’s" tournament will be played on 10 pinball esclusively made in the 80’s. Every players in the time assigned to this tournament can play 5 games, one for each of the 5 pinball that he will pick between the 10 available. At 10 pm of Saturday night, each pinball will have his final standings based on the scores. For each score the following points will be awarded:

Position Points
1st 100
2nd 90
3rd 85
4th to 87th 84 down to 1


On the remaining 5 pinballs that every player does not play, a symbolic score of 1 will be assigned. The sum of the 10 scores obtained on the 10 pinballs will determined the final standings. The top 8 players will qualify for the finals on Sunday March 23rd. Pinballs will be played just before the final of EPC main tournament, right after the semifinals. In case none of the 8 qualified players are still competing in the main tournament, the beginning these finals will be anticipated. The top 8 players will be divided in 2 groups of 4 in the following manner:

Group 1 players # 1, 4, 5, 8
Group 2 players #2, 3, 6, 7

Each group will play one single game on a pinball assigned by the organizers with the top two players of each game moving to the final. Order always reverse of the qualifying position. The final will be a single four players game on a pinball assigned by the organizers.

4 Team competition

EPC 2014 will hold a team competition where one team per country can participate. Each country will form a 4 players team, who preferably are the best 4 players according to the WPPR ranking. The cost will be 20 Euro per team, 5 Euro per player. Tournament will be played on Friday night, starting at 7 pm.

10 pinball machines will be used for this tournament where qualification and finals will be played. The teams will be split in 2 groups and it will be assigned a bank of 5 pinball at each group. Each team will play 5 games, one for each pinball. Each game consist of a 4 balls game where every ball will be played by a different component of the team. Each scores will be ranked as in the following table:

Position Points
1 25
2 15
3 10
4 6
5 3

The sum of the 5 scores obtained on the 5 pinballs will determined the final standings for each group. Top 4 teams in each groups will advance to the final round, a double elimination bracket as indicate below:

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In case of tie position for the fourth place, a single tie-breaker game will be played. Each match will be a single four ball game where every ball will be played by a different component of the team. The machines will be assigned by the organizers. The order of playing will be picked by the best qualified team.


5 Player conduct

1. Facility

The space of Fiera di Rimini must be treated with respect at all times. IFPA Italia staff 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 officials or location staff. Banned persons will be prosecuted for trespass if necessary. Playing areas must be kept clean at all times. 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 inside the building are strictly non-smoking. Smoking is restricted to designated areas outside the building. Violation of this and/or other rules may lead to ejection from the tournament. Naturally, any and all types of illegal activity are prohibited as well.

2. Personal Conduct

All players are expected to conduct themselves in a polite and sensitive manner. Outbursts, especially those including indecent language, are unacceptable. A wide variety of players and observers will be present, including media, and these types of outbursts do nothing to promote pinball as a sport. Any express or implied threats or actions of violence are grounds for immediate ejection from the facility, and authorities will be contacted. Other possible grounds for ejection include but are not limited to fraud, theft, illegal activity, harrassment, inappropriate behavior, public drunkenness, etc. Any person ejected from the facility is banned and may not return to the property. Banned persons will be prosecuted for trespass if necessary.

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 & 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 tournament officials. 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 tournament officials as appropriate, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Penalty Cards

Similar to soccer, tournament directors 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. Similar to other sports, at the discretion of the tournament directors, it is possible for players to be issued a red card immediately for their actions depending on how severe the action.


6 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 be perfectly compensated for. IFPA attempts to strike a balance between compensating for malfunctions and accepting the physical nature of the game. In certain cases, malfunctions will be dealt with more strictly during finals rounds than during qualifying rounds, at the discretion of tournament officials.

2. Minor Malfunctions

A minor malfunction is any incident without external cause which deviates from the normal course of gameplay, without directly causing a player’s loss of turn and without providing any player a significant advantage over others. A minor malfunction is considered part of normal play. Tournament officials shall determine what constitutes a significant advantage; in the event that such an advantage is obtained, refer to “Beneficial Malfunctions”. A minor malfunction that occurs repeatedly, to the extent that it is markedly affecting play of the machine, may be considered a major malfunction at the sole discretion of tournament officials.

3. Major Malfunctions

A major malfunction is a gameplay problem with a machine that results in the premature loss of ball in play in a fashion that is not a normal feature of the machine’s gameplay. These may be unusual one-time events, or they may indicate a recurring problem that will need to be addressed by technicians.

Examples of major malfunctions include:

The bonus count begins while the ball is still in play. This can happen if, for example, the machine loses track of how many balls are in the drain trough.

A flipper or other major playfield feature ceases to function.

Note that unrepeated physical failures, such as kickbacks, 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 Tilt warnings, without loss of ball, shall not be considered a major malfunction. If the loss of Tilt warnings was caused by another player, please see the "Player Errors" section for how that situation will be handled.

Loss of any lit feature, running mode, or other gameplay specifics, shall not be considered a major malfunction.

Should a player lose a ball due to a flipper not engaging when the flipper button is pressed, or due to a flipper sticking in the held position when the flipper button is pressed, they should immediately notify a tournament official. The tournament official will attempt to recreate the problem by pressing the flipper button for up to 3 minutes. If the tournament official is able to recreate the problem, this will be treated as a Major Malfunction. If the problem is not able to be recreated, this will not be treated as a Major Malfunction and play will continue. If the game is in multiball play and one or more balls are lost as a result of this kind of issue, possibly ending multiball but not ending the ball in play, this will be considered no worse than a minor malfunction.

When a major malfunction occurs, it is the player’s responsibility to notify the scorekeeper, calmly and promptly. The scorekeeper will request advice from a tournament official. If the official(s) agree that the incident is a major malfunction, the player will be provided with one additional ball of play at the beginning of a new game, after the current game has been completed. Tournament directors 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. Examples of this include 'Double Bonus' balls on many EM machines, as well as pity Mist Multiball on Dracula should the player have not yet played one. The player’s total score on the additional ball of play will be added to his or her previous score, and the new game will be terminated. 

If a major malfunction occurs early in the play of the first ball by the first player, tournament officials may rule that the current game is voided. Machine repairs will be attempted and the player(s) will restart their play without needing to track the previous score. In the event that two or more major malfunctions take place during the same game, the current scores of the player(s) will be recorded, and the game terminated. Once the machine has been repaired, players will be provided additional ball(s) of play on a new game, as necessary to provide the correct number of balls of play for each player.

Alternatively, tournament officials may choose to allow the affected player(s) to replay the game from scratch, and the higher score for each player will be recorded as his or her official score, except in any case where the original score was unfairly improved by the malfunction or was significantly increased during attempts to investigate or cure the malfunction.

In the event that a recurring major malfunction cannot suitably be repaired, the failure must be treated as a catastrophic malfunction.

Under certain specific conditions, a major malfunction may be declined by the player. This must be approved by the tournament official, and must not result in a situation which provides an unfair advantage to the player.

4. Known Malfunctions

Any malfunction or unusual behavior 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 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 attempts to repair the machine.

Any event caused by a player, intentionally or unintentionally, including Slam Tilts, is covered under “Player Errors” below.

In the event that two or more major malfunctions take place when a catastrophic malfunction occurs, the current scores of the player(s) will be recorded, and the game terminated. Once the machine has been repaired, players will be provided additional ball(s) of play on a new game, as necessary to provide the correct number of balls of play for each player.

Alternatively, tournament officials may choose to allow the affected player(s) to replay the game from scratch, and the higher score for each player will be recorded as his or her official score, except in any case where the original score was unfairly improved by the malfunction or was significantly increased during attempts to investigate or cure the malfunction.

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.

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.

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 match 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. 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 directors 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 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.

A ball which has come to rest on a center post, an inlane-outlane post/guide or a lamp insert 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.

8. 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, either through interference or by tilting through his or her ball so roughly that the next player’s ball is affected before play continues, will receive a one ball penalty for the offending player. Should this happen on the last ball in play, the offending player’s score will be adjusted to 80% of the total score for a 5 ball game, or 66% of the total score for a 3 ball game. Tournament officials may grant an exception based on the behavior of the machine in question.

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. The player with the warning will be allowed to continue play as normal, or choose to have the ball played on a fresh game. 

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.

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. 

Because the tournament consist solely of singles play, coaching of any player during a game, in any session or final 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. 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.


7 Pinball Settings

All machines, if possible, will be set in the following manner: tournament mode, 3 balls (4 in the team competition), extra balls disabled, buy-in o continue disabled, restart game disabled, 2 warning before tilt, flipper auto launch disabled, timed auto launch disabled, standard settings for everything else.

In case these settings are not enabled, please immediately contact the organizers who will promptly make the changes.

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