The Pinball New York City League is a coed team league where each team has a host bar that will serve as the team’s “home.” Once a week, each team will compete against another team in the league, either at “home” or at their opponent’s bar. Each team will score match points based on the results of the individual pinball games — 2 points for Doubles games and 1 point for Singles games. At the end of each match, the team with the most match points will record a match win, while the other team will record a loss. League standings will be determined based on a simple win/loss record with cumulative match points serving as a tie breaker. At the end of the season there will be playoffs to determine the overall league champion.
Teams will consist of at least 6 players, and no more than 10. Of these, 1 or 2 players will act as the “Team Captain.” Captains are responsible for organizing his/her team and corresponding with the league about scoring and scheduling. Captains also serve as team representatives in each of the matches. The names of each player will be submitted to league officials prior to the start of each season. If a team would like to make a roster change, then that team’s CAPTAIN must submit a request by 4 p.m. Monday prior to that week’s match (see Roster Changes below).
Every team may have 6 to 8 STARTERS on their roster. While in attendance, STARTERS MUST play at least 1 Doubles game and 1 Singles game (see Tardiness & Early Departure below). STARTERS are not allowed to become RESERVE players once the season starts.
Up to 2 players on each team may be declared RESERVE players. RESERVE players do NOT have to compete while attending a match. Reserve players MAY become starters once the season starts.
In an effort to maintain competitiveness throughout the league, no more than 2 players on a team may be ranked in the top 200 of the World Pinball Player Rankings or PAPA Rankings of Active Players. Similarly, no more than 3 players on a team may be ranked in the top 500 of either ranking system. These rules will be enforced in the beginning of each season and ignored if a player moves within these limitations during the course of a season.
Each match will feature a minimum of 4 and no more than 8 players from each team. Every STARTER in attendance must compete in the match. If fewer than 8 STARTERS are in attendance, then RESERVE players are welcome to compete. A team may compete with only 3 players in attendance, but they do so at a penalty (see Playing With 3 Players below).
Each match consists of 2 Doubles rounds and 2 Singles rounds. Each Doubles round consists of 2 games at 2 points each, and the Singles rounds each consist of 4 games at 1 point each, for a total of 16 possible points. Prior to each round, each team will declare a lineup of players to compete for that round. Once declared, this lineup cannot change. While in attendance, every STARTER must play at least one Doubles game and one Singles game. No single player may compete more than once in any round.
There are 2 rounds of Doubles play. During Doubles games, a team will select 2 players to compete against 2 players from the opponent’s team. A team is allowed to choose any 2 players from their available roster; however, in each round the pairing MUST change for each team. In other words, the same 2 players from one team in round 1 may NOT play together in the second round. Also, every available STARTER from each team MUST compete in at least 1 Doubles game.
In round 1 the AWAY team will choose the machines to compete on (if there is more than 1 machine) for each set and they will declare their players. Once declared, the HOME team will then choose which of their players will compete in each of the games . In round 2 the HOME team will select the machine(s) to compete on and declare their lineup. The AWAY team will then choose their players to compete.
In Round 1 a player from the HOME team will start game play, and then the play will alternate between the two teams. In Round 2 the AWAY team starts game play. Players do NOT have to play in the order in which they are written on the score sheet; however, once the order is set during play, it cannot be changed. At the end of each game the team with the highest combined score will receive 2 match points.
There are 2 rounds of Singles play with 4 games in each round. Each game will consist of 1 player from the HOME team playing against a single player from the AWAY team. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins and his/her team will receive 1 match point.
While in attendance, every STARTER must play at least 1 Singles game, and no single player can play more than once in a single round. Prior to the first Singles round the AWAY team will declare a lineup and choose the machines to be played (if there is more than one available). The HOME team will then choose which of their players will compete. In this round the HOME team plays first in each of the games. In the final round the HOME team will choose which machines will be played and declare its lineup. The AWAY team will then choose its competitors and they will go first in each of the 4 games.
At the end of the match, the team with the highest point total will be declared the winner. In the event of a tie, there will be a single tie-breaking game to determine the evening’s winner. This tie-breaking game will determine the match winner, but, for the purposes of league standings, this game will not count toward overall match points. The HOME team will choose from one of two tie-breaking options:
The first option is a standard 2-player game, however, each ball must be played by a different player. 3 people from the AWAY team will be “Player 1,” and 3 people from the HOME team will be “Player 2.” Only 3 balls will be played, therefore, extra balls will be sunk (see Extra Balls below) and balls 4 and 5 of a 5-ball machine will be ignored (i.e. extra balls will be put in play and sunk, but balls 4 and 5 will NOT be played AT ALL). If there is more than 1 machine, then the HOME team will choose which machine will be played. The AWAY team will start the game. The highest score wins the match.
The second option pits 2 players from each team against each other. The game will be a standard 2-player game, however, 2 players from each team will play simultaneously — 1 on each flipper. As in the Shared Game, only 3 balls will be played, the HOME team will choose which machine will be played, and the AWAY team will start the game. The highest score wins the match.
Although the league standings are based primarily on a simple win/loss record, cumulative match points are important. In the event that two teams end the season with the same win/loss record, then cumulative match points will determine which team is ahead in the standings. For this reason it is important to play every game during match play — do not end a match early simply because 1 team has earned the minimum 9 points necessary to record a match win.
If 2 teams have the same record and the same number of match points, then the head-to-head results of the 2 teams will determine which team is ahead in the standings. If 2 teams have the same record, the same number of points, and are tied in head-to-head match ups, AND these two teams are fighting for a playoff spot, then there will be a single tie-breaker match played at a “neutral” venue (see “Neutral Venues,” below) to determine final playoff seeding.
Based on the final standings of the regular season there will be playoff matches to determine the overall league champions. For Division A there will be a single league champion and a single runner up. For Divisions B1 and B2, there will be separate playoffs to determine the winners of each sub-division, then a single Championship match to determine the overall B Division Champion and the runner-up.
Playoff rosters will be set as the same rosters in place for the final week of the regular season. However, in order for a player to be active on a playoff roster, that player must have played at least one match during the regular season.
Starters are only required to play in at least ONE round of a playoff match, not two. However, this playoff rule adjustment does not negate the requirement that no single player may play more than once during a single round. For instance, if only 4 players are present, then all 4 players are forced to play in every round.
In Division A, playoffs will begin 2 weeks after the end of the regular season and feature the top 4 teams. If there is a need for a tie-breaker match to determine final playoff seeding, then this match will take place the week after the regular season ends.
In the first round, the top seed will play at home against the fourth seed, and the second seed will play at home against the third seed. The winners of these 2 matches will square off in the Division Championships the following week. This Championship match will take place at “neutral” venue (see “Neutral Venues,” below) which will be announced immediately after the first round. In the Championship match the higher seeded team will act as the “home” team. The format of the playoffs is identical to the format of the regular season; however, cumulative match points have no bearing.
Two separate playoff paths will be used to determine the top teams from each of the two B Sub-Divisions. In the end, the winners of each will square off to determine the Overall B Division Champion. The B Division playoffs will begin the week after the season ends and feature the top four teams in each Sub-Division. If there is a need for a tie-breaker match to determine the final playoff seeding, then this match will take place on the Thursday of the final week of the season.
The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played on the division’s regularly scheduled night, either Monday or Tuesday. The Overall B Division finals will be played on Monday night, 3 weeks after the regular season ends. In the first round, the top seed in each Sub-Division will play at home against the fourth seed, and the second seed will play at home against the third seed. The winners of these 2 matches will square off the following week in the Sub-Division Championship to determine who will play in the overall B Division Championship match. Championship matches will take place at a “neutral” venue (see “Neutral Venues,” below) which will be announced immediately after the prior round. In the Championships the higher seeded team will act as the “home” team. The format of the playoffs is identical to the format of the regular season; however, cumulative match points have no bearing.
For the purposes of the playoffs, “neutral” venues are defined as venues that neither team calls home AND that do not have any of the same pinball machine models (or variations of the same models, ie Premium, Pro, Limited Edition) as those found in a participating team’s home venue AT ANY POINT during the season. In the event a “neutral” venue must be chosen which contains a model that is, or was during the course of the season, found in one of the participating team’s home venue, then that model will be taken out of competition for the match.
League play is structured with the assumption that at least 4 players from each team will be in attendance at every match. In addition, bars have agreed to host matches under this same assumption. In order to maintain the integrity of the competition, and to keep the bars happy, we ask that each team strongly adhere to this rule. Teams are highly encouraged to keep extra players on their roster to accommodate for those unforeseen occasions when 1 or more players is not available to compete. Teams may compete, at a penalty, if only 3 players show up; however, any less will result in a forfeit. Should teams repeatedly attend with fewer than 4 players, then they may be asked to step out of the league.
A team may compete with only 3 players; however, because no single player may compete more than once in a single round, that team will play the match at a disadvantage. In each of the 2 Doubles rounds, 1 set will be played with 1 player from the short team against 2 players from the opposing team. This single player may NOT play alone in both rounds — someone new must be chosen from the available three. 1 game in each of the Singles rounds will be forfeited by the team with 3 players. All other games will proceed as usual, and match points will be tallied accordingly.
Matches should start on time provided 4 players from each team are present — the match should not be delayed simply because a “better” player is on their way. If there are not enough players to start, but more are on their way, then the match may be delayed for up to 30 minutes, provided that both teams are in agreement. After 30 minutes, or if the opposing team has not agreed to delay the start, then the match should begin regardless or whether or not a team is still short a player(s).
If 4 or more players from a team are present at the start of a match, then lineups must be made using these available players. In this scenario, players who are late for a match may not be added to the lineup until they are physically present. It is important to remember that once a lineup is declared it may not be changed. Therefore, late arriving players must wait to join play at the start of the next round.
If a match starts with 1 team having less than 4 players present, but more are expected, then the late player(s) may be added to the lineup in the hopes that they will show up in time for their game. If the late player shows up on time for his/her scheduled game, then the match continues without penalty. If the player does not show up on time, then the match should continue and the team short a player must play at a penalty (see Playing With 3 Players above).
Starting players who show up late or leave early are only obliged to play while they are present.
If, during the season, a team wants to add a player to their roster, they may do so provided there is an empty roster spot. If a roster spot is not empty, then the team may drop a player to make room for the new player. Once dropped, that player is no longer allowed to compete in the league, with any team, for the remainder of the season. Also, Reserve players are allowed to move into Starter positions, but teams are not allowed to move Starters into Reserve positions once the season starts. All roster changes should be submitted to the league, by a team Captain, by 4 p.m. on the Monday of the week the changes are intended to take effect.
If a bar has more than 1 working machine, then all of the machines are available for play and at least 2 MUST be used for each round; however, no more than 2 games may be played on the same machine in the same round. If there are more than 2 machines available, then the teams have the option of using all the available machines; however, it is not mandatory — the same 2 machines may be used throughout the evening. No more than 2 match games should be going on simultaneously, and each round should be completed before starting a new round.
If a team does not show up for a match with at least 3 players, then that team forfeits the match. In this case the attending team will receive 9 match points for the evening (the minimum number of points needed for a win). If the attending team remains at the bar and plays for the evening with a minimum of four players, then that team will receive an additional 3 match points, for a total of 12 points. Also, any games that are played during the evening WILL count for personal high scores.
High scores will be recorded for each machine, in each division, in league play. High scores are noted ONLY for those games played during match competition (or all games during a forfeit — see above). Warm up games, or games played during off nights will not be acknowledged. Each machine, not model, will have a league high-score. However, at the end of the season an individual will only be rewarded for 1 high score per model. If a player has high scores on 2 different Avatar machines, for instance, then only the highest of these scores will qualify for an award. In this case, the individual who scored the second highest score on the second machine will receive the award. At the end of the night, high scores should be reported to the league along with match scores.
Extra balls are NOT played in Division A matches, but they are played in Division B matches. When games are played on 5-ball machines, however, extra balls will NOT be played. Extra balls are never played in tie-breaker games in either division.
During games where the extra ball is NOT played, the player who receives an extra ball may shoot the ball for a Skill Shot (and any other points that may ensue), but that player may not hit the ball with the flippers. Flipper buttons may be pressed, however, in order to score on a skill shot, so long as the ball’s path is not affected. If a player hits an extra ball with a flipper, intentionally or otherwise, then that players TOTAL SCORE is forfeited. In Doubles games, it means the individual player’s score will not be tallied in the total. In Singles games, it means the entire game is forfeited.
As this is a team league, players are not only allowed to coach their teammates during game play, but they are encouraged. Harassing your opponent, however, is not allowed.
Techniques known as “Death Saves” and “Bang-backs” are not permitted during match play. However, should the drained ball bounce back into play without deliberate player action, the ball may be played. A player caught ATTEMPTING one of these techniques during match play will forfeit their score.
Pinball machine failure is inevitable. If a machine is misbehaving during a match, then it is up to the teams to decide exactly how to proceed. Minor misbehavior is forgivable, however, big problems may lead to the elimination of that machine for the evening. Obviously, if there is more than 1 machine to compete on, then this is not a big deal; however, if there is 1 one machine, and it is agreed that the machine is not suitable for competition, then action must be taken. In this case the 2 teams have the option of postponing the match or moving the match to another venue for the evening. If the match is postponed, then the make-up match MUST be played at the same regularly scheduled bar. Of course, this assumes that the machine will be fixed in time for the make up game. If the match is moved, then the HOME team will decide where to compete. The new venue should be near the original venue, and ideally it should be a bar that is already a part of the league. It is important to note that moving or postponing a match should not occur UNLESS the machine is acting in an unpredictable manor that may favor 1 player over another. If a malfunction is predictable and the playing field is level, then the teams are encouraged to play through and finish the match.
If a machine is malfunctioning in any way, then please alert the bar and the league so that it can be tended to before the next match. When reporting a problem please provide a detailed description of what is wrong with the machine, as this will help the operator tend to the problem in the quickest, most effective manor. Also, if a match is moved or postponed, then please alert the bar and contact the league. Rescheduling may be difficult, and it should be avoided if at all possible.
No non-essential repairs or adjustments can be administered to a league machine after 6PM of the night of a scheduled match without the consent of BOTH teams. This includes, but is not limited to, machine balance, tilt settings, playfield cleaning or waxing, or any and all operator settings.
It is the shared responsibility of both teams to pay for the individual pinball games. In the event that a player “Matches” or earns a “Free Play” then that player’s TEAM will earn the extra credit and it will be passed along to the next match up. TEAMS, not individuals, earn extra play.
As we are all guests of the bars that host our matches, we must behave like guests. If a player displays unsportsmanlike conduct or threatens the safety of any individual or machine, then that player should be reported to the League. The League will investigate the incident and, if necessary, disciplinary action will commence. Mild infractions will incur a warning, while extreme misconduct will result in permanent expulsion from the league. If a player receives two warnings then that player will be suspended for the remainder of the season. Multiple suspensions may result in permanent expulsion from the League. All disciplinary actions will be at the sole discretion of league officials.