IFPA17 Rules

Official Rules

IFPA17 is the World Pinball Championship event operated by the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA). This document specifies the official operating rules and regulations of the event.

The event coordinators for IFPA17 are Josh Sharpe, Zach Sharpe, Brian Woodard and Adam Becker. Event coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and rulings, delegate responsibilities and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Event coordinators and designated officials are not excluded from tournament play but will be recused from any situation that directly affects their actual or potential standing as a player.

I. Quick Overview

IFPA tournament rules are quite lengthy and detailed. They reflect the experience of many years of tournament and league play, under many different systems. Many of the rules are based on rules used by the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA). The underlying ideas are simple, however.

The tournament consists of 8 sessions of qualifying rounds. During each session, players play against each other in three 4-player games. Players earn points based on their finishing positions, with the top 32 players advancing to the final rounds.

In the final rounds, qualifying players play against each other in head-to-head single elimination matches until a winner is determined.

II. Competition Details

1. How to qualify

Unlike most tournaments where the qualification process takes place over a couple of days at the tournament site, qualifying for IFPA17 is based on results from all the IFPA endorsed tournaments held over the past 3 years. Utilizing its World Pinball Player Rankings, the IFPA has used the January 1st, 2020 rankings to determine the qualifiers for IFPA17. The tournament field will consist of 64 players. The top 2 ranked players from each eligible country as of 1/1/2020 will receive an automatic qualifying spot into the tournament. Should either of the top 2 players not be able to attend, that country exemption will move down the country ranking list until it is filled. The rest of the field will be made up of the most highly ranked players from the WPPR list. For players that cannot attend, spots will be filled by going down the rankings list.

Please note that for the Country Exemption spots, if you have been residing outside your registered country for more than a year, you lose your right to that country’s exemption spot.

Furthermore, we require that a country has 50 or more players currently ranked within their country to be eligible to award these 2 Country Exemption spots for the IFPA World Pinball Championship.

Additionally, 2 of the 64 spots will be made available at the 2019-20 IFPA North American Pinball Championship and the 2019-20 IFPA European Pinball Championship. These spots will go to the highest finisher of these events who did not qualify for IFPA17 through the automatic bid process. Contact the IFPA for these details.

2. Fees

A one time entry fee of US$250 per player is to be prepaid prior to the event. US$50 from each entry will go to the IFPA host, to be put towards tournament expenses, with the remainder being paid back as cash prizes.

3. Prizes

The tournament features a guaranteed package of cash prizes. Additional tournament expenses on top of the US$50 per entry are recouped through sponsorship dollars. In the event of an overrun beyond expenses, tournament revenue will be retained to finance the next IFPA event. In the event IFPA discontinues its events or is disbanded, any such retained revenue will be donated to charity.

The guaranteed prize package is as follows:

1st Place $1000 + NIB Stern game plus trophy!
2nd Place $2500 plus plaque!
3rd Place $1500 plus plaque!
4th Place $1000 plus plaque!
5th Place $900
6th Place $800
7th Place $700
8th Place $600
9th-16th Place $300 each

In addition, the top qualifier following the 8 sessions will receive a $200 cash prize.

The winner of IFPA17 will also receive the title “World Pinball Champion”.

III. Qualifying Sessions

1. Original groupings for Session #1

Once all participants are finalized, the 64 players will be ranked by their World Pinball Player Rankings standing as of 1/1/20. The field will be divided into 16 groups of 4 players.

Initial groups for Session #1 will be as follows:
Group 1: 1-32-33-64, Group 2: 2-31-34-63, Group 3: 3-30-35-62, Group 4: 4-29-36-61, Group 5: 5-28-37-60, Group 6: 6-27-38-59, Group 7: 7-26-39-58, Group 8: 8-25-40-57, Group 9: 9-24-41-56, Group 10: 10-23-42-55, Group 11: 11-22-43-54, Group 12: 12-21-44-53, Group 13: 13-20-45-52, Group 14: 14-19-46-51, Group 15: 15-18-47-50, Group 16: 16-17-48-49

2. Playing a session

Each group will be assigned 3 games at random (1 ‘OLD’, 1 ’MID’ and 1 ‘NEW’).

Groups will play from OLD to MID to NEW except when there is a conflict of multiple groups being put on the same machine. Should this occur, every effort will be made to shift lower groups first to a different game order, however, to best ensure that players do not replay games more than absolutely necessary any group has the chance of not playing in the order of OLD to MID to NEW. The scoresheets will show the proper order of how the games should be played from top to bottom.

Each player will have the opportunity for 30 seconds of practice time before starting every game of every session.

Choice of position for game 1 will go to the highest seeded player within that group based on the standings entering that session, second choice will go to the 2nd highest seeded player, third choice will go to the 3rd highest seeded player and the lowest seeded player will have the remaining choice. Please note that players do not need to announce their desired position choice until after a game has been selected if they prefer.

In subsequent games, the player finishing in 4th place will have choice of position for Game 2. The player finishing in 3rd place will have 2nd choice of position. The player finishing in 2nd place will have 3rd choice of position. The player finishing in 1st place will have the remaining position.

3. Scoring

The rank of the player’s result on each machine awards the following amount of points. These points are cumulative over all 8 sessions when the finalists are determined.

Rank Score
1st place 7 points
2nd place 5 points
3rd place 3 points
4th place 1 point

In the unlikely event of two or more scores on a machine being tied, an average point value of the tied positions will be awarded for each tied score. For example, a tie for 2nd place would earn each player 4 points.

In the unlikely event that someone drops out of the tournament during the qualifying sessions, and a 3 person group is formed, scoring for that group will be 7 points for first place, 4 points for second place and 1 point for third place. 3 person groups will be formed based on where the missing players would have been grouped. Should 4 players drop out, we will instead form 15 groups of 4 rather than 12 groups of 4 and 4 groups of 3.

Tournament officials will endeavor to provide up-to-date scores and rankings at all times, using a projected screen. The up-to-date scores and rankings will also be available on the http://www.ifpapinball.com/ Web site following each session.

4. Regrouping for Session #2 through Session #8

After Session #1 players will be ranked according to their first session scores. For session #2 through session #8 the groupings will be done according to the most up to date standings entering that particular session.

Session #2 (same breakdown as Session #1):
Group 1: 1-32-33-64, Group 2: 2-31-34-63, Group 3: 3-30-35-62, Group 4: 4-29-36-61, Group 5: 5-28-37-60, Group 6: 6-27-38-59, Group 7: 7-26-39-58, Group 8: 8-25-40-57, Group 9: 9-24-41-56, Group 10: 10-23-42-55, Group 11: 11-22-43-54, Group 12: 12-21-44-53, Group 13: 13-20-45-52, Group 14: 14-19-46-51, Group 15: 15-18-47-50, Group 16: 16-17-48-49

Session #3 & 4:
Group 1: 1-16-17-32, Group 2: 2-15-18-31, Group 3: 3-14-19-30, Group 4:4-13-20-29, Group 5: 5-12-21-28, Group 6: 6-11-22-27, Group 7: 7-10-23-26, Group 8: 8-9-24-25, Group 9: 33-48-49-64, Group 10: 34-47-50-63, Group 11: 35-46-51-62, Group 12: 36-45-52-61, Group 13: 37-44-53-60, Group 14: 38-43-54-59, Group 15: 39-42-55-58, Group 16: 40-41-56-57

Session #5 & #6:
Group 1: 1-8-9-16, Group 2: 2-7-10-15, Group 3: 3-6-11-14, Group 4: 4-5-12-13, Group 5: 17-24-25-32, Group 6: 18-23-26-31, Group 7: 19-22-27-30, Group 8: 20-21-28-29, Group 9: 33-40-41-48, Group 10: 34-39-42-47, Group 11: 35-38-43-46, Group 12: 36-37-44-45, Group 13: 49-56-57-64, Group 14: 50-55-58-63, Group 15: 51-54-59-62, Group 16: 52-53-60-61

Session #7:
Group 1: 1-4-5-8, Group 2: 2-3-6-7, Group 3: 9-12-13-16, Group 4: 10-11-14-15, Group 5: 17-20-21-24, Group 6: 18-19-22-23, Group 7: 25-28-29-32, Group 8: 26-27-30-31, Group 9: 33-36-37-40, Group 10: 34-35-38-39, Group 11: 41-44-45-48, Group 12: 42-43-46-47, Group 13: 49-52-53-56, Group 14: 50-51-54-55, Group 15: 57-60-61-64, Group 16: 58-59-62-63

Session #8:
Group 1: 1-2-3-4, Group 2: 5-6-7-8, Group 3: 9-10-11-12, Group 4: 13-14-15-16, Group 5: 17-18-19-20, Group 6: 21-22-23-24, Group 7: 25-26-27-28, Group 8: 29-30-31-32, Group 9: 33-34-35-36, Group 10: 37-38-39-40, Group 11: 41-42-43-44, Group 12: 45-46-47-48, Group 13: 49-50-51-52, Group 14: 53-54-55-56, Group 15: 57-58-59-60, Group 16: 61-62-63-64

In the case of players that are tied in total points after a given session, those players will be randomly placed in the different tied positions available.

IV. Final Rounds

1. Advancing to Finals

When all 8 sessions of the qualifying round have been completed, a final calculation of standings will be tabulated. Those scores will be ranked, and the top 32 players will advance to the final rounds.

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 at least ten minutes but no more than twenty minutes, for that player to appear. Substitutions or late arrivals are not allowed.

In the event that two or more players are tied on either the qualifying bubble, a potential bye or for top seed, such that not all of the tied players can advance to the final rounds or receive the bye, a tiebreaking procedure will be utilized. A single game will be played on a machine randomly selected by tournament officials from the qualifying bank of games. Tournament officials will draw one ‘OLD’, one ’MID’ and one ’NEW’ machine at random.

The players tied on the qualifying/bye bubble will be asked to vote by secret ballot for which game they would like to play. The game with the most votes will be the game used for the tie-breaker game. If two or three machines receive the same number of votes, the players will vote again from the machines that are tied from the original voting. If after the second round of voting there is still a tie, the following procedue will be used:

For a tie of 2-players, the game that received zero votes will be the tiebreaker game played.
For a tie of 3 or more players, the game will be chosen at random from those three by tournament officials.

The tied players will play, in randomly determined order, in a multi-player game on the selected machine, and will subsequently be ranked in the order of their scores on that game. If more players are tied than the selected machine will support in a single game, multiple games will be played to accommodate all tied players, in randomly determined order, and the resulting scores will be compared as if they had occurred in a single game on the same machine. This tie-breaking procedure is used to determine which players advance to the finals, and which players are eliminated. However, this one-game playoff will not affect the seeding of the tied players that do advance. The tied players that do advance will be ranked according to the methods of players not on the qualifying bubble (see next paragraph).

In the event that two or more players are tied but are not on the qualifying/bye bubble, a simpler tiebreaking procedure will be used in order to save time. Tournament officials will examine the Session sheets to determine the head-to-head results for the players involved in the tie. A winning percentage will be calculated for each player involved in the tie, and the player with the highest winning percentage will be given the highest rank entering the final rounds. Should there be a tie in winning percentages between any of the players involved in the tiebreaker, original rankings used at the start of the tournament (1/1/19 World Pinball Player Ranking) will be used to rank the players in order from highest to lowest. Should a player not have a record against any of the other players involved in the tie, that player will be ranked amongst those tied based on their initial ranking entering the tournament. The remaining players will be ranked based on the initial tie breaking procedure of head-to-head record.

2. Machines Chosen

The machines used for final rounds in each division will be the same machines used during the qualifying sessions.

The most updated list of these games are available here:

3. Head-to-Head Single Elimination Format

Players will be placed in a single elimination bracket based on the final seedings after Session #8 and all tiebreakers are completed. Players seeded 1 through 8 will receive 2 byes, while players seeded 9 through 16 will receive 1 bye.

First round pairings are as follows:

17 vs. 32, 18 vs. 31, 19 vs. 30, 20 vs. 29,
21 vs. 28, 22 vs. 27, 23 vs. 26, 24 vs. 25

Second round pairings are as follows:

9 vs. 24/25 winner, 10 vs. 23/26 winner, 11 vs. 22/27 winner,
12 vs. 21/28 winner, 13 vs. 20/29, 14 vs. 19/30 winner,
15 vs. 18/31 winner, 16 vs. 17/32 winner

Third round pairings are as follows:

1 vs. 16/17/32, 2 vs. 15/18/31, 3 vs. 14/19/30,
4 vs. 13/20/29, 5 vs. 12/21/28, 6 vs. 11/22/27,
7 vs. 10/23/26, 8 vs. 9/24/25

Each match will be a race to 4 wins (unless a match is tied 3-3 after 6 games where a sudden death tiebreaker will be played – see below). At the start of the match each player will choose an ‘OLD’, ’MID’ and ’NEW’ machine. The lower seeded player will choose the first machine, followed by the higher seeded player choosing the second machine. This picking order will continue until all 6 games have been chosen. A machine may not be picked more than once in the same match. Once a player verbally makes any choice regarding machine or position, they are locked into that decision.

The higher seed will first choose whether they want to start on one of their own choices, or one of the lower seed’s choices. Position will be based on who originally selected the machine before the match started. The player that did not have the machine as a part of their three choices will have choice of position on that particular machine. The match will alternate between machines chosen by each player, until all 6 games are completed. Should a player reach 4 wins before all 6 games are completed, no further games should be played.

Each player will have the opportunity for 30 seconds of practice time before starting every game of every match. This is to ensure that players that did not happen to play the chosen machine during the Session portion of the tournament has a chance to get familiar with the machine.

Should the match be tied after these 6 games, the match will move to ‘Sudden Death’. This will be a best-of-3 match where any of the remaining machines are available to be chosen. This means that all 3 games of ‘Sudden Death’ can be played on the same era of games. The higher seeded player will have choice of machine or position for the 1st game, with the loser of each subsequent game having choice of machine or order.

The winner of the match advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated.

Consolation matches will be run differently from a normal finals head-to-head match. The 5th through 8th place match will be run similar to a qualifying session, while the 3rd/4th place Consolation Final will instantly be moved to ‘Sudden Death’ and will be a best of 3 match.

4. Winners

First Place will receive the title “World Pinball Champion”. This title remains in effect until the next annual IFPA tournament, or will expire after two years if IFPA tournaments are discontinued.

*The remaining rules of the tournament follow the PAPA/IFPA unified ruleset – available HERE*