Player Absences


FSPA League Absence Rules

Last updated: 5/19/2024

Index: IntroductionPreplaysDrop TwoHybridRevision Log

1. Introduction

The Free State Pinball Association (FSPA) rules provide for player absences to avoid negative effects for when players cannot attend. There are numerous variations that may apply to different league formats, depending on the location and type of league. The individual league pages under the Rules Variations section will explain the rules for absent players. This section explains the details for each method.

2. Preplays

Preplays allow a player to submit scores in advance for a planned or unplanned absence or tardiness for a league meet.

Each player may use a maximum of twelve (12) preplay scores per season. Preplays necessitated by religious observations do not count against this total.

Preplays may not be done while the preplayer is in an active league match. Any preplays in progress at league start time must be immediately stopped and the score at that time will be recorded as the final preplay score. At least one other current league player must participate in a preplay. Before starting each preplay game, the preplayer must announce that the game is a preplay for a specific date, or an undated preplay. For each preplay set, all working games at the league location should be played (since the specific games that will be played by the absent player’s group are not known in advance). Preplays are subject to all normal rules of league play (e.g. extra ball restrictions). All preplay scores for the absent player are recorded and initialed or signed by the other player and are reported by them to the SLO as soon as possible. It is recommended that the person submitting preplay scores retain a copy of them.

Prior to game selection at each league meet, all submitted preplay scores will be made public. After machines are chosen, preplay scores are recorded on the score sheet.

2.1 Dated Preplays

If a player knows they will not be able to attend an upcoming league meet, the player may submit a dated preplay set for that meet. Preplay games must be played as close as possible to the meet that will be missed.

If one or more games are not available during the preplay session for any reason, the player may attempt to schedule another preplay session for these games. At most two separate sessions may be used to obtain each complete set of preplay scores. A session that includes games played immediately before and after a league meet counts as a single session.

If, during the league meet, any game played by the group was not played when a preplay player’s session occurred, the absent player receives a league score of zero for that game and the other scores for that machine are assigned as if the absent player were not in the match. If the player is present and guesting in their scheduled group, they may record scores for any machines that did not have scores recorded during their preplay session.

If a player will miss more than one meet in a row, he may preplay multiple meets in one or more sessions. All working games at the league location are played once, and then all the games are played again for the additional set of preplay scores.

Dated preplays are normally applied only for the specific date submitted by the player. If a player makes a mistake in reporting the date of a preplay, and the SLO is informed of the error before game selection on that date, then once per season the scores may be slipped to the next league meet. Preplay scores will be discarded only if the designated league meet is canceled.

2.2 Undated Preplays

Players have the opportunity to do undated preplays of any or all machines at the league location early in the season. Players who wish to submit undated preplays must do so prior to the start of play of that player’s third meet of the season. Undated preplays are only valid for that season. If a new machine arrives mid-season, players have until the start of the third league meet that the new machine is available for league play to submit undated preplays for that machine.

Undated preplays will be used as replacement scores for the first four (4) applicable missed games. An applicable missed game is one for which the player is not aware of his group’s machine selections and has an unused undated preplay score for that machine, provided that no dated preplays have been submitted for that date by that player. However, if a player has unused undated preplays and has already done dated preplays for eight (8) games, his undated preplays will take precedence for the final four preplays. (In this case only, preplay scores may still be submitted for any machines for which the player has no unused undated preplay score.)

2.3 Multiple Preplay Sets

Any submitted preplay scores may include from 1 to 4 complete plays of all machines at the location. Should a player wish to submit multiple scores, they must record scores for all available machines before preplaying any machine for the second time. Players are advised to submit multiple scores as part of a preplay if the location’s machine selection makes it likely that machines will be played more than once on league night (e.g. if fewer than 4 machines are available and working).

If multiple scores are submitted for a machine, scores must be clearly labelled as “#1”, “#2”, etc, and this numbering must reflect the order in which the scores were recorded. On league night, these scores will be applied in order.

2.4 Banking

As an alternative to dated and undated preplays described above, the SLO may opt to use preplay score banking. When banking is in effect, the following changes apply:

  • Dated preplays are disallowed, and all preplays are undated.
  • Players may submit undated preplays any time during the season, not only prior to the player’s third meet / third meet of machine availability.
  • The limit of four (4) undated preplays per season is lifted; undated preplays can be used for any applicable missed games, up to the overall preplay limit for the season (normally 12).

All other terms of rules 2.2 and 2.3 remain applicable when banking is used.

For any league season, the SLO must select either traditional dated+undated preplays, or banking, and announce this selection to the league prior to the start of the season. If no such announcement is made, banking will be used.

3. Drop Two

Drop two leagues allow players to drop their worst two scores from the total league players to determine their total score. If a player misses a league week, that player receives a zero (0) for that week, and that would automatically become a dropped score. If the player has more than two absences, then they would end up with a zero (0) for one of their scores.

3.1 Traditional and Qualifying Ladder

For the qualifying ladder, the drop two impact all weeks of league. Qualifying ladder also drops one of four scores for weeks 1 through 4 to determine the starting ladder position; however, for the final drop two for the season, all four of those scores for weeks 1 through 4 may be higher than the lowest two, and used in the player’s total score.

3.2 Match Play

For the match play format, the drop two allocates one dropped score to the qualifying weeks 1 through 4, and one dropped score to the divisional weeks 5 through 8.

4. Hybrid

Hybrid is a combination of both pre-play and drop two. Some leagues prefer this method to allow for players to simply drop a low score without playing pre-plays.

Appendix A – Revision Log

This section lists summaries of changes made to this document.

May 2024

  • Created the Absences page and removed its language from the comprehensive rules page.