I’ve come across a Viking and I’m thinking of buying it and doing a high quality restoration. It is a beautiful art package and has a lot going on for a solid state game. Is this a good solid state to have in a home collection of 7 games? I also run tournaments - there’s only 2 or 3 players that are expert level, the rest are casual. Your perspective would be greatly appreciated.
Ive only played one a hand full of times at one tournament. I imagine it could be setup more brutal than this one in particular but, I thought the strategy was pretty boring. Shoot inline drops on the left and don’t stop. There is a bonus collect at some point I think but, just shooting the drops worked for me. For the right price I would grab one though. Love the SS Bally and Stern games and most collectors around here tend to not have them so its always a treat to play them. I like the theme too!
I think Viking is a great classic Bally. I find it’s straightforward enough for more casual players (shoot the spinner) and difficult enough to challenge the best (adv multipliers, build bonus and collect). As with any game, but especially many of the SS games, careful attention to setup can really shape the way the game plays. With Viking, the things to pay attention to are the lower pops, the outlane bumpers/gates, the bonus collect lane and to a lesser extent the spinner. In order, here’s how each will affect the gameplay…
The lower pops cause a lot of ball action on the bottom half of the playfield. Having them sensitive is important or the game will be a lot easier. In particular, the left lane to the inline drops can be forced to fall into the pop bumper, or it can be setup so that it feeds the left flipper for an easier catch. I’ve set mine up so that a little nudge can usually keep it off the pop skirt but it will still sometimes hit the top of the sling and be hard to control.
The outlane bumpers on Viking can be set to have almost any ball that drains there be bounced back through the one way gate to the inlane. I prefer to not have everything come back but keep some skill in it, so I have my tilt tight and I replaced the thin wire gates with heavier wire gates so the ball has to have some momentum to pass through. Alternately, you can flip the rubber posts upside down (so the rubber sits below the ball center) and have almost nothing be saveable.
The bonus collect lane is a lot like that on Playboy. It has to pass above the upper pops to the scoop at the top left. It’s a difficult shot to get (without a good bounce off a pop bumper) if the game is set steeper.
Spinner has an interesting rule where every 10 spins advances the score. It starts at 10, then 100 and ends 1000 but it’s timed, so you get a few seconds to shoot the spinner again before it resets back to 10. I like to have it juiced so that you can get it to 1k with a good shot—and then feel rushed to shoot it again before the timer runs out.
Also worth noting that Viking has a wider flipper spacing than a lot of other SS Ballys from around it’s time, so center drains are much more common. This must have been a design decision based on the ball saving outlane design.
Contact Mark Salas. He just got a restored viking (I believe Chris Hutchins) and loves to talk about it!
Thanks, everyone, this is really helpful! I’ll let you know where I land up.