Pin Recommendation - Best of All Worlds

My 3 year old daugher LOVES BSD. It’s always the game she runs over to play whenever we go in the basement.

I have no idea what that means as a data point . . . and most likely says more about my parenting skills (or lack thereof) as her father compared the qualities of the game itself? :slight_smile:


Fair point. My wife does “like” pinball, but I think mostly just because I do. I’m kind of just using her as an example of a casual player. We have parties from time to time and I’d love for people to actually be interested in playing the games, rather than just saying… “oh pinball. cool…”

Maybe I’ll just use your, and @pinwizj’s data points to justify the fact that I just want a BSD. Thanks for that :slight_smile:


I think just about everyone that comes to my place that isn’t already into pinball thinks, “oh… pinball… cool…” no matter what i have in my garage. Get BSD if thats what you want :slight_smile:


Could you please elaborate, what makes this great for practice?

After having a party once where most of the guests said “oh pinball. cool…” and seemed too intimidated to play, I put $10 bounties on a bunch of the games and put a target score on the backbox. First player to get the target score got to keep the $10. It cost me $60 but worked way better than I could have imagined. Now when friends that aren’t involved in the pinball scene come over, I don’t even have to encourage them. I’ve even caught some of them convincing others to give it a try.


I find all the gasping in BSD really annoying, and I don’t like the art much. Watching the movie just made it worse. It’s a bit hard to play, I didn’t like it as a beginner either. But mist multiball is pretty cool and automatically qualified on ball 3…

I will apologize for not knowing prices - I don’t buy or sell and the price guide website wasn’t working just now.

The machines at my house that our non-pinball friends like to play are Tales of the Arabian Nights (which does have a multiball but it’s not a very deep game), Lord of the Rings, and Attack from Mars. Not sure if any of them are even close to your price range, though - they’re pretty popular.

LOTR is a really great training pinball machine, by the way - it gets you thinking about how to qualify the different multiballs, and you have reasons to try to learn to make all the shots.

Fish Tales and WCS might be good. Congo?

Shadow is a little bit of a steep learning curve, shot-wise - I hated the game until I decided to not try for the skill shot; missing those leads to really short ball times.

Star Trek TNG? Whodunnit?

Wizard is a pretty attractive game, though it doesn’t have a multiball.

Jackbot is fun and playable at multiple levels, and not as sexist as Bride of Pinbot. Bride also has some difficult shots; it’s not super accessible to beginners. Jackbot has been in our pinball league clubhouse for over a year and it’s still earning well.


X-Men has been popular with newbies in my house. The multiball from Wolverine is easy to start, and the hero modes (“just try to make the same shot as many times in a row as you can”) are easy to explain. It’s a bit hard, though, especially when you have the outlanes wide open.

1 Like

Any of the Oursler/Python rollercoaster tables are FUN! And for some reason Bad Cats is a big hit with the ladies. I always find this interesting with Bad Cats as the layout is very similar to BSD. The rules… not so hot, but if this game isn’t really for you… so what. All of those games are well within your price range.

Best of luck!

1 Like

Rumor has it that JM isn’t accepting quarters at the moment.

Group thoughts on TSPP?? I know that’s probably a little higher priced, but I feel like it could have pretty high appeal in the other two categories. I think casuals would love it based on theme alone, but how is it to play for a beginner? The multiballs aren’t super accessible and there’s only the one ramp. But I’ve also heard that it’s a super deep/challenging rule set that I’ve barely played through, so it seems it might keep my interest for quite some time. Plus it’s got the reverse flippers MB. I mean, who doesn’t love that?

Technically TSPP has two ramps, though the Treehouse ramp feels just like a shot to a VUK.

It’s a great game. Beginners should be able to get an I&S multiball going, with tons of great callouts and animations along the way to entertain them. And even the most advanced player will take a long time to see everything the game can do.

I’m guessing price will be north of your indicated limit.

Yeah, but price is just a matter of justifying spending that much on a toy… And I can always work on justifying based on the fact that you can pretty much always resell a pin for what you paid +/- a few hundred.

TSPP is one of my favorite games of all time and the only game I ever (slightly) regret having sold. It is EXCEEDINGLY complicated however and that comes with some pros and cons. I think the theme will have tons of appeal for beginners and casual players, and so it probably meets your needs there, but one can feel as though they’ve barely touched much of its depth, even after playing for 30 minutes. So depending on what sort of player you are you may find it frustrating. For me, it got to a point where I just wasn’t playing it much because even if I finished 4 or 5 of the modes, played all the mini wizard modes and collected nearly 20 Cletus kids, I hadn’t actually made any real progress and would leave feeling more bummed than excited about a great game.

My experience with TSPP is that casual players hate it once they play it. The theme is great, but you cannot really score points by accident and people end up getting frustrated with 1M points.

The Borg bash fests have this worked out perfectly. Bash the toy, start a multiball. That is the key to thrilling casual players.

However, at my house casual players are drawn to games like stars. Of course so are hardcore players. Maybe stars is just that good.

Honestly I think the answer of the future will be P3. I think WOZ with pindemption does this to some degree as well. Timed games for casual players are great, I wish pindemption had multiball.

I thought things like supergame could have done this, but I don’t see anyone every playing supergame on dredd. Maybe it is too obscure.

1 Like

Three if you count the mini ramp behind the garage door.

I’ve always felt that TSPP has near perfect software. Best software package ever. That said, it does have long ball times. Better for a larger collection IMO.


I think a good way to approach this is by asking two questions:

"If I have someone over who doesn’t know how to play, can I explain the game basics easily and can they do it? " The explanation test is an easy way to gauge the novice players. “Hit Sparky” is a really simple and fun Metallica strategy.

“If I am by myself, do I like this game and is it challenging enough to keep me coming back?” You want a game that’s got depth, diversity, and most importantly ramps and neat shots to make. Many games can offer this, but not many pass question 1.

if yes and yes, you got a winner.


UPDATE: I ended up buying a TSPP because a good deal ended up appearing a couple days after this discussion and honestly, I was never going to have the patience to wait for THE dream game, so the fact that this one was a good contender, and available in my area, made the decision for me.


  1. A pin that I will enjoy. This criteria was satisfied, but let’s be honest, this was the easy one.

  2. A pin that my friends will enjoy. There has certainly been a little bit of cache about having a big, flashing Simpsons themed game in my house. But so far, it has not really generated much outside interest. Granted I haven’t had a party since it’s been here so I guess we’ll wait to see how it works out on a broader audience. Honestly, in the end, I think it’s going to fall short on this criteria. TSPP, as is well known in this crowd, has a wonderfully deep, engaging and challenging rule set, but it seriously lacks an easily explainable and achievable objective for a novice player. Sure there are several apparent things to shoot at, but the main multiball is nearly impossible to flail into and I&S targets are in a pretty counter-intuitive location for a beginner to shoot at and also pretty difficult to intentionally achieve.

Another thing that actually makes this game a bit frustrating for novice and avid players alike is the clunkiness. Missed shots tend to thud against posts and just kind of float around in a really unsatisfying manor. I feel a game with really well designed flow can actually reward a missed shot sometimes by making an unintended shot instead. Or it will punish you by rocketing a missed shot back at your flippers or into an inlane/outlane. This game, not so much.

  1. A pin that will not break the bank. TSPP was decidedly not in the original price range I was looking at. But, the power to rationalize is strong. Basically it was a good enough deal that I know I could resell it for what I paid, if not a couple hundred more, very easily. So I guess this criteria was a little more fluid than I originally anticipated. Now the trick is refraining from spending money on unnecessary upgrades that I really want for no reason. The game is in really nice condition, very clearly HUO, but it’s all stock. It would look SO good with a color DMD and these sick decals that pinsider u/sillyoldelf created. Buuuuuut… you know…

So yeah, that's the report. I'm really happy with the game just because it's a new fun toy to play with and the rules are really fun to play through. I've read @bkerins's rule sheet several times and have a very good understanding of the objectives. I sincerely don't think I'll ever get to the actual wizard mode without pulling the glass, but it sure is fun to try. Don't know if I'll keep this one forever (doubtful) but it's great to have around for a while.

Now invite your team over to own your high score board :grin:

1 Like