Rules I've never understood

I get a lot of enjoyment out of getting to know the rules of games in great detail. It’s useful knowledge at competitive events, it’s fun to discover the cleverness that programmers dream up, and it’s great for settling bar bets. :wink:

That said, there are some (relatively minor) rules that I’ve never figured out. A couple examples, drawn from games down in my own basement!

  • World Poker Tour: Sharpshooter bonus: What is this? I think it has something to do with hitting the flashing drop targets (i.e. sort of a proxy for drop target hands completed), but it’s never explained anywhere.

  • Cirqus Voltaire: The judges! It seems that each one appreciates certain play characteristics, but there are a ton of judges and I’ve never taken the time to take a notebook and experiment to figure it out.

Anyone have the answers for these, or have your own Deep Mysteries?

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It is, simply, a bonus for the number of UNHIT targets you have left when you complete a drop target hand. It scores 500 * hand level * cards left. Since there are 16 cards/targets, a perfect pair would result in a 7000 point bonus. A perfect royal flush would result in 49,500 in bonus (multipliable).

Actually now that I think about it, the royal might have a slight premium and be worth 5000/card instead of 4500/card. I say this because I’m pretty sure the normal value for a royal is 1M instead of 900K.

Related: If you didn’t know, the “+” points on a poker hand is 100K * unfinished hands below the current rank. So a 1st-level royal could be worth 1,000,000 + 800,000.

Re: CV… I’m not sure it’s even worth figuring out!


We should get Cameron to discuss the CV judges. What I know is that the set of judges is randomly selected and each judge has a “tendency” somewhere between strict and lenient. Additionally, if you completely crush one of the tasks (tons of Juggler jackpots, for example) the judges will totally screw you over with crap like 5.2, and the crowd boos. I can’t remember who are the most a-hole judges – the duck? the robot? the wizard? I remember Cameron as a judge was super lenient.

I always liked that “+” rule for the poker hands. It doesn’t feel big enough to make it worth going for, at least in competition with ridiculous outlanes, but it’s nice. Related to this, I love the “repeat the score” rule in Wheel of Fortune where if you hit the character targets while the wheel is spinning, it rescores the value of the last letter collect. That can be huge!

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Cool, thanks for the explanation. That makes a lot of sense, though I think it would’ve taken awhile to actually figure it out. :smiley:

This one I did know, it’s a clever rule. Sometimes if I’m looking for a change of pace, I’ll play a game or two just trying to max out the drop target hands… I’ll usually start by nailing a pair to get the 3x lit, then work my way down the ladder as best as possible (of course trying to collect the 3x right before completing each hand). It’s pretty fun doing this, it kinda has an EM drop target game vibe if you play this way. WPT is a seriously underrated game.

Yeah, they range from strict to lenient, but it seems that each judge “cares” about a different feature in the game (Ringmasters, Juggler, regular multiball, etc).

If I remember right, 0110011, Paul, and Marvin are some of the meanest judges, while Adam seems to be the friendliest.

Really? I thought hitting them during this time just made a sound and bobbled their little heads. Is this a bug or a feature?

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What’s the big exploit in Cactus Canyon? Aside from the perpetual multiball of course.

The perpetual multiball works out really well (though for me at PAPA 17, I got a ball stuck just long enough not to be able to continue the perpetual multiball grumble grumble).

The big source of points, as far as I can tell, is the bonus multipliers. Base bonus is very large, so each bonus multiplier adds 500k - 1m. Completing modes is worth more for the +5 Bonus X than the mode points. During regular play or multiball, feeding the rollover lanes is a big deal.

Ideally, you get into a multiball (like the perpetual one!) and use it to jack up your bonus multiplier.

Others may know more about it, I’ve also seen Keith Elwin put up big points from a giant Mother Lode.


Hey, since this thread woke up, I have another question for @keefer about WPT: was there ever anything more planned for “Spin a Card” than what now appears in the game? It seems like a whole lot of fanfare for “spot 1 drop target”.

For a while (I don’t know if it is still there) there was a “Add 25 bonus X” award or something in Cactus and it was ridiculously unbalancing.

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No, not really. Its design was mostly driven by the fact that we had a Gottlieb Spin-a-Card in the office and were having a lot of fun with it, so it was a no-brainer to include a feature like that on the game. I wish I had gotten around to making it a little smarter, though (i.e. more likely to actively help you out).

You MIGHT be thinking about “+1M bonus”… I don’t remember there ever being a big bonus x award other than the +5x from Polly. At The Bottom of the Stairs I had cleared 100M in bonus before (I’m sure others have probably done better since then) largely thanks to 2 +1M bonus awards and over 30x multiplier.


Actually the unlimited multiball on CC is not really worth a whole lot on it’s own. The three things are:

Lots of bonus X (Stacked with 'add 1,000,000 bonus awards which is not possible in tourney mode)

Winning High Noon at Marshall level (70,000,000 minimum award bonus)

Or stacking Showdown with Mine multiball. That way you can be aggressive in building up that motherlode multiplier up to10x


Ahh, I didn’t know that was removed for tournament mode. It seemed like Cayle was going for that pretty strongly at PAPA 17 finals. He and Zach got a pretty big lead which forced me to try for Showdown.

I’ve never been able to link up Mine with Showdown. It’s pretty difficult to pull off but what an amazing value.

You need the last quickdraw running at Gold Mine start, right?

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You need to have QD running correct. The strategy is to make sure the bad guy in front of the mine has already been killed (target 2). The best way to do this is keep collecting QD on the same side as it will always do the targets behind the flipper last. So if you keep getting left inlane targets 2-3-4 will pop up first or 1-2-3 on the right.

The way the bonus is added up on CC is unusual. QD wins add 100k. Gunfight victories add 250k. Saving polly adds around 150k. All other switches add some very minute bonus. So if Cayle was only shooting bonus X lanes and nothing else then even with ample bonus X his bonus wont be very much. That is why the bounty award of 1mil bonus is so unbalancing during normal play.

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Scared Stiff.

I favourite undocumented game feature is the bonus-x needed for EB in Scared Stiff. The default is 9x. I’ve seen 8x as well. But a game I played on location once had it as low as 4x. Which made me prioritise going for telepathetic power on the spider.

I would believe it is associated to the overall EB stats (and percentage set). But I have been fooling around with this to quite an extend (Visual pinball) and never seen the bonus-x needed for EB move at all from 9x.

So I wonder if it was a last minute addition to the game (no mention in the manual) with an unexpected (dare I say buggy) behaviour.

Typically an auto adjustment such as this will take around 50 games to move, possibly as many as 200. So unless you’ve played that many games, yeah you’re not going to see much movement.

On locations I’ve typically seen it at 5x. It’s a bummer because you only get bonus x after deadheads are done, and you’re almost never shooting those when they’re done.

Yeah. That was the next thing I was going to ask. I have been curious in these regards for some time. How games are adapting features to percentage settings and running stats.

I have noticed in some cases that games do not necessary make a change right away even for extreme changes to an adjustment. Like EB set to 30%

That’s where the money points are at. Insane motherload payoffs are possible.

Anyone who knows how the BS/EB boat is triggered on Fish Tales video mode?

I mean, is EB (or both) mainly on the EB stats and EB percentage setting.

I don’t know, mostly if you hit a bunch of boats, don’t miss too much, and make sure to leave a couple shots for the end, you should pretty much always see it.