Game: Buffalo Diamond
Advantage play potential: Medium
What Makes it Special: Three bonus multiplier possibilities, each with growing spin counts. Multipliers persistent per bet level, with four bet levels on the game.
The Buffalo series is a popular slot series, and Aristocrat celebrated its 10th anniversary by releasing Buffalo Diamond. The game features the classic gameplay that Buffalo is known for, but adds a new bonus feature that allows the growth of a bonus round feature that leads to a potential Advantage Play.
Understanding the Game
Buffalo is a volatile game series, and Buffalo Diamond is no exception. There are four bet levels on the game, starting at 75 cents and working to $4. You’ll notice that the bet levels are uneven; in fact, each step up has a wider gap than the one before.
The reason for this is twofold:
- The top bet of $4 is linked to a Grand progressive that is not available at other levels, so the 4x bet factors that in.
- All bet levels have access to bonuses with a multiplier. This factors in to the Advantage Play. But each step up improves the quality and chances for a free spins bonus with a multiplier. More about that when we get to the free spins. But that means you’re paying extra above/beyond the line hit increase, to get a better bonus (one hopes; it’s Buffalo after all).
The top symbol, Buffalo, pays $3 at the lowest bet level (in this case 75 cents) for a 5 of a kind, exactly the same as Buffalo Gold with a lower bet level of 60 cents, so you’re paying a definite premium for the bonus here, which can be quite substantial given the additional multipliers available.
The game grid is 4-5-6-5-4 and like other games in the Buffalo series is all-ways-pays configuration, meaning clumps of symbols will multiply the win. As mentioned, 5 of a kind buffalo is $3, but I have three reels of 2, so it’s $3x2x2x2 or $24 in this example, on a 75 cent bet.
As you can guess, this game has a lot of potential like any Buffalo predecessor, but also can be tough.
About those multipliers for the free games. Similar to other games like Harley Davidson and the new Farmville Mighty Cash, this game leverages a persistent state mechanic that allows the collecting of more free game spins at 2x, 3x and 4x multipliers, with a different count on each bet level. When a Diamond symbol appears, it will add a free game to one of the three multipliers, based on its color:
- Green: 2x multiplier
- Blue: 3x multiplier
- Purple: 4x multiplier
Free Games Bonus
The Free Games Bonus is a bit more complex, even after getting through what we’ve discussed above. But if you know Buffalo games already, some of what you know still ring true:
- Three or more coins trigger the Buffalo bonus. More coins improve your bonus chances.
- Wilds get 2x or 3x multipliers during the bonus. This multiplier can be stacked with the bonus multiplier and the normal multiplication that can happen from an all ways pays game. Volatility to the max.
- 2 or more coins during the free spins will retrigger, from 5 spins for 2 coins all the way to 20 spins for 4 coins, standard for the Buffalo series.
When you trigger the bonus, a wheel spin will occur to determine your bonus structure and free games count. You can land on one of the following:
- A standard free games without the multiplier. It can start at 8 free games, but the value of the wedges will go up with more coins. These 1x wedges will also be reduced or eliminated based on your bet level, which will increase your chances of a multiplied bonus, or at the max bet level guarantee it.
- A multiplied free games bonus, of either 2x, 3x or 4x. The number of free games is based on bet level and the accumulated spin count for the multiplier you’ve landed on. The odds of landing on a multiplier increases with your bet level.
- At max bet, you can also #landthegrand on the wheel.
If you land a multiplied free games, all wins are multiplied by that multiplier for the entirety of the free spins bonus, including any retriggers. That particular wager/multiplier resets to a set number, which depends on the multiplier and wager (higher wager and/or multiplier will start at a slightly higher number than a lower wager or multiplier).
Understanding the Advantage
Until the multipliers are collected by landing it on the free spins wheel, it just keeps accumulating. In particular, on non-max bets, this can take awhile, because it’s quite possible to land a non-multiplied bonus wedge, which means all three keep going.
Buffalo is a sufficiently volatile game that it can take a lot of time and money to get these wedges. On Twitter I’ve seen carnage posts of those who have chased what look like solid Advantage Play opportunities only to get burned because the game stubbornly won’t award the one they’re chasing.
This to me begins to look a bit more like a progressive. Unlike many of the other games where an Advantage Play can seem quite obvious and have a more defined value (and, to be honest, an upper limit of possibility), such as Scarab, this is an open-ended play. There’s no “must hit by” number of free games, no guarantee that a multiplier will be awarded unless you are max betting, and that may not be where the advantage is.
So if you’re going to begin to chase these sorts of things, you’re probably a bit more of a gambler, or at least more of a risk taker, however calculated it might be. You should also have the bankroll to back up betting for hours at whatever bet level has the opportunity, and be prepared for them to not always work out. Because generally it’s very hard to walk away from these until the advantage has actually been exhausted, especially if you’re in for a significant amount of money.
Of course, it’s also a free spins bonus, and a Buffalo one at that, so even if you get it pretty quickly, you can have a lot of dead spins or poker symbols that throw you a few bucks. So while this game has potential and when things line up the right way it can be massive, it can also be a massive bummer.
So if you’re looking for more guaranteed plays, this isn’t the place to be. But if you’re looking for a shot at something pretty awesome, and you’re willing to take the risk, this could be a place to play if the multipliers are high enough. And what is high enough will likely coincide with your risk tolerance, experience and how many times the game has chosen to burn you 🙂
Watch and Learn
RandomSlots has a great video showing the basics of the game, as usual:
And here’s Slotlady with a great session that led to a handpay:
Once I played Buffalo Diamond on the $1.60 bet level, trying to hit the 4x multiplier that had about160 free games when I started. I played all night, and most of the next day. I spent about $3500 and raised the game count to 200. I ran out of money and watched another player spend about $2000 and raise the game count to 225, where it finally landed. It ultimately paid about $2400.
I don’t know if this is as high as the game count can go.
How high can the 4× get at .75 a bet?
I’m not aware of an upper limit offhand, but someone else reading the site may have an answer.
160 for me
I usually see the free spin counters somewhere between 10 and 30, although they’re not infrequently around 40 or 60, and I’ve seen the max bet blue diamond (4x multiplier) bonus sitting around 70 or 90.
I’ve hit the blue diamond bonus a number of times, and they usually result in a hand pay or a near hand pay (unless you’re really unlucky). I’ve never hit one of those huge free spin numbers, but 90 spins at 4x could be a VERY nice hand pay.
In order to get the blue diamond bonus though, you have to be lucky enough to trigger the bonus wheel, and then lucky again to land on the blue diamond bonus. There have been times where I spent a lot more time and money than I should have trying to hit the blue diamond bonus, but triggering the bonus over and over and not getting the blue diamond, and other times where it does eventually hit.
I once saw a guy sitting at this game trying to hit a large blue diamond bonus for probably a few hours and he never hit it. It hits when it wants to, and not necessarily when you want it to.
Yesterday I saw a guy chasing a 90+ blue diamond bonus on this game. He was there for like 9 hours before he finally hit it. I don’t know how much he ultimately ended up spending, and I didn’t stick around to see how much it paid out, but an hour or two before he hit it he said he had spent $5,000 and by the time it hit he had over 100 free spins. He probably won a lot, but he definitely spent a lot to hit it. You can never really tell when it’s going to hit, and sometimes you can just lose a lot of money chasing it.
Also, watch out for casinos that will occasionally set these machines to higher betting denominations so you don’t realize how much money you’re spending.
A local casino in Maryland recently bumped some of these machines up to 2¢ when they were 1¢ before.
Also, I just realized I had been referring to the top bonus feature with the 4x multiplier as “Blue Diamond” when it’s actually the PURPLE diamond.
Any time I said Blue Diamond I meant Purple Diamond.
I LOVE this game and have some break point where I will dig in and play it. As previously stated if you don’t have time and a bank roll this is not for you. I once dug in on a $1,60 Purple at 187, Blue at 57. Wife and I played for 28 hours finally hit purple at 244 spins and when it was done with re-triggers had 387 spins. It covered what we had “invested”, However after the first 8 hours it is more work than pleasure.
I only play this game when the numbers are right and that varies for each wager level.
Thanks for the article. one of the best explinations of this game.