Game: Dragon Spell
Advantage Play Potential: Medium
What Makes it Special: Gold borders collect and stay until an 8-spin cycle is triggered and completed. Prizes that land in the gold bordered spaces on the final spin are awarded.
IGT introduced the collect borders/spin cycle model with their popular Scarab game, and they’ve continued to tinker with the concept on sequels and other game formats such as Star Goddess.
Dragon Spell has some similar traits – particular symbols lock gold borders, and at a certain point an 8-spin cycle is initiated, but it’s a bit more loosely structured, and how it finishes off the cycle is different, which means a rethink of what to expect with this one.
Understanding the Game
Dragon Spell is a 5×5 reel set with 40 lines evaluated and 60 credit bet increments. The game features a persistent state scenario for each bet level, and in this case its for the gold borders.
No borders appear at the start for a new spin cycle. When dragon symbols appear, gold borders are added and locked to the space on the reel. However, if a dragon symbol with an orb appears for the first time, while a gold border will lock into place, an 8 spin countdown is activated.
For the next eight spins, dragon symbols, with or without an orb, continue to lock gold frames on the spaces, although the countdown continues forward.
On the final spin of the cycle, if a credit amount, seen with green backgrounds, lands where a gold frame exists, that prize is awarded. On a 60 credit bet those prizes range from 50-500 credits, or could also be a jackpot, which can be won at any bet level. Jackpots and credit prizes grow with your bet.
After the final spin of the cycle, all the frames unlock, and you start with a clean reel set beginning with that next spin.
Free Games Bonus
Getting three or more bonus symbols will trigger the free games bonus. There is a volatility choice which shifts based on the number of bonus symbols that trigger the bonus:
|# of Symbols||Choice #1||Choice #2||Choice #3|
|3 Bonus Symbols||10 free games,|
6 gold frames
|8 free games,|
8 gold frames
|6 free games,|
10 gold frames
|4 Bonus Symbols||20 free games,|
9 gold frames
|15 free games,|
12 gold frames
|10 free games,|
15 gold frames
|5 Bonus Symbols||50 free games,|
12 gold frames
|35 free games,|
16 gold frames
|20 free games,|
20 gold frames
The more free spins/less gold frames option is going to be your least volatile option, while the less free games/more gold frames is going to be your most volatile option.
The dragon symbols are taken off the reels so you just have the gold frames given for the bonus, and the credit prizes are always present anyway so you just start winning them every spin if they line up. So the bonus clearly has some potential depending on how many/often you line the frames and credit prizes up. You can also win progressives similarly.
A retrigger is possible; when retriggered you go back out and pick for the new bonus based on the trigger bonus symbol count, just like the original triggering bonus. You can retrigger 9 times, for a total of 10 bonuses in total from an initiating trigger.
Understanding the Advantage
There are a couple of aspects to this one:
- More gold frames: If you see more gold frames, you have a better chance of landing some credit prizes. Unlike Scarab you will not see them turn to wilds, so the positioning is less critical in this case.
- Spin counter active: If you have more gold frames and the spin counter is active, you have a more concrete understanding of the investment to be made to see it through to the end of the cycle. If it has not activated yet, you have at least nine spins to go before it will reset, and quite possibly a number more.
- “All Frames Removed on the Next Spin”: Here is what you do not want to see on the bottom right, next to the credit displays – because there is no spin counter, they have a message that appears once the spin cycle is complete, to be clear to players the frames are not sticking around. If you see this message, your next spin starts from scratch.
- Multiple bet levels: Like many IGT games, the persistent reel sets are different for each bet level, so there may be more than one bet level in the midst of a cycle.
Keep in mind that because the prizes have to land in frames, you could complete a cycle and have a poor outcome. But because you have some awareness of where you are in a cycle, you can with some confidence know what it will take to see it through.
Watch and Learn
Here is Cassanova Slots playing the game, and among their wins was a few jackpots:
Chasing the Bonus Slots played the game in this video, starting at 6:30:
Aarons Slot Channel played it on this video starting at 9:09:
If you look at Scarab Link, you can see the similarities of cells with borders, e.g. cells that give the player a chance to win money prizes as well as jackpots (in Scarab Link, it can also award the Wild symbol).
The point is Scarab Link bombed based on what I heard, researched, etc. The main reason (and this is my opinion) was the bricking, e.g. not getting enough win amounts prizes for those cells, respectively.
Dragon Spell will most likely have a short life in casinos with poor RTPs as the base game is a money-suck with Credit Prize symbols interfering with line wins in the base game. IGT failed miserably managing player expectations with the highlighted cells in the bonus feature and the egregious money-suck base game.
Where do you find this game? I have not seen it.
So far I’ve only seen it at two casinos: The D in downtown Las Vegas, and Live! Casino Maryland. I’m sure it’s in other places though as I’ve seen a number of slot channels posting videos.