A reader sent in this question, curious about the way some bonuses on Lightning Link differ:
What advantages or disadvantages are there in the larger bonus grid on games like Magic Pearl or Spring Festival as opposed to the full grid like Golden Century? I always seem to get small numbers on the larger middle grid.
So, first, let’s define that larger bonus grid. The reader is talking about the versions of the game with a giant middle reel vs. a standard 5×3 reel set. A visual example is attached at the top of the article.
In my article about the free spin bonuses of Lightning Link and Dragon Link, I spoke about how each pair of Lightning Link games takes a different approach to the free spin bonus. Many revolve around wilds – adding wilds, multiplier wilds, expanding wilds, and so on.
The big reel on games like Magic Pearl takes a bit of a different approach. If the big symbol in the middle matches up with a symbol on the left side, it becomes guaranteed four of a kinds, with five of a kind possible if the same symbol also lines up on the last reel. If a wild appears there, you’ve got a bunch of four of a kinds or five of a kinds.
If a Hold and Spin symbol lands, it’s an instant bonus and 9/15 already filled (although the chances of landing the grand are the same as any hold and spin bonus). And if you get a big bonus symbol in the center, it’s an instant retrigger for a few more spins.
On Lightning Link in particular, the various bonus rounds come with varying amounts of spins, whereas Dragon Link it’s a flat six spins per free spin bonus. My take is that on the original Lightning Link the spin count was part of the balancing of the volatility of the various bonuses.
The fact that the big symbol bonus got six spins was an acknowledgement that that bonus wasn’t as hard to get pays vs. some of the others, making it a lower volatility bonus in the stack. So that also may explain why the pays on that middle space in the bonus (which takes up nine potential spaces in a normal hold and spin) isn’t driving as much value – they’re more likely to hit.
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