Game: New Year Festival
Advantage play potential: Medium-Low
What Makes it Special: The less firecracker strands there are remaining, the more likely you’ll unlock the progressive bonus.
New Year Festival by WMS, a somewhat older game compared to some of the others we’ve reviewed, is very straightforward. No bonuses exist – just a firecracker feature that eventually will lead to a progressive bonus.
Because of the nature of how this is structured, it’s considered to be one of the classic Advantage Play offerings out there, even if it’s somewhat harder to find nowadays.
Understanding the Game
New Year Festival is a very straightforward game. The only symbols on the reels (aside from the firecracker, which we’ll get to in a second) is a series of various colored 8s. Line up three multi-colored 8s and you’ll get a pay. Line up three of the same colored 8s and you’ll get paid more.
When the firecracker symbol lands, firecrackers in the top box will explode. The higher your bet, the more firecrackers will explode. The amount that explode is somewhat random but within a range, as explained in the paytable, which can vary based on whether it’s a 5-line or a 9-line game. The one I found was a 9-line game, and all lines were active on all bets.
Multiple firecrackers can appear in a given spin, and how many firecrackers in your strand explode will be affected by how many total firecrackers you land, and how many lines they land on.
The game started with 15 strands of firecrackers (each strand has 34 firecrackers, meaning a total of 510) and a single firecracker is selected. as strands are completed the number counts down. When the firecracker that triggers the progressive bonus is triggered the screen will update and have you choose an envelope. This is a predetermined pick, as it will just start revealing coins until a progressive is awarded.
One thing I do like about this game personally is that although the lower progressives are definitely a lot more weighted, The middle progressive, the Major, does seem to pop up quite frequently in the weighting. During a review period where I was playing the game before writing this piece, I got the envelope pick at 50 cents early in the strands, and managed a 200x win thanks to winning the Major. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten it either. The Maxi and Mega, being the top two, are definitely harder to get than the others.
Understanding the Advantage
The firecracker countdown is where the advantage lies. Effectively this is a different form of a “must hit by” progressive. The difference is you don’t know which progressive you’ll win until it triggers. You do know that
One thing that makes it less advantageous is you can go awhile without getting a firecracker on the reels. But the lower the strands count, the closer to a progressive you’ll know you’ll be. As such, seeing a machine with a lower strand may be worth taking a shot.
How low? If you see 5 and under the advantage is much higher, but anything at the halfway point or lower should be worth a consideration, which would be at the 7 strands or less point. Just remember you could get firecrackers on the reel immediately, or it can take awhile; when they’re not readily coming it could immediately make the advantage disadvantageous, which is why I rank this one medium-low.
There’s only one strand for all bet levels, unlike other machines where each bet level has its own persistent state, so lower bet players may find this one particularly inviting, especially the 9-line lower denomination version of this game, where you get access to a shot at the progressives for as low as 50 cents a spin.
Watch and Learn
RandomSlots played the game awhile back, learned the lesson about the strands and shared his feelings about it.
They were two of these at my local casino ($1 x 5 lines) One of them were turned into a Piggy Bankin’ slot with a similar concept (8 pigs instead of 15 strands of firecrackers)
I’ve heard of that one, and seen a few videos on YouTube, but I’ve never seen it personally – hoping I encounter one at some point!