Game: Zodiac Lion
Advantage play potential: Medium
What Makes it Special: You collect gold frames, which can lead to a cascade of wilds at once, but only if you have a set of gold framed reel spaces that are touching each other.
Zodiac Lion follows in the path of other games by IGT, such as Scarab and Star Goddess, where gold framed spaces can ultimately turn wild. This game makes it a bit more difficult to turn a bunch of spaces wild, but the potential is still there.
Understanding the Game
Zodiac Lion features an unusual 4-5-4-5-4 reel set with 50 lines and a 60 credit bet increment. The game also features a more/better bet, the Zodiac Wheel bet, which has 100 credit increments.
When a lion appears, the first time it appears on a reel space a gold frame is added to the reel. If a lion appears on a reel space that already has a gold frame, it will turn that space wild, as well as any other connecting spaces with a gold frame.
This ultimately works like some sort of combination of Scarab and Wild Pirates, where the connected spaces in Wild Pirates turn wild when one turns wild. If you have a clump that is disconnected from a space or spaces that turns wild, that clump remains. So you ultimately hope for the various gold frames to be connected before a wild hits.
The gold frames are a persistent state element on the reels and will stay behind, even if you cash out. Each bet option has its own persistent state, so gold frames are linked to the bet option.
Zodiac Wheel Feature
The Zodiac Wheel is the more/better feature for this game. On any random spin, the Zodiac Wheel can come out and add gold frames to anywhere from 1-22 spaces on the reels that don’t have them.
This doesn’t instantly give you any pays, but it can connect clumps of gold frames that otherwise wouldn’t convert because they’re not touching.
The pay table confirms the Zodiac Wheel can appear on a rare occasion on the regular bet, but you’ll see it much more frequently on the Zodiac Wheel bet.
Lion Spin Bonus
A Lion Spin bonus can be triggered if three or more Lion Spin symbols land in reel spaces where a gold frame is present. You earn one spin for each Lion Spin symbol that’s captured in a gold reel. They don’t always appear, and when the opportunity to bonus exists a suspense spin will happen.
Once triggered, the wheel behind the reels spins for each Lion Spin, landing on a number between 3 and 22, which will determine how many spaces will reveal a lion for each spin. Like the base game, if a lion lands in a space without a gold frame, it will add one. If it lands in a space with a gold frame, it and the spaces connected to it with gold frames will also turn wild. The combination of lions and wilds is where some of the bigger pays are possible, and with enough spins repeated pays.
You cannot retrigger the bonus in this particular game. The gold frames you collected before the bonus carry into the bonus, and the frames left over carry out of the bonus.
Understanding the Advantage
There’s two aspects to the Advantage Play opportunity of this game, which is a bit unusual.
- The gold frames, in terms of number and placement, are your more standard fare, with the exception of the connected gold frames being critical. The more connected frames you have, the more likely you’ll get a spin where the lion will land in a frame and deploy an array of wilds. More frames to the left, and more importantly connected frames, is a better advantage.
- Having three or more frames (and preferably a lot more) also improve your chances for getting a bonus if the Lion Spin symbols pop up. So finding more symbols in general also increases your possibility of a bonus should that appear, and more spins given one spin is awarded per symbol that lands inside a frame.
Unlike Scarab, there’s no set number of spins before the gold frames turn wild, so if the game gets stubborn and the lions don’t show themselves for awhile, you could spend some money trying to get the lions. As such, this isn’t as good or guaranteed an advantage as some of the others, but with enough gold frames in the right places, it can be worth a try. And with 10 bet options, there’s plenty to check on this machine.
[UPDATED 8/1/20:] A regular reader of the site shared another scenario to watch for that I haven’t encountered, but makes perfect sense. Because of the way the bonus round works, it can drop a lot of lion heads on the last spin of the bonus. That means a lot of frames will instantly be populated when heading back in to the base game. But if you look at it visually it may not be obvious.
He shared this example, which shows 10 lion heads on the last spin of the bonus that didn’t connect with a frame. But we know those 10 will now become frames, which is a considerable portion of the slot reels already seeded. Placement of the heads, and number left behind, will determine the potential value, but it’s another scenario worth looking for, which may not be so obvious.
Watch and Learn
Here is IGT’s game play video for the game:
RandomSlots comes through as usual with a video featuring an explanation of how the game works, as well as features pictures of the pay tables: