My game overview so far after 35 games. Apologies in advance if these are duplicates of other pinside posts - who can read them all? This is solely from what I learned playing, so I disclaim any accuracy, implied or explicity. I assume you have seen and know the roadmap rulesheet to understand what follows.
Here's as far as I know (AFAIK). Game code 0.81. Smaug edition.
A few key points. There a few missing mini modes, mode completion bonuses, or any status report. All 31 modes are able to be started and played all the way through
There are 4 skill shots, harder shots award more points, select with the ring button. A roving dwarf target, any elf target, any lock rollover, a roving inlane. If you miss a skill shot, but don't hit any target, drain will relaunch the ball.
4 lock buttons light all 3 ball locks, right ramp to lock a ball, 3 locks to start multiball. Second time through, must qualify 4 locks for each of 3 balls.
Smaug MB behaves like most games, a 3-ball multiball. Fan shots of Jackpots flashing "fire" colors - loops, ramps, and holes, and a few targets.
Beast MB is a 2 ball & can easily start during Smaug MB (if both are running, its a 4 ball MB) Beast Frenzy is qualify all 4 beast through inlane/beast hit a couple times - different color lights by the beast tell you if you have killed them once, twice, or more. Red beasts mean you are in Beast Frenzy mode, all 4 beasts come up, and once all 4 are completed, they start to come up in singles or groups as you complete them. Caution: during Smaug MB, Beast Frenzy makes ramps and loops more difficult, as the beasts keep getting in your way, doing it randomly by position and various timing lags. That complaint "playfield is too open" goes away once you experience the combo MB.
The modes are a bit more involved an require some exploring how to qualify them and how to complete them. A note, that not all the modes can be "completed" as of v0.81 and I think some of the small wizard modes may be yet to come - likely us early players won't get deep enough to see code missing - I'm sure Keefer & co. will keep updates coming about as fast as we can master the steps to actually get far enough to play them.
Mode qualifies: AFAIK, there are 6 groups of modes to qualify (and I think Keith said there's 1 more mode group that is "not obvious"). There are 6 icons in the top middle of the screen, which are greyed out, and fill-in color when qualified. The left ramp qualifies Gandalf modes, right ramp=bilbo, right hole=Radagast, the 3 sets of drops for elf, dwarf, man.
Mode change, start, play. Modes are shown on the book. Left ramp turns the page, each page is a short mode description. The 31 modes/pages take you through the Hobbit Story. Right Ramp "mode" is lit in red, starts a mode. I think the book pages turn to only modes where the character or race have been qualifies. Gandalf modes involve.... Gandalf: fighting return of Sauron, is L ramp for more points per hit, hits are any target. I think Gandalf has 6 modes. Bilbo modes focus on his roles, like "flies and Spiders" where you bash the spider a few times, then got to the pops to free dwarves from the web, etc. Another mode for Roast Mutton with cut scenes/shots by Bilbo confusing the trolls, then to free the dwarves. Each mode is a short task based on that scene in the movie/book. Radagast has a distraction mode, where he leads the beasts away, and its a fight of pop-ups. There are a variety of elf, man, dwarf, orc & dragon modes, etc.
The drop target modes are insane. For example, one of the dwarf modes involved single drops that are up and down, traveling around the sequence of the 11 drops in closewise order. Your job is to NOT hit a drop, but hit the standup behind a drop, but its only available when the set of 3 drops traveling around the 11, are down and revealing the stand-ups behind.
The modes are full of drops to hit, avoid the drops - hit the targets behind, Random drops that sequence - its crazy what Keith can do to you with all that detailed control of lights, targets, and combinations.
Explore playing these, and I won't reveal any more strategy of how to complete them, its more fun to discover it.
Oh - and a big footnote. The modes only stay qualified for that ball. You have to requalify the ramps, the hold and the drops, to have the 6 groups available at the book again. Mode progress that have been started does carry over to next ball.
A key to good play is using the ring to postpone a lock to start a mode instead via the right ramp. There are strategic times when you will want to start a mode before going into multiball - its especially useful if the mode is one of those nasty hit-standup-while-avoiding-drops modes.
Ball save & Extra balls are turned off by default. Some 10 second ball save and a few point levels that award EB help in exploring. The cut scenes for EB are fantasic and my guess is we see only a few dozen video scenes and I would expect perhaps 100's as the coders move along.
I got scores in the 300-500k with no EB. Scores in 800-1.8 mil games with (several) EB.
That's a long enough post to help those you have their games, or tease those with a game arriving soon.