(Topic ID: 288523)

3 Ball vs. 5 Ball? Preference and history banter


By Colsond3

4 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 65 posts
  • 38 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by dmarston
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    There are 65 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 4 days ago

    I leave all of my games set on 3 ball. 5 ball games just seem to last forever, and kill the competitiveness when you're playing head to head. Especially if you're playing an AAB EM, or a modern pin where you collect extra balls.

    Now some EM's can be set to 5-ball, mainly because of short ball times. But modern games on 5-ball? Seems a little overkill and takes some of the fun out, especially when setting or trying to beat high scores. At least in my opinion.

    What's yours?

    #2 4 days ago

    3 balls, including most EMs. Unless it makes more sense for 5-ball, like on North Star where you need to collect all 5 top rollovers. I agree on short games - I'd rather play several quick 3-ball games than fewer but longer 5-ball games.

    #3 4 days ago
    Quoted from jeffc:

    I agree on short games - I'd rather play several quick 3-ball games than fewer but longer 5-ball games.

    Totally agree. I correct myself also....not all of my games. I have my Vampire set on 5 due to the brutal "Jubilee-like" outlanes. Even a 5-ball game only last 5 minutes or so, if that. But even that game I switch back and forth between 3 and 5 occasionally.

    #4 4 days ago

    On my EM’s, 5 balls. On Family Guy, 3 balls.

    #5 4 days ago

    I usually prefer 3 ball but sometimes there are rule changes between the two settings (so you can achieve goals in a 3 ball game) and I usually pick the number of balls based on what seems right and sometimes 5 balls is clearly the winner due to these rule shifts.

    #6 4 days ago

    I only have 2 1970’s SS games. Keep one set on 5 ball and one on 3 ball for variety.

    #7 4 days ago

    All EMs on 5 ball. Those are too brutal to have on 3 ball. All SS games, 3 balls with EBs turned off.

    My games are still set up for State IFPA tournaments. I really need to go back and change them to normal settings seeing as this won't be happening for a while.

    #8 4 days ago
    Quoted from jeffc:

    Unless it makes more sense for 5-ball, like on North Star where you need to collect all 5 top rollovers.

    Looking at the North Star PF, that makes sense. No access to rollovers from down below, unless you get a good bounce off the pops. But unlike newer games, EM's don't often have enough power to bounce the ball off the pops back up through the rollovers. Even that lucky bounce wouldn't be "skillful" playing.

    And even if there was a path or access, 2 inch flippers don't often get the ball back to the top of the playfield in my experience.

    Man...what a crazy PF layout on that pin. That's awesome.
    North Star (resized).jpg

    #12 4 days ago

    I have all EMs, all 15 in the lineup are multi-player, and all are set to 5-ball, even if you can earn “same player shoots again.” Maybe since you can only get one extra ball per ball in play on multi-players, it doesn’t seem to unacceptably extend the waiting time for the next player.

    #14 4 days ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    Oh wow. I'm so sorry. I had no idea the issue had been discussed.
    I was just stopping a derail in another thread.
    Feel free to scrap this one then.

    lol, most general pinball topics have been discussed more than once at this point.

    But, nobody says it can't be discussed some more--carry on with the 3 v 5 ball debate

    #15 4 days ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    Now some EM's can be set to 5-ball

    Only some. I have a 4 Square that is set on 5 ball. It is the only way it can be played. And there are some other Wedgehead games that require it. But I would never set a modern game on 5 ball. 3 just feels right for 98% of games.

    That being said, if someone else enjoys playing their game on 5 ball, go for it. If you own a game, nobody can tell you how it should or shouldn't be set up. Play your games how you enjoy them, and &%*$ everyone else. After all, they are just big toys.

    #16 4 days ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    Only some. I have a 4 Square that is set on 5 ball. It is the only way it can be played. .

    I was thinking of 4 Square when I posted my comment about the rule changes when selecting 3 ball and 5 ball being better!

    #17 4 days ago

    I have 8 modern games, also a MSF, a favorite, like you. I can’t imagine playing them 3 ball, although, at location, you have to. I am 66, I grew up with 5 ball, 3 games, quarter, 1 game, dime. Yes, old school. Depends on what you like and comfortable.

    #18 4 days ago

    I also have a TWD premium. 3 ball? Sounds brutal.

    #19 4 days ago

    FWIY:
    5 balls here.
    I'm good but not that good for 3-ball games, they go too quick.

    The grandkids are 11 to 5.5 in age, and any ball pretty much goes SDTM most times with them anyway. Set them to 3-ball and they would lose interest real quick.

    My friends are not good players, especially when they've been drinking, and 5-ball setting is quick enough a game for them too.

    #20 4 days ago
    Quoted from HIPPY:

    I have 8 modern games, also a MSF, a favorite, like you. I can’t imagine playing them 3 ball, although, at location, you have to.

    That's a prime example for me though. Those 3 ball games on MSF where it totally kicks you in the nuts and it's over in 2 minutes makes me keep hitting that start button! Same thing with BSD.

    But as Dave said, I don't care what other people set their games on and don't criticize. They can do whatever they want. Mine are just preference. Trying to beat some high scores I set (or others do) with only 3 balls is in itself an immense challenge sometimes.

    #21 3 days ago

    i split the difference and have my games on 4 ball...

    #22 3 days ago

    My sweet point is also at 4 balls a game with max 1 xtra ball. Some games I set extra balls on max 2 but only those which don’t give alway xtra balls for nothing.

    #23 3 days ago

    EM's are set to 5 balls, half my SS on 3.

    If a game has a feeling that it is talking too long to play or far too easy it gets set to 3 ball. I was beating Blackout too often and rolled it to 3 ball and much more enjoyable. Xenon set to 5 ball, still a mean bitch most of the time.

    You attention span or skill level may vary.

    #24 3 days ago

    I have MB on 6 ball because it is such a ball drainer. The other 11 on 5 ball because I like the longer play times. When my friends come over they just like to bash the ball around.

    #25 3 days ago

    I have WOZ on 5 balls and I still suck at it. Dialed in is on 3 balls and I'm good at it.

    I might be looking at this question from the wrong perspective....

    #26 3 days ago

    I remember when the three ball games first came out in the arcades. Initially, everyone was up in arms and didn’t want to play them. Quarters only go so far. Eventually, the three ball games demonstrated that a player can get as much or more playing time for the same number of quarters due to their increased playability and relative depth. I’m glad that pinball evolved and has continued to do so over the years.

    #27 3 days ago

    All my EMs are on 5 ball, all my modern games are on 3 balls, no EBs. I tend not to like the kind of add a ball EMs where you can rack up tons of balls so that's not a problem. I also think there are some SS that should be on 5 ball. Especially the ones that are just SS versions of EM games. For instance, Hot Tip, Black Jack. Or something like Stars or Count Down. As long as the balls can never last long, I don't think 5 ball is a problem. Then there's the hard case of games like Alien Star which play as brutal as many EMs, but you could also get on a roll and have five multiballs and take forever :/

    #28 3 days ago
    Quoted from Rensh:

    My sweet point is also at 4 balls a game with max 1 xtra ball. Some games I set extra balls on max 2 but only those which don’t give alway xtra balls for nothing.

    Well... I don't feel so bad about using that extra ball if it is Rensh approved! I gotta give myself some help!

    #29 3 days ago
    Quoted from HIPPY:

    I have 8 modern games, also a MSF, a favorite, like you. I can’t imagine playing them 3 ball, although, at location, you have to. I am 66, I grew up with 5 ball, 3 games, quarter, 1 game, dime. Yes, old school. Depends on what you like and comfortable.

    Now,I'm a 70 yr old Hippy,and this is how we first learned to play! Also,I'm not in competition with anybody! I enjoy playing 10 of my 11 pins on 5 ball! My toy,My way!!

    #30 3 days ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    I leave all of my games set on 3 ball. 5 ball games just seem to last forever, and kill the competitiveness when you're playing head to head. Especially if you're playing an AAB EM, or a modern pin where you collect extra balls.
    Now some EM's can be set to 5-ball, mainly because of short ball times. But modern games on 5-ball? Seems a little overkill and takes some of the fun out, especially when setting or trying to beat high scores. At least in my opinion.
    What's yours?

    Generally - all digital games will be 3 ball
    EM games with an achievable EB ("shoot again") 3 ball
    EM one players 5 ball
    EM with no EB (like FIreball) 5 ball

    DMD games on 5 ball are just ridiculous. Silverball museum in Jersey used to have them set up like that glad they fixed it.

    #31 3 days ago

    EM guy.
    Three balls with DC flippers/pops. Can I get an Amen for the Church of Rectification!
    Five balls on all the others.

    #32 3 days ago

    3 balls for “standard” sized flipper bats and 5 balls for the shorties....except AAB I have on 3.

    I have 8BD set on 2 balls.

    #33 3 days ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    All SS games, 3 balls with EBs turned off.

    Quoted from zacaj:

    ...all my modern games are on 3 balls, no EBs.

    When I first got my Future Spa it was set to 5 balls. Once I got better at playing it, I set it to 3 ball, trying to beat the high score I had on 5 ball.

    As far as 'no EBs', I have no choice in Future Spa. It will not award any EBs no matter how much I change the settings. So i've just adapted to it.

    For everything else, just my EMs are set to 5 ball.

    #34 3 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    lol, most general pinball topics have been discussed more than once at this point.
    But, nobody says it can't be discussed some more--carry on with the 3 v 5 ball debate

    It’s true. If there was a rule that no topics could be repeated all posts would cease. It’s all been discussed here multiple times over.

    #35 3 days ago

    Whatever the factory default is is what I set mine to, so 3 balls. I don't have an EM currently, but if I did I'd go with the intended factory settings.

    That's how I like to play though. If it's your game in your house, do your thing!

    #36 3 days ago

    EMs 5 ball. Solid States, 3 ball. Some games with extra balls limited to 1 or 2 or disabled.

    #37 3 days ago

    All my Bally's solid state games are 3 ball except Flash Gordon at 5 balls which for most games on that title are as long 3 balls on any other.

    #38 3 days ago

    EM fibe balls anything else three ball

    #39 3 days ago

    Lady Luck (Williams) It works best on 3-ball, a gambling game really that shouldn't go too long.
    Klondike 5 Balls on this one, only way to get that "!00,000" Lit up in the backglass.
    Grand Prix (Williams). 3 balls are plenty once you learn this game.
    Fireball Classic 5. Interesting things happen on the 4th and 5th ball.

    #40 3 days ago
    Quoted from EJS:

    I have 8BD set on 2 balls.

    Wow, that's brutal...My 8BD is set to 5 ball, as about 2 out of every five balls drain immediately out of the pop bumpers. Trying to play a game set to 2 balls would be really frustrating.

    My "modern" games (WH20 and MBr) are each set to 3 balls.

    #41 3 days ago

    5 ball on mine always, that's what I grew up playing at locations as a kid. But I'll conservatize things like outlanes and rule settings to balance things out if need be and it's available. Only game I've ever preferred on 3 ball is my Fast Draw EM, rules are just more interesting with it. Especially do not like 3-ball on an EM when it dumbs down the rules, where you light a letter/number in a sequence and so as a liberalization it lights another one for free, I HATE that kinda crap.

    And I'm a mediocre player and always will be. Playing a game that lasts too long has never been a problem.

    #42 3 days ago
    Quoted from jackd104:

    It’s true. If there was a rule that no topics could be repeated all posts would cease. It’s all been discussed here multiple times over.

    Mods can, and should, choose to close pften repeated threads.

    #43 3 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Mods can, and should, choose to close pften repeated threads.

    Stop chiming in with the same meaningless BS. I told Forceflow he could close it earlier in the thread.

    How about just don’t visit the thread if the repetition offends you? Christ.

    #44 3 days ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    Stop chiming in with the same meaningless BS.

    I'm just responding to something in the thread tough guy.

    Quoted from Colsond3:

    How about just don’t visit the thread if the repetition offends you? Christ.

    I'll make you a deal. I won't visit anymore if you learn how to search for something on the goddamn internet. Crazy idea right?

    #45 3 days ago

    Kinda glad someone brought this debate up again. Was just thinking over the weekend about POSSIBLY setting my IMDN to 4 or 5 ball. I'd say i'm a slightly above average player, and have put up some fairly decent scores, and have gotten relatively deep into the game, but, i'd like to go further obviously and i just thought going to 4 or 5 ball will give me a good shot to see the entire game. Would never think to keep at 4 or 5 ball, just thought maybe for a few months. Plus the wife and friends have a heluva time getting far at all on 3 ball

    #46 3 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Mods can, and should, choose to close pften repeated threads.

    Nah, no need. If folks want to discuss, then they can discuss away. If nobody wants to discuss, then the thread will sink down the page pretty quickly. Such is the nature of discussion forums.

    So, carry on.

    #47 3 days ago

    I have all my games set to 3 ball. More of a challenge for everyone to do their best. Ironically, I angered my 10 year old yesterday because I set the latest pin I'm working on to 3 balls after it was on 5. Games were lasting forever. He was all bent out of shape because he said he will never beat his 5 ball high score. I told him he will, just will take more practice. We write down high scores on a piece of paper; it gives him a goal.

    10 year old 'problems'. Ha!

    #48 3 days ago
    Quoted from Skidave:

    I have all my games set to 3 ball. More of a challenge for everyone to do their best. Ironically, I angered my 10 year old yesterday because I set the latest pin I'm working on to 3 balls after it was on 5. Games were lasting forever. He was all bent out of shape because he said he will never beat his 5 ball high score. I told him he will, just will take more practice. We write down high scores on a piece of paper; it gives him a goal.
    10 year old 'problems'. Ha!

    I'm with the kid, I think he has a point. Maybe reset the scores and see who comes out on top.

    #49 3 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    If nobody wants to discuss, then the thread will sink down the page pretty quickly. Such is the nature of discussion forums.

    Out of the other 48 similar threads, this one will be the most epic 3 vs. 5 ball thread. I will bump it to the top forever (even if just to piss off thelaw).

    #50 3 days ago

    Since I have a tournament mindset with my games, era makes no difference. If they are playing too long and they are an EM, they get set to 3. If they are playing too short and are an SS, they get set to 5. The only SS game I’ve ever set to 5 ball is stars. The only EM I’ve set to 3 is Grand Prix.

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