(Topic ID: 302159)

DISCUSS: What aspects make for good rule sets? What games show it?

By Grayont

8 months ago


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  • Latest reply 8 months ago by Grayont
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    #1 8 months ago

    Hey Pinside! Starting my first topic here to open some discussion about what I think is probably the most important part of a fun pinball experience, the rules! What games have the best rules to you and why? What parts of the code do you wish more games would incorporate? What don’t you like in some rule sheets? Overall, what makes you keep coming back for more game after game and what makes you stay away from others?

    I’ll start by saying in general I’m all about the depth and completion of several different tasks together toward a final wizard mode. Games like WoZ, TSPP, and Stern JP all have a great amount of variety and depth for the various mini wizard modes and final wizard mode. The challenge of “beating” the game is what keeps me playing over and over and is definitely the drawing point for me in general. What about you??

    #2 8 months ago
    Quoted from Grayont:

    Hey Pinside! Starting my first topic here to open some discussion about what I think is probably the most important part of a fun pinball experience, the rules! What games have the best rules to you and why? What parts of the code do you wish more games would incorporate? What don’t you like in some rule sheets? Overall, what makes you keep coming back for more game after game and what makes you stay away from others?
    I’ll start by saying in general I’m all about the depth and completion of several different tasks together toward a final wizard mode. Games like WoZ, TSPP, and Stern JP all have a great amount of variety and depth for the various mini wizard modes and final wizard mode. The challenge of “beating” the game is what keeps me playing over and over and is definitely the drawing point for me in general. What about you??

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    I like in Hobbit how there’s sort of a story you’re playing, and it’s more about advancing than the score (at least at first)

    I also like how Sorceror’s Apprentice is like a role playing game with pinball shots; you have to use magic and block assault from the bad guys. Scoring is almost moot

    On the flip side, I love how in Doctor Who you can get absolutely crazy points by hitting the loop shot over and over again, then hitting 3 specific shots more or less in sequence. Extremely hard to do, simple to understand

    #3 8 months ago

    I'm really digging simple, brutal with less complex rules right now. During Covid I bought a Kiss Pro and Iron Man. Both brutal with rules that are straight forward and keep you wanting to play more. Short ball times with intense game play. I love both.

    #4 8 months ago
    Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

    I like in Hobbit how there’s sort of a story you’re playing, and it’s more about advancing than the score (at least at first)
    I also like how Sorceror’s Apprentice is like a role playing game with pinball shots; you have to use magic and block assault from the bad guys. Scoring is almost moot
    On the flip side, I love how in Doctor Who you can get absolutely crazy points by hitting the loop shot over and over again, then hitting 3 specific shots more or less in sequence. Extremely hard to do, simple to understand

    Hobbit definitely has a solid rule set, the layout leaves a bit to be desired for me personally, but you’re totally right about the sense of progression and storytelling.

    As far as Sorcerers Apprentice, I haven’t seen anything on this game yet, but it sounds very unique and something I’d be interested in. I should take a closer look into that one!

    #5 8 months ago
    Quoted from TwilightZone:

    I'm really digging simple, brutal with less complex rules right now. During Covid I bought a Kiss Pro and Iron Man. Both brutal with rules that are straight forward and keep you wanting to play more. Short ball times with intense game play. I love both.

    I can appreciate games like Iron Man and Avatar, but they aren’t my front runners in terms of rules layout. But I can’t deny they are a blast to play!

    #6 8 months ago

    Depth is probably the least important part for me; just because a game is "deep" doesn't make it good. Plus, its pretty hard to agree what "depth" is around here.

    #7 8 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Depth is probably the least important part for me; just because a game is "deep" doesn't make it good. Plus, its pretty hard to agree what "depth" is around here.

    Fair enough. I guess when I say depth I just mean there are a lot of things to do that are fully fleshed out. Such as in WOZ or TSPP almost every area of the layout is associated with its own unique set of modes that all culminate in their own mini wizard mode that then build up to an ultimate wizard mode. VS something like the Addams family which mostly just has the one main set of mansion modes, and the main multiball, along with a few other misc scoring areas.

    #8 8 months ago
    Quoted from Grayont:

    Hobbit definitely has a solid rule set, the layout leaves a bit to be desired for me personally, but you’re totally right about the sense of progression and storytelling.
    As far as Sorcerers Apprentice, I haven’t seen anything on this game yet, but it sounds very unique and something I’d be interested in. I should take a closer look into that one!

    Love Hobbit, have owned it twice - might be one of the flowiest games I’ve ever played!

    Sorceror’s Apprentice is a P3 game

    #9 8 months ago
    Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

    Love Hobbit, have owned it twice - might be one of the flowiest games I’ve ever played!
    Sorceror’s Apprentice is a P3 game

    I haven’t been super drawn to any of the multimorphic games really but this one does look intriguing indeed!

    #10 8 months ago

    Best rule set for me so far is ehoh. Many diff strategies to try

    #11 8 months ago

    Getting my Wonka soon. When I've played it on location It has always felt like just enough depth without being overwhelming.

    I love my Star Trek because of the 3 level deep missions that are well laid out. Star Trek code is easy to understand.

    #12 8 months ago

    Give me a solid layout w good objectives and shorter ball times and I’m good to go.

    In terms of favorite rules for me:
    -Funhouse
    -AFM
    -Johnny Mnemonic (only for the bonus shenanigans)
    -Andromeda
    -Iron Man

    #13 8 months ago
    Quoted from pcprogrammer:

    Getting my Wonka soon. When I've played it on location It has always felt like just enough depth without being overwhelming.
    I love my Star Trek because of the 3 level deep missions that are well laid out. Star Trek code is easy to understand.

    I agree with Wonka, lots of things to do there. I think all the JJP games have really solid, full rule sets. Wonka is pretty good for beginners too though because a lot of small multiballs and modes are easily attainable.

    Star Trek is a solid choice too with the 3 deep modes, but to me they blend together a little bit. But man the layout is fun to shoot.

    #14 8 months ago
    Quoted from DK:

    Give me a solid layout w good objectives and shorter ball times and I’m good to go.
    In terms of favorite rules for me:
    -Funhouse
    -AFM
    -Johnny Mnemonic (only for the bonus shenanigans)
    -Andromeda
    -Iron Man

    Nice picks. I will admit I’m starting to appreciate solid layouts more recently, but the rules still matter the most to me. I do love Johnny Mnemonic though. Super fast shooter and I like the main modes and collecting the ninja star awards.

    #15 8 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Depth is probably the least important part for me; just because a game is "deep" doesn't make it good. Plus, its pretty hard to agree what "depth" is around here.

    That's deep, man.

    #17 8 months ago

    For a game to have an enjoyable ruleset there are a number of things I appreciate.

    1: To get a good score/progress towards wizard mode - you must be forced to shoot all over the playfield. No rinse and repeat style rules, or ignored shots/targets. (MM - bash the castle, TZ/TAF - ramp start mode)

    2: When you make the much needed shot there should be, at the very least, a semi safe return, or the 'randomiser' shot (JP Truck, AIQ disc) is at the top of the playfield allowing time to execute a move to save. The vital shot shouldn't be overly difficult (Tron - Gem)

    3: Being able to work on more than 1 objective at once, and the ability to stack things. Whether that be mb on mb, or mode on mb - not being locked out of something because you've started something else. (Bad - JJP GnR, Good - LZ)

    4: Having a realistic chance of getting to mini-wizard modes 1 in 10ish, and main wizard 1 in 50ish games. (Obviously this will change per game based on the players skill). Any easier than that becomes too boring, any less becomes too frustrating, and thus ignored.

    5: Specific different challenges in modes. Not just hit the blinking light for no apparent reason (Bad - ST, Good - IMdn)

    That's why I think that the best games in recent history have been (in no particular order) JP2, AIQ, TWD, DP & EHOH

    #18 8 months ago

    Multiple ways to approach the game and still get a high score.

    Balanced scoring. No real exploits.

    Risk reward. Game can be too simple and have no real risk reward component.

    #19 8 months ago

    It depends but something simple like Stern Potc is easy for me to explain, has everything clearly represented on the PF. Has a mixture of easy and hard objectives.

    I do love complex rules such as JP or SW but these games are quite difficult to pick up or explain.

    #20 8 months ago

    I find that I very much like rules/objectives that match the theme of the title I'm playing.

    Two examples;

    1) Stern JP - You start the game at the Main Gate, and are following the map to get to the Visitor Center. Each paddock you visit has a dinosaur on the loose. To advance, you need to rescue staff (orange shots) before the dino gets to them (moving green shots). Once you've rescued a couple of staff, you have to set the traps (yellow stand-ups), then capture the dino (moving green/yellow shot). Once you learn what the different colors mean, it makes total sense what each shot represents.

    2) Johnny Mnemonic - The glove/matrix. When you shoot your first ball into the VUK, pay damn close attention. The DMD will briefly show what each spot on the 3x3 matrix is, and what its reward is. Fantastic idea making it a memory game, since the whole idea of the story is about human vs. computer memory.

    There are many more (collect the Inifinty Stones in AIQ, defeat houses in GOT, etc.) but those two above I think are brilliant.

    Later,
    EV

    #21 8 months ago

    For modern pinball I think there's two types of ruleset, those focused on points for tournament style play with less of focus on mode choreography (music, sounds, animations, etc timed to shots) and then those that put the player on a quest with an emphasis on mode choreography. I've always favored the quest type rulesets which is why I find the rulesets in Lord of the Rings and Hobbit to be among the best in pinball.

    One of my favorite rules hook is giving the player a reward for completing modes (in additional to wizard mode progression). Lord of the Rings does this the best in my opinion with offering the player a Gift of the Elves shot to collect a reward. Dialed In does something similar with having the SIM card shot lit to collect "Dialed In" letters. Why more games don't do this is something I'm puzzled about, it's such a cool feature that keeps players coming back for more and makes completing modes more rewarding. When you have this type of rules hook in an objective based mode that works the entire playfield with great music, sounds, and animations I don't think pinball get's any better.

    #22 8 months ago

    Games that have a set of easy rules for beginners, and more complex rules for advanced players. A few good examples:

    1. Black Knight (1980).
    2. Deadpool
    3. Jurassic Park
    4. Lord of the Rings
    5. AFM/MM

    All of these have easy to achieve basic goals (3 ball multiball, black knight, 2 ball multiball, Deadpool, Raptor Multiball, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, Fellowship Multiball. They also have secondary goals for better players: Black Knight, Extra Ball by bashing targets, Deadpool, depth, JP: Depth, LOTR: Depth. To me a good game is one that has a set of rules you can explain to a non-pinball person easily. Of all of these, I think AFM/MM fits the bill the best as you can tell anyone to just blow up the ship or destroy the castle by bashing the target repeatedly. Some games have the easy goals down that are simple for noobs, like World Cup Soccer, but don't have that much depth (not much to do). Others like Avengers don't have much on the shallow end but require a book and study for experts to get down. The ideal game is something that does both well.

    #23 8 months ago
    Quoted from WJxxxx:

    For a game to have an enjoyable ruleset there are a number of things I appreciate.
    1: To get a good score/progress towards wizard mode - you must be forced to shoot all over the playfield. No rinse and repeat style rules, or ignored shots/targets. (MM - bash the castle, TZ/TAF - ramp start mode)
    2: When you make the much needed shot there should be, at the very least, a semi safe return, or the 'randomiser' shot (JP Truck, AIQ disc) is at the top of the playfield allowing time to execute a move to save. The vital shot shouldn't be overly difficult (Tron - Gem)
    3: Being able to work on more than 1 objective at once, and the ability to stack things. Whether that be mb on mb, or mode on mb - not being locked out of something because you've started something else. (Bad - JJP GnR, Good - LZ)
    4: Having a realistic chance of getting to mini-wizard modes 1 in 10ish, and main wizard 1 in 50ish games. (Obviously this will change per game based on the players skill). Any easier than that becomes too boring, any less becomes too frustrating, and thus ignored.
    5: Specific different challenges in modes. Not just hit the blinking light for no apparent reason (Bad - ST, Good - IMdn)
    That's why I think that the best games in recent history have been (in no particular order) JP2, AIQ, TWD, DP & EHOH

    Nice detailed response! I agree with the repetitiveness point, but I can still appreciate those games for being easy to explain to newer players. I also agree with the ability to progress through multiple objectives at once, since it gives you more of a feeling there's always something to do. And I'm totally with you on the mode uniqueness thing. I enjoy the variety of different objectives game to game. JP2, AIQ, and DP are great recent games for sure. I recently got the chance to get a modern stern game and an AIQ and TMNT were available near me and I went with the TMNT but am starting to think AIQ was the better option for my preferences. the layout held me back a bit on it.

    #24 8 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Multiple ways to approach the game and still get a high score.
    Balanced scoring. No real exploits.
    Risk reward. Game can be too simple and have no real risk reward component.

    I hear ya! I just got a TMNT and the scoring does seem to be a bit funky on this one. It doesn't bother me much since I play more for the progression, but I can understand this completely. Especially if you're playing the game in a tournament where scoring is everything. If you like risk/reward you must be a fan of JackBot!

    Quoted from rai:

    It depends but something simple like Stern Potc is easy for me to explain, has everything clearly represented on the PF. Has a mixture of easy and hard objectives.
    I do love complex rules such as JP or SW but these games are quite difficult to pick up or explain.

    I can feel you with the simplicity of explanation. None of my friends are really into pinball and whenever I try to explain the rules to my favorite games they just start to doze off haha. But you can get right into the action with things like AFM and MM.

    #25 8 months ago
    Quoted from pcprogrammer:

    I love my Star Trek because of the 3 level deep missions that are well laid out. Star Trek code is easy to understand.

    I'm of the firm belief that Star Trek is one of the most approachable of all the newer Sterns.

    For a newbie, all you have to do is explain "Shoot for the colored Insignia". I guess GOT falls into this category as well....

    Later,
    EV

    #26 8 months ago

    • Utilising all the shots and the entire playfield.
    • Rules that compliment and integrate into the theme
    • Above all else fun! Achieved by the above!

    It’s why Mando is one of my favourite games it ticks all those boxes for me.

    #27 8 months ago

    The thing that makes The Shadow such a great game, particularly for tournaments, is not just that there are different strategies that are fairly score-balanced. It's also that the different strategies require different pinball skills. One strategy requires mini-playfield skill, one requires skill with side-loop combos, and the Vengeance thing is good if you're good with regular combos. Which means that even if the strategies aren't perfectly score-balanced, some people will still prefer one to another because the skills required for each strategy are different.

    #28 8 months ago

    I find BSD to have a simple, but yet challenging objective. Stack the 3 multiballs and get ready to hear "Thirttyyyyyyy Milliooooon". You could also kill Dracula while racking up the points, good sense of accomplishment other than just a big score.

    #29 8 months ago
    Quoted from EchoVictor:

    I'm of the firm belief that Star Trek is one of the most approachable of all the newer Sterns.
    For a newbie, all you have to do is explain "Shoot for the colored Insignia". I guess GOT falls into this category as well....
    Later,
    EV

    I agree, Star Trek is a great beginner pin and most players of any level can have a good time getting through the modes on this one!

    Quoted from J85M:

    • Utilising all the shots and the entire playfield.
    • Rules that compliment and integrate into the theme
    • Above all else fun! Achieved by the above!
    It’s why Mando is one of my favourite games it ticks all those boxes for me.

    I've gotten to play mando a few times now and I agree it's pretty fun! The shots flow well and the rules are easy to understand.

    Quoted from oldbaby:

    The thing that makes The Shadow such a great game, particularly for tournaments, is not just that there are different strategies that are fairly score-balanced. It's also that the different strategies require different pinball skills. One strategy requires mini-playfield skill, one requires skill with side-loop combos, and the Vengeance thing is good if you're good with regular combos. Which means that even if the strategies aren't perfectly score-balanced, some people will still prefer one to another because the skills required for each strategy are different.

    Shadow is a super fun game. I agree there is pretty decent balance between the strategies you mentioned, which is great for a tournament game. If I'm not mistaken the left loop into side loop combo racks up an absurd amount of points, and is generally much safer than the other strategies. But at least they are all viable. This game also just shoots super well and is a blast anyway!

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