Quoted from chuckwurt:
Also, how frequent are extra balls on stock settings? I got like 5-6 the other night. Is that normal for good games?
Likely 'replay' is set to extra balls, but default is just a single replay award. Off the top of my head, outside of 'replay', there are four you can earn: ducks, steins, tents, mystery. The mystery one is very rarely given other than if the player's score is really low.
Steins, ducks and calories are your friends.
Each stein gives two things, a general game boost (e.g. easier ball saves, more time in tents, etc.), and act as multiplier for the tent they are mapped to. So, ideally you want to play tents that you have steins for and the more steins the better (up to 3 will have benefit). This applies as well to steins that boost Multiballs.
Calories increase scoring in multiballs. You earn calories via food stand modes. Worth noting that when in a food stand mode, shooting the VUK will restart the clock and allow you to consume more food and thus more calories. BTW, collecting TENT letters when in a tent will increase that clock, and the increase is a bit bigger if you collect a letter closer to the clock running out of time. Food modes eventually lead to calorie coma and the number of calories impacts scoring.
Ducks increase scoring in tents. The more you have, the more they help. Going for the 'easier ducks' stein is one way to get your duck count higher. Collecting enough ducks will get you to Duck Derby.
how best to do it is, well that is certainly up for debate. I continue to change my strategy and typically I am adjusting during game play based on what is happening, what shots I am making, etc. If I have a few balls locked for one of the Multiballs, I might go for the appropriate stein to boost that MB before starting it, possible even picking up two or three of them. Early int eh game I might go for 'easier ball saves' or 'easier ducks' or 'more time in tents' (which can make it easier to complete tents and gives more time for 'victory laps')
In general, how you select steins is what should guide what you then go for and vice versa. For example, following up on the comments earlier in the thread, if you complete a few tent modes on one ball, and get a chance to pick a stein, going for the 'bonus multiplier' stein can have a nice payoff and in this case you can do it after you have done the task vs before.