(Topic ID: 121295)

SM vs LOTR


By nicoga3000

5 years ago



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#1 5 years ago

So I think I finally have a LOTR in line to purchase if I want it. However, I recently had the chance to play a lot of SM. I really enjoyed both, but for those who happen to own both, what are your thoughts on the two in single game collections?

E: Just so anyone new to the thread is wondering, I am getting my LOTR on Sunday, so consider this more an open discussion on two of Sterns best.

#2 5 years ago

Got both and they pay totally different. If you have a chance to get both run dont walk. If not if you like flow go for SM if you want deep rules go for LOTR. Both have great shots

#3 5 years ago

I have both. When I want an epic game with nice music and great callouts I go to Lotr. When I want a fast game that can be quick and packed with action I go to SM. Both pins complement each other well.

#4 5 years ago

Both are great games, really hard to compare as the play is completely different. They would be a good combination for a collection. Can't go wrong with either one.

#5 5 years ago

I have owned both I would go with Spiderman

#6 5 years ago

I put about 10 games on each today. A few on one, moved to other, rinse, repeat. They're both do different but so good, haha.

From the sound of it, I can't go wrong with either, but it's just a matter of making a decision right now.

#7 5 years ago

I also own both. Both are fantastic games and either would hold up well in a single game collection.

Which to choose is tough. I love both. If I had to select one, it would be LOTR by a hair. I love that pin and it's so well integrated into all three movies. That said, I have been playing a ton of Spiderman recently.

#8 5 years ago

Lotr by a mile. Sm wizard is cool, but all games feel the same.

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from Atomicboy:

Lotr by a mile. Sm wizard is cool, but all games feel the same.

Thanks mate. That's good info for sure.

#10 5 years ago

I have both... Wife absolutely addicted to lotr. It's gotten a bit old for me. Spiderman never gets old. Great flow. Our third pin, IJ, never gets old either. My only regret was sellng AFM to a friend thinking the layout and play was too similar to spiderman. Wish i would have kept that pin.

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from ninjabones:

I have both... Wife absolutely addicted to lotr. It's gotten a bit old for me. Spiderman never gets old. Great flow. Our third pin, IJ, never gets old either. My only regret was sellng AFM to a friend thinking the layout and play was too similar to spiderman. Wish i would have kept that pin.

Having SM, MM or AFM together, to me, is redundant. All play too similarity to justify having more than 1 in a small to medium sized collection.

In relation to the topic, I would say that these two games are Stern's best. Would go SM personally as the LOTR theme does nothing for me, but you really can't go wrong here.

-1
#12 5 years ago

SM is better. LOTR has clunky shots. SM is smoooooth. Both have great rules.

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from ninjabones:

I have both... Wife absolutely addicted to lotr. It's gotten a bit old for me. Spiderman never gets old. Great flow. Our third pin, IJ, never gets old either. My only regret was sellng AFM to a friend thinking the layout and play was too similar to spiderman. Wish i would have kept that pin.

Pleasing the wife is important. I should run the games by her to see what she thinks...

#14 5 years ago

Both fantastic pins,SM is the best

#15 5 years ago

SM , you can't go wrong. One of my favorites . I think stern will release LOTRVE , and my name
will be on one of them.

#16 5 years ago

The SM AFM argument isn't there. People say this because of the drop target bank. Other than that, there is nothing similar in them other than where the pops are. AFM is a ruthless speed machine. Shooting for the ships means something, and is exciting to do. In SM, sandman just happens in the midst of the other stuff, it's a moot point in play.

WPT and AFM are closer. The open PF and entire rear of WPT is more of less the same as AFM, but again, doesn't play anything alike.

It's like saying LOTR and MB are too similar to be in the same collection, as they are the exact same design. I have all of the ones mentioned, and none play the same.

SM needs more modes. Always the same game, few modes, couple MBs, Battle Royale, couple more modes, couple more MB's, try for Super Hero, always feels the same. Super Hero is very cool. It's deeper than Tron and IM, but much more shallow than LOTR, WPT and TSPP. It's balanced well though for it's play. I just don't care to play the modes though, bonesaw is fun, and the daily news, but meh, start and continue with what you need for SH.

LOTR is f'ing epic in every sense, and every meaning of the word as it applies to a pinball machine. You have to be concerned with winning everything, and knowing what you are doing. Much better rules, as are all Keefer games.

#17 5 years ago

I traded a SM for a LOTR. You can't go wrong with either, both great pins. Whichever theme you like more, go with that one. As for the pin you don't get, in time another will come up and you will again have an opportunity to buy that...

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from Atomicboy:

LOTR is f'ing epic in every sense, and every meaning of the word as it applies to a pinball machine. You have to be concerned with winning everything, and knowing what you are doing. Much better rules, as are all Keefer games.

Yeah, yeah... You're obviously biased because you have inside information!

Seriously, though, Atomicboy is a member of a rather exclusive club here on Pinside.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/valinor-club

I aspire to become a member myself... someday.

#19 5 years ago

I agree with many of the comments above- both great games; and two of Sterns best pins. I've owned LOTR twice and find it has very, very deep rules with an awesome theme and amazing music/call-outs. However, I do feel the game does suffer a bit from some clunky shots. The gimli mode hole is also a frustrating shot since the ball often doesn't drop into it.
I still own my huo SM and I think it edges out LOTR due to its buttery flow- just a very smooth all around game. Rules aren't quite as deep and the music isn't as all encompassing as LOTR.
Again, two really fun pins and both will become timeless classics.

#20 5 years ago
Quoted from Razorbak86:

Yeah, yeah... You're obviously biased because you have inside information!
Seriously, though, Atomicboy is a member of a rather exclusive club here on Pinside.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/valinor-club
I aspire to become a member myself... someday.

I got to SDMEWM in TSPP as well Both were huge accomplishments, TSPP likely more. Super Hero is great though, and although I have got there a few times in the relatively short time I have owned SM, I have not beat it, but wow is it long and in depth. SM's staying power for me lies in Super Hero alone.

#22 5 years ago

I have owned both, LOTR is Gone, SM will never leave. One of the best ever IMHO.

#23 5 years ago

I owned both, still have SM, LOTR is gone, but wouldn't mind having it back. When I had to get rid of a game from my collection it was going to be one or the other because both have relatively long ball times, meaning you have to be ready for a long game to step up to either game, LOTR more so. In other words I'd hesitate to recommend having both at the same time in a small collection, even though both are great games.

Quoted from Atomicboy:

Lotr by a mile. Sm wizard is cool, but all games feel the same.

My first reaction is that LOTR "games feel the same" to me too, but YMMV.

Whenever I play a pin with most modes requireing "hit x target/ramp y times to complete", it makes me cringe how un-creative it is compared to LOTR. It is partially why I'm fond of XM as many of the rules remind me of LOTR.

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from Baiter:

My first reaction is that LOTR "games feel the same" to me too, but YMMV.

(This post went long, sorry 'bout that!)

I'm surprised by this. SM is all about just starting everything. LOTR you have to complete everything, well nearly everything. Some days you are playing a modes like nothing and collecting into double digits for gifts, and TABA comes easy, but you are just off with a couple of the movie MB's. Other days you nail the requirements for the MB's, but you are just not beating (not starting, beating) the modes of DTR, and just not collecting gifts.

The stars have to be aligned, and everything firing 100% to have a shot at Valinor (same with SDMEWM in TSPP). With SM, you can literally just coast through the game to the wizard via starting and not really playing, providing you are still having a decently long game. Other than Ock, the other guys literally get completed through normal progression without really having to concentrate on them.

You have to finish the 4 villains, but you are constantly trying to start Ock to combine with something, so he's never an issue. I always shoot for venom when a ball comes down from the right orbit, as I'm sure most do, so he just gets done in the process, and in MB's, goblin and sandman get enough shots to advance. Once I played all the modes, there is maybe one villain I have to finish up to have SH ready to go.

I still think SM is one of Stern's better games (which for a lot of what they made, isn't saying a whole lot still, but none the less, it's within the best), but LOTR, TSPP, ACDC and WPT (yeah, I said it!) are the best. I think SM is right after that though. It's a fun game, with a easy but fun layout. Venom ramp is addictive to shoot for. I expected more excitement out of many aspects of it though. Sandman, when you get to know the game, has to be one of the biggest disappointments for pre-conceived notions, especially if you are familiar with how well AFM used that same (original) design.

Even though I suggest WPT is better, to many, it would not be, as WPT can be a boring ass game if you aren't doing well, and don't know what you are doing. In that sense, if by your own admission you are not a great player, you would probably hate WPT, and love SM for that reason. Once you peel the layers of WPT, it opens up and gets crazy, just like LOTR and TSPP (Keefer designs).

I also get some people don't like the long ball times of LOTR. There is no question LOTR has the longest ball times of any machine ever made. It's a journey, and it's meant to be, and it plays like that, and when you get through it all, or even had a great game, you feel like you just watched a kick ass movie and were part of it.

In the end, getting back to the op, I think you would enjoy both. No question the are both in Stern's best list, and both get tons of love and praise.

#25 5 years ago

I had both for a long time. LOTR is still here. SM is gone. While I really like the overall package with SM, the game play eventually became a little boring / tedious. There's really only a couple of ways to approach the game for high scoring because of how the shot multipliers and stacking rules are written. In the end, that got old for me even though I really like the game otherwise. In terms of overall ruleset / depth, SM wizard was attainable (Super Hero). LOTRs Valinor remains a much bigger challenge.

As others have pointed out, if you appreciate flow, SM has that over LOTR. If you like challenging modes or adrenaline inducing multiballs, I think LOTR has that over SM. The good news is that there isn't a wrong answer with either pin and both are pretty steady in value at this point so changing your mind later shouldn't hit your wallet too much assuming you don't overpay now.

#26 5 years ago

If you are just coasting thru SM you are playing it wrong. It is important to play and beat the timed modes and then carefully select where you are putting your shot multipliers depending on what shot they will have the biggest impact.

You can just ignore finishing the timed modes but it will not lead to a very good score. I've seen people get to Superhero and they end up with a score of under 500 million.

For example you don't just want to start a Doc Ock mode, you want to have the 3x shot multiplier on it to take maximum advantage of the super jackpot. You don't want to just start Battle Royal, you want to make sure you have a shot multiplier on the right ramp to take full advantage of the battle royal jackpot. If you are about to start New Goblin mode, make sure there is a shot multiplier on the two ramps associated with the mode. And you certainly don't want to get to Superhero without a few shot multipliers spred around the play field.

LOTR and SM are probably my two favourite games, so you can't lose with either.

I see WPT mentioned and while it's good and there are very deep rules, it is such an easy shooting game that I got bored of playing very long games, longer than LOTR and SM. Every shot on WPT is so far away from the flippers that even if you miss you have an eternity to adjust and save the ball from draining.

#27 5 years ago

Both are great games, but it's LOTR by a mile for me.

#28 5 years ago
Quoted from Atomicboy:

I'm surprised by this. SM is all about just starting everything. LOTR you have to complete everything, well nearly everything.

With LOTR I can simply shotgun the playfield, and I'll have ring modes and multiballs starting one after the other, eventually after all 3 multiballs have been started, and I get to DTR. On the other hand Valinor does require mode completions.

On SM I can get to Battle Royale by starting modes and not completing them just like DTR, but Super Hero wizard mode does require mode completions, like Valinor... but I may be wrong on the need to complete everything before reaching SH mode, so it's Valinor likely has stricter prereqs.

For most players wizard mode prereqs don't matter

#29 5 years ago

LOTR is one of the best games ever made. So out of those two, I'd pick LOTR by a lot. However, SM is a really good game. And I don't think you will regret either choice. So pick on and get it. Then when you get bored with it, sell it and get the other. Just look at it with a longer term view, and eventually own both, just at different times.

#30 5 years ago

For me it is SM. LOTR is definitely a great pin but it quickly became a grind. The rules feel too linear after awhile. SM games can be long but even after a long game, I will hit the start button again. After a great game of LOTR, I just feel drained and it feels like a chore to have to work up to the point of destroying the ring again.

I've owned both. SM is staying. I'd still get a LOTR again, but not at the expense of SM.

#31 5 years ago

Thanks for all the information and personal accounts. It's great to read about WHY you all prefer the game you do.

As it stands, I think I will likely go with my original choice of LOTR. I think the overall epic feel of the game is what is selling me on it. Also, the rules are fantastic, the music is crazy good (TABA), and the "feel" of it all jive with me. That's not to say I won't be hunting down a SM sometime after (or trading out once that time comes if it does) but I do think that after reading and thinking on it mkre, LOTR will be a better fit for me.

#32 5 years ago

You don't lose either way. I've owned a LOTR and I still have my Spider-Man. I think that overall LOTR is the better game, but I feel like either one is a top 10 game and well worth the price. SM gives you some pretty smooth combos and some really fast play, while LOTR gives you some of the best multiballs, modes, and rules on a modern pin.

#33 5 years ago

LotR is one of 3 Stern games I own (with TSPP and WPT, Thank you Keefer). It's a great game and offers numerous strategies to gameplay. Spidey is a good game, but I have seen too many people doc ock all day, so it's stock has gone down for me.

Play the games and go with the one you want to play the most! Or even better... get BOTH!

#34 5 years ago
Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

LotR is one of 3 Stern games I own (with TSPP and WPT, Thank you Keefer). It's a great game and offers numerous strategies to gameplay. Spidey is a good game, but I have seen too many people doc ock all day, so it's stock has gone down for me.
Play the games and go with the one you want to play the most! Or even better... get BOTH!

Both isn't an option at the moment, but I'm considering it as a 2-pin collection, ha. SM was a blast when I played it, but I think I prefer the long game style of LOTR and the "quest like" nature of it. It's such a deep and involved game. SM is so fantastic, but I think LOTR is winning out in my head.

#35 5 years ago

If you're going to own Spider-Man, just make sure that you learn how to go after and complete the white spider modes. It's a whole different experience when you shoot for them. It's not the way to maximize points, but it's more fun.

#36 5 years ago

My personal experience.. I have owned them both, both are utterly great, I want LOTR back.

#37 5 years ago
Quoted from nicoga3000:

considering it as a 2-pin collection,

When I owned both, it was as a two pin collection..I found them perfectly complimentary. Switching between them was exactly what was required at the time and kept them both fresh. Perfect two-up.

#38 5 years ago
Quoted from jar155:

If you're going to own Spider-Man, just make sure that you learn how to go after and complete the white spider modes. It's a whole different experience when you shoot for them. It's not the way to maximize points, but it's more fun.

Well considering starting a mode gives you a 2x playfield multiplier, then if completed you get a 3x playfield multiplier, I'd say the modes are very important in maximizing points depending on where you put your multipliers.

As to the OP's original question, IMPO they both work great in a small collection.

#39 5 years ago
Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

Spidey is a good game, but I have seen too many people doc ock all day, so it's stock has gone down for me.

I noticed this in competitions as well because it is the safest/quickest route to multiball. Normally games are played differently in tournament mode vs at home where progress to wizard mode is the goal, so for home use this is less of a concern. It would be nice for Lyman to balance that out at some point.

#40 5 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

SM is better. LOTR has clunky shots. SM is smoooooth. Both have great rules.

My vote is definitely for LOTR, but I agree with this post completely. My vote is for LOTR because of theme, call outs, and rules, which for me overcome the clunky shots on LOTR. SM is very smooth though and is the better shooting pin for sure.

#41 5 years ago

LOTR's for me due to theme and rules, I like SM as a players game but fantasy is better for pinball than action hero, JMO. I'm not a LOTR's or Spiderman fan but definitely prefer the darker edge that comes with LOTR's. Both are great games.

#42 5 years ago
Quoted from Snurdley:

Well considering starting a mode gives you a 2x playfield multiplier, then if completed you get a 3x playfield multiplier, I'd say the modes are very important in maximizing points depending on where you put your multipliers.
As to the OP's original question, IMPO they both work great in a small collection.

Yeah, they can be. I guess in a tournament setting you're probably not going to be able to put in that much work safely, so you go after the multiballs quicker. SM does have some hidden depth in its strategy, for sure.

#43 5 years ago

I prefer lotr personally.

#44 5 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

SM is better. LOTR has clunky shots. SM is smoooooth. Both have great rules.

Of course you're right, but in a strange way the clunkiness e.g. of the sword ramp adds to the "rough middle earth battle" theme & feel of the pin. Buttery flow would be kind of misplaced here. And you gotta love the smooth lightning fast return from the left ramp, fits Legolas' elegant signature moves from the movies perfectly. Gimli is also a pretty cool, you don't see pins that force you to shoot "soft" at something very often.

SM is a really cool great shooting game, but sometimes the music is slightly to chaotic for me and the callouts are not really good. Goblin's laughter is great, though.

LotR wins this one for me, just because it's such an epic game overall.

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

LOTR has clunky shots

Whhhhhhhhhhaaat??? You sir need to play a better condition LOTR. Clunky would be the last way I would describe either of these games.

#46 5 years ago

So what shots are clunky? I'm having a hard time understanding this. The cave shot is meant to be as it is. I like it, it's not a for sure shot, and I aim for the sides to make a shot that sticks, but it's a unique design, what do you want, another scoop or a saucer that's deflector eventually bends back and doesn't work right?. Chalk that up to the dock ock, which on most machines bricks out many times, as can be just as unreliable.

The back post in LOTR can be an issue, but there is an easy fix to make it 100% in adding a few washers under the PF.

Other than that, the right orbit, inner orbit, ring shot, left ramp, and right ramp all return in flow fashion, and three can be stopped/diverted. SM has both outer orbits, that are closed more than they are open, and three ramp shots. By all counts, there is more flow in LOTR than SM on average.

#47 5 years ago

Very tough call both are epic pins. I'd go SM due to the layout and flow but not by much as I love both of them. I think most would agree SM has better overall flow and LOTR is deeper. Not all but most. Can't go wrong either way IMO.

#48 5 years ago

One very important aspect of LOTR that puts it above SM for me is the quality of the call outs and animations that accompany the modes (and all aspects of the game). Every shot made is rewarded with a cool sound/display effect culminating in a neat ending sequence and a Gift from the Elves if the mode is completed. Really makes you feel like you've accomplished something unlike a 2X or 3X shot bonus, that you probably wouldn't even know happened if you didn't know what to look for.

Really wish SM (and many of Lyman's games) gave better audio/display feedback to reward accomplishments. I know his games are more about getting high scores by way of intricate scoring rules but you can still make those scoring accomplishments special by adding some fanfare.

Another thing I dislike about SM is the 3-6-9-12 chopping wood rule style used to beat the villains.

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

One very important aspect of LOTR that puts it above SM is the quality of the sound and animations that accompany the modes (and all aspects of the game).

Maybe your referring to better "Call Outs"? I was under the impression that the sound "quality" on LOTR (Whitestar system) was not as good as the newer SAM board system that SM uses.

#50 5 years ago
Quoted from Hudson:

Maybe your referring to better "Call Outs"? I was under the impression that the sound "quality" on LOTR (Whitestar system) was not as good as the newer SAM board system that SM uses.

Yes, better call outs is what I was referring to. Thanks for the clarification. Post edited.

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