(Topic ID: 246818)

The Hobbit (Smaug Ed) a good pinball for first time buyer?


By Gattiman

7 days ago



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  • 117 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by Pinslot
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 7 days ago

Hello all,
I was looking at some Sterns namely Iron Maiden and TWD but the JJP attention to detail really has blown me away. Are these good for a first timer or am I fixing to bite off more than I can chew to keep them working? I have some technical ability but not a ton. WOZ isn’t really my style and POTC is out of my price range as a first purchase.
Thanks!

#2 7 days ago

Newer Sterns and JJP games are about the same on maintenance, so that shouldn't be the big consideration.

If it is your only game, then you need to make sure you love it.

The Hobbit can be a polarizing machine when it comes to game play. Generally it is a long player, with lots of multi-balls. This is very different than TWD, which can be brutal, and the ball times are much shorter.

Which do you like better? Short games that keep you coming back, or long games that keep it going for a while?

If you can't answer that easily, then you need to play a lot more before you buy something.

Definitely play the games you are considering before buying one. GL!

#3 7 days ago

I’ve had to do no maintenance to my Hobbit other than cliffys. The game is bulletproof!

#4 7 days ago

I think TH would be a solid first pin. No maintenance needed when I owned mine.

A lot of pin for the price on the secondary market.

#5 7 days ago

Hobbit is a great choice for a first pin. It’s not that complicated to fix. Smaug can be an issue so just make sure he’s working if you buy the game.

#6 7 days ago

I would get Maiden it's a great game that makes you come back as it has so many strategies.

#7 7 days ago

Coming from a former Hobbit Smaug owner, I’d personally recommend a brand new stern pro as my first new in box purchase. Iron Maiden pro would be a great option with much better reliability and cheaper price too.

#8 7 days ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Newer Sterns and JJP games are about the same on maintenance, so that shouldn't be the big consideration.
If it is your only game, then you need to make sure you love it.
The Hobbit can be a polarizing machine when it comes to game play. Generally it is a long player, with lots of multi-balls. This is very different than TWD, which can be brutal, and the ball times are much shorter.
Which do you like better? Short games that keep you coming back, or long games that keep it going for a while?
If you can't answer that easily, then you need to play a lot more before you buy something.
Definitely play the games you are considering before buying one. GL!

I’ve been playing pinball since I was 7 years old so I just love the game. Never had the means or space to own one until recently. Longer games suit me more than short and I’ve played it. Honestly I could love either but the detail and look/sound of the hobbit and JJP games in general are what brought me over. This will be going in a somewhat public area in my home.

It will be my only pin for a while. I’d like to pick up 1 every 1-2 years after my first. Depending on if the wife lets me lol.

#9 7 days ago

Hobbit is very well built, and has tons of little detours and strategies, and can be LOOOOONG! not a bad thing at all - but it can be highly frustrating when you’re having an awesome 20 minute game and suddenly pinball happens!

It’s good to eventually pair a long player like this with something faster and shorter (I guess TWD would fit this).

As has been stated - people either love it (see the owners thread) or can’t stand it. IMO much of that dislike comes from not understanding how frequently the monster mechs are used, and how they are positioned to force you to change your shots around in certain modes. (The mechs stay up and block your usual shots). Brilliant game, IMO. It will not be your only game for long..

#10 7 days ago

For your first game. Or any game. Play as much as you can. Get the one you love and can't live without.

LTG : )

#11 7 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Hobbit is very well built, and has tons of little detours and strategies, and can be LOOOOONG! not a bad thing at all - but it can be highly frustrating when you’re having an awesome 20 minute game and suddenly pinball happens!
It’s good to eventually pair a long player like this with something faster and shorter (I guess TWD would fit this).
As has been stated - people either love it (see the owners thread) or can’t stand it. IMO much of that dislike comes from not understanding how frequently the monster mechs are used, and how they are positioned to force you to change your shots around in certain modes. (The mechs stay up and block your usual shots). Brilliant game, IMO. It will not be your only game for long..

I love all pinball except for simple ones like the new Beatles layout. If a game has lots of shots and mode variety I’ll like it regardless.
I’d imagine a used Maiden or possibly the upcoming GNR will be my second in the future. I have comfortable room for 3 machines if it gets that far.

#12 7 days ago

If you decide to get a hobbit (good choice by the way), I would recommend finding a well kept HUO version. It will save you several thousand over NIB, and you can get the Smaug or LE version for the look you want for cabinet and trim color.

#13 7 days ago
Quoted from Goronic:

If you decide to get a hobbit (good choice by the way), I would recommend finding a well kept HUO version. It will save you several thousand over NIB, and you can get the Smaug or LE version for the look you want for cabinet and trim color.

Yeah I’m looking at the Smaug or black arrow edition used. Prefer Smaug for the side art and other touches.

#14 7 days ago

Hobbit LE was the first pin I bought. If you get a Smaug make sure all the fixes have been made. They are all standard from factory on LE and BA.

#15 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

Prefer Smaug for the side art and other touches.

Don't worry aboot side art and shit like that. In a year you'll own 2-4 more and you wont be able to see the sides anyway

#16 7 days ago

Everyone has opinions, but I wouldn't touch it. I bought it NIB and was so excited and it (along with Avengers LE) were 2 of the most disappointing purchases I've ever made in the hobby. Not bashing JJP, I still enjoy my WOZ and I had fun the one time I played DI, but its definitely the worst of what they have put out. I'd go CGC, Stern, or any other JJP for my first pin. Just my humble opinion...

#17 7 days ago

As an owner I reeeeeaaally like it. However I'm a huge Tolkien nerd and have a LOTR sitting right next to it. People who claim it's a long game, if you're a good player it sure as hell can be a long game. Not so great player you'll get punished by failed ramp shots and the right side ball drains. There's 31 modes and getting to each mini wizard mode takes 5 accomplishments. Not an easy task. That's what keeps me going back. Killing Smaug is no walk in the park either but thankfully beating him is an "option" vs requirement. So with my ramblings it makes me wonder if this machine would be too hard for a newbie and maybe a simpler ruled machine would be better for you? My bother and sister in law are newbs and they both have complained about it being too hard. If you cant get the ball up the ramp consistently you cant start a mode. For the record I just love pinball. It doesnt have to have miles deep code to be good. Last thought, most people who hate the game didn't like the movies either which I can understand. They also complain about being floaty which A) it's a wide body duh and B) steepening the playfield makes for a much better experience so if its setup flat.... hell yes it's much less fun. C) They owned it/played it when the code was pretty poor.

#18 7 days ago
Quoted from CLEllison:

As an owner I reeeeeaaally like it. However I'm a huge Tolkien nerd and have a LOTR sitting right next to it. People who claim it's a long game, if you're a good player it sure as hell can be a long game. Not so great player you'll get punished by failed ramp shots and the right side ball drains. There's 31 modes and getting to each mini wizard mode takes 5 accomplishments. Not an easy task. That's what keeps me going back. Killing Smaug is no walk in the park either but thankfully beating him is an "option" vs requirement. So with my ramblings it makes me wonder if this machine would be too hard for a newbie and maybe a simpler ruled machine would be better for you? My bother and sister in law are newbs and they both have complained about it being too hard. If you cant get the ball up the ramp consistently you cant start a mode. For the record I just love pinball. It doesnt have to have miles deep code to be good. Last thought, most people who hate the game didn't like the movies either which I can understand. They also complain about being floaty which A) it's a wide body duh and B) steepening the playfield makes for a much better experience so if its setup flat.... hell yes it's much less fun. C) They owned it/played it when the code was pretty poor.

I’m a newbie to owning pins but I’ve been playing them for forever. I’m also a huge nerd as well lol. Having challenge that keeps me coming back is exactly what I want out of a pin. That and high polish for a cool look plus IP nostalgia.

If something is too hard I just get better lol. That’s me in my profile pic. You don’t learn to drag knee on a motorcycle without patience and time to learn.

#19 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

I’m a newbie to owning pins but I’ve been playing them for forever. I’m also a huge nerd as well lol. Having challenge that keeps me coming back is exactly what I want out of a pin. That and high polish for a cool look plus IP nostalgia.
If something is too hard I just get better lol. That’s me in my profile pic. You don’t learn to drag knee on a motorcycle without patience and time to learn.

I would get Hobbit based on your reply, that's the pin that fits. Have owned the game since release, its incredible.

#20 7 days ago

I've owned it for 2+ years and still love it.

#21 7 days ago

I love mine, but i'm not sure i would want to choose it if i only had to keep one....

You see a very large part of the joy that my machines bring is watching others play them. The Hobbit is not as approachable for new players and the rules are much harder to explain than say, Deadpool and for a new player to acheive easy goals etc. Not that they can't just that the immediate satisfaction of a good ball is easier to acheive for a novice player on a machine with less complex rules and some simpler shots.

If you are buying this purely for your self disregard.

pinballkids4 (resized).jpg
#22 7 days ago

I still love my Hobbit after a few years now, and still no issues whatsoever. Like others have said though, best to play and make your own decisions. As far as reliability though, they're solid.

#23 7 days ago

The Hobbit is the one pinball I really wanted to love, I'm a big JJP fan, I have a WOZ at home and I'm a big Tolkien fan. With JJP awesome way of integrating a theme in a pinball, with the many movies assets they got totally looked like a dream to me.

But I've spent countless coins playing it on location and as much as I tried to get into liking I just couldn't, so I gave up on the idea of buying one and don't feel compelled to put more coins in it, although I do enjoy watching other people play since there is a lot going on on the screen.

So my best advice is to spend time playing it and see if it fits you.

#24 7 days ago

I have or have owned all 3 at some point. They are all awesome machines. TWD and IMDN are like driving speedboats and the Hobbit is like driving a yacht. Like others have said, play them and decide for yourself. If you're like me, you'll eventually own all 3.

#25 7 days ago

had a guy that had never played pinball in his life come over the other day. he played metallica, star trek, ac/dc, then.... I let him play hobbit. first thing he said was...…"wow, you can tell the build quality is on a whole different level!" Great game, you won't be sorry.

#26 7 days ago
Quoted from punkin:

I love mine, but i'm not sure i would want to choose it if i only had to keep one....
You see a very large part of the joy that my machines bring is watching others play them. The Hobbit is not as approachable for new players and the rules are much harder to explain than say, Deadpool and for a new player to acheive easy goals etc. Not that they can't just that the immediate satisfaction of a good ball is easier to acheive for a novice player on a machine with less complex rules and some simpler shots.
If you are buying this purely for your self disregard.[quoted image]

It’s mainly for myself. I have two girls that I’m sure will play it randomly but besides me and my wife that’s pretty much it. Holidays my house gets full though. So I want it to be cool to look at and play for others but that’s not really important.

#27 7 days ago
Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

first thing he said was...…"wow, you can tell the build quality is on a whole different level!"

I'd get that guy out of your house...sounds like a fucking weirdo.

#28 7 days ago
Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

had a guy that had never played pinball in his life come over the other day. he played metallica, star trek, ac/dc, then.... I let him play hobbit. first thing he said was...…"wow, you can tell the build quality is on a whole different level!" Great game, you won't be sorry.

That was my reaction too

#29 7 days ago
Quoted from adol75:

The Hobbit is the one pinball I really wanted to love, I'm a big JJP fan, I have a WOZ at home and I'm a big Tolkien fan. With JJP awesome way of integrating a theme in a pinball, with the many movies assets they got totally looked like a dream to me.
But I've spent countless coins playing it on location and as much as I tried to get into liking I just couldn't, so I gave up on the idea of buying one and don't feel compelled to put more coins in it, although I do enjoy watching other people play since there is a lot going on on the screen.
So my best advice is to spend time playing it and see if it fits you.

Up front there doesnt look like much to shoot/do, and to be honest my first impression wasnt that good either. However understanding the rules and getting to the mini wizard modes ... that's the real magic right there. I assure you if the machine is running the latest code and you get to Into The Fire your attitude will change. Ill also assume you havent likely killed Smaug either.
Go play it again. Simply put, hit all 4 beasts whenever they pop up and start beast frenzy. start smaug mb, shooting the right ramp during smaug mb will.also start a regular mode and if you keep it going long enough you'll complete not just the one required mode, but also very likely you'll start feast frenzy as well. When that ends focus on shooting the orbit. Reach erebor. Start ITF by shooting a flashing hole.

#30 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

It’s mainly for myself. I have two girls that I’m sure will play it randomly but besides me and my wife that’s pretty much it. Holidays my house gets full though. So I want it to be cool to look at and play for others but that’s not really important.

In that case i reckon you'll be happy with The Hobbit. I play it much more than the Deadpool and truth be told love it more. It's so immersive and sucks you into the game. Deadpool has you playing against the machine instead of along with it inside the game if you know what i mean.

The situation in that photo was that one of the girls loved playing Deadpool and the other loved playing the Hobbit. So not all new players will prefer the fastest games either.

#31 7 days ago

It’s heavy as hell so keep that in mind and get help moving. It’s a fun game. My kids are hot/cold when it comes to pinball but they play Hobbit and AFM when they do play.

#32 7 days ago

I have owned my Hobbit for a few years and it’s still in my lineup, I also own Iron Maiden pro and it’s going to stay for awhile. The Hobbit starts off like the movies and before you know it you’re in a crazy battle(multiball) and gets pretty exciting. Hobbit also has one of the best finishing shots in pinball, the one shot to kill Smaug(IMO). The game can seem slow at first but once you understand what to shoot and when to shoot it really opens up. The sound on the Hobbit is just awesome, and I think sound has a lot to do with making you feel like you’re part of the game. The 2 games you have on your radar are both great examples of how pinball should be, but 2 different examples. All in all you can’t go wrong with either one... good luck on your decision.

-4
#33 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

Hello all,
I was looking at some Sterns namely Iron Maiden and TWD but the JJP attention to detail really has blown me away. Are these good for a first timer or am I fixing to bite off more than I can chew to keep them working? I have some technical ability but not a ton. WOZ isn’t really my style and POTC is out of my price range as a first purchase.
Thanks!

Hobbit is the worst JJP machine. We had one for about 6 months. Lots of eye candy, but the game is D-U-L-L and repetitive. You'd be way better off getting a Deadpool/Iron Maiden Premium. Or if you really have your heart set on a JJP and can't swing a jjPotC get the operator version Wonka for $7500. Any of those are better choices than Hobbit.

But really if you want JJP and are on a budget, you should take a look at a HUO WoZ, either the ECLE with the 2.0 lighting already installed or a RR 75th. It's a GREAT game that people of all skill levels can enjoy. I wasn't thrilled with the theme either (much like TWD - I'm not into zombies/horror) but the game won me over.

#34 7 days ago
Quoted from CLEllison:

Up front there doesnt look like much to shoot/do, and to be honest my first impression wasnt that good either. However understanding the rules and getting to the mini wizard modes ... that's the real magic right there. I assure you if the machine is running the latest code and you get to Into The Fire your attitude will change. Ill also assume you havent likely killed Smaug either.
Go play it again. Simply put, hit all 4 beasts whenever they pop up and start beast frenzy. start smaug mb, shooting the right ramp during smaug mb will.also start a regular mode and if you keep it going long enough you'll complete not just the one required mode, but also very likely you'll start feast frenzy as well. When that ends focus on shooting the orbit. Reach erebor. Start ITF by shooting a flashing hole.

That's exactly how it felt, not much too shot and "obvious" shot (ramps and targets) didn't feel like they were doing much. I'll give it another shot with your guidelines, who knows I might finally end up liking that game.

#35 7 days ago

I'm always enticed by the build quality, engineering and aesthetics of JJP games (at least until Wonka) but always end up selling them quicker than my Sterns or B/W's. WOZ and DI have a lot to offer even if not my favorite style of play, but I couldn't get rid of Hobbit quick enough. I've heard the rules have improved but constantly smashing the beasts and hitting the easy ramps wayyy in the back sucked. It was just one constant multi-ball frenzy that gets old quick. The motorized drop targets are cool but can't salvage the rest of the game IMO. Suggest you take another look at newer build WOZ if you're set on JJP - the theme kept me away for a long time too but it's a fun, challenging game and a ton of value on the secondary market.

#38 7 days ago

i'm not much of a repair guy but it seems like Iron Maiden is downright bulletproof. Only issue I've ever seen with one is a flipper getting stuck up. But that is an easy fix.

The Hobbit doesn't seem anywhere near as complicated as other JJP's like Pirates but they are daunting machines when you open them up and see what is inside.

as far as gameplay goes... Iron Maiden / TWD blow The Hobbit out of the water imo. Completely different styles of games. If you have family that is going to be playing The Hobbit is the solid choice. If the games are for you and you are interested in becoming a better pinball player its Maiden / TWD all day long.

#39 7 days ago
Quoted from luckymoey:

I'm always enticed by the build quality, engineering and aesthetics of JJP games (at least until Wonka) but always end up selling them quicker than my Sterns or B/W's. WOZ and DI have a lot to offer even if not my favorite style of play, but I couldn't get rid of Hobbit quick enough. I've heard the rules have improved but constantly smashing the beasts and hitting the easy ramps wayyy in the back sucked. It was just one constant multi-ball frenzy that gets old quick. The motorized drop targets are cool but can't salvage the rest of the game IMO. Suggest you take another look at newer build WOZ if you're set on JJP - the theme kept me away for a long time too but it's a fun, challenging game and a ton of value on the secondary market.

I really like the look of WOZ but I haven’t played it and I worry the music and theme won’t really do it for me. I will definitely try it out in the future though. The board is really impressive to look at, I love the details all over it.

#40 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

I really like the look of WOZ but I haven’t played it and I worry the music and theme won’t really do it for me. I will definitely try it out in the future though. The board is really impressive to look at, I love the details all over it.

Oh, you should DEFINITELY play WoZ before making this decision, then. It's in your price range and has huge bang for the JJP buck if jjPotC is out of your price range.

#41 7 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Oh, you should DEFINITELY play WoZ before making this decision, then. It's in your price range and has huge bang for the JJP buck if jjPotC is out of your price range.

True ! But you better like the theme and music, because there is a lot of WOZ in WOZ.

#42 7 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Hobbit is the worst JJP machine. We had one for about 6 months. Lots of eye candy, but the game is D-U-L-L and repetitive. You'd be way better off getting a Deadpool/Iron Maiden Premium. Or if you really have your heart set on a JJP and can't swing a jjPotC get the operator version Wonka for $7500. Any of those are better choices than Hobbit.
But really if you want JJP and are on a budget, you should take a look at a HUO WoZ, either the ECLE with the 2.0 lighting already installed or a RR 75th. It's a GREAT game that people of all skill levels can enjoy. I wasn't thrilled with the theme either (much like TWD - I'm not into zombies/horror) but the game won me over.

before the code updates im guessing?

#43 7 days ago
Quoted from adol75:

True ! But you better like the theme and music, because there is a lot of WOZ in WOZ.

Meh. If you're into the game that kind of melts away. Just like on TWD. I am NOT into zombies/horror, I haven't watched the show, I avoided the pin because it's gross, but once I finally broke down and tried it, all those things melted away because the GAME is great. Easily a top 10 game for me, despite the theme, just like WoZ.

-4
#44 7 days ago
Quoted from ccbiggsoo7:

before the code updates im guessing?

Played it before and after the code supposedly got better. Still dull. DULL. And same-y. Just not fun. And after me thinking all my life a pin could never have too many drop targets, Hobbit proved me wrong. Conclusively.

#45 7 days ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

I'd get that guy out of your house...sounds like a fucking weirdo.

because he recognizes good craftmanship???

#46 7 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

Oh, you should DEFINITELY play WoZ before making this decision, then. It's in your price range and has huge bang for the JJP buck if jjPotC is out of your price range.

I’d really like to keep it under 7k for my first pin. If I end up loving having it in the house I’ll be more inclined to spend whatever on the second or third. Plus the wife is already speaking out at 7k lol. She’d never tell me no out right but I’d rather her be happy with how I spend my money. I’m hoping JJP releases more potc in the future that would be a perfect fit for me.

#47 7 days ago

Personally I love my Hobbit owned for over 3 years no plans to ever sell.

It’s one of my go to pins.

#48 7 days ago
Quoted from Gattiman:

I’d really like to keep it under 7k for my first pin. If I end up loving having it in the house I’ll be more inclined to spend whatever on the second or third. Plus the wife is already speaking out at 7k lol. She’d never tell me no out right but I’d rather her be happy with how I spend my money. I’m hoping JJP releases more potc in the future that would be a perfect fit for me.

man for 7k you can probably get 2 good pins and get much more enjoyment by being able to rotate between the two. could easily get a used stern pro IM/TWD and something else that is solid.

games like hobbit are great. but after you've played a 30+ minute game hitting that 'start' button again is a pretty daunting task. in my experience it usually takes walking away for a couple hours/days before you feel like diving back in and doing all that work again.

#49 7 days ago

Hobbit Smaug is awesome...if you're worried about doing stuff to it - make sure all the "fixes" are done already. Some games (maybe all Smaugs, I'm not sure) shipped with a few things that JJP sent out kits to correct. For example, if the game has the thin metal bendy ramp flaps, it needs the strong black newer versions. If it doesn't have the beast ball trap kits, it needs those as well. There was also a revision to the right wireform return. The original has a "break" in the rail by the bumpers...this often causes the ball to fly off. Later games had a revised rail that hugs the ball all the way around the turn, and plays perfectly. If you have the old wireform, you'll probably have to buy the new one...unlikely JJP will send a freebie on that one.

I had my Smaug for 2 years with minimal issues...other than installing those fixes I mentioned, I had a ledge on a drop target bank break, so I had to replace that...other than that, smooth sailing.

#50 7 days ago

We have several Hobbit and IM (pro and premiums) to play in our league and they’ve been a regular choice of play over the last year. I just bought a NIB Hobbit LE a few weeks back and decided on that as I really appreciate JJPs in the home setting. Great depth and home settings allow you to discover this. My WOZ really proved this to me. I own a number of Sterns, but I see more longevity in my home with JJPs. Hobbit is also has incredible animation and sound. I love closing the basement door and turning up the volume after the kids have gone to bed. TWD is also very fun, but for me personally not a good choice with a young family at home.

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