(Topic ID: 246818)

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

By Gattiman

48 days ago

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  • 119 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 34 days ago by anathematize
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#1 48 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.

#8 48 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.

#11 48 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.

#13 48 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.

#18 48 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.

#26 48 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.

#28 48 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

#39 48 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.

#46 48 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.

#51 48 days ago
Quoted from TrueJedi:

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.

This is exactly what I thought too after spending time with Sterns and JJP. I’m hoping the GnR game has WOZs amount of detail and love out into it. I’m a huge GnR fan (old GnR not Chinese democracy GnR).

#52 48 days ago
Quoted from anathematize:

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.

The only time I really have is on my days off so long games wouldn’t bother me. Where are you seeing TWD or Maiden for 3500? Lol. And I know this is going to sound lame but the details really make the experience for me so I’d probably enjoy one really nice pin more than two that I want to mess with to get looking up to what I want. Pros are usually missing the nice touches I really like.

#54 48 days ago
Quoted from anathematize:

I believe there is a TWD pro in my area on the marketplace right now for $4600. Maiden might be a few hundred more. I'm guessing in TX you should have some pretty solid options on the used market and the ability to wheel and deal a bit.
That leaves you another ~$2000-2500 to get something else older and solid - or some time to save a few more bucks to get into the $3000-4000 tier of pins which will open your options up a bit more.
I agree that the mechs and toys on a JJP are light years beyond anything on a stern pro... but that doesn't mean that the games themselves aren't just as fun (or even more fun). The Hobbit is downright stunning out of the box. But TWD can be a pretty good looking game too. Especially if you put in a few mods yourself once you get the pin.
I guess its all about the core goal of getting the game. Is it a piece of functional art and entertainment for your house? Is it entertainment with the goal of getting really good a pinball too?
And the 'long game' syndrome can be hard to understand until you get to that point with a game yourself. When I first started out playing the longer the ball time... the better. LOTR, Hobbit, etc. I always viewed it as better value for my quarters.
But now that I've gotten a little better at pinball I can see the beauty in games that give you all the goods in a solid 10-15 minute play session... but leave you wanting to come right back because the hill isn't so big to climb. Basically anything that Lyman codes these days seems to be a home run in this regard.

Yeah the game (more in the future) is going in my office/man room at the front of the my home. It will be seen often so I want it to look great while also being fun to play. The office has glass double doors so even walking by you’ll see it.

I plan to add more in the future. I’d like to grab Maiden when it gets a little cheaper or go crazy and get a POTC.

#57 48 days ago
Quoted from Goronic:

You may want to consider a Monster Bash remake. Really nice looking, good for beginners, and even hardcore pinball fans would nod in approval when they saw it.
A bonafide classic!

I’ll seek one out and give it a try!

#70 48 days ago
Quoted from BigT:

The Hobbit was a family and NEWB favorite in my house. No matter your skill level, when you hit the start button it will feel like you accomplished something in the game. It also gives the more experienced players numerous challenges, including the best kill shot ever in a pin. Finally the theme integration is one of the best!! The music, call outs and video assets really makes it immersive, especially in a home environment. Finally I think it is one of the best bargains on the secondary market, it can be had for 6500 and maybe less.

Yeah the music and call outs are fantastic to me

Quoted from Chicoman:

If your buying NIB.....go with an Attack from Mars or Monster Bash. Best BANG for your buck! Hobbit is cool but consider what many on here have said. You'll be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable pinball machine than Attack From Mars....it's a true classic that still stands tall over 20 years later.

I’ll almost for sure be buying used since they sit around 6500

#98 47 days ago

I’ve been offered a chance to buy a new POTC SE for $8100. It’s a little out of my range but I’m tempted. I also have a line on a new black arrow hobbit for $7400. I really don’t like the stainless steel trim on the SE POTC and am afraid I’ll just end up selling it for an LE or CE. I’m the GM of gattitown in round rock so I have an arcade I guess that qualifies me for a bit of a discount nothing huge though. Just enough to be tempting.

Quoted from jawjaw:

This is the best advice imo. There are a ton of great games at around $3500-4000. You can even find great Stern pro games for low $4000's sometimes. Buying one expensive game to start is fine if that's the game you really want. It just gets really expensive building a 3-5 game collection at that pace. However, it's pointless buying a game that you don't particular like just because it's cheaper. Any one game gets old if that's all you play.

I’ll never have room for 5 games. 3 is the absolute max unless I start putting them in the living room or den upstairs. I’ll probably only ever have 2-3.

#105 47 days ago

I went with an LE hobbit. Picking it up Thursday. I haven’t played POTC but it looks like a blast. I found a HUO LE for 6500 with 180 plays. It’s perfect for my budget and reasonably local. I’ll grab a POTC after playing it and when they come down a bit.

Quoted from anathematize:

fwiw i've played a bunch of Pirates on both an SE and a LE and once you are into the game the differences between the two really aren't that noticeable.

I really hate the stainless frame on the SE. I just think it looks cheap. I’m really weird about details like that. Plus I’d have to pay tax so I would pay 2300 more for the SE than the LE hobbit I found. And I know I like the hobbit already lol. Hard to be upset about missing a game I haven’t played yet.

#108 45 days ago

Got it home safe and sound. However as soon as I played a game the right flipper started sticking up. I played games before I loaded it up and nothing like that happened I guess it’s just my luck. I raised the playfield and made sure everything is tight. The right coil is giving way more resistance than the left coil. I’m guessing either the sleeve or coil is bad.

#111 44 days ago
Quoted from LTG:

Coil stop loose ?
Remove coil stop - feel end of plunger - sharp edge or mushroomed ? Time to rebuild. New plunger assembly, new coil sleeve, new coil stop.
You can file/grind the plunger end smooth until you get new parts.
LTG : )

Cool! I’ll check that out after work today.

#112 44 days ago

Got it fixed. Boyyyyy I am so in love with this game. The sound and design are so engrossing. My kids can play it because it starts slow. They really like the dragon and how colorful it is. JJP is just something special. I’m thoroughly impressed. Will definitely buy more in the future.

#116 44 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

What was the fix?

Took the assembly apart, cleaned it up put it back nice and tight. It worked great after 15 plays.

1 week later
#118 34 days ago

So I’ve got around 60 plays on it. Everything is working great wanted to drop some impressions.

I know where the slow and boring criticisms come from. The game is designed around Multiball. If you can’t get the Multiball going through beast frenzy, erebore, and Smaug Multiball it’s going to seem slow. Especially if your bad or new to the game this will happen. Once you know what to do though, this won’t happen you’ll get the Multiball going and that’s when hobbit hits it’s stride.

The depth of the code is AMAZING. I’ve gotten through the first two Arkenstone modes and beat Into the fire. I’ve killed Smaug once. Top score 3.5 million so far. Hopefully I can get to the last one soon. I love all the random missions and shots the game has. Multiball increases the difficulty so much bc shots become far more difficult and pinball management is very key so you’re not constantly pushing balls around the bottom.

Smaug being animated and following the pinball as well as talking/taunting the player wows guests and my kids alike.

Idk what the code was like before 2.0 but it’s in an amazing state now. I’ll probably never sell it and just add to it. Also Jersey Jack tech support has been great helping me through a few things to get it playing perfect. I really appreciate it since I bought it used.

Oh and the call outs man. If you like the movies you’ll love the call outs.

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