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(Topic ID: 276317)

TOM vs TH vs Stern POTC - Best For Casual Players?


By GTO

53 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 40 days ago by Hazoff
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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Linked Games

Topic poll

“Best Machine for a Casual Player or Kids?”

  • Theatre of Magic 41 votes
    44%
  • The Hobbit 16 votes
    17%
  • Stern Pirates of the Caribbean 26 votes
    28%
  • Other 10 votes
    11%

(93 votes)

#1 53 days ago

Alright Pinside. Just wanting to hear some opinions to help me get a pinball machine that can hold casual players' interest and not too difficult for kids. I've narrowed down my options to Theatre of Magic, The Hobbit, and Stern POTC.

I currently own RFM, LOTR, Stargate, and JD. Stargate and Judge Dredd get played the least by casual players and my kids (people will wait their turn on RFM and LOTR, someone MIGHT play JD, people don't even look in Stargate's direction). They feel JD is too difficult and Stargate is clunky/uninteresting theme. My favorite one is LOTR, but I actually enjoy both Stargate and JD and play RFM the least (although I do like it). Family wants to keep RFM, so one of JD or Stargate would have to go to make room for a different pin.

In short, looking for a pin that appeals to casual players and kids, but still holds my interest. I've enjoyed all three of these games below, but wanting to hear from owners.

This is how I see the three new prospects:

The Hobbit - LOVE the theme, being a fan of LOTR and Hobbit movies. Concerned about player's abilities to hit ramps. I know people have lots of trouble hitting my Stargate ramps, even though they're no issue for me. Will prices keep dropping and I lose money if I purchase?

Stern POTC - not a huge fan of the theme, but it's not terrible. I like the game, but will hitting the ship get old? Not much to hit on the lower part of the playfield.

Theatre of Magic - Nice flowy game. Older than the other two options. Is it deep enough to stay in the collection for a while?

I'm not asking Pinside to make a decision for me, but I've just never owned any of these titles so wanting to hear how they do in a home environment and with casual players. What do you guys think?

#2 53 days ago

Id go with oitc, I think your right on limited gameplay in Tom. Hobbit just doesn't play that well me long ball times.

#3 53 days ago

The Hobbit. My kids and their friends play TH over the rest of my collection. Next is AFM, then IJ. We’ve owned a TOM and it didn’t last long in the line up. Never owned POTC.

#4 53 days ago

Zero love for TOM so far? Did not expect that.

#5 53 days ago

EVERYBODY that is new to pinball has a blast on my TOM. Easy shots and clear goals, shoots real smooth. It's the longest standing game in my collection.

But appears I'm in the minority so forget I mentioned it

#6 53 days ago

ToM is completely over rated, except for the casual player. Style over substance. Easy shots, great light show, simple rules aided by the callouts. Kids and women (who are not serious players) love it--I got tired of it quickly.

#7 53 days ago

Stern POTC was my first pin and my family got tired of it pretty quickly. The ship is awesome, but it’s a very shallow game.

My kids enjoy our Hobbit and don’t have trouble doing modes or hitting ramps. The theme integration really draws them in as well.

#8 53 days ago

In my 6 game collection ToM is played most. Whenever I have guests over they tend to queue up at it. Also, it's my wife's favorite game so its a keeper by that alone. You can never go wrong with a ToM, smooth shots, great theme and a superb art package.

#9 53 days ago

Go with Theatre of Magic. It’s not overly difficult and has a wow factor that kids will enjoy. Plus, it’s an all time classic.

#10 53 days ago

TOM coming from behind to tie for the lead.

Is TOM a better value as far as resale? Wonder if CGC will be remaking it any time soon. Would hate to buy a 25-year old machine only for them to remake it when I could have had a new game instead.

#11 53 days ago

No way I would buy a used TOM right now. The remake is going to happen. Maybe they will even fix the code so the game isn't left loop all day to max your bonus multiplier.

Even with that, I'd go Hobbit all day. So much value for the most immersive game ever made IMO.

#12 53 days ago

You can get a TOM for $6000. I wouldn’t not buy something thinking CGC will do a remake. Supposedly Cactus Canyon is next with maybe an original as well. At their rate, you could wait years for a TOM remake. In the meantime, you could be playing an original TOM.

#13 53 days ago

The Hobbit, roll overs and ramps get you a multiball for starters, it's beautiful, it's great to have others watching to help with shots, and its depth is endless. Latest software 3.10 gets a lot of respect.

#14 53 days ago

POTC is a fun shooting game. Not the greatest Stern, but fun none the less especially for casual players. To me it is the easy choice between the three. ToM gets old really fast. Great looking game until you play it and then it sucks. The Hobbit is just meh. A huge dissapointment compared to what it could have been.

#15 53 days ago

My preference is The Hobbit, my 12-year old son is leaning TOM. As for my wife, her only observation is "why do we need ANOTHER pinball machine?" My 5-year old just wants to make sure RFM stays so that he can keep saying "Secret weapon!" and "What the heck are you doing, you stupid martians?"

#16 53 days ago

I have owned all 3 and I think this should be the order:

TOM (amazing flow, great prompts and just amazing without being deep)
POTC (great theme, modes and goals can be a bit confusing to some players)
Hobbit (visually stunning but its as exciting as reading a 100 page instruction manual)

#17 53 days ago

TOM is a great shooting game and fast, nice ramps and play, not too deep. stern POTc is boring, Hobbit is nice to look at but boring as well. Looks like you already have a LOTR pin which is better pin and better movie than the Hobbit movies as well.

#18 53 days ago
Quoted from GTO:

My preference is The Hobbit, my 12-year old son is leaning TOM. As for my wife, her only observation is "why do we need ANOTHER pinball machine?" My 5-year old just wants to make sure RFM stays so that he can keep saying "Secret weapon!" and "What the heck are you doing, you stupid martians?"

TOM is really the best for the newer, more casual, and younger players.
GorillaBiscuits really hit the nail on the head when he said it has easy shots, clear goals, and smooth shots.

As a father of 3, I completely understand wanting to get something your kids and guests alike, but you really need to get what your preference is. You are spending the money, putting the effort in, and will be the one playing it the most.

I think that Hobbit is the best, and it would be sweet next to LOTR. It is also the deepest and has tons of modes...all great for home use. NOT great for casual players.

P.S. I know 2 people locally that have Hobbits for sale, if you go that route.
Also, if you move JD or stargate, I may be interested or at least be able to connect you with someone that is.

1 week later
#19 42 days ago
Quoted from Krupps4:

You can get a TOM for $6000. I wouldn’t not buy something thinking CGC will do a remake. ...

Call me crazy but I would buy a working original all day before getting a remake. The old games have better build quality and are easier to repair imo.

#20 42 days ago
Quoted from Lhyrgoif:

Call me crazy but I would buy a working original all day before getting a remake. The old games have better build quality and are easier to repair imo.

I have worked on both original and remakes of MM and AFM. I totally agree.

#21 42 days ago

Update: JD and Stargate out the door and I'm picking up a Hobbit on Sunday. Still looking for one more casual game to get me back up to my limit (4 pins) before the wife finds uses for the additional empty space.

The budget took a hit, so thinking of something more affordable for that last pin.

Something around 3.5k or less: Black Rose, DE JP, LW3?

Spending a bit more: Stern POTC, White Water, Flintstones, TOM?

I wish Black Rose came up a bit more often.

#22 42 days ago

I had a ToM for 6 years and loved it. Played it all the time. Whole family loved it. Sold for MMr. Played the Hobbit several times and loved it . Would love to own that one too. POTC not so much. Prob pick ToM.

#23 42 days ago
Quoted from GTO:

Update: JD and Stargate out the door and I'm picking up a Hobbit on Sunday. Still looking for one more casual game to get me back up to my limit (4 pins) before the wife finds uses for the additional empty space.
The budget took a hit, so thinking of something more affordable for that last pin.
Something around 3.5k or less: Black Rose, DE JP, LW3?
Spending a bit more: Stern POTC, White Water, Flintstones, TOM?
I wish Black Rose came up a bit more often.

I had a Stern POTC and my entire family got bored of it fairly quickly. The ship is an awesome toy but the game itself is repetitive and has almost no flow (almost every shot stops the ball).

In the <3.5K range you might check out Getaway. I have one and it's been a solid hit at my house for a while. It's not deep, but it's satisfying and has good flow (if you care about that).

#24 42 days ago
Quoted from bbulkley:

I had a Stern POTC and my entire family got bored of it fairly quickly. The ship is an awesome toy but the game itself is repetitive and has almost no flow (almost every shot stops the ball).
In the <3.5K range you might check out Getaway. I have one and it's been a solid hit at my house for a while. It's not deep, but it's satisfying and has good flow (if you care about that).

I spent a couple of hours playing The Getaway and NGG at the Louisville, KY airport once and almost missed my flight! They remodeled the airport since and took out the game room (disappointing). I used to travel that way on business at least 2-3 times per year (pre-Covid). I really liked The Getaway and the supercharger is an awesome toy.

#25 40 days ago
Quoted from bbulkley:

I had a Stern POTC and my entire family got bored of it fairly quickly. The ship is an awesome toy but the game itself is repetitive and has almost no flow (almost every shot stops the ball).
In the <3.5K range you might check out Getaway. I have one and it's been a solid hit at my house for a while. It's not deep, but it's satisfying and has good flow (if you care about that).

Stern POTC is one of the worst they made, only positive is the ship and Maybe voice actors

#26 40 days ago

I love Black Rose. It may not be the deepest game ever made but it's super fun to shoot. The canon is a super cool toy.

Definitely can't go wrong with Whitewater either, I can't get enough of mine!

#27 40 days ago

Any of them are good for a casual player or kids as they don't really care about the rules and theme and all that jazz. Its have a game and move on.

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