Quoted from cpiel:
You'll hear this from many people, but YOU really have to put some quality time on a game to know if it's going to resonate with you. Most collectors told me for instance that Sittin Pretty isn't a great player, but I just can't get enough of it. Same with Universe. Then I've put time on other titles that are considered the holy grail best players and they weren't my cup of tea - I imagine you've had similar experiences thus far. On the other hand, opinions sometime opened my eyes to awesome games I would have otherwise missed.
Having said all that, you have some top titles in there - hard to go wrong with most of those quite honestly. The only people who can answer this comparatively are those who've put time on all of them, so maybe ask people to list which they've played for a point of reference. For me I've only put time on QoH, GS, HB, DD, CB and WC. Out of those (and I honestly enjoyed them all), the game I chose to own is Grand Slam - it's actually my #1 game.
So my assessment (and ymmv of course):
- HB is super fun - great game. If I had more room, I'd own one. The nudge fest in the pop area below the flippers is like no other!
- WC: People swear by this game it's very collectible and highly regarded as a player - I personally just didn't connect with it.
- CB: I really wanted to like because the art is stunning, but there was too much randomness for me in those lower targets.
- QoH: Players game where you actually shoot for the gobbles rather than always trying to avoid them which is much more fun haha
- DD: Beautiful BG with a very unique PF - I almost bought one but just didn't quite make the cut with only 8 EM slots
I cannot speak about the others since I've not played them. Keep us posted what direction you go - the hunt for top woodrails is a fun one
I agree with the above that you can pursue a holy grail machine because some list rates a given machine highly, and it turns out that the game is not all it's cracked up to be. When I have these discussions with friends, I usually state that Mermaid, as example, commands big dollars, but I have played one and can not understand why the game is so special. But, I've played many, bought/traded many and there are games that I have yet to see (or play). Regardless, it's hard to go strictly on someone else's opinion. How many times have you gone to a restaurant on someone's recommendation only to be disappointed?
Of the list provided, I have, or had, HB, HL, DD, Frontiersman, Auto Race, World Champ, Criss Cross.
Derby Day was one of the first woodrails that I got, still in my collection and a game that everyone who plays it likes. Big pop bumper below the flippers helps to bring the ball back into play. A nudger's delight. Can win 12 games, although that has only happened once with me...
HB, similarly, has the fun area below the flippers to help bring it back into play. Also has the unique slingshots that will award specials without having to lose the ball down a gobble or drain.
Frontiersman - one of my all time favorites, multiple specials, carry overs, fabulous artwork.
I have the Auto Race as a companion to my Flying Turns...as my avatar suggests, I am into old cars and like car themed games.
World Champ is one of my all time favorites - my game has a NOS playfield and plays excellently. (It's a companion to my other boxing themed woodies, not mentioned on your list, Gottlieb Knock Out and Gottlieb Madison Square Gardens)
I've owned two Criss Cross machines and currently have a framed art glass on my wall. Really cool art. Neat, but hard to hit, roto target.
Harbor Lites is a great game. This game has bulls eye targets that scores different values depending upon a direct hit or one that is off center a little. Really comical and "busy" Parker art glass.