Most SIM cards I've ever had was three. One is typical for me. The fact that you lose it if you drain is really really harsh, IMO. It's great for competitive play, but even for a competitive player like myself, I just feel like it makes the game not much fun. It totally destroys my sense of achievement of finishing a mode if I can't collect the actual reward, and the SIM scoop is far from a "gimme". I don't feel like the objectives in DI are ludicrous to get to the wizard mode (that I know of? lol)..I'm sure in a home environment I'd have that thing tuned to my satisfaction and over time get really good at hitting that and the big bang shot to avoid the magnet modes, but yeah. It's not completing 33 modes, regardless of how short they are. LOTR makes you shoot everything on the playfield multiple times, and it only needs 6 modes and 3 multiballs to accomplish that.
Think if they really want to require completion of all modes, the general idea from POTC should be backported to Hobbit where you get like half or 1/3rd of the modes at RANDOM every game. That would introduce some needed randomness along with still being too difficult for most players. I feel like if you can get the kill on Smaug, along with all three SJPs from the arkenstone modes...you've already earned your keep in my eyes, because that's just already way way way over average ball times for what's already a game that takes far too long to play. It's wierd that you can get to DTR in LOTR in under 10 minutes easily if you just *make the shots*, but Hobbit will always be a slog as it currently stands as you have to shoot 20 million orbits for map advancement, and every time you get stuck in a multiball, which happens WAY too frequently with the pop-up monsters, progress just feels like it dies. Maybe you can confirm for me (because I don't own a hobbit?), but do spinners still advance the map when in multiball/arkenstone?