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# More Cutting Edge Games from Leading Edge Design

7 February 2002

During my recent visit to Leading Edge Design headquarters in Wheeling, I checked out three new video slot games at the invitation of company president Larry DeMar. Last week, we examined the skill-based Cash King Checkers. This week, let's take a look at two pure games of chance, Bunco Night and Othello.

BUNCO NIGHT: This will feel familiar to anyone who has played the old three-dice game of bunco--and that seems to be an increasing number with recent growth in bunco clubs in the United States.

On the Leading Edge game, there are six levels. Payoffs differ with bet size--a player who bets one coin on one die is just hoping for 6s, but let's assume an 18-coin maximum bet. On the first level, the player rolls three dice, and the only payoff is for a bunco--three dice of the same number.

Regardless of whether there is a payoff, the first level sets the numbers for the second level. The player is hoping to repeat the numbers rolled. Repeating any of the numbers keeps the player going to the next level. Any numbers not repeated drop off the list of eligible numbers. So if my first roll is 1, 3, 5 and my second roll is 2, 4, 5, on the third level my only active number is 5. If I don't roll at least one, my round is over.

With a maximum bet, the player gets a payoff on the second level if any two dice come up on eligible numbers, a bigger payoff if all three are eligible, and the biggest payoff for a bunco--all three dice on the same eligible number. On levels 3 through 6, payoffs start with a single die on an eligible number.

If, at any level, the player fails to roll an eligible number, the game is over. Payoffs climb rapidly at higher levels, so it's important to the player just to roll an eligible number and stay in the game.

If, at any level, the player fails to roll at least one eligible number, the round is over.

Starting at level 3, dice are used that have the word "bonus" or a "B" on certain dice faces. If all three dice show the bonus face--about once per 70 plays--a second-screen bonus round launches. This one involves a trip around a bonus trail, trying to stop on prize symbols that display bonus amounts. You can either collect or keep playing, trying to win larger bonuses, but if you land on a "game over" space, you have to settle for a smaller reward. The longer play goes on, the more "game over"spaces are added, and the bigger the risk of continuing.

OTHELLO: Based on the venerable board game that uses black-and-white discs, Leading Edge's Othello is essentially an 18-line video slot with a bonus round.

There are 32 discs, arranged in four horizontal rows of eight each (and eight vertical columns of four each). Just as in the board game, each electronic disc is black on one side and white on the other.

The player picks either white or black, and may wager from 1 to 18 coins. Each coin corresponds to a payline--the eight four-disc columns are paylines, as are the eight left-to-right diagonals that include four discs. The equivalent of spinning the reels is spinning the discs, virtual end over virtual end. Any payline that includes four discs of the player's chosen color is a winner.

Just how much the player wins depends on how many paylines are winners. On the version I played at Leading Edge offices, one winning row brought a six-coin return, with 12 for two wins, 24 for three, 45 for four, 170 for five, 500 for six, 625 for seven, 750 for eight, 900 for nine, 1,500 for 10, 5,000 for 11 and 10,000 for 12. DeMar said that wasn't necessarily the final pay table, but the five- and six-line payoffs will be where players make their money, combining the frequency of wins with high payoffs.

The bonus round launches whenever a horizontal row includes eight discs of the player's chosen color--about once per 65 spins. (The player collects a secondary bonus when the first seven are of the chosen color, also about once per 65 spins.) That brings a second-screen bonus that mimics the board game in that the object is to trap discs of the opposite color between two of your own. The biggest bonus, of about 150 times the bet, comes when the player traps exactly one disc on each spin in the round.

It takes only a spin or two to get comfortable with Othello's format. Anyone used to playing video slots will feel instantly at home, even if they've never played the Othello board game.

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John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

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John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.