Pinballmania in the test: The dice game is one of the innovations from Frosted Games. The publisher has localized the original by Geoff Engelstein and Wizkids for the German-speaking market, and Pegasus Spiele is responsible for distribution. The roll-and-write game revolves around the eponymous theme: pinball machines. The idea is curious, the title ultimately turns out to be much more innovative than the topic might suggest.


Pub rooms filled with smoke, old men deep in conversation at the bar, the jukebox blaring in the background, the songs of which mix with the sound of slot machines and pinball machines. It used to be like that, but that was a long time ago. Thanks to bans, there is no longer any smoke in restaurants, and today people play pinball on consoles – or, as in the case of Pinballmania, even on the board game table.

Solo game for up to four players

Instead of "Humpty Dumpty" and Co, you choose from four tables, represented by the player panels: "Carniball", "Cyberhack", "Dance Fever" and "Dragon Slayer" each have their own look and different levels of difficulty. Geoff Engelstein, the car behind the dice game named in the original Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade, already manages this trick. The author had previously developed games such as Versailles 1919 or Space Cadets.

Pinball Mania Test Frosted Games

The pinball tables have different levels of difficulty - it all starts with the creepy clown. Photo: Volkman

Up to four players can play the balls in Flippermania – but the roll-and-write game is best played alone. The creatives make no secret of this, albeit indirectly: "Excellent solo game!" is written on the back of the box. That's true, but playing with other players doesn't necessarily make the dice game any better. The equipment can only be praised: thick, coated sheets of cardboard come with four pens with an eraser attachment, two dice, instructions and, as a nice gimmick, an outline of real pinball machines. There are even pinball balls, but half ones. Pull the pen and off you go – however, Flippermania is not quite that simple.

The set of rules is surprisingly extensive, the pinball board game is quite fragmented. You have to plan some training time, fortunately the detailed and illustrated instructions work their way directly along the "introductory table". Once you have understood the basic process, the other three tables are at best playfully challenging. In any case, the editorial work was successful, even if a little too colorful here and there. Black bars, yellow boxes, blue boxes, red boxes, warning symbols, colored writing - the brain is challenged long before the first bullet has even touched the launching spring. The effect fireworks visualized in the instructions should not have been quite so intrusive. In the end, that only affects the B grade, because you can always understand what is being asked of you.

Pinball for connoisseurs

Despite the fun colorful theme, Pinballmania is a game for connoisseurs. The rules already indicate that. The status of a board game for advanced players becomes even clearer when you look at the breakdown of the respective pinball tables and their scoring options.

Pinball Mania Review Dice Game

“Dragon Slayer” is by far the best of the four tables. Photo: Volkman

From a purely mechanical point of view, Flippermania basically works like a standard pinball machine: Shoot the ball and the physics do the rest. On the board game table, of course, things are a little different: the roll of two dice heralds the action. As a player you choose a result and place the ball accordingly. Manipulation of the dice results is also possible, with the risk of a tilt. Then nothing works, the ball is gone.

The theme has been implemented in a grandiose way, and that is surprising: Behind the pinball there is a lot of automation, physics and chance - all of which Flippermania brings to the table as a dice game. Based on an enormous number of details, but at least with a predetermined path for the shot bullet. Arrows thankfully indicate where to go if the ball hits or misses a target and rushes down the table.

Pinballmania review dice game

The material of Flippermania convinces, there are even shiny pinball balls. Photo: Volkman

The variance comes into its own on the four tables through special rules, some level ups or mini-games. Whether pinball or pinball mania - in the end it's all about the high score. If you have gambled away your three balls, the score is settled.

high score addiction

At this point, Frosted Games Dice Game also shows a genre strength: You want to do it better next time. optimal. Crowned with a higher score. So a game of pinball mania is often followed by a second, sometimes a third - but then it's over, because the individual games are sometimes not particularly short. Every once in a while you get the feeling that the game is running a few minutes too long for what's on offer.

Criticism comes up if you don't approach Flippermania as a solo game. Sometimes the downtime is high, in some cases individual players are even through the game much earlier than their opponents. And because you play side by side and not against each other, the question of the added value of a multiplayer game on the analogue pinball table inevitably arises. With two or more players, Flippermania is no worse than the solo version, but no better either. Maybe - like some other non-interactive or hardly interactive roll-and-write titles - it's just a matter of taste. 

Pinball Mania Frosted Games

As the game progresses, there are always bonuses - just like in a real pinball machine. Photo: Volkman

Ultimately, the theme makes up for the few weaknesses, because pinball on the board game table is actually fresh and therefore interesting, especially since Pinballmania captures the feeling of the game on the old machines surprisingly well - and with a special dynamic. And just like in real pinball life, there is also a good portion of luck involved in rolling the dice, which can also decide a game. Not everyone likes that, but it is part of the coherent concept.

Infobox

Number of players: Solo / up to 4 
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 15 to 45 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: dice game
Sub-genre: Roll and write
Core Mechanics: Roll, Draw, Push your Luck

Authors: Geoff Engelstein
Illustrations: Gong Studios
Publisher: Frosted Games/Pegasus Games
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2020
Language: German
Cost: 26 Euro 


Summary

It's one of those things with Flippermania: the sparks fly, but the big fireworks somehow don't want to burn down. You have to warm up and want to warm up to Geoff Engelstein's roll-and-write - but then you'll have your fun, and not short of it. The topic alone brings a breath of fresh air to the outdated genre, in which – not always, but often – bare figures dominate. Representatives such as Kosmos' rushing of leaves have already caused a small trend reversal: Away from crossing sober numbers or encircling forms and towards a small genre evolution, which is about something on the table. Pinballmania joins.

One can assume that the dice game is small, in relation to the set of rules that is correct, but at the same time the many details are also the factor that contributes decisively to a pinball-like feel. The ball has to roll, it needs its way, many ways. You don't make important decisions with every roll of the dice, but it often gets extremely exciting from the middle of a game at the latest. This is especially true for the dragon slayer setting, the real star of Flippermania. Cyberhack has also been successful, by the way, both tables fall as steeply down in terms of game quality as a pinball ball with a tilt. 

Nevertheless, the game concept and processes are clever, and the options for action are well thought out. Another plus point is the material including the wipeable ink. Instead of finite paper game blocks, Flippermania relies on "write and erase", there is no better way to produce a roll-and-write game today. Except maybe for the dice, they've gotten boring with all that candy-colored stuff. standard. Pandasaurus “Rawr'n write” shows how to make a My better.

Overall, Pinballmania is not only a worthy genre representative, but one of the better roll-and-write games. With all the thematic innovations, however, one should not expect miracles in terms of play: throw the dice, select a number, tick – that is, very roughly, the simple process. It only gets complicated because the events take place on several sub-levels of the table. 

And then there is something else that is particularly successful: the possibility of expansion. Theoretically, authors and publishers can enrich Flippermania with any number of themed tables, always with new tactical tricks - and thus the chance to iron out small flaws. Wizkids is already starting to do this: Super-Skill Pinball will soon be followed by a Star Trek spin-off.


Preview Product Rating Price
Pegasus Games 57318G - Pinball Mania (Frosted Games) Pegasus Games 57318G - Pinball Mania (Frosted Games) * 19,99 EUR

Author

Last updated on 26.09.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API