This page was created on 3-17-2011 – Last updated 5-02-2012
Over the years I have been asked several times how to play the different bingo pinballs, so I wanted to get a few pages out showing the basics of the games and it makes sense to start with the American 1-Card games.
When I respond to people on “how to play the bingos” I usually start my answer by saying:
“That the best way to learn how the games operate is to buy a machine and start playing!”
I stress that as the key due to the fact that very few of these games have instructions and even if they do, the instructions do not always tell you everything you need to know!
The basic idea of the game is to shoot the balls and try to get combinations of 3, 4, or 5 numbers on the bingo Cards!
~ Basically these are the game of “Bingo” with a few twists-and-turns _ With a few really Cool Spins ~
I wanted to start with the 1-Card bingos because “out of all the machines” they really have the best instructions and most of the information about playing the game is in the set of Score Instruction Cards (S/I Cards) down at the bottom the playfield.
Please know that some cards are more detailed then others, but regardless of how detailed they are: “It’s always a good idea to read through them before you start playing a game for the first time” to help learn about the bingo, features, and payouts.
Before I start playing each new machine, I also like to look at the playfield and see what each of the Rollovers do, and Ballyhole feature does anything Special _ They are key features of the game and not explained on any of the S/I Cards!
It is also a good idea to read through the Special Features on the Backglass because most of that information is not detailed on the S/I Cards and knowing that extra information can help you decide how many coins you might want to play and helps you plan how you will play the balls out and/or play credits for Extra Balls – etc.
So now you have read the S/I Cards and the Special Feature boxes on the Backglass and it’s time to start playing the game by inserting some coins and this is referred to as Coin Play and on the 1-Card bingos you can literally play as many coins as you would like to, to help increase the Advancing Odds and work towards enabling the Special Features you would like to have.
Since true, as you insert each coin, it’s important to watch the backglass to see the impact of each coin!
The bingos were gambling machines and designed to payout at the end of the game if you have made a bingo combination. So part of the appeal of these machines was to have Advancing Odds and the games had lights to show the payouts and they advance as you insert coins – not always, but usually they do, and especially for the first few coins played.
As each coin is inserted into the bingo, the lights on the backglass will cycle and flash and the Ladies on the lower part of the Backglass are set up to show the odds. Here is a typical example: The lower numbers show the odds for a 3-in-Line win, the middle set of numbers show the odds for a 4-in-Line win, and the top row of numbers show the odds for a 5-in-Line win.
Top odds here on Beach Club are 300 coin payout for a bingo combination of 5 numbers in-line.
Note that the Yellow and Red Stars are Rollovers and may or may not light up during coin play. If they do light, that means that the Rollover is enabled and as you can see on the playfield, both of them spot numbers if hit.
Now every now-and-then, Bally and United would include some game information in the Bingo Manual for the machines. Not often and United much more often than Bally, but this is the cool thing about playing these games these days because we can access the manuals _ Most of the American bingos have the manuals with the machines, just inside the Coin Door
It’s also important to take a look at the buttons and notes on the Handrail and Coin Door and read each of them.
Most often the buttons do not have a lot of identification, but the labeling they do helps explain their function and how they work with the features they support and the notes are always informative!
~ That’s basically the Basics! ~
The main message is that some machines are well documented and have nice adequate instruction, but many of the games do not! So sometimes you just have to play them to learn about them!!
Now when you find a bingo pinball that is poorly documented, sometimes you can look around at another similar bingo and get some additional info and this is where Phil’s site is so great _ Phil’s pages are laid out very well:
Under Phil’s Game Listings, he tells you what type of game each bingo is _ Magic Screen – etc
So for example, if your Magic Squares game does not have all of the information you need, just visit Phil’s site and read through all of the other Magic Squares games _ Sooner of later you will find the information you need!
Just click on one of the bingo and on the right side of the new window, you will see he has the Manuals, the S/I Cards, and Schematics – etc. You name it and it’s likely there; including the Flyers which contain also contain some good game info!
I hope this helps!