Back in the day, slot symbols used to be pretty simple. I'm not talking about the design either, slots have always looked a bit different, but the mechanics behind them were always easy to get your head around. Now though, with the rise of bonus features and new gameplay elements, there are a whole host of symbol types out there that can affect your slots experience in various ways. If you sometimes get lost in the boundless world of symbols and bonuses, fear not as Kerching have you covered. That's because Malcolm and Lucky have made a handy little blog to fill you in on everything you need to know.
Malcolm and Lucky's Guide to Slot Symbols
M: Alright Lucky.
L: Alright Malc, is it time for a Kerching blog?
M: It is my canine companion, and this time we’ll be having a look at slot symbols, i.e those funny looking things in your favourite games that sometimes give you wins.
L: Sounds like a corker mate, shall we get started?
M: We’re starting off with a symbol that has become fundamental to slots; the Wild.
L: Oh, this is a goodun.
M: Aye, it is, and there are many slot players who would agree with you.
L: I bet Malc, should we examine what the Wild does?
M: I reckon so Lucky. Wild symbols are included in virtually every slot game around now and can be a real help to you. They substitute for other symbols in order to form a new winning combination. So, if you needed symbol ‘X’ to land three times on a payline and you got two plus a wild, the wild would then serve as symbol ‘X’ in that combination. Essentially, they’re making new wins for you.
L: Who doesn't love that right? If I remember correctly though, these don't work on every symbol.
M: You are entirely correct. The vast majority of wild symbol won't substitute for special icons or bonus symbols. Some titles even exclude the high-value symbols from these effects, though this is much rarer. As each slot has its own rules and paytable, it’s best to check the game’s information to see what is and isn’t covered by the wild.
L: Very sound advice indeed, what’s up next?
Scatter or Bonus Symbols
M: This is another icon that is absolutely vital for the modern slots player. Scatters, or bonus symbols as they are sometimes known, are used to trigger the bonus effects in certain slot games.
L: Lovely stuff, how exactly do they work though?
M: It's very simple Lucky. For the most part, you will have to land a specific number of scatters in order to trigger a bonus round or effect. Sometimes you will also be asked to land these on specific reels or even on a certain number of spins. Additionally, if you get more than is required, you'll sometimes receive better rewards. To give an example, you might need to land at least three Scatter symbols in order to trigger a free spin round, but landing more than the required three will reward you with more free spins.
L: Seems like a pretty useful icon in all fairness Malc.
M: It is Lucky, bonus rounds have become an integral part of slot games and the Scatters are the only way to unlock them.
M: Now we’re getting to some of the more obscure symbols on our list.
L: I actually remember this one from a few of our games.
M: Do you now? Perhaps you would be kind enough to give a little explanation then.
L: Alright Malc, let it never be said that Lucky doesn’t pull his weight.
M: I wouldn’t dream of it. Do go on.
L: Right, expanding symbols relate to reel positions, which are the spaces on the board where symbols can land. These form the basis for paylines and symbols don’t normally occupy more than one position. However, expanding symbols don’t follow the same rules.
M: Okay, now give me a rundown of how they work.
L: They do exactly what’s on the tin. Normally, these start out as base game symbols initially and then have some sort of trigger that activates them, like landing one in a winning combination. When triggered, these symbols will ‘expand’, growing to cover more than the reel positions they currently occupy. This can help create new winning combinations as there is a higher chance of landing a winning combination.
M: Nice one Lucky, is there anything else our adoring fans should know.
L: Actually, there are a couple of things. First off, wilds can be expanded in certain games, which makes them even more beneficial. Second, some symbols may already be expanded in the base game and require no triggering criteria.
M: Very nice, this seems like a symbol to keep an eye on. Having said that, the next one ain’t too shabby either.
M: The penultimate entry on our list, Sticky Symbols.
L: It doesn't sound like the most appealing thing in the world, to be honest mate.
M; That's because you haven't heard what they do yet. They're actually very effective symbols and can make a real difference to your overall payout.
L: You’ve got my attention Malc, give me the details!
M: Right, Sticky Symbols are quite self-explanatory. Basically, these symbols will ‘stick’ in place on the reels, i.e they stay in the same reel position for a certain amount of time. These symbols usually only appear in free spins modes, or other bonus rounds, and often double as a wild too. To illustrate, you might have to land a specific winning combination to trigger a free spin round, with the added bonus that certain symbols in that combo will become sticky.
L: How does that help the player then Malc?
M: To start, it makes landing winning combinations a little bit easier as they’ll often stay in place for multiple spins. If they are wild then this effect is worth even more. It can also help to land high-value wins or even things like jackpots if one of those icons sticks, providing the game applies the effect to special symbols.
L: Tasty Malc, I think that brings us to the last one though?
M: It does indeed.
M: This is our last symbol to look at, though you’ll need to keep an eye out as this one never stops moving about!
L: A symbol that can walk? Colour me intrigued Malc.
M: That’s not exactly how it works Lucky. Shifting Symbols get their name from their ability to traverse the reels, moving from one side to the other depending on where they land. Each spin after the Shifting Symbol has been put into effect, it will move one reel to either side depending on the exact nature of the bonus. For the most part, they will stay in the same position, just on a different reel. However, some can change the position as well.
L: Very cool, it sounds like this is similar to a free spins mode.
M: It is actually, albeit specific to one symbol. They can potentially have the same impact as a free spins round, making new wins across the board. All in all, they can be a very generous symbol type if you’re lucky.
L: Nice one, does that just about finish us off?
M: It does. All that's left to say is that you should always check the game's rules and paytable for information about the specific symbols included.
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