[Click the image to see more of Z-Pin Poker]

The Pinball Princess, AKA Stephanie from The RipTide Pinball Podcast, reviews this wonderful and ambitious game by Zac AJ, AKA Zac from the Slam Tilt Podcast. The header image is one of many taken by The Pinball Princess. To see more, go to this Instagram page and check out a game that I hope to play at some point. This game has been nominated for a TWiPY award! There is so much gameplay potential here as described in the following write up:

From The Pinball Princess:

It’s the first Flipper Friday of the year, and what better way to celebrate than with the TWIPY-nominated homebrew Z-Pin Poker (working title)?

Built from scratch and in a cabinet formerly known as Whirlwind, Poker features a ton of smooth shots and innovative features, including a ball popper outlane save and a lower-lower flipper.

The rules were meticulously coded to mimic 7-card stud poker, with players able to use skill shots to affect their bid before building their hand via drop targets. Winning a hand adds to their “cash,” while losing debits them accordingly — this acts as an end-of-game bonus which can, with enough of a debt, lead to a negative score.

“Cheats” allow the player to undo a card, though these are limited in number and also power the magnasave and the poppersave, encouraging judicious use.

Winning with a straight, flush, or full house qualifies those respective multiballs, which subsequently lead to the Royal Flush wizard mode. (You cannot auto-qualify the wizard mode by accidentally getting a royal flush in a random hand. Ask me how I know.)

The game is designed to reward skillful play, with the ability to call your skill shot from several options and a mystery at the uppermost flipper that determines your award by which of three targets you hit down. That said, it is quite possible to enjoy the game and get a good score by ignoring the poker aspect, which makes the game novice-friendly despite the strategy-heavy ruleset. There are also difficulty levels that can be selected at the beginning of the game, if desired.

The game features callouts from Ron Hallett of @slamtiltpodcast and Silverball Chronicles fame. Ron’s voice will guide you to choose your mystery widely, inform you which multiball you’ve started, and celebrate a completed skill shot.

The game itself was painstakingly developed by @zacaj. No amount of shutterbugging on my part could ever accurately document the amount of thought and care put into this.

It’s been amazing watching this come together from a cascade of concepts to whitewood to a fairly polished, showable machine.

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