Baltimore Drop

Published: 12/03/2013

The evolution of games is endlessly fascinating. It can at times be quite linear, with one game giving rise directly to another, or multifaceted, as two or more very different games are combined to form something totally new. The entire category of games known as “Bagatelle” is evidence of the latter case—a marriage of bowling and billiards that became popular in France during the reign of Louis XIV (1643~1715) and would eventually lead to pinball and Japanese pachinko.

The very name “bagatelle” derives from the Château de Bagatelle, a small neoclassical château with a French landscape garden within the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. No doubt, this location was a popular site for an indoor table game that involved getting a number of balls past wooden pins (which acted as obstacles) into holes in order to score. By the 19th century, Bagatelle would be played in England with billiard cues and nine balls on an oblong board or table. Nine numbered cups would be placed at its head, eight arranged in a circle and the ninth at its centre, as the goals.

More recent versions of the game are usually played on a small inclined board, employing small steel or plastic balls rather than billiard balls. A spring bolt, or plunger, is used in place of a cue stick to propel the balls. It is easy to see how this format evolved to become the modern pinball machine.

Now, created especially for online casinos by Endemol Gaming, “Baltimore Drop” is a bagatelle game, in which up to one hundred balls are dropped onto a sloped game board. They bounce off an array of pins before falling into pockets at the bottom of the board. The player places bets on which pins will be contacted by the balls and into which pockets the balls will drop. Payouts are made at fixed odds.

The game begins with the player choosing an amount to stake per ball. This is accomplished by using the left/right arrows at the bottom of the display to select one of nine coloured chips valued at £0.10, £0.25, £0.50, £1, £5, £10, £25 and £100. The chip selected will replace the mouse cursor when hovering over the game board.

Next, moving the chip-cursor over a pin or pocket will cause the location to light up and a pop-up window will display the associated “Stake,” “Pays” and “Returns” values for betting there. Simply click to place the bet once, or multiple times to increase the wager. The “Total Stake” amount at the bottom of the screen will update as bets are placed. The red “Undo” button can be used to remove the last chip placed. Holding down the SHIFT on the keyboard while clicking on placed bets will also remove chips placed one-by one, while the “Clear” button will remove all bets placed for that particular round.

Of the 14 pin positions, three pay out at 2X odds, three pay out at 2.6X, four pay 10X and two pay 30X. Among the four pockets, the inner two pay out at 3X, while the outer two pay 6X. It is also possible to wager on the “Out of Bounds” pockets on the left and right sides of the layout at odds of 30X. Note, however, that whenever a ball goes Out of Bounds, any scores it has garnered from hitting selected pins are not counted.

To select the “Number of Balls” to put in play, use the left/right arrows that flank the balls remaining indicator at the very centre of the control panel. The minimum is 1 and the maximum is 100. Increasing the number of balls will multiply the stake by that number. Whenever multiple balls are chosen, all balls are played in a single game.

To confirm the wagers and start the game, click on the green “Bet” button on the right side of the control panel. The balls will begin dropping one by one until all selected have been put into action. The total amount won will be shown in the “Winnings” counter at the upper left corner of the display. Funds available are shown in the upper right corner.

Other features available on Baltimore Drop can be accessed by using the pull-down “Options” menu at the top of the screen. There is a “Turbo” switch to enable faster play as well as toggles for “Sound” and “Music.”

Published on: 12/03/2013

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