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Thread: Williams Pinball App Data Collection

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Williams Pinball App Data Collection

    Okay, I'm gonna go waaaaay down the rabbit hole here, so stick with me.

    As some of you might know, I maxed out all 7 tables within 16 days of release of the app on iOS. What I didn't know was that Zen was running a few different models, where some people had easy collecting goals and others had hard, with variations in between. Now that Volume 3 has made it into the app, I have discovered that I am on what may now have become the standardized model. What I mean by that is the parts/tickets scale of...

    1 Star = 5/150
    2 Star = 15/750
    3 Star = 50/3000
    4 Star = 100/100 Zen Coins

    There's been all sorts of discussions about how evil this is on Zen's part, why things cost what they do, how impossible this all is going to be, etc, etc. My problem with that is everyone is talking about how they feel and no one is dealing in hard facts. Now I'm at a distinct advantage here, in that since I've already maxed out those 7 tables, I only earn parts for the 3 new ones. As a few have pointed out, if you have all the parts needed but haven't upgraded fully, you'll still earn parts. Obviously this will be an issue for anyone downloading the app today or in the future, as that's a lot of parts for a lot of tables being spread out in those challenges. So again, I'm already ahead of the game by just needing those parts (170 per table) and not getting useless ones.

    Here's the thing; I need to get all my collecting in before the next Volume, which we've been told should be every 6-8 weeks, or I'll fall behind and be in the same boat everyone else is complaining about. I'm setting out to see if it's even possible, so that then we can go to Zen and maybe appeal to lighten up on some of the requirements.

    With all that in mind, I'm tracking my own data. I've made a spread sheet (good lord do I suck at those) to help me keep track for each and every cycle of daily challenges. As long as I'm able, I will be playing Basic, Advanced, Pro, and Premium challenges to 15 star levels, maxing out what is possible to earn. I'm keeping track of what each card flip is for the 4 I'll be flipping, I will not be flipping the Zen Coin card as it now looks like I need to hoard those something fierce. I'm also keeping track of what the tables offered are, what the challenge types are, and what the score requirements are for each and every one of those challenges for 5/10/15 completion. I'll also be keeping a running total going of parts I have, tickets I have, and Zen coins, as well as figuring out what my +/- is in terms of tickets won versus tickets spent.

    I know, I'm sorta nuts to even delve into this. I do wanna know definitively what's going on though, and are we all on the same game model now or is it still different? By the time the next pack releases, we should know for sure if it's a fool's errand to try and grind for the free or is it actually do-able. If anyone wants to join in so we can compare data, please do. I'll be posting some of my findings every 7 daily challenge cycles. Which reminds me, I am not paying out to refresh any, I'm purely going with what the game gives me.

    Just to give you a taste though, I'll point this discovery from day 2 of keeping track; I earned 7 Zen coins, more than I thought I would. I earned quite a few tickets, 685 to be exact, but spent 625 trying over and over to finish the Pro and Premium challenges. Plus I spent 1500 to upgrade 2 tables to 2 stars. I also never noticed that the score you need for 5 stars is not the same at the 5 stars point when going for 10, it's less. As a matter of fact, in some instances the 10 Star Challenge goal and then the 15 Star Challenge goal were very close in points needed. Never knew that, did ya?

    Challenge cycles start each day for me at 12:15 pm Pacific, so time to get at it once more for Day 3...
    I'm just sayin'

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    Senior Member EldarOfSuburbia's Avatar
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    Watching this...

    FWIW, I have the same pricing model on Android. Plus I'm getting 50 tickets from the "free-if-you-watch-an-ad" purchase.

    Android has an additional ticket drain stream, in the shape of League Play. It costs 25 tickets per game (win or lose), plus you can recycle the selection of tables for 50 tickets a pop. In theory there's a payout at the end of each League "season" based on your overall rank, but I've yet to see this reward. I've complained twice, and been compensated with 200 tickets (first time) and more generously 1000 tickets and 15 coins (second time). In the meantime, I've all but stopped playing League Play and I'm saving my tickets for those 3000 ticket upgrades, and unlocking the new tables.
    "You've got an arm like a wet rag!" - The Dummy, Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
    "Ace of Clubs?!" - Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot (Williams, 1995)
    "You have been terminated. Have a nice day!" - Candy 2000, Safe Cracker (Williams, 1996)

    Wizard Goals remaining: Safe Cracker 26 [Unique] Tokens (19/26 collected); F-14 250K Launch Bonus; Frankie 150M Creature Jackpot, Complete CREATURE

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    We have the Skillz multiplayer app. Two modes of play, the first using tickets (exclusive to the app, used for any game that also uses Skillz), which they call practice mode. For example, you pay 10 tickets to do Ďbest 3 minutesí on a selected table, and if your score beats whoever you were matched to, then you win 6. If you lose, you lose all 10. Pro mode requires you putting up real money, but itís the same sort of challenge. If you think you get pissed at watching a 30 second video for a 1 ball challenge only to drain the ball 15 seconds later, imagine doing that for a dollar, repeatedly. And then you finally post a good score only to lose by the slimmest of margins. The flip side is how sweet it is to win. Itís kinda made me immune to the angst of video watching!

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    Senior Member Pete's Avatar
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    Ive really got to get a controller or something, cant properly get the hang of nudging on the app. Watching ads over and over on 1 ball challenge from down the middle drains off the saucer on AFM i am going insane. If i have to watch this guy holding his baby telling me i can make pennys for playing some stupid casino crap game one more time... yeah i get it if i play for like 50 hours i might get 5 bucks on paypal after you make 50 bucks off making me watch a million commercials. I dont care avout your stupid baby, or that you dont often go around using your baby as a trust tool to influence people to play stupid games. Lets start another topic where we just crap talk the stupid ads.

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    I’ve been curious if the challenges have been getting harder. Was doing fine early on but now it’s showing me how much I suck. I was making them every day and now I’m lucky if I get the 5 stars

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    Quote Originally Posted by grashopper View Post
    Iíve been curious if the challenges have been getting harder. Was doing fine early on but now itís showing me how much I suck. I was making them every day and now Iím lucky if I get the 5 stars
    I'm in the same boat, although it may be that I've recently unlocked Junkyard and Black Rose which are a ***** for me to score quickly on. I don't have that problem with the other tables (haven't unlocked Safe Cracker or Champion Pub yet - on purpose). My assumption is that they are ramping up the difficulty based on your past performance. Even the tables I'm really good at seem harder to reach the goals lately.
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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyflipperfingers View Post
    I'm in the same boat, although it may be that I've recently unlocked Junkyard and Black Rose which are a ***** for me to score quickly on. I don't have that problem with the other tables (haven't unlocked Safe Cracker or Champion Pub yet - on purpose). My assumption is that they are ramping up the difficulty based on your past performance. Even the tables I'm really good at seem harder to reach the goals lately.
    That's one of the reasons I'm marking down all the major score goals. I want to see how they change from Basic to Premium under the same mode. I want to know if two weeks after I've had a 1 ball challenge in Pro on AFM if I need the same scores for the exact same challenge. Just in the 2 days of tracking I've noticed some odd things, like how when doing Pro 1 Ball on Medieval Madness, the 10 star goal was 19.2 million while the 15 star goal was only 20.

    If you really are questioning what the game is doing, start taking notes. The more data we have to compare with each other, the more we can see what's really going on with the algorithms Zen is using.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Yeah I was starting to feel the same way. Everything just feels like it’s getting harder. Starting on a different iPad on another account to see if there is any difference on a fresh save. Also trying to get some PS4 score numbers for comparison to see what they set it at when they already got paid.

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Keeping track of all of this crap should not be a full time job. This app is rediculous.
    If they didn’t have a straight pin purchase option, I would have deleted this app by now.
    Pinball is all about fun. Trying to tread water in quicksand is not.

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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolchak357 View Post
    Keeping track of all of this crap should not be a full time job. This app is rediculous.
    If they didn’t have a straight pin purchase option, I would have deleted this app by now.
    Pinball is all about fun. Trying to tread water in quicksand is not.
    And if they didn't have a freemium model, I wouldn't play because I don't buy stuff on mobile. Only reason I have TPA on my phone is because I got review access for the BlahCade Pinball Podcast. The only other Zen tables I have on mobile are Aliens vs Pinball (grind to earn table access, watch ads), Bethesda Pinball (grind in matchups or spend coins to play), eSports Mars and Epic Quest (Skillz based game, no free play), and the free tables of Empire Strikes Back and Sorcerer's Lair.

    On top of that, I actually enjoy grinding toward a goal. If I found out that goal is unobtainable, then I'll have an issue. I found it frustrating but doable in the iOS beta, had no problem quickly reaching it upon release, but now that I am on this other upgrade model, I have my doubts. Keeping stats is merely a way for me to answer the questions I have without bias. It's also what will allow me to speak in the podcast with authority over the subject. People do the same thing with sports and stats, something I find tedious.

    I'll say this too; once I had maxed out the other 7 tables, I stopped playing daily because I'd much rather play on PC. I rarely fired up TPA on mobile because it was an inferior experience and there was no competitive aspect to it at all. Point being, people have different views about what is 'fun' in pinball. I agree about treading water in quicksand, but first I want to know how deep the pit is and is it really quicksand or is it just lead in my shoes pulling me under.
    I'm just sayin'

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    I’m kind of in the same boat. I already bought it on PS4 and soon on PC probably. I didn’t want to buy it again on mobile so I was willing to pop a few challenges a day to earn them. But now it’s just discouraging... My playtime and even starting the app up has dropped sharply

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    Senior Member EldarOfSuburbia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolchak357 View Post
    Keeping track of all of this crap should not be a full time job. This app is rediculous.
    If they didnít have a straight pin purchase option, I would have deleted this app by now.
    Pinball is all about fun. Trying to tread water in quicksand is not.
    No, it's not. I just tried playing Final Fantasy Record Keeper and FF Brave Exvius.

    This is kindergarten grade math by comparison.

    "You've got an arm like a wet rag!" - The Dummy, Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
    "Ace of Clubs?!" - Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot (Williams, 1995)
    "You have been terminated. Have a nice day!" - Candy 2000, Safe Cracker (Williams, 1996)

    Wizard Goals remaining: Safe Cracker 26 [Unique] Tokens (19/26 collected); F-14 250K Launch Bonus; Frankie 150M Creature Jackpot, Complete CREATURE

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EldarOfSuburbia View Post
    No, it's not. I just tried playing Final Fantasy Record Keeper and FF Brave Exvius.

    This is kindergarten grade math by comparison.


    I wouldn’t play those either. Sounds like too much heavy lifting.

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    Senior Member kinggo's Avatar
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    considering that if I'm lucky I'll get maybe 5 coins for daily challenges, it will take me 20 days to unlock level 4 on one table. Plus few coins from XP points. But I'm looking at 6 months or so for unlocking all tables at 4 stars . Maybe even more since 1 ball challenges are %#/!%#(#( impossible without nudging that still sucks big time just like on first beta. And I'll repeat this again and again, why the /$/($ does the same table behave differently in 15 stars challenge than in 5 star challenge??????? How is that realistic? I do know that IRL tables do get worn out, flippers do get weaker and so on. But on digital version I expect that every game should feel the same.
    Once I get 100 coins and try that pro physics I'll see if this is really worth it but ATM it's more frustration than fun. With all its faults, TPA is still more enjoyable as a game.
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    I gotta say, I was enjoying the grinding for a while. It made me realize that learning how to score quickly on a table is something I was lacking (normally went for distance instead, like getting to the wizard mode or whatever), this is something that should translate IRL. But now the grinding is starting to wear on me. I recently unlocked a few tables where it just seems too tough for me to get a good score in a reasonable amount of time. I think that's just down to their rule sets and not a problem with me personally .

    Anyway, I've made a decision that I'm probably only going for 3 stars on these tables. That unlocks a majority of the options and I just realized that I don't know if I actually want pro physics on mobile. I definitely want it on the PC, where I do most of my playing (wish they'd retune the flipper physics some more though), but for mobile it's just not the same. You're starting with a minuscule picture (I have a Pixel 3 XL) where the ball looks just a bit bigger than a dot, you have to play with your thumbs (kinda yucky), and you really can't nudge (at least I can't). I think I'm ok with the physics at 3 stars. I dunno, maybe that's just the futile-ness of the grinding getting to me... It's the double punch of the lack of drops for zen coins and the fact that it keeps dropping table parts for tables I've already maxed out on table parts that seems to suck the sense of achievement out of it. Whatevs, just started drinking my first coffee so I'm a bit cranky at the moment.
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    Senior Member MBeeching's Avatar
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    I maybe interested in assisting with data & statistic tracking, though a standardised spreadsheet could be helpful. In my case the score targets for basic challenges appear to have dropped again, 15 stars in Fish Tales was effortless today (33 million?) though I used to hit the higher targets quite easily.

    Some of these adverts are bizarre, earlier today I saw one for 'Live Me' featuring two scantily clad young girls. I'm no prude but it seemed slightly inappropriate, certainly not the sort of thing I'd like people to see over my shoulder in public! Not keen on these gambling adverts either, I don't think they're played for hard cash but I'm very suspicious about the developers & companies behind them instilling behaviours - though I'm aware that aspect played a part in pinball history.

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    Moderator jaredmorgs's Avatar
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    I'm now only getting 1xp regardless of the basic challenge level I'm completing. I used to get up to 70xp for the 15 Basic challenge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBeeching View Post
    I maybe interested in assisting with data & statistic tracking, though a standardised spreadsheet could be helpful. In my case the score targets for basic challenges appear to have dropped again, 15 stars in Fish Tales was effortless today (33 million?) though I used to hit the higher targets quite easily.

    Some of these adverts are bizarre, earlier today I saw one for 'Live Me' featuring two scantily clad young girls. I'm no prude but it seemed slightly inappropriate, certainly not the sort of thing I'd like people to see over my shoulder in public! Not keen on these gambling adverts either, I don't think they're played for hard cash but I'm very suspicious about the developers & companies behind them instilling behaviours - though I'm aware that aspect played a part in pinball history.
    Hit me with your email by sending it to blahblahblahcade@gmail.com

    I can send you the chart I'm currently using that's setup with Google Sheets. Sven (aka Xanija) might be on board with creating an actual workable spreadsheet that real data can be pulled from, but it'll be a few days. I've got 5 days worth of stats, I can send both the blank form and my partially filled out one so that you can see how it compares.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Senior Member Pinballwiz45b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaredmorgs View Post
    I'm now only getting 1xp regardless of the basic challenge level I'm completing. I used to get up to 70xp for the 15 Basic challenge.
    By any chance, was the table Safe Cracker? That's happened to me too, but only on that table.

    Not sure if XP scales to scores in a way. Safe Cracker is incredibly abnormal.

  20. #20
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Safe Cracker on basic survival, the 10 star point goal is the exact same as the 15 star goal, at 450,000. Only table so far I've tracked that had identical point goals for different tiers.
    I'm just sayin'

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    Moderator jaredmorgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinballwiz45b View Post
    By any chance, was the table Safe Cracker? That's happened to me too, but only on that table.

    Not sure if XP scales to scores in a way. Safe Cracker is incredibly abnormal.
    Yep it was. Must be the low scores on this table affecting what must be score based leveling.
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    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Here's the summary after playing the app for 7 days...

    I started with 54 coins, 7 days later I had 99
    My ticket count started at 15,195 and finished the week at 8505. In that time I upgraded two tables to 3 stars and lost a lot of tickets to Pro and Premium challenges
    Level 23 to start, level 29 now

    Table Parts

    Theatre of Magic 14/100 for level 4 upgrade
    Champion Pub 40/50 for level 3 upgrade
    Safe Cracker 13/100 for level 4 upgrade

    As you can see, in 7 days and only collecting parts for those 3 tables, I've come a long way. By next week I should have all 3 ready for max upgrade, coins being the only thing slowing me down.

    The Value of Pro and Premium Challenges

    I've been asked a couple times now if Premium challenge is worth the 200 coins. The short answer is no, not until you are only missing the full upgrade to 2 or 3 tables. Now for the long answer.

    The Premium challenge has the highest goal scores needed of any challenge, as it should. I only completed the 15 star goal 1 day out of 7. I missed the 10 star goal 3 times. 5 minute challenge happened 4 times, 1 Ball twice, and Survival once. When it comes to rewards, the good is that you'll earn large parts packs. 5 parts was the norm, which is really nice. Ticket packs tended to be between 40 and 75, which while high in general is way low considering how much it costs to play. Pro challenge is 15 tickets for attempt, and Premium is an insane 25. What the hell did I spend 200 coins for if I then have to pay each game?!

    I'm not kidding when I say these two challenges are ticket pits. Here's how many I lost on each day 625/790/580/30/185/45 I didn't play them on day 1, and I started limiting my attempts the last 3.

    If you are looking for flipper and ball trail card flips, this is the place too. Equally annoying is on Premium challenge level 5 is always missing the far right card to flip.

    Score Goal Increases

    One question people had was if the goals needed were somehow getting harder as they leveled up. Two other people are collecting these scores with me, and both have had matching score values to mine even though we are on different levels. Point requirements do increase from Basic to Advanced to Pro to Premium. For example, if you are playing AFM in survival, here are the points needed at each level through Pro...

    5 STAR 750/850/950 million
    10 STAR 1.95/2.25/2.55 billion
    15 STAR 2.3/4.2/4.8 billion

    That's the only table I have that I can compare like that, but that's essentially going to happen across all of them. Some of the point increases between star levels are quite shocking though. On Getaway Premium 1 ball challenge, it was 40 million for 5 stars and then a whopping 128 million for 10. Meanwhile over on Safe Cracker in basic survival, for 10 stars you need 450,000 points and for 15 stars...450,000 points. I mean, what?

    Where Are The Coins?

    We all know coins are the most valuable of rewards. They seem to be distributed through all the challenges, and there doesn't seem to be a noticeable increase in the Pro or Premium challenge like there is in table parts. This might also be because I'm not getting to the 15 star goals. I also haven't flipped those cards that cost a coin, so maybe the good drops are hiding behind those? The best flip I've had was for 4 coins, and that was only once in Pro 15 star. Once I've secured all my upgrades, maybe I'll start burning through them to get those 15 star Premium rewards and see if there's an increase at all.
    I'm just sayin'

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    That is some seriously interesting data shutyertrap.

    it's going to be interesting to see over time whether the pro challenge starts to become more of an attractive purchase after you get a little bit more data on it.

    Or, perhaps, weather Zen decides to relax the ticket spend requirements after paying quite a large amount of coins to unlock the challenge tier.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member MBeeching's Avatar
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    Put in a lot of hours but took a much needed break yesterday, the grind has finally worn me out.
    I currently possess no Grade 4 tables due to a lack of Zen coins so my Volume 3 progress is painfully slow.

    Table Parts - Grade 2
    ToM - 7/50
    CP - 12/50
    SC - 15/50

    Zen needs to address this issue with part drops for maxed out tables, it's just going to get worse over time.
    Comparing my collection with ShutYerTrap's those deficits currently stand at:

    ToM - 57 less
    CP - 78 less
    SC - 48 less
    Total - 183

    I've also been tracking score targets and it has confirmed my suspicions regarding Basic Challenge rotation. Certain tables rarely make an appearance (Fish Tales / Attack From Mars / High Speed 2). I haven't seen Fish Tales in weeks, it has apparently disappeared off the face of the earth. More often than not I'm stuck with Junk Yard or Party Zone and often spend a fortune in tickets desperately trying to get a different table.

  25. #25
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    This is why the data collecting can ultimately help us next time I have a conversation with Zen. For someone coming to the app fresh, they might very well be in an impossible situation to make any progression, thus dismissing the app. For someone that's been at it for a while with progress that has been slow, the addition of even more tables will feel like pushing a rock up a hill only for it to roll back down. In my situation, if I can prove that it's completely do-able, it might make sense for people to purchase a block of tables outright knowing that you'll then be able to grind to success.

    I didn't think to list the tables I played, and that's certainly something to compare and track too. That being said...

    Basic

    Getaway
    Safe Cracker
    Black Rose
    Champion Pub
    Safe Cracker
    Attack From Mars
    Attack From Mars

    Advanced

    Party Zone
    Attack From Mars
    Junk Yard
    Attack From Mars
    Theatre of Magic
    Champion Pub
    Theatre of Magic

    Pro

    Fish Tales
    Medieval Madness
    Attack From Mars
    Junk Yard
    Attack From Mars
    Party Zone
    Safe Cracker

    Premium

    Medieval Madness
    Black Rose
    Fish Tales
    Getaway
    Getaway
    Fish Tales
    Junk Yard
    I'm just sayin'

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