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Reel Bingo, A New Game At Tombola

Reel Bingo, A New Game At Tombola


Sue Dawson

It’s that time again at Tombola!  Their newest game Reel Bingo came out on the app on 30th May and is now available on all devices. Like most of its recent predecessors, it is a single ticket multi stake game.  Many players have remarked that Reel Bingo’s fruit machine theming makes it similar to the old Tombola game Bandit which was retired years ago.

The last two bingo games to come out at Tombola, Winter Spotlight and Bloom, were both time limited seasonal specials based on the same underlying game engine.  We were expecting a summer themed version of the same game to come out next, but Reel Bingo is not part of that lineage and looks set to be a permanent addition to the Tombola site. Its underlying game engine has 35 balls and 10 numbers on the card…but there’s no card and nothing that’s recognisable as numbers.

To play a game of Reel Bingo, the first thing you need to do is to select your stake from the following options – 10p, 25p, 50p, £1 or £2.  You can then hit the Buy button (followed by the Confirm button to ensure no-one buys a ticket by mistake).  Once you’ve chosen your stake level, if you buy into any later games in the same session you don’t need to select again – you’ll be given the option to buy or change stake. The prizes are relative to stake level, so what you can win with a £1 stake is exactly 10x what you can win with a 10p stake in the same game.

While you’re waiting for the game to start, there’s a just-for-fun add-on game that you can play.  You don’t win anything, but your high score is saved (across devices) so you can try and beat it next time.

Reel Bingo Game

Once the game proper starts, you will find that instead of a card, you have a garden with 10 plots arranged in two columns of 5 plots each.  Each plot contains three pieces of fruit; the available fruits are cherries, orange, lemon, plum and watermelon and possible combinations can include more than one of the same fruit.  Above the garden is a set of three reels; they spin on each call and if the combo that comes up is the same as one of your plots, the three fruits on that plot go splat (in the screenshot, there’s a match second to bottom of the right hand column).   There’s a column prize for being first to splat all the fruits in a column of 5 plots, and a full house prize for splatting the fruits on all 10 of your plots. You can splat the fruits manually or let the auto-daub do it.

You can also interact with the card background – try clicking on the trees to make them shake!  Tombola have added this type of interactivity to several games now and it really increases the entertainment value.

Why 35 balls?  Well, there are 125 different possible permutations of three pieces of fruit, but many of them are the same three pieces or fruit in a different order and all those duplicates have been left out.  For example, the combination of two plums and an orange always appears as plum-plum-orange and never as plum-orange-plum or orange-plum-plum.  It turns out that there are precisely 35 possible combinations left after all the instance of the same fruits in a different order have been stripped out, and clearly each one of these has been mapped to a number in the game engine.  The fruit is much more visually appealing than a number, of course!

Reel Bingo has a bonus game but it seems to be quite rare.  It’s triggered when all three of the fruits on the reels in the main game are overlaid with “BAR” (as the oranges are in the screenshot), and plays after the main game finishes. The reels spin again and this time they are different for each player; the winner is the player who is first to collect 10 BAR symbols.   The bonus game prize is double the full house prize.

The Return To Player of Reel Bingo is guaranteed always to be in excess of 80% which is in line with other Tombola bingo games.

Reel Bingo is currently playing in just one room and as happens with every new Tombola game it is CRAZILY busy with more than 1000 players and this means that the chance of winning anything is rather small (the flip side of this is that the prizes are substantial).  If a tiny chance of winning a big prize doesn’t appeal, you may want to wait a few days for it to quieten down before you try this fun game out.


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