1421 Voyages of Zheng He Slots Machine
In a broad attempt to appeal to a specific international demographic, International Game Technology, released the 1421 Voyages of Zheng He slot game in 2016. A beloved Chinese historical figure from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Zheng He rose from the status of a prince’s eunuch to a Chief Envoy in Emperor Zhu Di’s navy, leading the baochuan—some of the largest wooden ships in history—throughout the Indian Ocean. His voyages expanded trade with the Indian and Arabian peninsulas, while also projecting Chinese power and wealth throughout the world. These expeditions, such as the one in 1421 which took him all the way to Africa and back, helped shuttle important emissaries and bring new treasures to China.
The Number 8
Available for free or paid gaming on mobile, tablet and desktop platfroms, the 1421 Voyages of Zheng He slot game allows players to choose how many paylines to bet. In another overture to Chinese gamers, the quantity of payline choices is limited to 8, 28, 48, 68 and 88. The Chinese see the number 8 as one of the luckiest of numbers. The number’s pronunciation, “bā”, is very similar to “fā”, the word representing wealth, fortune and prosperity. 8 has a balanced symmetrical shape and becomes the infinity symbol when turned on its side. As a result, everyone from corner grocers to the Chinese government value the number eight. It’s no coincidence the Beijing Summer Olympics began on the eighth second of the eighth minute of the eighth hour of the date 08/08/08.
How to Play 1421 Voyages of Zheng He Slots Machine
After choosing the paylines, the player sets the line bet between $1 and $100. This allows for betting flexibility, permitting total bets between $8 and $8800 per spin. One can also choose between a single spin or the autospin feature that triggers 10-50 automatic spins. At least three consecutive identical symbols need line up from left to right on a played payline in order to trigger a payout.
The game’s symbols include playing card-like icons of 10, J, Q, K and A, which provide the lowest payouts. There are also animated symbols that keep with the Zheng He voyage theme. These include—with increasing value—a golden table, jade statue, ceremonial bell, a baochuan treasure ship, and Zheng He himself. The coin symbol holds the highest value and also acts as a wild card for all symbols except the bonus game Maps.
The Bonus Game
Since the game doesn’t include a progressive jackpot, the bonus game provides the potential for the highest payout. To start this feature, the player must get three Map symbols to appear on the second, third and fourth reels. The gamer is then taken to the Player Decision screen to choose between four options.
The first option is the “Cup feature”, which is essentially a shell game. A ball is placed under one of three teacups, the cups are quickly shuffled and then the player chooses which cup hides the ball. There’s a one-in-three chance of choosing the right cup, resulting in a payout of 91 times the total bet.
The second, third and fourth choices are for free spins. Option number two is for 20 free spins that include random payout multipliers of 1x, 2x and 3x. Option three is 15 free spins with random payout multipliers of 1x, 2x and 5x. The last option is 10 free spins with random payout multipliers of 1x, 2x and 8x.
During the free spins, the winning symbol payouts equal those of the regular spins. If the player gets three Map symbols on the second, third and fourth reels, he or she gets to choose from the 10, 15 and 20 free spin options to add bonus spins. These free plays max out at 20.
The cup/shell game has the biggest single payout, but it’s essentially a guessing game with tough odds, resulting in $0 two out of three times. Meanwhile, it’s easy to pick up considerable payouts within the free spin game.
Among the game’s positive attributes is a soundtrack which keeps with the overall Asian theme. The calm, melodic music playing during the main game is much less tiresome than most slots’ tunes. Meanwhile the bonus game’s music is impressively percussive.
The ability to choose the quantity of played paylines is also much appreciated. Many online slot games lock the player into the maximum payline bet. Here, the betting flexibility allows for longer gameplay.
Despite these favorable elements, 1421 Voyages of Zheng He is essentially a regular 5×4 slot game with a historical story lightly pasted over it. After a few rounds, seasoned players will see nothing setting it apart from dozens of other free slot games. Part of this problem is due to the lack of creativity applied to the bonus game. The “Cup feature” is essentially, “Guess what number I’m thinking of,” while the free spin payouts are identical to those of the regular spins unless a good multiplier is in play.
Ultimately, the lack of unique gameplay makes this a straightforward slot game that’s easily learned, so it will appeal to players who want to stick to something familiar. The historical and cultural significance behind 1421 Voyages of Zheng He slot game’s elements are, frankly, more interesting than the game itself. But it’s those features which will likely to make it a bigger hit with Chinese players and history buffs than with most other gamers.