Al Murray’s Beautiful British Game

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Al Murray’s Beautiful British Game review

Funny man Al Murray has been drafted in to help out ailing British fruit machine designers JPM to promote their latest £70 jackpot fruit machine. The oldies amongst us will remember, and likely have fond memories of the great fruit machine era that JPM dominated 10 to 15 years ago, with Roller Coaster, Red Arrow etc. designed for the player, but arguably eventually to be destroyed by the player (small Coke please). They have been very quiet of late, in the U.K. Market at least, but have returned to the pub sector with an Al Murray themed series of fruit machines. You would assume having being absent for such a long time, that a great and unique come-back would have been delivered. Unfortunately tedium abounds in this poor knock off of Bell Fruits over used Deal or No Deal themed fruit machines.

Initially believing there to be some kind of fault with the machine that I was playing, the game ran at around 40% the speed of most fruit machines, making for a very frustrating and tedious playing experience. As it happened, it actually turned out to be an intentional part of the design! Zzz

Feature entry is from a win on the multi-winline reels, or from a row of barrels (Deal or No Deal boxes to you and me). Feature entry isn’t cheap, and was regularly costing £9 – £12 per board, so no pub change going in this one. Although there were moments when two or three features came in quick succession, it wasn’t a common occurrence. The poor amount of feature entries was mainly down to the barrels not trial holding. The JPM game brochure appears to suggest that the hold over is random!

The game is most similar to Deal or No Deal Crazy Chairs, with the features appearing to be mostly the same (averaging £3 – £6). 25p and 50p stakes start with white features, where-as playing on the hefty £1 a spin makes the features red. £1 play also appears to be a separate stake, which basically means if you put a significant amount of money in on 50p, changing up to £1 is not going to be a good idea, and vice-versa .

Instead of red boxes, Al Murray’s Big Beautiful Game does red win lines. A feature entry whilst red opens up the Deal or No Deal style game. This game can also be opened during regular game play, but is rare.

Along the bottom of the machine, a row of twelve darts is lit by the number reel; each number spun in lights up a dart. Many times the number reel doesn’t spin, so lighting up all of the darts can be very costly. It is also not random, so it will hold off from the last dart until it is ready. The JPM game brochure, which discusses the game, suggests that all odd or all even darts lit will award the bonus feature. This certainly wasn’t the case when I played, and was only awarded when both sides were fully lit. So unless they have released an update already, the person who wrote the brochure obviously didn’t play the machine. The numbers do however nearly always hold over, but are canceled out with a cash or bust win. Even a win as low as £1 will reset the darts.

Amusingly the gaming brochure goes into great detail to explain how the top feature works, trying desperately not to mention that it is exactly the same as Deal or No Deal.

Lit Darts

  • All left darts lit (odd numbers) awards nothing.
  • All right darts lit (even numbers) awards nothing.
  • Both sides lit awards a feature board with the ‘super’ feature open, so the same as a red win-line game.

During game play, three complete rows of barrels opens up the main feature. To help you along, there are several ‘spin’ positions in the corners. The game also has red barrels, which begin to light up when a full row of regular barrels has been completed. Unlike almost every Deal or No Deal game, a row of red boxes (barrels) does nothing! It does not open the game. It does nothing at all, which is rather surprising. So don’t go gambling on good numbers thinking you’ve got the top feature, because you haven’t. I assume that a full house of red barrels awards invincibility, but that remains to be seen. Also, an important point to remember; this game can and often does, lose on the very first spin. Press start, straight to a mystery square, lose. Not bad for a £12 feature entry!

Al Murray’s Beautiful British Game also has a cash or bust feature which can be used at the very start of the game, or any time when on a mystery square. This is not separate, and is a way for it to level its percentage whilst still not paying anything worth while. It regularly pays middle ground money of £4-£8.

In the old days the JPM ribbons were a modest £3 or £4, now they have bumped them up to jackpot. The cash or bust enjoys going to them briefly, before heading off somewhere else. The highest cash or bust win I was awarded was £10, and also the mixed streak which paid a depressingly low £8.

Three levels of Win Streaks Pay as Follows:

  • Red Beer Glasses: At least £70
  • Blue Beer Glasses: £16 – £22
  • Mixed Blue and Red: £8

Al Murray's Beautiful British Game Super Feature:

The super feature i.e. the Deal or No Deal game, is likely the main draw for many players. The values are fixed, with the highest two been £40 and £70, and the lowest been 10p and a penny.

I would hope it was a random selection, but judging by how poorly the rest of the game has been made, I would guess that the value of the box is predetermined. It’s worth noting that all Deal or No Deal games (Bell Fruit, not JPM) offer a random selection no matter how lively the state of the machine. The offers on the Beautiful British Game however are very strange, and tend to be weighted towards the highest value towards the end of the game, with examples such as; £2 and £10 remaining, offering £9.99, and £2 and £40 remaining, offering £28.80. As that is the only redeeming quality of this machine, it is best avoided.

Things to look out for

Because they play so abysmally bad, they have to roll in jackpots to level off the percentage. When they roll in three ribbons (jackpot), this does not indicate an invincible feature game. Far from it, in actual fact you have a very very high chance of spinning directly to a mystery square and losing the £70. This will not come back either, so be warned.

Remember, if people don’t play them, they won’t stay in the pubs taking up space.

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