Aruze's Howling Moon slot machine at Mystic Lodge casino

May 10, 2011 6:04 AM

I received a flyer this month from the Mystic Lodge on Boulder Highway, which said if you lose playing at slots they will reimburse you in free play plus (for $10 loss, $15 in free play; $15 loss, $20 free or $25 loss, $30 free.)

They also had some great food coupons (a hamburger for 99¢; a hot dog and fries for $1.25.) I hadn’t been to the Mystic for several months and am always ready to take advantage of a good deal. I had to stop in to investigate.

We had a 99¢ burger and beer for $1.50 (it was Happy Hour) at the bar and it was well worth the price.

The Mystic Lodge has a really great selection of machines, many of my old favorites and a lot of the new ones. They were installing several new games while I was there, including what looked to be a multi screen Wheel of Fortune.

Near the front of the casino I spotted a bank of six different Aruze machines I hadn’t seen before. Howling Moon looked unusual and I decided to try it. As I checked it out I realized just how different it was.

There are no pay lines. All pays are scatter with a possibility of up to 15 matching symbols. It features symbols like a haunted house, an owl watching you from a tree branch, a lantern, the werewolf in man form, the wolf paw print and, of course, the Wolfman himself.

When you get a hit it numbers the matching symbols so you can tell how many you got. The pay table stays on the top screen so you can follow your hits.

The game has a bet of 35 cents with a High Power side bet of five cents that gives you five extra free spins when you get the Red Moon bonus for a total of 13 free spins. The max bet is 5x.

You have to get at least three of the man or wolf symbols and four of the other matching symbols to get a payout. The werewolf is the top paying symbol.

 The man symbol, which stacks frequently, can turn into a werewolf randomly on any spin when the moon at the top of the screen becomes full. This is called the Wolfman Feature.

Three moon symbols trigger the Red Moon Feature, which awards you eight free games (13 if you are playing the High Power side bet.)

I put in $25 instead of $20. That way if I cashed out nothing, I could claim the $30 free play, and play 40 cents.

There was no way that was going to happen. The Wolfman feature came up quite often and the credits were stacking up nicely. I got the Red Moon feature right away and won $17.64 during my 13 free spins. Upon getting to $42 I cashed out.

I went on to another machine to take advantage of the reimbursement promotion. You have to cash out nothing to be eligible. And I tried several machines before I found one I could "lose" on.

Eventually I got the $30 free play and tried another of the Aruze games and won it all back. I’ll save that for another column.