5 Dragons and 50 Dragons Slots
The Asian mythology themed 5 Dragons slot machine was designed by Australian casino game manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure and released in 2011.
A sequel to the game known as 50 Dragons eventually followed, although this game is essentially nothing more than a replica of Aristocrat's hit game 50 Lions.
Considering the proximity of Australia to the Asian continent, the booming population of Asian transplants living Down Under, and the overwhelming popularity of casinos in places like Macau, it was only natural for Aristocrat to design a slot machine game which caters to the key demographic. The 5 Dragons slot machine is an amalgamation of key elements from both the Japanese and Chinese cultures.
The background screen for 5 Dragons is comprised of an abstract design rendered in purple and blue tones, one which vaguely resembles the lotus flower. While the background screen is a bit dry by Aristocrat's standards, the 5 Dragons title screen is both striking to the eye and visually appealing.
A large purple dragon dominates the center of the title screen, clutching a large white pearl in his coils and staring straight at the player with his fangs bared. Four smaller dragons, colored white, yellow, blue, and red, fly around in each corner of the title screen, appearing to chase one another in an infinite loop.
Just like Aristrocrat's most recognizable slot machine titles, the arrangement of reel symbols on 5 Dragons begins with the card ranks 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A. The rest of the reel symbols for 5 Dragons accentuate the game's Asian inspiration, so you'll find the koi fish, the turtle, a red packet envelope, the imperial guardian lion, the ancient coin, the flying bee, and of course, the dragon face.
The 5 Dragons slot diverges from the pay line system many players are accustomed to, but this is because the game is powered by Aristocrat's proprietary Xtra Reel Power technology.
In essence, there are five reels in the game, each showing three symbols. Rather than using pay lines to form winning combinations, Xtra Reel Power games allow any symbols on adjacent reels to form winning combinations.
For Xtra reel games featuring five reels and 15 symbols, like 5 Dragons, there are 243 possible winning combinations. Players who cut their teeth on pay line games can simply envision 243 lines connecting the five reels to familiarize themselves with Aristocrat's Xtra Reel Power concept.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
When you sit down to play 5 Dragons for the first time, the absence of pay lines can be a bit jarring at first, but after a few spins you'll easily grasp how the system works.
The setup for the 5 Dragons video slot machine consists of five reels showing three symbols each.
As an Xtra Reel Power game, whenever matching symbols appear on adjacent reels from left to right, they form winning combinations no matter what place they hold on each reel. In other words, there are invisible pay lines connecting each and every one of the 15 symbols in play. This forms 243 possible winning combinations in all.
Due to the fact that winning combinations can be made more often on Reel Xtra Power games like 5 Dragons, the payout tables are typically aligned to the lower end of the industry spectrum.
While 5 Dragons is classified as a penny slot because the minimum coin denomination stands at $0.01, in reality the minimum cost per spin on the game is $0.25, because you must bet 25 credits per spin. The coin denomination range for 5 Dragons runs from $0.01 to $4.00, making the maximum wager per spin $100.00.
One crucial aspect of 5 Dragons to keep in mind concerns the optional ante bet. This ante bet consists of an additional five credits, so for penny slot players the minimum cost per spin jumps to $0.30, but when you consider the benefits the ante is worth the expense. By placing the ante bet of five credits per spin, you'll receive an additional five free spins every time you trigger the free spins bonus round. The big winnings are had during free spin bonus rounds on Aristocrat games, so adding an extra five free spins for just five credits can pay dividends in the long run.
As evidence of this fact, the return to player percentage when playing 5 Dragons falls to 90.935% when you don't place the ante bet, but climbs up to 95.317% when the ante bet is activated.
Just like other staples of the Aristocrat slot machine lineup, 5 Dragons includes the usual array of features, including wild symbols, scatter symbols, free spins, bonus games, and multipliers. The game doesn't connect to any progressive jackpots. A list of basic specifications for 5 Dragons can be found below:
- Wilds: Yes
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: Yes, between 2x and 30x
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 90.935% without Ante Bet, 95.317% with Ante Bet
The base game for 5 Dragons offers a jackpot payout of 800 credits whenever you land five winged bees, imperial guardian lions, or koi fish on the screen. Four of a kind in any of these symbols is good for a 100 credit payout.
LLanding five turtles of red envelope packets pays out at 300 credits, while five As or five Ks returns a 200 credit payout. When you land five Qs, Js, 10s, or 9s on the screen you'll receive an extra 100 credits.
The dragon face symbol is the wild symbol for this game, and you'll only see it appear on the second, third, and fourth reels. The dragon face wild symbol acts as a traditional wild symbol during the base game, substituting for any other symbol but the scatter symbol to form winning combinations. During the free spins bonus round the dragon face wild symbol carries a multiplier of between 2x and 30x which will increase your original payout amount.
The scatter symbol for 5 Dragons is the gold coin symbol, and when you land three or more of these, the free spins bonus round is triggered.
Triggering the Bonus Round
After you've triggered the free spins bonus round by landing three or more gold coins, a side screen will appear offering you a choice between five distinct free spin bonus setups.
If you placed the additional ante bet prior to triggering the bonus round, the menu will consist of the following selections:
- White Dragon – 25 free spins, with wild multipliers of 2x, 3x, or 5x
- Red Dragon – 20 free spins, with wild multipliers of 3x, 5x, or 8x
- Black Dragon – 15 free spins, with wild multipliers of 5x, 8x, or 10x
- Blue Dragon – 13 free spins, with wild multipliers of 8x, 10x, or 15x
- Yellow Dragon – 10 free spins, with wild multipliers of 10x, 15x, or 30x
If you opted not to place the additional ante bet prior to triggering the bonus round, the menu will consist of the following selections:
- White Dragon – 20 free spins, with wild multipliers of 2x, 3x, or 5x
- Red Dragon – 15 free spins, with wild multipliers of 3x, 5x, or 8x
- Black Dragon – 10 free spins, with wild multipliers of 5x, 8x, or 10x
- Blue Dragon – 18 free spins, with wild multipliers of 8x, 10x, or 15x
- Yellow Dragon – 5 free spins, with wild multipliers of 10x, 15x, or 30x
As you can see, this bonus setup provides players with an entertaining element of choice, as you can either opt for more free spins and lower multipliers, or go for the gusto with fewer free spins but major multipliers in play.
You can also retrigger the free spins bonus by landing three or more gold coins on any free spin. This will bring you back to the dragon selection menu above following the conclusion of your current free spin bonus round.
Also, during any free spin the appearance of the red envelope packet symbol on the first or fifth reels provides an additional prize. This red envelope packet bonus ranges from 2x to 50x your wager.
AAfter the five reels, 50 pay lines concept was first introduced by Aristocrat's 50 Lions game, the company decided to apply the same setup to update their 5 Dragons theme.
The result is 50 Dragons, a five reel, 50 pay line game that looks and sounds just like 5 Dragons but plays much more closely to 50 Lions.
The five reels in 50 Dragons each feature four symbols, and new symbols to the game include the cock and the tiger.
The wild symbol for 50 Dragons is represented by a white pearl, and the scatter symbol for the game is the golden ingot.
Beginning with the company's founding in 1953, Australian based company Aristocrat remained on the cutting edge of casino gaming technology. Aristocrat's first major contribution to the industry arrived with the debut of The Clubmaster in 1956. As the first slot machine ever designed to include gameplay features like multiline and scattered payouts, The Clubmaster cemented Aristocrat's status as an industry innovator.
Aristocrat went on to produce the world's first electronic slots, video slots, five reel slots, and virtual reel slots, essentially shaping the standard slot machine interface enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. The complex computing systems powering modern slot machines are another Aristocrat product, and over the years Microstar, the MK Gaming System, the Hyperlink Gaming System, and Jubilee were all designed by the company.
Aristocrat began public trading on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1997, and in 2000 the company gained the licenses necessary to begin serving the world's largest gambling market: Las Vegas, Nevada. Now licensed by 240 gaming jurisdictions and operating in 90 nations, Aristocrat has released hundreds of slot machine titles, but 5 Dragons and 50 Dragons are considered to rank among the company's classic designs.
The original 5 Dragons video slot machine ranks among the most frequently played titles in Australian casinos, and the game also enjoys immense popularity in American, European, and Asian casinos.
With the classic Aristocrat game play structure in place, 5 Dragons empowers players to make their own decisions in a five-way free spin bonus round. As a clone of 50 Lions, the 50 Dragons sequel doesn't add much to the mix, but for millions of slot players around the world 5 Dragons remains the standard.