Davinci Diamonds Slots
IGT introduced land-based casino customers to Davinci Diamonds in 2007. The game used a then innovative style, tumbling reels, that has been widely adopted by many slot game designers today. By 2012 Davinci Diamonds was IGT's most popular slot game and their online casino subsidiary brought the game to online slots player.
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) is recognized around the world as one of the leading thinkers of his time. He is remembered for his inventions more than for his artwork, both of which had profound influence upon other Renaissance leaders and the inventors and artists of the following (Barroque) period, which lasted from about 1600 to 1800.
Da Vinci's connection to diamonds is buried in his notes, although the famous Da Vinci diamond cut was developed by Israeli diamond cutter Shlomo Cohen in 2006. Cohen, who invented the "Princess cut" in 1982, based his 57-facet Da Vinci cut on the Golden Ratio and Da Vinci's drawings of polyhedrons, especially pentagrams.
Leonardo Da Vinci himself wanted to use diamonds to make a better clock for his day. The more accurate pendulum-based clocks were still 200 years in the future, but Da Vinci found a way to use springs instead of weights run his clock, which was to use diamond parts as well. The Da Vinci clock is considered to be more accurate at keeping time than other Renaissance era clocks.
The diamonds in the slot game come in several shapes and colors, just like diamonds (and other gemstones) in real life. Mixed in with the diamonds are three portrait paintings by Leonardo: Cecilia Gallerani, a woman holding an ermine; the Mona Lisa; and Portrait of a Musician (who may have been Da Vinci himself or Franchino Gaffurio, one of Da Vinci's friends and a Renaissance music theorist).
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Davinci Diamonds is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot game with 20 pay lines. The game pays left to right. Winning combinations must appear on adjacent tiles on one of the pay lines, except in the bonus game.
As video slot games go, this one is very, very basic. It is one of the earliest of the video slots although still popular. And it literally lacks the bells and whistles that many slots games indulge in.
The most important feature of the game is the tumbling reels, which some game designers now call cascading or avalanching reels. The tiles drop down from the top of the screen. Any winning combinations are highlighted and then removed. The remaining tiles "settle" toward the bottom of the screen and new tiles drop down to replace them. The process repeats itself until there are no more winning combinations.
The gems all explode but the portraits spin away into oblivion. A Spanish guitar plays a chord each time tiles drop down. The guitar climbs the scale (plays a higher chord) each time new tiles drop down on the same spin.
Your most recent win is displayed in a small window on the left of the screen, just above the static window informing you there are 20 pay lines. Yes, you must play all 20 pay lines. You cannot change that behavior, which is probably more beneficial than most players realize.
You can change how much you bet per line, tapping on a Left or Right arrow control. Bets range from $1 to $50 per line. That's right, high rollers, you can risk $1000 on one spin of this game. Most people will probably be happy just to get back their $20 on the minimum bet.
There is an Auto Spin button that allows you to cycle through 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 spins. The Stop button in the lower right-hand corner counts down the remaining spins. You can watch your balance go up and down. If you win a bonus game the Auto Spin stops.
There are two special symbols in the regular game:
- A wild symbol that substitutes for everything else except the scatter symbol
- A scatter symbol, which just says "Bonus"
Although there is no help screen or pay table the game displays random tips in a long window just above the Spin button. The Spin button itself serves double duty, allowing you to speed up the game's animations.
Triggering the Bonus Round
The bonus game is triggered when three Bonus tiles drop down. After you click Start you are awarded 6 free spins. You may win more free spins before the game is over.
The three portraits mentioned above are replaced by new portraits, and these portraits pay a prize regardless of where they land on the screen. You just need three of any one portrait to win a prize. In case you are curious, the portraits used are Madonna of the Yarnwinder (aka Madonna of the Spindle), Portrait of a Lady (most likely Lucrezia Crivelli, and one of Da Vinci's angel paintings.
The bonus game has a different Wild symbol than the regular game, and new gemstones appear as well as pearls.
In addition to the new tiles the bonus game also features a full soundtrack that plays continually during the game. Although it may be a late Renaissance composition it sounds very much like Barroque music, which was more orchestral than Renaissance music.
Despite its age Davinci Diamonds is still an appealing game. Its simplicity is almost elegant. You don't know what to expect and the game's fortunes can take your balance up and down radically in only a few moments. Just when you're ready to give up a nice sequence of prizes tumbles your way, or a generous bonus game kicks in.
Your greatest challenge will be controlling your own desire to crank it up, especially if you watch half the screen explode only to be followed by another set of winning combinations.
The lack of a pay table may bother some people. In fact, some players have gone so far as to reverse-engineer a pay table; others have looked up the specification sheet. And you can sometimes find older versions of the slot machine offered for resale. The game is so popular that players have been known to line up to wait for turns to play it.
Playing Davinci Diamonds is like playing in history, two ways. First, you get to enjoy reproductions of some of the finest Renaissance portraits. Second, you get to play a slot game that helped revolutionize the slots industry. Back when the 3-reel Double Diamonds was still common in many casinos, Davinci Diamonds was revolutionary.
You'll be inspired to go searching for the portraits and to learn about the people who posed for them. You may also want to invest in a few gemstones. We know for certain that other slot game designers were inspired to develop their own versions of Davinci Diamonds, but this is the classic, the grandfather of them all.
Maybe the best feature about the game is the theoretical return to player, which is rated at about 94.94%. That's just slightly better than many other slots games, which means you may get to play a little bit longer before you decide it's time to move on to another game.