High Hand / Captain Card (Gottlieb, 1973)

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Quickie Version

 Finish complete sets of card suit drop targets, then center saucer all day.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Detail

Skill Shot – make the lit top lane for 1000; the ball should then hit the 1000 bumper and rebound off it into either the Ace of Spades [right] or the Jack of Diamonds [left], spotting you a card.

Goal – complete suits to advance bonus value; bonus is 100 for one card in a suit, 200 for two cards, 300 for three cards, then leaps to 4000 for a complete suit.

Strategy – try to finish suits rather than get some of each: 12 cards total with 3 in each suit is worth 1,200 in bonus; 12 cards total in three [complete] suits is worth 12,000 in bonus.

Shot choice – from a cradle, shoot the upper suits [diamonds and spades]; you can backhand the Q-J of diamonds and A-K of spades. All but the diamond jack and spade ace can be cross-shot. When the ball is rolling down the inlane towards a flipper too slowly to transfer across, shoot the lower suits [clubs and hearts]. The top suits can be drainy when cross-shooting, so be alert. The top edge cards are restively safe if you hit them on the outer edges.

Bonus – collected ONLY at the saucer or side outlanes. Center drains do not score bonus! There are several shots to collect bonus at the saucer, none of which are high percentage. Which work best will vary from machine to machine depending on flipper power, machine slope and slingshot power. Shot 1 is direct into the saucer, but this must be very precise to avoid rim-out; try to feather the flipper a bit. Shot 2 is towards the gaps next to the ace of diamonds or jack of spades: when the ball falls back, you can sometimes nudge the bounce off the angled middle lane guide into the straight guide and then into the saucer [or directly off the edge of the angled guide]. Shot 3 is to bank the ball off the opposite slingshot, which angles it towards the saucer but moving more slowly than a direct shot: less accurate, but less likely to rim out when not precise, and less likely to drain if you miss.

The main thing on High Hand is to have the ball going slowly and not straight up-and-down in the vicinity of the hole. The Gottlieb saucers are steep-edged, which means that a ball entering one close to center-on is more likely to actually fall in than is true for a shallower bowl-shaped saucer like those on many Ballys [Little Chief, or the more common SS games like Paragon and Mata Hari]. Slower helps because, like a golf hole, a too-hard shot will rim out unless dead center, while a slower shot can fall in from the edge. Coming in from the side is better because if it does miss, fall short or rim out, it’s less likely to drain down the middle. The highest percentage is the rattle-out-of-the-angled-lane nudge-in, made via shooting up top, but that's indirect. Next highest is the sling bank shot; the advantage here is it both slows the ball since the sling kicks either not at all or weakly at the proper shot angle, and that if it misses, the ball can continue higher up and turn into one of those lane rattle-out-and-ins - - thus while the shot itself isn't the highest percentage, it gives you two chances which total your best odds. There one more indirect way, a bank shot off the tip of those angled lane sides, but that's a really fine angle, although a close miss again gives you a chance at a rattler. The direct shot actually has a better chance to go in when the flippers are weak, but of course then, it’s harder to finish the top cards.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews