Plenty of games have been made about various aspects of different Asian cultures, and the Zhanshi game by Realtime Gaming was created with knowledge that they would have to do something great to stand out from all of the others with related themes. We believe they've managed to do that, and this game is a great example of a fast-paced title that's packed with features and ways to win. RTG (more here) has proven with this title that they can produce high-quality content even when it's based on a theme that's been used quite a bit.
Basic Format and Betting
The basic format of this game is that there are 20 paylines across five reels of action with three rows of symbols. Players are given a number of options for choosing their total bet size, but manipulating individual coins doesn't happen in this game. If you want to know the effective size of your coin, simply divide the total bet size by 20. The betting starts at $0.20 per turn, and it goes as high as $5 per spin. This isn't the widest betting range in the world, but it's standard for RTG-powered slots (read more), and it works out alright for the majority of players.
There are three main jackpots that matter the most in this game. The first is the progressive jackpot that hits at random. You can win this jackpot on any given spin of any bet size, and there's no particular combination of symbols that you have to hit to get it. Second is the 10,000x payout for five of the wild symbol. There's also a win for five of the scatter that pays 500 times your total bet, which is the same as a 10,000x line bet win, so there are two ways to win the largest non-progressive payout.
Wild and Scatter Symbols
The wild and the scatter are the two most important symbols in the game. What's cool about the wild is that it's on all five reels, and you can win for just one of a kind. The payout for five is 10,000x, as mentioned above, and it's 2,500x for four, which is larger than the top jackpot in a lot of other games. The 500x prize for three isn't bad at all, and you can also earn 25x for four or 2x for one.
The scattered castle symbol pays 3x for three, 30x for four and 500x for five of a kind, all of which are multiplied by your entire wager for the spin.
Free Spins Features
One way to get free spins is to get three or more of the wild warrior anywhere on the reels. You can get between 15 and 25 free spins with this feature, and all of the castle symbols are changed to being either a wild warrior or a horse (the top-paying regular symbol) to make it easier to hit large winning combinations. You'll also get a 3x multiplier during these free spins.
The other way to get free spins is to get three or more of the scattered castle symbol on the reels. You'll get 10 free spins with a 2x multiplier, and you can re-trigger them by getting three or more of the warrior and castle combined, so it's really easy to re-trigger to get more free spins.
Other Notable Payouts
It's worth noting that you can earn 5,000x for five of the horse, 1,250x for five of the flag, 800x for five of the sword and 800x for five of the shield. All four of these symbols pay for two of a kind or more. The A and K symbols pay 400x for five as well. The blue Q and green J get you 250x when you line up five of a kind, and you can earn 200x for five of the 10 or 9 symbols.
Zhanshi is an excellent game that's packed with features and that offers good graphics. The gameplay is very high-paced with a lot of small and medium wins, but the top jackpots are pretty high as well. With multiple free spins features with different goodies to make the free turns worth more than normal turns, players get a different experience than they're probably used to from years of being used to games that are largely centered around one feature. Add in how easy it is to get one-of-a-kind and two-of-a-kind wins, and you have a game with a medium volatility and a high hit-rate.