The Isle of Avalon plays an important part in the legend of King Arthur. Home to the forge of Excalibur, the sword of his sovereignty and source of his power, Avalon has been at the heart of the mythology since 1136 AD. Avalon slots takes this theme and runs with it, creating a game that draws heavily on a number of elements of the story. Developed by the gaming pioneers at Microgaming, it has stood the test of time, and is still today one of my favourite online slots.
The game itself is 5 reel, 20 payline construction, with symbols spanning the full range of Arthurian iconography. I’m talking crowns, heraldic shields, goblets and even the mysterious Lady of the Lake. In Arthurian mythology, the Lady of the Lake offers Excalibur to King Arthur, which turns out to be pretty helpful in his quest to rule. In the slots version, she’s equally useful – you’ll grab up to 12 free spins and a multiplier of up to 7x when she’s on your side.
This is a low-to-medium volatility slot, so you can expect it to typically play steady. While the theme itself is pretty cool, we can all admit that the main draw is the RTP – and in this case, it stands at over 96%. When you combine low volatility with a decent level of payout, it’s clear to see why Avalon is still a winner, so many years after it first emerged from the Microgaming development house.
Important Symbols in Avalon
The Lady of the Lake is the game’s scatter symbol, and three or more of her appearing means you’re triggering 12 free spins and a multiplier from 2x to 7x. The beauty of the free spins, aside from the fact they are free, is that they are retriggerable. This doesn’t happen in every slot, but it means you can generate new free spins from your free spins.
I’ve had a few decent wins with Avalon from retriggerable free spins, and because you get 12 in one go, you’ve got so many opportunities to retrigger every time you hit the scatter bonus. You also get 3x on any winnings from free spins by default, so it’s easy to start racking up much more sizeable prizes when the free spins round is triggered.
The main wild symbol is the Castle Wild, which can appear on any spin, delivering a 2x multiplier on any wins that run through it. There’s also the treasure chest, and you’ll see this popping up on the reels during any free spins you pick up as you play. This acts in the usual way, switching in place of any other symbol (except for the Lady of the Lake) to help you make up the payline.
Whenever you land a winning spin, which in my experience is pretty often, you’re given the chance to gamble or stick. This one plays to the gamblers, and I’d bet it’s a huge part of why Avalon has remained so popular over the years. Essentially this is a very non-Arthurian card guessing game, where you pick the colour or the suit of the next card to double up or quadruple your winnings.
But be careful – guess wrong, and all your winning work is undone. I usually like to quadruple on smaller winnings and preserve any bigger winnings, but it’s up to you – if you’ve got the nerve, you can always gamble any of your winnings for a final 4x by picking the correct suit. If you’re anything like me, it will have you on the edge of your seat.
According to the paytable, the crown is the value symbol you want to be lining up in number. Land 5 of these, and you’ll earn 800 coins, before multipliers are taken into account. Line up 5 Coats of Arms for 600 coins, or hit 4 of each for 100 or 75 respectively. Some players moan about this not being high enough, and in isolation, that’s probably true. But I think they’re forgetting the impact of multipliers, with the wild adding 2x, free spins adding up to 7x, and the potential for a final 4x gamble on the total amount you’ve won. For me, Avalon is a game of multipliers, and it’s here that I’ve had my biggest and best slots wins.
Bets and Jackpots
The maximum jackpot in the main game is 3000 coins, but this increases by multiples when the free spins, multipliers and other bonuses start to kick in. You can spin from $0.01 to $0.50 per coin, with a maximum of 200 coins per spin. I like to play at or near the maximum where I can to take advantage of the lower volatility in Avalon versus other games – if slow and steady wins the race, I try to make sure I’m in it for decent amounts, so I can fully capitalise when the going is good.
If you’re playing the maximum 200 coins at $0.50, that’s $100 a spin, in return for up to $300,000 from the main game (and obviously much more if you’re able to factor in free spin bonuses and the up to 7x multiplier). Even at the minimum bet per coin of $0.01, you can still scoop up to $6,000 for your troubles.
You can play Avalon online or on mobile, with a number of casinos supporting Flash versions in browser for mobile players. Alternatively, you can download a Microgaming-supported casino app, and play directly on your phone. Personally, I prefer playing Avalon through a casino app on my mobile or tablet, but the choice is yours – either way, it’s pretty convenient nowadays to take Avalon for a spin straight from your pocket.
Avalon Slots Verdict
There are few slots that rise to the top. This is a crowded marketplace now, and most decent casinos offer hundreds of different slots titles, with new games coming onstream constantly. As technologies and graphics improve, you’d think that older games would be cast into the shadows, and usually, that is what happens. But Avalon has been one of the most enduring titles in the Microgaming back catalogue, and continues to be hugely popular with new and experience slots players alike.
OK, so the graphics won’t set the world alight anymore, and there are clearly more high-tech games out there now. The paying symbols aren’t too generous on their own, and while there’s a 200 coins payout for five scatters, don’t expect any additional free spins – it’s 12, or none. But there’s something about Avalon that has kept it standing tall amongst the field for such a long time.
In fact, as one of the most popular slots of its generation, Microgaming have built on the theme, and introduced Avalon II, a multiplayer, updated version of the game that takes things one step further. Avalon II is pretty good as well, but for me, you really can’t beat the original.
Maybe it’s the high RTP, pretty much as high as you’re ever going to find with an online slot. Maybe it’s the effect of the multipliers, the gamble mode and main game wins, which can seriously start to rack up the numbers when you’re winning. For me, it’s certainly a combination of all of the above, plus a bit of nostalgia, that keeps me playing Avalon time after time.
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