By 4th Place Andy
(Originally published in Skill Shot 26, October 2012)
The Addams Family (or TAF for short) is known for its generosity with extra balls (EBs). One can feasibly play an infinitely long game by getting enough EBs. This strategy is simple on most machines- you just need to collect one EB before you drain. Sometimes you can even store up a reserve of EBs and keep playing through a few drains.
But have you played TAF at Shorty’s lately? It has an EB cap. You may collect 3 EBs per nominal ball. After 3 are collected, all EBs will be disabled until your display shows another ball. Think on the display where it says, “Ball 1,” “Ball 2,” or “Ball 3.” Those are your nominal balls. The maximum number of total playable balls is then 12. 3+1 is 4, 4×3 is 12. To get 12, you will have to collect EBs consistently, and not just a bunch at one time. Note: this EB cap setting is operator-adjustable so not all TAFs play this way.
How do you get an EB? First, you must light an EB, then shoot the diverter (top center, just to the left of the ramp) to collect it. If you trap a ball and hold up a flipper, the display will toggle through your Status Report so you can see how many EBs you have in reserve. Where are the extra balls? There are two available from Bear Kicks, aka the center ramp. One is for 10* Bear Kicks, and the other for 50 (*amount goes up or down depending on how often it is collected). There is an EB in one of the Mansion Rooms (MRs). You can light an EB from a number of Train Wrecks (normally 3 or 4). One is lit when you complete the Mansion and start the Tour the Mansion (TtM) wizard mode.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. On any given ball, you can collect the MR EB, and later the TtM EB. After TtM, the MRs and TtM are disabled until a ball is drained. A typical EB “loop” is to collect the MR EB, the TtM EB, then drain, and repeat. This loop collects 2 EBs and only drains 1! It gets really tricky when you are playing an EB cap machine, like at Shorty’s. The cap effectively “closes the loop.”