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Learn to love Speakeasy

by Jawn Wakefield

Speakeasy is the saddest game at Shorty’s. Look at the backglass: no one is smiling. It’s also the saddest game because it’s the least played pin in the room. This means most people aren’t very good at it and that means the games are over quickly, so you’re statistically more likely to play a tournament match on Speakeasy than any other game. Learn to love it, and learn to play it well so you can crush your opponents with your huge and numerous balls.

Speakeasy is all about the add-a-ball. Master the shots that lead to the extra balls and you can play for hours on fifty cents. There are five ways to get extra balls. Here’s how it’s done:

Roulette Wheel – The simplest and most random. Spin the wheel, hope you hit an extra ball. The downside is that there’s a subtract-a-ball as well, which you’re just as likely to hit. To spin the wheel, hit either of the two kickout holes when lit. The roulette wheel also spins at the end of each ball if you haven’t tilted. You can’t avoid a subtract-a-ball by tilting — once the wheel starts spinning, you’re stuck with the results.

Jokers – Along the right side of the table is the joker lane. Each time the ball rolls through, a joker is lit, and four jokers equal an extra ball. The easiest way is to hit the right kickout hole, which drops the ball right down the lane.

Spades Flyaway Targets – In the center of the playfield are five flyaway targets, the Ten through Ace of Spades. Flip those up in sequence to earn an extra ball and advance the bonus multiplier. Out of sequence will advance your bonus multiplier as well, so they’re great targets to shoot for. These targets reset at the beginning of each ball. 

Hearts Rollover Targets – At the top of the playfield are five rollover targets, the Five through Nine of Hearts. Hit these in sequence and get TWO extra balls. They are persistent between balls, but the sequence detector resets with each ball. This means if you light the first four out of order, drain, then hit the 9 lane you get your balls.

Specials – Speakeasy only allows one replay per game. After that each special will add-a-ball. The best way to exploit this is the right orbit shot. Each time you hit it and finish the Hearts rollovers it advances towards special. When the special gets lit you get an extra ball. Hit the orbit to get a special, then continue to hit it to rack up the extra balls until you max out.

There are three other opportunities for specials. The dice target on the lower left playfield is the first. Hit it to light an arrow, light the arrows toward the outlane until the red one is lit, and roll over the outlane to collect the special. The second is the Chip value lights in front of the flyaway targets. These advance one light each time you flip all five flyaways, and when they are all lit, the red arrow on the right outlane lights for a special. Roll over to collect it. The easiest special is to score 850,000 points. This value is fixed and relatively easy to get with any decent game.

All the extra balls in the world won’t do you any good unless you know how to maximize your score on each one. This game is all about the bonus. The value is persistent, and tops out at 119,000. The real points come from the bonus multiplier, increasing each time you complete all five flyaways or the upper rollovers. The multiplier also affects the points awarded by the roulette wheel, so your best strategy is to go for the 10x bonus on each ball.

With effective ball and bonus management, Speakeasy becomes an endurance game, limited only by how long you can stand to continue playing.


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