Analyzing the Taoist Canon

Developer Books of Tao is a new ‘Book of’ slot game from Dreamtech Gaming and Relax Gaming with an Asian theme. Dreamtech has big aspirations. They have shifted their attention from the Asian sector to the European online gaming industry.

There are currently several games available in the cabinet, therefore it was only a matter of time until a ‘Book of’ slot was created. Rather than forcing the reels into a pyramid shape, the developers wisely kept things grounded with an emphasis on Asian culture. But the fundamentals are still the same, and there’s lots of increasing symbols for ‘Book of’ lovers to enjoy.

There won’t be many innovation awards when it comes to look. This pagoda-style gaming room features a traditional five-reel, ten-payline slot machine and is perched on a misty mountaintop. In terms of appearance, it’s serviceable rather than spectacular.

The sound design is also unremarkable and should be labeled as such. If you spin while listening to headphones, turn down the volume a bit; the resultant buzzing racket might be quite annoying. Win big, and the ringer during the count up will feel like a knitting needle in your ear. The rest of the effects are less irritating and include a dramatic Chinese flute/drum track thing.

The range of betting limits for Book of Tao is unusually wide, going from 20 p/c to $/€200 per spin. The return to player rate of 96.51% is above average in comparison to other games in its class, but the volatility is above average. Extra extended symbols, which will be discussed in a moment, can bring a great deal of volatility to the bonus game.

You can piece together wins using any combination of the 9 normal pay symbols (5 low and 4 high). We get the five Tao elements—wood, earth, water, fire, and metal—instead of a monarchy. There are four premiums: a quill, some jade, a gourd, and a wise man who seems like he could be Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. Only two of Lao Tzu on a line will result in a payout, and his 250x stake for five of a kind makes him the most valuable card in the deck.

Contents of Taoist Texts

Dreamtech markets Books of Tao as a unique take on the ‘Book of’ genre. The unique aspect of this variation is that the expanding symbols feature is present in both the regular and bonus rounds.

Three Yin and Yang symbols, fixed in place, spin above the reels. Up to three different symbols can be shown at the start of a base game spin, transforming them into special expanding symbols. If a win occurs on every win line, the expanding symbol will expand to fill the entire reel. In addition, adjacent symbols are not required for expansion. Payouts from enlarging symbols are added to those from winning lines.

The only other symbol in the game is the Yin & Yang which serves the dual functions of scatter and wild. As a wild, it substitutes for any pay symbol to produce a winning combination. When three or more scatters appear on the reels, players receive 10 bonus spins. Up to three symbols can be chosen as the special expanding symbols at the beginning of the free spins round. As was previously indicated, if a win is possible and will pay anywhere, these symbols will spread to fill the entire reel. There is a chance to win more free spins.

Judgment on the Tao Te Ching

Dreamtech would be prepared for the “something old, something new” custom at a wedding. There are many things in Books of Tao that you have seen before; in some cases, you have seen them at least a hundred times before. In order to succeed in the oversaturated ‘Book of’ slot market, producers must perfect every facet of their product.

There are some key differences between the many Books of Tao. First of all (and I apologize for stating the obvious), it’s set in China, which could appeal to readers who enjoy the ‘Book’ series but are looking for a change of scenery. Then there’s the not-entirely-unique, but still a little bit unusual chance of earning special expanding symbols during the base game. Additionally, it may be to your advantage to receive up to three special symbols simultaneously rather than the typical one.

In what way? In any ‘Book of’ spot, you may expect to see full-screen winnings as a matter of course. Books of Tao’s top payout is 2,500 times your wager if you get a full screen of Lao Tzus. This can occur on any regular spin or during the free games thanks to the special expanding symbols. Although it’s not as good as the ‘Book of’ titles that dominate the market, it’s still a step up from the competition. Be aware, however, that the maximum win is set at €250,000, so even if you risk the maximum amount, the most you can win is 1,250 times your initial wager.

Overall, Books of Tao is a serviceable ‘Book of’ alternative for retrogaming purists, although a little superfluous. The impact isn’t as jarring as, say, Book of Dead, but there are certainly worse choices out there.


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