Expanding Scatters

When you think about the word ‘expanding’ in terms of online video slots, the favoured Expanding Wilds quickly come to mind. However, this is not the case. In this feature article, it’s all about the unique Expanding Scatter symbol and in which free and real money online video slots it can be found.

What Are Expanding Scatters?

Before we move on to Expanding Scatters, it’s best to begin with the basics, like what are Scatter symbols? If you’ve played an online slot from any one of the leading providers, like IGT Interactive, Novomatic, Microgaming and Playtech, you’re more than likely to have come across a Scatter. It’s a symbol which doesn’t require to fall on a winning pay-line to pay out, therefore, it can appear anywhere on the reels. Three or more Scatters also tend to trigger bonus features like a free spins round.

Expanding Scatters work just like Expanding Wilds; after you’ve activated the free spins bonus, a symbol is randomly selected and if it comes up in the bonus round, it will expand to fill all positions on a reel. This can mean some serious wins if you’re playing a five-reel slot and you land five Expanding Scatters across your reels. The major difference between an Expanding Scatter and Expanding Wild is that Scatters don’t substitute for other symbols.

Pros and Cons

Unfortunately, like all bonus features, Expanding Scatters and, therefore, Free Spins are quite uncommon; you can spin for ages without triggering the feature! They’re not even present in many online video slots. However, when the feature comes, considerable prizes are up for grabs, especially if the random symbol selected is a high-paying icon! One drawback to these symbols is that very often they supersede Wilds which are the highest paying symbols in the paytable and usually cannot be selected as the Expanding Scatter. At times this won’t affect you as you’ll be bagging bigger and better wins, nonetheless, it can be damaging to your bankroll if a low-paying symbol like a playing card icon is picked (remember that you have no say in the selection process).

Online Slots Featuring Expanding Scatters

The most famous video slot which utilises this feature is Novomatic’s Book of Ra. However, their pirate themed slot, Red Lady, also makes good use of the Expanding Scatter symbol, but is more modern and has far better graphics. The compass symbol is the game’s Scatter; to begin with, it acts as a Wild as it substitutes any of the other symbols to form a winning combination. Being a Scatter, three compasses anywhere on the reels will trigger the free spins round wherein you’re awarded a good ten free games. Finally, and most importantly, once the bonus round is activated, a reel symbol is chosen for you, and once that symbol appears, it will cover the neighbouring reels, in turn activating new pay-lines. The ominous pirate ship is the symbol to look out for, for some bountiful wins.

Novomatic’s Golden Ark, is practically a photocopy of the all-time favourite Book of Ra video slot, as they both follow the Egyptian theme. The Scatter, which is the old book (another similarity to the Ra slot), functions in the same way as described in the Red Lady slot, acting as a Wild and Scatter to activate the free games round. When the bonus round is triggered, watch one of the icons get selected and soon after spread across your reels giving you some wonderful treasures, particularly if the female explorer is selected.

Retriggers are possible in all three games, making this Scatter symbol a rather prized, profitable and anticipated icon. Another Egyptian themed slot which exhibits the Expanding Scatter symbol is Viaden’s Luxor Valley.