They can bring you wins without having to be on the same payline and if appearing in sufficient numbers, usually a minimum of three as in the game ‘Flux’ (ThunderKick), they can trigger bonus games that then bring in big wins.
Just like with the wild symbol, game developers don’t like to be seen to be standing still and they add on different variations such as expanding wilds or sticky wilds. The same is happening to scatter symbols and that’s where the expanding scatters come into play.
The expanding scatter symbol isn’t seen all that often and there are different types of this symbol that behave in differing ways. When a symbol does expand and covers an entire reel it’s going to be good news.
There’s sometimes good and bad news concerning an expanding scatter. It can take away some winning combinations but it can lead to some very good wins indeed. In the game ‘Book of Ra’ you trigger the free spins bonus round when getting three or more of the book symbols anywhere on the reels. You’re rewarded with ten free spins and an expanding scatter comes into play. The player sees the pages of the Book of Ra turn and it’ll stop on one symbol which becomes the expanding scatter. If that symbol appears during the free spins round two, three, four or five times, the value of the bonus symbol is multiplied by the paylines.
This feature also appears in the ‘Lucky Pirate’ game. Again at the start of the free spins a particular symbol is identified as the expanding scatter, this time being chosen by the spin of a ship’s wheel.
As mentioned previously the expanding scatter isn’t the most commonly seen feature. The usual purpose of a scatter in a free spins round is to appear in such numbers that it can re-trigger the free spins and give you even more chance of earning big wins. The expanding scatter can be a useful addition to a free spins bonus round, though an expanding wild is far more likely to bring in a whole series.