How to Play Bowlliards

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Except where clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the Official Rules of CueSports International  apply.


Bowlliards is a game that applies the scoring concepts of bowling to pocket billiards. It is one of the few games that can be quite useful as a training exercise since, like bowling, there is a perfect game score to strive toward, and a player can measure their improvement quite easily over the course of time playing Bowlliards.


To score a perfect score of 300 points in 10 frames in solitary play. In competition, to score a higher point total in 10 frames than your opponent(s).


The score keeping is very easy to follow. If you have ever bowled, you know how to keep score in Bowlliards. Each legally pocketed ball is scored as one point, regardless of ball number. Balls do not have to be pocketed in any particular order. The points scored as per the “Rules of Play” below are treated exactly as is the pinfall in bowling.


Download Bowlliards Scoresheet 


Any number of players (for reasonable time constraints figure 4 to 6 players).


Any 10 object balls, plus cue ball.


Balls are racked in a triangle, standard rack position, head ball on foot spot.


At the start of each of a player’s frames, the player has a free break (no special balls-to-cushion or other requirements once break stroke play commences, and a jumped or scratched cue ball is without penalty).


Any balls pocketed or jumped on the break are spotted, and the player then follows their break by beginning scoring play with object balls in position and cue ball in hand. The opening break takes place at the start of every frame.


HINT: Unlike most games, pocketing balls on the break can be detrimental due to the fact that those balls get spotted and may cause congestion near the foot spot.


A legally pocketed ball entitles the shooter to continue at the table until they fail to pocket a called ball on a shot, or until they have scored the maximum total per frame possible (10). Player may shoot any ball they choose, but before they shoot, they must designate a single ball that they will pocket and the pocket into which the ball will score; they need not indicate banks, kisses, caroms, combinations or cushions (none of which are illegal).


Player has two innings to pocket the 10 possible balls for each frame. If player legally pockets 10 consecutive balls on their first inning of a frame, that frame is completed and player scores the frame exactly as a strike in bowling. If player fails to pocket 10 consecutive balls on their first inning, they take their second inning immediately from where the cue ball lies. If they succeed in legally pocketing the remaining balls on the table in their second inning, the frame is completed and player scores exactly as a spare in bowling. If player fails to legally pocket all 10 balls in 2 innings, the frame is then completed and is scored as an open frame in bowling. All succeeding frames are likewise scored just as in bowling; a “strike” in the 10th frame earns 2 extra innings, a “spare” earns 1 extra inning.


If players tie for high game total in competition, additional frames are played alternately by the tied players, with the first player posting a superior score to that of his opponent(s) being the winner of that match (“sudden death”).


Download Bowlliards Rules of Play Rules


On the break, all pocketed balls are spotted prior to the player beginning their scoring play (first inning of frame). During scoring play, incidentally pocketed balls are spotted.


All spotted; no penalty.


No points are deducted (note that balls pocketed on a foul stroke do not count and must be spotted). If the foul ends player’s first inning of a frame, they have cue ball in hand to begin their second inning of the frame. If the foul ends their second inning then that frame is finished.


BOWLLIARDS.COM wants the same sense of equality for bowlliards players and teams as The United States Bowling Congress (USBC), the sanctioning body for bowling, does for their bowlers and bowling teams. Therefore we have decided to use the exact same handicapping system as the means of placing bowlliards players and teams with varying degrees of skill on as equitable a basis as possible for competition against each other.


The object of a league is to enjoy yourself and have some fun with your teammates and with others in your league community. Handicap leagues usually bring out goodwill in most of the players and an atmosphere of friendly competition emerges. Playing in handicap tournaments can be rewarding both by remaining competitive because of the handicap system and because of the enjoyment brought forth by the spirit of competition.


A bowlliards handicap is calculated exactly the same as a bowling handicap. It is a percentage of the difference between a player’s average score and a basis score that is higher than all players in a league.


See: Calculating Handicap



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