Bowling is a great game because of its diverse nature. It can be both a highly competitive showdown against others or simply a fun time out with your friends where no one cares about the score. After you’ve gone bowling many times, however, it’s common to want to mix it up a bit and try out fun new ways to bowl. Bowlers around the world have thought up some great different ways to make your time at the alley even more fun. These range from official rules systems in league play to silly ways to bowl with your friends.
If you’re just bowling with your friends during open bowling time, you can really pick any rules you want. You might have everyone compete against each other for the best overall score, or you might pair up with a friend and have your combined score go up against that of another twosome. Also, if you’re just in it to have a good time, you might not even care to look at the scores.
The only time the rules really matter is if you’re joining a league. If you choose this path, there are endless variations, and your bowling center will make it very clear what rules are in place. The most common format is to have the total score of your team against a team of opponents, and each bowler receives a handicap added to their score based on their average score. This is designed to even the playing field and give everyone a fair chance at winning. A better bowler would get fewer “handicap” pins added to their score, and a beginning bowler would get more pins tacked on.
Recreational bowlers have come up with some other great rules for group bowling. A popular one is to agree that the lowest score wins and try to have bowlers hit the fewest pins. To make this work, it’s good to count a gutterball as a strike so that players can’t just throw it in the gutter and win.
You could also have each bowler use their non-dominant hand for bowling. Some bowlers like to experiment with different styles of releasing the ball, such as “granny” style. If you’re going to try anything like this, however, be sure to be safe and not upset the staff at the alley.
When you’re looking to have fun bowling, the sky is the limit!