Most people are familiar with the basic game of 10 pin bowling, but there are actually many different games that involve knocking down bowling pins with a ball.
Ten-pin is the most popular incarnation of bowling played in the United States. It involves knocking down 10 pins that are 15 inches high and approximately 4.7 inches in diameter. These pins are set up in a triangular pattern at the end of a long and flat surface called a lane, with the head pin set up at a distance of 60 feet from the foul line (which is a line that cannot be crossed by the bowler when throwing the ball). All of the bowlers have ten frames with two chances in each frame to knock down as many pins as they can. You receive one point for each pin that is knocked down with bonus points earned if all ten pins are knocked down in a frame. Another version, which is called “no-tap” bowling, is identical to ten-pin bowling except one rule stipulates a first shot which knocks down nine pins is also called a strike.
Another version of bowling is called Duckpin bowling. It is a style that is popular along the east coast of the United States and has all of the same rules as ten-pin except for the size of the pins and ball. Duckpins are shorter and thinner, at 9 13/32-inches tall by 4 1/8 inches wide, and the balls weigh at most 3 pounds, 12 ounces, as opposed to 6 to 16 pounds for a ten-pin bowling ball.
Even the Canadians have their own version of bowling which they created in 1909. It is called five-pin bowling and was created to quicken the pace of the bowling game so it could fit into an average lunch break. The bowling pins are set up in a V formation which points back at the bowler. Each of the pins has a point value ranging from two to five depending on the position. A player has three chances to knock the pins over in each frame, with bonus points awarded if all pins are knocked down in the first one or two throws. Something like ten pin bowling. Another difference is the addition of a rubber band around the throat of each pin to increase the amount of action, thus permiting the knock down of more pins in a given turn. Also, smaller balls are used which can be thrown at a more rapid pace hastening the game even more.
Another version of bowling played primarily in New England and also in parts of northeast Canada is Candlepin bowling. The greatest difference between Candlepin bowling and ten pin bowling is the size of the pins and ball. Candlepins are thinner and are slightly taller than ten pins. Also, the bowling ball is smaller and lacks finger holes! In point of fact a Candlepin ball weighs slightly less than a single pin, making the game more difficult than other forms of bowling. As in five-pin bowling, this game involves three attempts per frame. Interestingly after each thrown ball the fallen pins are not cleared away from the lane, increasing the game’s difficulty. Due to these differences a strike can be very rare in Candlepin bowling. One more change of rules involves the addition of a “lob line”, which is a heavy black line ten feet down the lane from the foul line. The ball must be in contact with the lane prior to reaching this line or the pins struck by that throw will not count toward the final score.
There are many forms of bowling with various combinations of rules and equipment, as diverse bowling styles have evolved over the years in different regions of the world. One may have a favorite version, but it is always nice to try different adaptations to add some excitement to the game.