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# Sloppy Bowling

Three tries to clear all the pins
 (+2, -2) [vote for, against]

Anyone who's ever bowled knows that (depending on version of the game) you get some chances to knock over the pins. "Duckpin" bowling gives you three tries; the much more common "tenpin" bowling gives you two.

One thing all those versions of bowling have in common is that after each interaction between ball and pin-area, the Machine carefully sweeps the area of fallen-over pins ("deadwood"). So, only standing pins are there when you roll your next ball.

Well, I don't know that it has to be that way! Suppose the goal becomes MORE than merely knocking over the pins. On occasion when I bowl a strike, and knock over all the pins, I see that all the pins ALSO happen to move all the way backward off the end of the bowling-lane, leaving nothing for the Machine to do except put a fresh set of pins down. I privately call that a "perfect" strike (it sure looks pretty, all those pins flowing backward at once!). Suppose THAT was the goal, to CLEAR the pins from the lane, and not just knock them over?

Obviously the Machine has to be adjusted so that it does almost nothing at all until after your last ball. Also, the automatic scoring has to be adjusted so that it counts all the pins on the lane, regardless of whether or not the pins are standing or fallen. And the gutters back there are FILLED IN, so that they are level with the lane. That whole area becomes the sweeping zone for your ball!

Here goes... You pick up your first-chance ball and aim it and deliver it to the lane. It hits some pins, some of which fall over and stay on the lane, and some of which are pushed off the back end of the lane. The Machine sends you your ball back, doing nothing else.

You pick up your ball for your second chance, and again deliver it toward the pins. The ones just laying there may HELP you knock over the others! What a sloppy mess of interaction! Afterward, anything left on the lane will await your third chance....

 — Vernon, Jan 12 2005

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So what happens if you knock all the pins over on your first attempt? Do you have to roll 2 extra goes anyway?
 — pooduck, Jan 12 2005

That's a strike (CLEARING the lane). The next bowler's turn arrives. The scoring system will probably be duckpin-style, since it already accommodates three attempts per "frame". If you knocked them over but didn't clear them, then YES, you have to take at least one of your two other tries.
 — Vernon, Jan 12 2005

So the machine has to check after each roll how many pins are left? Is that going to work like normal bowling without the sweeping-away?
 — pooduck, Jan 12 2005

The automatic scoring system hardware they have these days is good enough that with appropriate software, it can determine if the lane has been cleared. The Machine is just a big electromechanical thing that the scoring system can tell when to activate its sweep-and-set-fresh-pins cycle.
 — Vernon, Jan 12 2005

 With all the crazy gimmicky bowling things I saw in the last bowling alley I was in, I'd say people would do this.

When I was a kid, my parents did "moonlight" bowling where all the lights over the lane were shut off except the ones directly over the pins. From there, it seems to have progressed to a black-light, spinning mirrored ball disco effect thing.
 — half, Jan 12 2005

Question about the gutters: if "filled in", won't that provide the problem of gutter balls jumping into the air? Even a slow ramp will launch them somewhat.
 — Worldgineer, Jan 12 2005

 Regarding filled-in gutters, I did mention that this would be done only at the back end of the lanes. And, yes, I did envision a modest ramp, to lift a gutter ball back up to lane level. It is simple enough to choose a ramp angle that won't loft the ball.

The main purpose is that of allowing a ball at the back end to bounce off the sides and get at more pins. A single pin in an ordinary gutter is a horrible thing to use one of your three chances on!
 — Vernon, Jan 12 2005

Wow, such a long idea just to say that bowling should allow a third chance before clearing the lane.
 — Pericles, Jan 12 2005

Why not just have a form of bowling where perfect strikes are worth more?
 — phundug, Jan 12 2005

 //Wow, such a long idea just to say that bowling should allow a third chance before clearing the lane//

You should read the Rule Book at the Verno-Bowl!! and the Score Sheets...Aeee Karamba!!
 — ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 13 2005

[Pericles], your interpretation of this Idea is mistaken. Normal bowling does not include the requirement that you use the bowling ball to push previously-fallen pins off the back end of the lane.
 — Vernon, Jan 13 2005

 Just taking my mind out for a wander...

 Instead of throwing an extra ball per frame, the scoring could be changed so that each pin could count for up to 2 points; 1 for a knockdown, 1 for a "clear".

 If you're serious about seeing this implemented, I think it needs to be an implementation that doesn't require any physical manipulation of the lanes when you want to switch to Verbowling (a name which works on more than one level ;-) )

 I think it could be done with "minimal" (since I'm guessing, I can use any term I want) modification to the scoring system and pinsetter automation controls.

 To implement Verbowling mode, the automated scoring equipment could be modified to count the pins that are cleared off in to the pit with each ball. There's equipment back there that processes those pins. If it doesn't already have a counter, it surely could have one added. In this mode, the sweep gate thingy wouldn't operate mid-frame. The normal standing-pin counting process could be used to determine the number of pins knocked down, same as always. Leaving the gutters as-is would just make the game a little more challenging than the original proposal. Regular or Verbowling would be selected electronically at the beginning of the game.

 Alley operators might not be thrilled with the 3 balls per frame idea because it would make the game last longer. If each player used a second ball instead of waiting for the one to return, and the mid-frame sweep is no longer necessary, the game could become a form of speed bowling.

I've not been inside a bowling alley in a long time, is it still the pinsetting mechanism that counts the pins? If so, it would still have to come down and you'd have to figure a way to keep the player from bowling while the pinsetter is down. But, the pinsetter would only have to make a single trip down instead of two because it doesn't have to lift the pins then put them back down. Maybe the gate comes down as a visual indicator, but doesn't sweep the pins off.
 — half, Jan 13 2005

[half], the automatic scoring systems these days use pretty ordinary CCD cameras. The digital image is then processed by software that is able to recognize pins. However, the cameras are currently aimed only to see the tops of standing pins, and that will have to be changed. :)
 — Vernon, Jan 13 2005

 Really? Cameras? Seems overkillish.

If you can count the pins that fall in to the pit, the cameras would be ok like they are, Verbowlly speaking. But, if the camera and image processing are sophisticated enough, doing that would be better. Then the pinsetter and sweeper could stay out of the way entirely during the frame. Optimal for Speed Verbowling.
 — half, Jan 13 2005

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