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In standard ten pin bowling, each game
consists of ten frames. In each frame, the
bowler can achieve an open frame, a
spare, or a strike. An open frame is
the bowler fails to fell all ten pins in two
throws, and the score is the number of
that were felled. A spare is
when the bowler takes two throws to fell
pins, and the score is ten points plus the
number of pins that the bowler fells in
next throw. A strike is achieved when the
bowler fells all ten pins in the first throw
the frame, and the score is ten points
plus the number of pins that the bowler
their next two throws. In order to make
the tenth frame equal to the others in
points, the bowler can make one or two
extra throws if they achieve a spare or a
in that frame; and the pins felled in
those extra throws only count as the
for that spare or strike, and not as points
in their own right.
As a consequence of this scoring
method, there are a couple of side effects
that I think
are undesirable. The first is that it makes
the first frame "special" in that any kind
spare achieved in it is worth exactly the
same. For example, if a bowler achieves
spare in all ten frames, there would be
ten total first-throws, only nine of which
count as bonus points. Lets say the first
throw in the first frame is one pin, and
every other frame the first throw is nine
pins. The bowler's total score would be
But if that one-spare occurred instead in
any other frame, their score would be
The second problem is that the tenth
frame is "special". Besides the obvious
there can be three throws in the tenth
frame, and only two in the others, we
problem that a failure to fell all of the
remaining pins in the third throw of the
frame has much less significance than
such a failure in any other bowling
example, if a bowler is looking at a 4-7-
10 split in the third throw of their tenth
they would be motivated to just fell the 4
and 7 pins and not worry about the 10
because going for the spare would put
them at risk of missing completely and
possible reward would be small, just one
point. However in any other frame, they
would be motivated to try for the spare,
because there would be another throw
after it and the reward could be larger,
up to eleven points.
Therefore I suggest a simple adjustment.
Make the tenth frame the same as all the
others, and wrap around the scoring. For
example, if a bowler achieves a strike in
tenth frame, let them count the number
of pins felled in their first two throws of
game as bonus points. If a bowler
achieves a spare in the tenth frame, let
the number of pins felled in their first
throw of the game as bonus points. This
both of the above mentioned problems,
and I think it is more elegant.
The only drawback that occurs to me is
that it makes it easier to bowl a perfect
game, because you would only need ten
strikes in a row instead of twelve. One
way of dealing with that would be to
have twelve frames, a perfect score
would be 360, and you would need to
throw twelve strikes to achieve it.
||You hit the bun pin on this one! Excellent, wonderfully sensible idea.
||What happens if it's a tournament, head to head? Does a player get to carry those extra pins into the next game against a new opponent? You're describing a system that works pretty well in multi-game matches or league play, but in an elimination style tournament it doesn't.
||[Noexit] No, no points would carry over
into another game. To clarify, if a bowler
achieves a strike in the tenth frame, that
would be the last throw they make for the
game. The bonus points would be figured
from the first two throws that they made
in the game, which would be from way
back in the first (and possibly the second)
frames. As a result, the value of the first
throw in the first frame matters.
||Ok, thanks for the clarification. [+]. It's been too long since I league bowled to figure out how this would actually work out, but it'd be fun to give it a whirl. Should be pretty easy to experiment with using manual score keeping.
||Another possibility is you bowl 15 frames ("Amish style" for those who've seen "Kingpin"), and you take the maximum of any 10 in a row as your score.