by on December 20, 2022
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There's just no feeling out there that matches hearing the sound of all ten pins crashing against the back of the alley and getting you a strike. Bowling is one of the most popular family-friendly games and creates a ton of fun for everyone! At the same time, though, the rules can definitely seem confusing, especially for a new player, and that's exactly the problem we're here to solve today. So, let's get into it:


Frames are essentially the number of 'tries' you'll have at knocking down all the pins. In one game of bowling, there are ten total frames. In each frame, the player gets two turns to knock as many of the pins down as they can. If the player is able to knock all of them down in the first turn, they are awarded maximum points; a strike! However, they get a spare if they take two turns to knock the pins down. Both of these frames qualify for the bonus points rule of bowling, whereby players get a bonus amount of points on the next frame they play.

In the case of a strike, the bonus points are applied to the next two bowls of the player, which reduces to one bowl if you get a spare. Something that confused me a few times, and I'm sure you've had this happen too, is when you get a strike in the 10th (last) frame, you are allowed two bonus turns. This means one player can have three total turns in the last frame if they get a strike. Through this rule, we get the maximum point limit of a bowling game at 300 points, with 12 turns and 12 strikes.


When a player gets a strike, they get the maximum points and the maximum bonus, and an "X" mark shows on the scoreboard. This means they get 10 points + bonus points for the next two turns. These bonus points are awarded in the form of a multiplier; your next two scores will be multiplied by two and added to the frame in which you got a strike. If a player gets three strikes in a row, this means you can get 30 points in a single frame!

If you're like me and don't score three strikes in a row often, you'll want to know how spares are scored too. When a player fails to knock all the pins down in the first turn but is able to get it in the second, the frame is scored as a spare with a "/" symbol. Unlike a strike, however, only the first ball of the next frame is counted as a bonus and added to the previous. So, if you get a strike in the next frame, your score will be 9 + 10 + 10 = 29!

In terms of players, you can have a maximum of 4 on your team playing at a time, with 4 in reserve if you have a roster of 8 players.

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