THE RULES OF THE GAME
Object: To knock down all 10 of your opponents' pins before they knock yours down.
Setup: Ten bowling pins are arranged in the traditional bowling triangle on raised wooden platforms, called lanes. A regulation-size football is used to knock down pins. Two teams (one to five players each) stand behind the platforms. A coin flip decides which side throws first.
■ Each side takes turns throwing at the pins from any space behind the back of the wooden platform (men) or behind the front of the platform (women and kids).
■ Any pin knocked down on the board must be removed and placed behind the board.
■ Players can catch the ball once it passes the board or catch it as it rebounds in any space behind or to either side of the board. If the ball leaves the field of play but then returns, it is considered live and must be left alone and can knock down pins.
■ If an errant balls from another lane knock down pins, those are considered valid points.
■ If the team that threw first gets the final pin down, the other team has one more chance to throw and tie the game. A tied game results in Sudden Death Overtime, which is a single pin knockdown. Each team places a single pin on any bowling pin position marked on the lane for their opponent to throw at. Again, a simple coin toss decides which team throws first, and the first team to knock down the overtime pin wins the frame. There is no Equalizer throw for the opposing team during the overtime period.
■ Between games, players reset their pins and then trade sides.
If on their first throw any player knocks down the center pin (No. 5) without knocking down any other pins this is called a "fiver" and that team automatically wins. There is no Equalizer throw for the opposing team.
Guidelines & Explanations
The Field of Play is the space between the outer edges of the bowling lanes, which spans indefinitely in both directions.
The throwing areas are defined by the fowl lines. The foul lines are imaginary lines that extend laterally from the front and rear edge of the fowling lane. Men throw from behind the rear foul line, called the Rear Throwing Area. Women & children throw from behind the front foul line, called the Forward Throwing Area. As long as a player releases the ball from behind their foul line, a legal throw is made. A football that is thrown by a player that has stepped over the foul line is known as a foul throw. A foul throw results in the loss of a turn and any pins that fall, as a result of the foul throw, must be returned to their original standing position.
Any pins that fall during regular game play, are to be removed from the platform after all pin movement has stopped. This includes any pins that might be knocked down as a result of environmental factors such as wind, inclement weather, earthquakes, and influences outside of the game, such as the actions of fans and pets. These unintentional knock-downs, outside of game play, count as legitimate downed pins. A pin that is intentionally knocked down, outside of game play, will be immediately returned to its standing position.
The Bowling Boards are placed 48 feet apart from each other with the pins set in the standard 10-pin bowling configuration. Each team alternates throwing the football at their opponent's bowling pins. Players for each team also alternate throws. Play continues, until one team has knocked down all ten pins resulting in victory.
If the first team to throw throws a strike, an Equalizer Throw is awarded to the opposing team to attempt to force overtime. If the second team fails to throw a strike the game is over and the first team wins. If the second team succeeds in throwing a strike, the frame is considered a tie and overtime begins.
Overtime is a sudden death, single pin knockdown. Each team places a single pin on any bowling pin position marked on the bowling lane, for their opponent to throw at. Again, a simple coin toss decides which team throws first, and the first team to knock down the overtime pin wins the frame. There is no Equalizer Throw for the opposing team during the overtime period.
Match play consists of a best of three series, with the victorious team winning two of three frames. Winning by two frames is not required in match play.
If on their first throw any player knocks down the center pin (No. 5) without knocking down any other pins, this is called a "Fiver", that team automatically wins the game. There is no Equalizer throw for the opposing team.
Teams are within their rights, and may step out of the throwing area, to defend their pins from an unintentional knock-down. Teams are not to interfere with footballs being thrown fairly by the opposing team during regular game play. No team member may touch or move pins during game play until all motion on the field of play stops. If the ball is legally thrown and rolls outside the area of play, and then re-enters the area of play, the ball is considered in play.
Players are not to make contact with the ball until it crosses the rear foul line. Once a ball thrown by their opponent has crossed the rear foul line, players are within their rights to catch or deflect the ball to defend their pins. This must be done, however, only from within the throwing area. Crossing into the field of play to defend their pins is not allowed until all pin movement has ceased. A foul throw may be awarded to your opponent for crossing into the field of play prior to all pin movement coming to a complete stop.
Breaking any rules will immediately result in a foul throw by the opposing team. During a foul throw, men throw from the women & children's position and women & children may throw from a distance 8 feet in front of their original position. The team that was awarded the foul throw is also given the ball back. Either player on the team awarded the foul throw may throw, regardless of what order they are in during regular game play.