PLAAY Games

Sports Simulation Board Games

How to play BOWL-O-RAMA Championship Bowling Game

BOWL-O-RAMA Championship Bowling Game is amazingly simple to play! Let's take a few moments to show you exactly what we mean...

For our sample demonstration, let's choose to bowl in the "active" or "participant" mode, using the individual card of Wade Bergthold from the "Bowling America" fictional pro bowler set, one of several card sets available for the game (including some based on real-life bowlers). If you'd like to follow along visually, click here for a printable PDF of the game materials we'll be looking at in this sample sequence, which will open in a new browser window.

First, we set up the cardstock bowling alley game boards and get out the dice, a pencil and a score sheet. (If you don't know how to score a bowling game, that's not a problem--the game comes with a complete scoring instruction section as an appendix to the rules!) That's it! We're ready to begin!

Using the twenty-sided dice as a bowling ball, we roll the dice across the "approach"(bottom) board, with the idea of having it continue on into the triangle-shaped "sweet spot" at the end of the "target" (top) board. The result is...ON TARGET! We're "in the zone!" BUT, as any bowler knows, placement of the ball is just PART of the challenge of bowling! You still have to get good pinfall--that is, the pins still have to knock each other over! The result on the twenty-sided dice determines pinfall, and we see that we've rolled a "17." Checking Wade Bergthold's card, we look up "17" on the "exceptional" [!] first ball column and see that we've gotten a "9," nine pins have been knocked down.

DARN! We were expecting a strike! By looking at Bergthold's's card, you can see that an exceptional first ball nearly always results in a strike, so "we were robbed!" But that's bowling--sometimes you roll a great ball,and the pins stay up! Mark a small "9" outside the box in the first frame.

We roll a second ball for the first frame. It's exactly the same procedure as with the first ball, except that we check the appropriate spare pickup column on Bergthold's card. In this case, it would be the "9" section. We roll the dice, and it lands on the "target board," but out of the triangle--a "routine" ball, not bad not great. The twenty-sided dice reads "7," so we look up "7" on the routine [•] column of the "9"spare section, and we see that we have easily picked up the spare. Mark a slash mark in the box, indicating that we've scored a spare. If you're a bowling fan, you know that a spare scores 10 plus however many pins you knock down on the next ball. Thus, your score for the first frame is dependent on the first ball you roll in the second frame. Let's roll for the second frame. Same procedure, we roll another routine ball with a reading of "4." Checking Bergthold's card, we see that we've gotten a strike! We exchange high-fives and mark an "X" in the box for the second frame. We can also now score the first frame, a 20 (10+10). Since we got a strike, there's no second ball to roll in the second frame, so we move on to the third frame.

We again roll the twenty-sided dice. Uh-oh, we've missed the target board--a "questionable" ball. The dice result is "9," so we look up "9" on the "questionable" [?] column, and we read "8-" for the result. The "8" means we've knocked down eight pins, and the "minus" symbol indicates that we've left a "split," two pins which are far apart and a very difficult spare to pick up. (Note that if we had rolled a "routine" ball, the result would have been another strike! It's the same in BOWL-O-RAMA as it is in real bowling--sometimes a slight hitch in your delivery can yield disastrous results!) We mark an "8" outside the small box in the third frame and get ready for the second ball of the third frame.

Checking the "8-" column on Bergthold's card, we see that we're probably going to need to roll an exceptional ball to make this tough spare. We pause, we concentrate...we roll...a routine ball, dice result "5." SPARE! We got lucky that time--we can visualize a vagrant pin skittering across the lane, grazing the other pin just enough to knock it over and give us the spare! (And it's a good thing for us we were using a pro bowler's card like Rasso's, too! Most amateur-level cards, and even some pros, would have REQUIRED an exceptional ball just to even have a CHANCE to make that spare!) We mark a spare in the box for the third frame. We can now score the second frame, another 20 (10+8+2), giving us a total of 40 for the second frame, which we mark down. We have to wait for another ball to score the third frame, but we can feel the rush of relief from making that difficult spare and we just KNOW we're off to a good start!

The rest of the game follows the same procedure, and captures all the twists and turns, highs and lows, breaks and mis-steps of real-life bowling! All game procedures, including unusual results, "heavy" spares and alternate "quick play" and "spectator" mode rules are fully explained in a comprehensive rules section, bound into the BOWLING CENTER game book! And if you ever have any questions beyond THAT, we're ALWAYS just an e-mail away!

The game can also be played in OTHER modes--fast-play, or spectator--which don't require aiming and rolling the dice. We chose to demonstrate the game in the "participant" mode because it's a feature that makes BOWL-O-RAMA Championship Bowling board game unlike any other bowling board game. However, if you just want to "watch," you can dispense with the cardstock bowling alley and just enjoy the drama unfold, quickly and easily. Simply put, BOWL-O-RAMA gives you more choices for bowling fun than any other bowling board game out there!