I too picked up version this, found the rules somewhre else, and was quite disappointed that this landed in the Candyland/LCR realm with its utter lack of choice.
This modification gives you a few choices to make after the first roll.
Take a silver Sharpie and and write an "S" on one pin on each of the four dice that don't have a spare or a strike, to abstractly indicate the dreaded split.
Try these New Rules
After you have thrown the dice the first time, don't move the dice and don't try to look around them to see sides that you can't see from where you rolled. Choose one of the three options below before you pick up the dice. If you pick up the dice before deciding, you must use Option 2 if you can (no "S" rolled), or else use Option 3.
Option 1) You may roll again normally, with the normal chance for a spare. An "S" on any given die has no meaning on either the first or the second roll. This represents your typical bowler and bowling style of just trying to knock down as many pins as possible.
Option 2) If no "S" is rolled, you can re-roll all the dice to try to "retroactively" roll a Strike, but if a single "S" is rolled, or you don't roll a strike, you only get the pins on the second roll (not the first roll) and the round is over. Spares do nothing on this second roll. This represents actively trying for a strike using a specific technique like a hook, instead of just trying to knock down the pins. Sometimes that strategy works, sometimes it doesn't.
Option 3) You may try for a risky spare, by rerolling all of the dice (even if an "S" was rolled). Make sure to record the number of pins knocked down on the first roll. If the number of spares exceeds the number of "S"s rolled, you get the spare; otherwise you get no points for the second roll. Strikes do nothing on this second roll. This represents the a setup like a split where it might be harder to get a normal spare, and rolling that "S" on the second roll means the split got the better of you.
Come up with even better variants using the "Split" pin indicator (probably not that hard) and let us all try them!
I haven't worked out the odds here, so they might be wonky, but at least there's a choice!
League Option (Yes I know, way too much time on my hands!)
6 Bowlers per league team.
After each game bowled, the bowler gets an experience point. The bowler who scored the highest within the team scores another point.
3 bowlers per league game. Players may choose any combination of the six bowlers as long as they are not injured.
Determine the length of the season (3 to 10 games) and the number of leagues. Use any method you choose to determine order of play, championships, league scoring, etc. Experience points simply represent the personal development of each bowler.
If at any time (during any single roll) three dice are showing "S", the bowler has injured his hand will have half as many chips in the next game only (if the injuredbowler sits out a game, the next game they will be full strength)
If at any time (during any single roll) four dice are showing "S", the bowler has injured his wrist and must sit out the next game.
Each bowler starts the game with a number of chips equal to the number of experience points.
Points may be spent in the following manner:
Players may agree at the beginning of a tournament to disallow certain uses of chips, but shouldn't change partway through a tournament.
Chips can be used in the following manner
Only one type of chip usage may be used per bowler per frame and must be declared at the appropriate time.
These options are declared after the bowler's second roll.
1 chip allows you a reroll of the same type (option 1, 2 or 3)
2 chips allows you to reroll but switch type (if possible, using the first roll to determine the ability to play Option 2)
These options are declared after the first roll
3 chips allows you to choose Option 2 even with an "S" on the first roll
4 chips allows you to choose Option 2 normally, but still roll a second time to get a spare if needed (no chips may be spent on the second roll)
5 chips allows you to choose Option 2 even with an "S" on the first roll AND roll a second time to get a spare if needed (no chips may be spent on the second roll)
If a less experienced bowler on a given team is the one bowling, these options may be used:
2 chips from a more experienced bowler may be used to grant a 1 chip reroll as described above to the less experienced bowler
4 chips from a more experienced bowler may be used to grant a 2 chip reroll as described above to the less experienced bowler
If you're playing in a rough and tumble, smack-talking league, any bowler may use 2 chips at any time (except after a bowler has stated how many chips they are going to use) to remove 1 chip from a bowler on the opposing team. Each team may do this up five times per game in any combination of players paying the 2 chips and and players getting chips removed. Any team that would do this more than five times would get disqualified from the league.