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Subject: Trying to make up a new Pocket Billiards game.. not easy rss

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ElKitch Tasso
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For some time Im trying to make up a new pool variant. I love playing pool and so do many millions of other people (youve probably played it a couple times or more in your life) yet still just a couple games are played regularly.

The most played games (in tournamants) are:
8-ball - choose solid or stripes pot them all and finish with black (8)
9-ball - pocket balls in rotation: lowest nr 1. Pot 9 and you win.
10-ball - pocket balls in rotation: lowest nr 1. Pot 10 and you win.
14.1 continuous - each ball = 1 point, everything goes everywhere and continuous play. First to achieve X points wins.
1-pocket - each player gets 1 designated cornerpocket and must pot all balls there. First to get 8 points wins.

After this there are some small games link bankshotpool, bowling and perhaps games that are played. But somehow it feels like the perfect game is not being played yet.

Ive been thinking about what should be in a new poolvariant. I could only come up with what elements the game should have.

- it must be easy to see who wins under what circumstances
- it has to be fun for new players and challenging for strong players
- having various strategies to win is a plus
- as little administration as possible, you should be able to take a break and continue without discussion
- venues dont really like attributes on the cloth/pooltable
- a set of balls consists of 15 coloured objectballs and 1 white cueball (but poolballs can be custom made with every design)
- should not last hours (not looking for a Civ Pool variant)

It should be possible to translate some boardgame mechanics to this sport. Why not a teamgame with hidden information, tough gambling or bidding choices? The balls have colours that match, nrs that can be used.. and the table: 6 pockets, locations of balls could matter..infinite possibilities.

Actually I do think there is a close to perfect game on the table: 1-pocket. A game between two pros can last extremely long and require shots that hardly get played in 8-9-10-14.1 because they are to risky, a pro clears the table. In 1-pocket they play it as a 2 way shot: make it and continu or be safe. Also a player could be ahead in pocketed balls, but the other can catch up.

heres a one pocket match (break at 10:48)
[geekurl=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp776RAe7yo&][/geekurl]
Still.. 1-pocket isnt perfect. It can be boring to watch and to difficult/strategic for new players.

So what should a new pocket billiards game have?

Heres a video of Venom Trickshots. He does hots that have never been done before. Obviously not possible for us mortals, but perhaps its a video that gets your fantasy going what is possible.
[geekurl=www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_ms6KjSoS8&][/geekurl]

I wonder how boardgamedesigners think about changing such a game and perhaps a set of fresh views can give unexpected results. Thanks for reading
 
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J C Lawrence
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This is my game:



After Snooker, the game I've most enjoyed and admired is good old three cushion billiards, also sometimes known as French Billiards or Carom:

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AJ Quinn
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I just wanted to toss out that in many parts of the USA 'pocket billiards' or 'pocket pool' is slang for something you may not want associated with your game.
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ElKitch Tasso
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clearclaw wrote:
This is my game:
After Snooker, the game I've most enjoyed and admired is good old three cushion billiards, also sometimes known as French Billiards or Carom:


All in the cuesportsfamily and ineed great games. Wondered the same about snooker.. why allways the same game? O Sullivan made a new game with the powersnooker:

But that is not so easy to play in your local pool/snookerhall.

However, Im specifically looking for poolgames. To me it feels like that has more possibilities for a fun, not so long and tense game.
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ElKitch Tasso
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Hmm seems like there are not many poolfans or perhaps it really is difficult to find news to look at pool (and snooker/carom) to create a new game...

Any other gamedesigners who play pool regularly and got ideas on new poolgames?
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Billiards Guide
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I've invented several new pool games including "Nineation" at http://billiards.about.com/od/gamerulesstrategy/a/NineBall.h... and "Gopher Eight Ball" at http://billiards.about.com/od/gamerulesstrategy/a/02_17_goph.... Other pages on my site have variations and strategy for these games. Enjoy!
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ElKitch Tasso
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I am going to take Nineation to the table!

Seems fun to me and indeed takes some nasty games (especially at my level ) away.
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Alex Weldon
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Okay, here's one off the top of my head. No idea how it would play, since I just came up with it now, but it seems like it'd be fun. Note that I'm just an average bar-quality player so I especially don't know how it'd work for high-caliber players.

Upstairs-Downstairs

1. Rack sort of like 8-ball, with the 8-ball in the middle. But you'd probably need some sort of special arrangement for the others to be fair, with high and low numbers interspersed, and the numbers closest to the middle being the hardest to sink. Something like:


7
11 10
2 8 3
13 4 5 12
1 14 9 6 15



2. Until something's been sunk, the table is open.

3. First time someone sinks something (off the break or otherwise), they get assigned "Upstairs" or "Downstairs." If they sank 1-7, they must take "Downstairs," if 9-15, "Upstairs." Sinking the 8 is desirable, as it allows the choice.

4. Every time a ball is sunk, it becomes the "target number." Upstairs player is trying to sink balls higher than the target, Downstairs player is trying to sink balls lower.

5. Balls are worth 1 point each, but are not scored immediately. Rather, after each shot, the player must choose whether to "Cash In" or continue. When a player cashes in, he scores the points for the balls sunk on the current turn, and play passes to the opponent, with the same target number applying to the opponent (except that the opponent is going in the opposite direction - i.e. if I would have to shoot less than 3 and I Cash In, now it's your turn and you just have to shoot higher than 3). If a player has no more balls to shoot at (because he's sunk the lowest (Downstairs) or highest (Upstairs) ball on the table), he must Cash In.

6. If any ball on the wrong side of the target number goes in (i.e. higher for the Downstairs player, or lower for the Upstairs player) it's a scratch, regardless of whether anything else went in first. Likewise, the first ball touched by the cue ball must be on the right side of the target number; making first contact with an illegal ball is also a scratch.

7. Other normal scratching rules apply. Scratching ends the player's turn and gives the opponent ball-in-hand.

8. If a player's turn ends due to a missed shot or scratch, they lose any points earned on the current turn, and the target number is set to either 0 or 16, so as to give the opponent an open table to start with.

9. You cannot Cash In if doing so would leave your opponent no legal balls to shoot for on the first shot of their turn. I.e. if you are going Upstairs, and sink the lowest ball on the table on your first shot, you may not immediately Cash In.

10. If multiple legal balls go in on the player's turn, they earn the points for all of them (assuming they Cash In eventually), but the least favorable one counts as the new target number (i.e. if the target number was 7 and the Downstairs player sank the 2 and the 4, the new target number is 2, i.e. he can only shoot at the 1 after that).

11. If multiple balls go in off the break or before Upstairs/Downstairs has been determined, the player sets them all aside to be scored (assuming he cashes in) and can choose which will become the target number; he must take Upstairs or Downstairs according to the ball chosen (e.g. if he sinks the 6 and the 9 and picks 9 as the target number, he has to go Upstairs; if he chose the 6, he would be going Downstairs).

12. Highest score when all balls have been sunk wins. In case of a tie, whoever sank the last ball wins.

-----

EXAMPLE GAME (Alex vs. Betty):

Alex breaks. The 6 goes in. Alex is now going Downstairs and Betty is going Upstairs.

Alex can shoot at anything 1-5. He shoots at, and sinks the 3.

Now he can only shoot at the 1 or 2. He's got no shot at the 1, so he shoots at, and sinks the 2.

He's now got some sort of shot at the 1, but he figures it's only a 50/50 chance, so he's better Cashing In and securing his 2-0 lead.

The target number is still 2, and Betty is going upstairs, so she's allowed to shoot at anything except the 1. She decides to play it cagey; she shoots at and sinks the 4, then immediately Cashes In, making it 2-1, but leaving Alex in the same situation of only being allowed to shoot for the 1.

Alex fails to sink the 1, so it's back to Betty, who now has an open table.

Betty now thinks she can get a good run going; she pots the 1, followed by the 9 and then the 11. She could now Cash In for 3 points and take a 4-2 lead, but she thinks if she can get the 12, she can set herself up for the 15 afterwards... getting ahead 6-2 would be great!

So she decides to gamble, and misses. The 5, 9 and 11 stay in the pockets, but Betty scores no points. It's still 2-1 for Alex, with the 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15 on the table, and an open table for him. If he can sink 4 balls this turn, he'll immediately Cash In and win (since he'd be up 6-1, with only 4 balls left, i.e. no chance for Betty to catch up).
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ElKitch Tasso
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Seems like a fun game! A scoring variant could be that the player gets the difference in points for a rack. If a player manages to pocket all balls from 1-15 he wins 15-0 and gets 15 points for this rack. Usually scores like 7-4 will come up, giving a player 3 points.

Theres one thing that I am not sure of: not shooting when cashing in.

A player could also say he is going to cash in, and then play a safetyshot. If he didnt say it and played, he missed and didnt cash in.
The reason for this is that the players run to an extreme (up or down) and if they decide not to continu, the other player (always) has more balls to shoot at. Since he has alot of options, why not let the leaving player shoot a safetyshot?

Not sure though, maybe it IS fun not to get that safetyshot. But that will get you in a situation like this:

The player scored 8,4,3 and 2. His cueball roll of a bit and now he is snookered for the 1 (behind a cluster of balls). The player seems to have a lose-lose situation (or at least a nobrainer choice). Either go for the pot (
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fish face
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Runeward wrote:
I just wanted to toss out that in many parts of the USA 'pocket billiards' or 'pocket pool' is slang for something you may not want associated with your game.


Yep, in England too...
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Alex Weldon
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ElKitch wrote:
A scoring variant could be that the player gets the difference in points for a rack. If a player manages to pocket all balls from 1-15 he wins 15-0 and gets 15 points for this rack. Usually scores like 7-4 will come up, giving a player 3 points.


Yeah, this works well for playing a series of games. Though since we've got a tie-breaker rule, you'd probably also have to rule that in the case of a tie, the player who sunk the last ball scores a point.

The game would probably also work with four players, alternating Upstairs and Downstairs (i.e. if the first person sinks the 6 and becomes Downstairs, the second and fourth players are Upstairs and the third is Downstairs). In that case, everyone would score the difference between their own score and those lower than them; i.e. if the scores were 6-4-3-0, winner scores (6-4) + (6-3) + (6-0) = 11 points, second place scores (4-3) + (4-0) = 5 points, and third place scores 3-0 = 3 points.

ElKitch wrote:

Theres one thing that I am not sure of: not shooting when cashing in.

A player could also say he is going to cash in, and then play a safetyshot.


Yes, good point. I think that this would have to be something to be tested.

Probably the "pass the cue" version is better for beginner and intermediate players who have a hard enough time making shots as it is and don't really understand cueball placement, whereas the latter would be better for stronger amateurs and pros who might too easily run the table if the opponent is never able to take a safety shot.

My thinking in doing it the way that I did it is that there's a lot of strategic complexity to the cash-in decision: it's not just about how many points you have on the line vs. your odds of sinking the next ball, you also have to take into account:

* What shot you're leaving your opponent if you pass the cue
* What the target number is at now, and how many more options you're going to give him by sinking another ball
* How bad it would be to completely open the table to him; if you're going Downstairs, you're much more inclined to take a risky shot when the target number is 4 than when it's 12.
* Where you're going to be able to leave the ball after your shot; whether your next shot is going to be easy or not AND whether it's going to be better/worse for your opponent if you decide to Cash In at that point.

If you're allowed to take a safety shot upon Cashing in, a lot of that is removed. Also, I'd be afraid that it would mean a lot of high level play would consist of sinking one ball, Cashing In, and burying the cue ball, repeat ad nauseum. The risks for continuing would be very high, whereas in leaving your opponent no shot, you force him to open the table up for you (unless he's allowed to call Safe without sinking any balls).

------

Maybe the solution is this:

* A player can call Safety on his first shot. Usual rules safety rules apply, and assuming a valid shot is made, the target number for the opponent does not change.

* A player can also call Safety Cash after sinking one or more balls. They may then make a Safety shot as above, at the expense of scoring one fewer point than if they had simply called Cash In. (I.e. a player who sinks two balls and then Safety Cashes scores 1 point, while a player who did so after sinking only one ball would not score anything.)

Like that, you can't play an entirely boring, defensive game as you still have to attempt a run of at least two before making the safe shot if you want to score any points.
 
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Alex Weldon
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Here's another, simpler one, I came up with in the shower:

Sixteen

In a Nutshell: Players are trying to sink either the highest and the lowest ball on the table, or any other combination of balls adding up to the same number. Hitting the target number scores a point and earns the player another turn (possibly with a new target number), while going over scores a point for the opponent, and failing to sink a ball passes control to the opponent.

1) Triangular rack, but the 1 goes in the center, rather than the 8, and the 15 goes in the center rear. Positioning of the other balls probably doesn't matter much.

2) The "Count" begins at 0 and is reset to 0 every time a point is scored or a Foul occurs. (Foul is not the same as a Scratch, see below). The Count is NOT reset when control is passed to an opponent due to a missed shot.

3) The "Target" is 16 (15+1) at the beginning of the game. Every time a point is scored, it is reset to the value of the highest ball on the table + the value of the lowest.

Example: if a point has just been scored, and the 12, 8, 7, 4 and 3 remain, the Target is 12+3=15; thus, to hit the target, a player would need to sink either the 12+3 or 8+7 or 8+4+3. It might make sense to start with the 8 or 3 if possible, as each of these leaves two options open.

4) Reaching the Target by exact count scores a point. The Count is reset to 0, the Target is redetermined based on the balls remaining, and the player may continue to play, potentially scoring further points.

5) A player Fouls if they sink balls such that either the Count exceeds the Target, or there is no way to reach the Target exactly with the balls remaining on the table. When a Foul occurs, the opponent scores a point, the Target and Count are reset, and it is the opponent's turn to play.

Example: With 15, 12, 7, 6 and 3 on the table and a Target of 18, sinking the 7 is a Foul, as no combination of the remaining balls would bring the Count to exactly 18. Likewise, sinking the 6 after the 15 would go over 18 and be a Foul.

6) Normal Scratching rules apply. A Scratch gives the opponent ball-in-hand, but does not reset the Count or Target, unless a Foul occurred on the same shot. Numbered balls sunk in the course of a scratch still count, but if a player hits the target on a scratched shot, it is a Foul instead.

Example: With a target of 15 and the 3 ball down, a player shoots at the 12 and sinks it, but the cue ball goes in as well. The opponent receives the point AND ball-in-hand. Count and Target are reset based on the balls remaining.

7) If a player takes a shot and no balls go in, play passes to the opponent, but the Count and Target remain unchanged.

Example: With a target of 15 and the 3 ball down, a player shoots at the 12 and misses. The opponent now gets to shoot, but the Count stays at 3, so he can score a point simply by sinking the 12 himself.

8) If the Target needs to be reset and there is only one ball on the table, it just needs to be sunk to score a point.

9) If only a single game is being played, ties are won by whichever player sank the final ball. If a series is being played, keep track of the point differential (i.e. a player winning 4-2 scores 2 points for the series).
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Andrew Rowse
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ElKitch wrote:
Hmm seems like there are not many poolfans or perhaps it really is difficult to find news to look at pool (and snooker/carom) to create a new game...?


Sorry. Too busy playing pocket billiards to reply.
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Kai Bettzieche
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flyingfish wrote:
Runeward wrote:
I just wanted to toss out that in many parts of the USA 'pocket billiards' or 'pocket pool' is slang for something you may not want associated with your game.


Yep, in England too...


As well as in Germany ..
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David Reay
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The problem being the male "half" of the race comes "fitted" with a set of "playing pieces" yuk

So it may be difficult to sell the idea? blush
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Alex Weldon
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THREE NEW POSTS! Someone must have something to say about my suggestions!

Nope. They're all juvenile, off-topic comments about playing with your junk. soblue
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Andrew Rowse
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I would have thought that the accounting for your variant would be a little tiresome. I would generally steer away from mechanics that are determined by balls that have been sunk, because it's much easier to keep track of balls that are on the table.

Perhaps the number of ball the opponent has constrains your choices - if the opponent has n balls on table, your lowest n balls are automatic scratches (with a minimum of one ball remaining valid) - ie a rubberbanding mechanic.

(Don't put the rubber band around your junk!)
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Alex Weldon
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KAndrw wrote:
I would have thought that the accounting for your variant would be a little tiresome. I would generally steer away from mechanics that are determined by balls that have been sunk, because it's much easier to keep track of balls that are on the table.

Perhaps the number of ball the opponent has constrains your choices - if the opponent has n balls on table, your lowest n balls are automatic scratches (with a minimum of one ball remaining valid) - ie a rubberbanding mechanic.

(Don't put the rubber band around your junk!)


This is a valid point, though really each of them only has three pieces of information to hold in mind at once (in the first: score, who's going Upstairs, and what the current target number is, in the second: score, target number and count). But it's true that given that it's common enough for drunk bar players to forget whether they're stripes or solids in 8-ball, they'd both probably be problematic for bar play.

Fortunately, many bars and pool halls have chalkboards near the tables.

-----

But okay, okay. Here's something with no bookkeeping:

Double Dare

1. Rack as in 9-Ball. Someone breaks. If anything goes in, they get the first Regular Turn, otherwise, the opponent does.

2. Most of the rules are identical to 9-Ball (must make contact with the target ball first, can sink any ball thereafter for a successful shot, at least one non-cue-ball must hit a rail to avoid a Scratch, sinking the 9 on any valid shot wins), except with regards to how the target ball is determined. There are two situations that arise: Regular Turns, in which the target ball is determined by a Dare, and Open Turns, in which the player may choose his own target ball.

3. On a Regular Turn, prior to the shot, the opponent makes a Dare, naming a numbered ball (other than the 9). The shooting player can either accept the Dare, or Double Dare the opponent.

4. If the player accepts the dare, they play a turn as in 9-Ball, but with the Dare determining the target ball. If they succeed in making the shot, they get another Regular Turn.

5. If the player Double Dares the opponent, the opponent must shoot instead, with his own Dare as the target. If he makes the shot successfully (sinking any ball), he gains control of the table and now takes a Regular Turn. If he fails to make it, however, the original player now gets an Open Turn.

6. There are no "safe" shots permitted, as the Dare mechanic takes care of this aspect of the game. Players should not Dare their opponents to make an impossible shot, as they will certainly be Double Dared and end up giving the opponent an open table.

7. Scratches give ball-in-hand; regular rules apply with regards to whether the turn is Regular or Open. If it is a Regular turn, then the Dare is made and either accepted or Double Dared, prior to the cue ball being placed. In the case of a Double Dare, the daring player may place the cue ball (even though he was the one who scratched originally).

Example: Alex scratches on his Regular Shot, giving Betty ball-in-hand and a Regular Shot. He foolishly dares her to shoot for the 5, which is up against the cushion with two other balls blocking all angles from which it could be touched. Betty Double Dares him. Alex now gets ball-in-hand, but will still be unable to touch the 5. Thus, he will inevitably scratch and give Betty ball-in-hand AND an open table, a real disaster.

8. (Optional) If a player accepts and completes three Dares in a row, he receives an Open Turn next (then back to a Regular Turn if he makes a successful shot but doesn't win).
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ElKitch Tasso
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will come back to this topic soon, busy times! Thanks for the input sofar! Hopefully others also get inspired and post some ideas.

Others can create their own topic for new ideas on games to be played in their bedroom. Thanks for pointing it out, we know now.
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ElKitch Tasso
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shermie wrote:
I've invented several new pool games including "Nineation" at http://billiards.about.com/od/gamerulesstrategy/a/NineBall.h... and "Gopher Eight Ball" at http://billiards.about.com/od/gamerulesstrategy/a/02_17_goph.... Other pages on my site have variations and strategy for these games. Enjoy!

Unfortunatly I havent been able to play any of the suggested games. I have been thinking about NINEATION though and I got two questions:

1) what happens if an objectball bumps off the table? Does it get respotted?
2) what happens if I break, pot the 2 ball and get a 1-9 combination and I make it? Does this end the rack with me getting 2+9 = 11 points?

Also I think the difference between the scores of the players is a fun racktotal. Ie, if I run the table I get 45 points. If I make 18 points and opponent 27, he gets 9 points for that rack.

Another variation could be that a succesfull snooker (the opponent misses or touches the wrong ball) gives the opponent not ball in hand, but the points for the ball he just missed AND the choice to play the next shot or let the opponent shoot it.

Just like in snooker when you miss a snooker and hit a higher valued ball it would give your opponent the value of that ball in points.

Example: I am snookerd for the 3 ball. I bank the shot but I miss the 3. My opponent gets 3 points. However.. not only I missed it but my cueball landed on the 8 ball! This gives my opponent 8 points.
My opponent may now choose whether he takes the shot or leaves it to me.
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ElKitch Tasso
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Just wanted to say that I have not forgot about this thread. Its just that I have not been able to play any pool recently with a player that wanted to try something new

Will come back later to post some reviews on the games!
 
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Alex Weldon
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I was talking to a friend the other day who liked the idea of my Double Dare game, but hates the all-or-nothing nature of 9-Ball. It occurred to me that the basic mechanic of Double Dare would work equally well (or possibly better) with Rotation/Nineation scoring.
 
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ElKitch Tasso
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The nineation has really cought my thoughts. Im looking forward to find a player of approx equal strength and play a dozen of racks with that kind of scoring.It already takes away many issues that are a problem in 9-ball.

I like the daring system as well. It adds in various ways: estimating your opponents skills, your own skill etc. Its alot like the pushout shot in 9 or 10 ball.

I have to say I dont fully understand the game 'double dare'. I do understand the dare and double dare..

With an open turn you can shoot any ball? Also the 8 when the 1 is still on the table? And whats the use of shooting a dare when you may shoot only 1 ball after it and then have to dare again? Then only the last dare seems to matter since the 9 follows..
 
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ElKitch Tasso
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xopods wrote:


Upstairs-Downstairs

1. Rack sort of like 8-ball, with the 8-ball in the middle. But you'd probably need some sort of special arrangement for the others to be fair, with high and low numbers interspersed, and the numbers closest to the middle being the hardest to sink. Something like:

3. First time someone sinks something (off the break or otherwise), they get assigned "Upstairs" or "Downstairs." If they sank 1-7, they must take "Downstairs," if 9-15, "Upstairs." Sinking the 8 is desirable, as it allows the choice.


This game I have played a bit on my own. I forgot the exact rules, so what I did was:

pick stripes or solids. In both cases you go 'down': if you (stripes) pot the 5, you may only pot the 4,3,2 and 1 (if you (solid) pot the 11, you can only pot the 10, 9).
However, you are allowed to kick (or bank) at the 6 or 7. So if you bank the 7, you are then allowed to play the 6,4,3,2 and 1. Eventually if you have cleared your shots you may pocket the 8- giving you the win.

This seemed more fun to me because it was extremely difficult for me to make a descent run from, say, 3-4 balls. Also it was quite hard to fully oversee "the result of my safety" (ok, so then 'he'(me) can play the 10, 9 and 8 and then must make a safe, where will he put it? what will the table be like?) It was like chess.. so much depth that I gave up immediatlty to try to overthink it.

With the bank system you can continu your run and coming up with a safety seemd more easy to me.

Not saying the latter is a good thing. Again, I did not recall the rules of upstairs-downstairs correct. And also my poolgame(and therefore my strategical thinking) is far from pro.

Thanks for coming back and commenting. I believe we can come up with a new cool poolgame. In the end I will copy all games and print them and lay them on the bar of my local poolhall. Lets see if I can get some people to play
 
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David Fisher
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One pool variant I invented is called "Minefield". Same rules as normal pool, except that it is illegal to make any of your opponent's balls move. If they do, your opponent gets a "ball in hand" and can place the white ball anywhere on the table before their next shot.

Another game with a similar mechanic is "1-2-3". Any number of people can play.

Start by placing all of the balls randomly around the table, not touching each other or too close to the pockets. Place the white ball somewhere in the D.

On the first turn of the game, the start player must make exactly one ball move (not including the cue ball). If more than one ball moves, or if none do, that player gets one point against him, and the next player must try and move one ball.

However, if the first player succeeds, then the next player must make exactly two balls move. If they are successful, then the next player must move three balls, and so on. If someone fails to move the correct number of balls, they get one point against them and the number of balls that must be moved by the next player is reduced to one again.

If someone manages to sink a ball at the same time as moving the required number of balls, then one point is removed from their score for each ball that was sunk.

If the white ball is sunk or goes off the table, the player gets a point against him (and any balls sunk this turn are ignored). The next player starts from one again, and may place the white ball anywhere inside the D before shooting.

The game ends when there are no more balls on the table. The player with the lowest score wins.

I play this with my relatives every Christmas ...
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