Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Miniature Bowling

Project Status: Still Dreaming

Who's up for some miniature bowling? I sure am, although you may have to help me build it first, lol. I'm not sure if anyone has capitalized on this idea yet or not, but I see no reason not to. Doesn't it sound like a lot of fun? I have searched around and have come to the conclusion that if anyone is doing this then they aren't advertising as well as they should be.

If you are not really sure what I am talking about when I say "miniature bowling," here's the lowdown. I'm sure you have heard of and probably even played mini golf, well, pretty much that but for bowling. Indoors or outdoors doesn't matter but obstacles with kid-like fun and absurdly disproportional objects are the name of the game here.

There should be a series of lanes setup for mini bowling much in the same way mini golf is setup. A player or group of players would start at one challenging setup and once completed move on to the next setup, walking through the course as they go from lane to lane. When I say challenging I don't mean your normal bowling experience which happens to be pretty challenging for me. No, I mean the lanes should bend up and down, are curved and twist all around, oh and there better be a giant windmill or a large clown's mouth to go through.

Mini golf often has 9 or 18 setups in a row, this is because golf is normally played 9 or 18 holes at a time. In mini bowling I recommend 10 challenging setups, derived from the fact that you play 10 frames while bowling.

Now you do have some creative choices when figuring out exactly how to go about scoring. You could try to stick as closely to bowling as possible or you could let some of the golf fun bleed into the game. Meaning that if you stick to bowling-ish rules players could stand at the starting position for the challenge and have two rolls to try and knock down all the pins. While if you wanted to let some of the traditional mini golf feel mix in, they could have multiple rolls from the same bowling ball starting from where it ends up. Whether you would want players making two rolls from the starting point or chasing their bowling balls around like golf balls is really something to consider based on how complicated of obstacles you want.

Making the choices of how players move and score will dictate how freely you may setup your course. For example; if you roll twice from the starting position your obstacles may have to be much easier to overcome. If you can't use your first roll to get through the windmill and your second to line up with the pins, then you better build it so that going through the windmill almost guarantees knocking all of the pins down.

I say the crazier the obstacles in the course the more fun that will be had. Although I also recommend using some very lightweight pins as well as a lightweight, probably even plastic, bowling ball. Being the guy that has thrown a bowling ball behind me at least once during normal bowling, let me be the first to say we don't need normal and therefore dangerous bowling equipment in this case. I do think it would be awesome to have the bowling lane look and feel by using wooden lanes or some kind of fake laminate flooring but how about we do that in a way that I can keep on whatever shoes I show up in.

I would think the last major thing to note would be how the pins are reset after each player. Of course we wouldn't want to build these small lanes so that they automatically return our bowling ball and reset the pins for us using a lot of mechanical equipment. If you could, great, but I doubt it's worth all the extra expense and safety issues it would cause. Nope, just keep it simple.

There are several ways to solve this problem. The super cheap and easy way is to mark the lane with some dots and let the players manually reset their own pins after each roll. That does get the job done but where's the fun in that, really, lol. I think the better option would be to rig the pins with strings on the bases of them. Feed those strings through a hole in the lane and setup a lever to the side of the lane so that players may quickly and easily reset the pins with a flip of the lever.

Ok, I'll stop rambling now for your sake, but someone better go build one of these courses or help me find one that has already been built. I'm the "bowl with the bumpers up even though I'm an adult" type bowler but I have a feeling I would have a lot of fun with Mini Bowling.