The moment you walk into the candlepin bowling alley, you take a deep breath and look around. It smells and looks the same as a ten pin alley. You hear the familiar sounds of balls rolling down the lanes and hitting the pins. Once in a while you may hear a sound that you hope will not happen to you, the soft thump as the ball goes into the gutter. This looks like the place that you normally bowl at back home. However, you get a closer look and, even though the lanes are the same size, the game is different. You can hold the ball in the palm of your hand and the pins look more tapered, like candles. You realize that this is a different game that you are going to be playing; you better understand the rules before you begin.
The first thing you must realize is that you are not playing a game of bowling. You are playing a string of candlepins. Each sting consists of ten boxes, not frames. You also have three attempts to knock down ten pins per box.
Before you make your first roll, let’s refresh on the general bowling rules. This is basically etiquette at all bowling alleys, so you are probably already familiar with it. Always show good sportsmanship, even if the string is not going your way. Always give the bowler on your right to bowl first. If you happen to bowl in the wrong lane or out of position, finish your box, the pins will be counted on your score. Then move to the correct lane or position. If it is not your turn to bowl, you must be seated. If there are any mechanical problems, do not fix it yourself; get a lane attendant.
Before you start your string, you have to consider are the ball rules. First, the ball must be fairly delivered. Do not think, because of the weight of the ball, that you can just throw the balls at the pins. This game is not like the carnival game where you try to knock down as many bottles as you can. This is bowling and you still have to roll the ball. You can lob it if you want. However, if you do this, the ball has to touch the surface of the lane before the lob line. If you throw the ball and it touches the lane after the lob line, it is a foul. Any pins you knock over will not count. It is better to roll the ball than lob it. Not only will you have more control of the ball, you also protect the surface of the lane from damage.
The ball also must have fair contact. This means that it must strike a standing pin or playable wood before leaving the lane. For example, if your ball goes into the gutter before hitting any pins or wood, this will be considered a foul. Even if the ball bounces back into the lane and knocks down any pins, these pins will not count in the score. If a ball makes fair contact and them rebounds from objects on the lane, the downed pins will count. For example, if a ball hits the pins, then goes in the gutter lane and then rebounds out, this ball is still playable.
Any pins that are knocked down and are no longer moving, is called wood. The ones that are behind the deadwood line are live and playable. The ones in front of this line are dead and will be removed. Wood that sticks up out of the pit area is dead. Wood that is in the gutter, but also touching the lane is playable if the ball makes fair contact while it is still touching the lane. If your balls his playable wood and deadwood at the same time, the pins you knock down will count.
Why would anybody want to foul deliberately? However, there are some who do. First of all, any pins he knocks down in a box will not count. For example, if you drop your ball on the approach you will be charged with a deliberate foul because you are abusing the equipment. This also applies if you deliberately roll you ball into the gutter two consecutive times. Not only do you hurt your candlepin score by getting these fouls; you also will be disqualified from the game. Just remember, you are bowling to have fun, meet new people and make friends.
You know a bit of the rules and etiquette of candlepin bowling. The thing you have to do now is find an alley and have a fun time.