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Subject: Session Report: Bowling Solitaire best game rss

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Mark Saya
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Gamut of Games: Bowling Solitaire

I first played Sid Sackson's Bowling Solitaire a few years ago. I really admired the game-especially its economy of means-but thought that it didn't quite replicate good bowling scores (200 on up), since most of my games ranged between 100 and 130. After playing again recently, I now realize I should have never doubted Sid: high scores are possible, I just wasn't playing very well!

In my recent sessions, scores at first continued to be low, but after some experimentation, I managed to finish above 160 a few times. Then, suddenly, for one glorious game, I was in the Bowling Solitaire Zone. That game:
First four frames: spare-strike-spare-spare;
Next five frames: all strikes thank you very much!
Then, at the end: an open 10th frame (what a shame).
Final score: 223!!!

So, how did it happen? First, what scores well in actual bowling, scores well in Bowling Solitaire, namely:
1) making consecutive strikes, the more the better (see five strikes in a row above, ahem);
2) getting a high pin count with the first ball after a spare;
3) scoring a spare or strike in the last frame, which gains one or two more balls (in the game above, I could have scored anywhere from the 230s to the 250s had I marked in the 10th);
4) avoiding open frames.

Second, I discovered some things about good card play, which together maximize your chances for a successful frame:
1) keep track of all used cards (the game uses only 20 cards, so this isn't such a big chore);
2) don't be in a hurry to remove pins three-at-a-time early on: you'll ruin your chances of getting to the buried cards, and
3) it is essential to gain access to as many buried cards as possible (I can't tell you how many times the card I've needed for a spare has been an inaccessible last buried card: grrr);
4) unlike real bowling, there's no need to hit the headpin first;
5) don't be afraid to isolate a pin (but make sure the card that will remove it is still available).
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Great report, and great strategy tips, Mark!

For those interested, Bowling Solitaire also has its own page here:

Bowling Solitaire

Gryphon Games recently published a nice version of the game with bowling pin artwork on the cards, and a handy scorepad.

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