Bowling is a game in which players attempt to score points by rolling a ball along a flat surface and knocking down objects called pins. There are many forms of bowling, with the earliest dating back to ancient Egypt. In the US the best known form of bowling is probably the North American game of ten-pin bowling. This form, in both amateur and professional versions, is played around the world, making it one of the largest participation activities worldwide.
Most forms of bowling may be categorized as either indoor or outdoor. Most indoor forms are played on a "lane", a flat surface made of wood or a synthetic imitation, which is several times longer than it is wide.
Included in the indoor category:
* Ten-pin bowling, which evolved from ninepin bowling in the 19th century.
* Five-pin bowling, played in Canada.
* Nine-pin skittles, played in Europe.
* Candlepin bowling, played in eastern Canada and New England, is a variation of ten-pin bowling.
* Cocked-Hat bowling, brought to the US from Germany. Now there is only one place to play this in the US; The Corner Bar in St. Charles, Missouri. It uses duckpin bowling balls and three regular sized pins.
* Duckpin bowling, commonly found in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England United States and eastern Canada, is a variation of ten-pin bowling involving small, squat pins, sometimes with rubber at their widest points (rubber band duckpin bowling).
* Feather Bowling (Belgian trough bowling) originated in Belgium. It is also popular in Metro Detroit, as the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit and the "Bay City Bistro" in Mount Clemens are the only United States venues where the game is available.
* Six-Pin Bowling, a kids version of bowling, bowling set is usually bought at a toy store. There are no official tournaments, scoring systems, and venues for this game since it's just for kids.
9 pin bowling, identical to Ten-pin bowling, with two major exceptions: a bowler knocking over nine pins counts the same as a strike. A split without the head-pin counts as a spare.
* 3-6-9 bowling, special form of ten-pin bowling where the 3rd 6th and 9th frame already have strikes in them.
* Low-Ball Bowling, uses a standard ten-pin setup, but the object is to bowl the lowest score by aiming at only the seven or ten pins. Strikes and spares are scored identically as in ten-pin bowling, and gutter balls are scored as strikes. At least one pin must be knocked down per delivery, so a miss on the first ball must be recorded as a strike (only a gutter ball can result in this). If the second ball is thrown and it misses pins without going in the gutter, it's recorded as a spare. A perfect low-ball score is 20 (1 pin on each of 2 balls per frame).
* Beruit Bowling, game usually played in teams with two lanes. Similar to a rally race the first team to have all their team mates make a strike are the winners. The game begins with two players, one in each lane, after the first strike is made the player takes a seat and the next team mate steps up to bowl. Usually played in a 10 pin game, and can also be played with candle pin.
For nearly a century, ten-pin bowling lanes had a surface made of wood. Beginning about 1980, most ten-pin lane surfaces have been converted to or built with a synthetic material imitating a wooden surface. In ten-pin bowling, a building containing many lanes has traditionally been called a bowling "alley." Some such buildings have recently called themselves "bowling centers" instead to avoid the negative connotation of alleys.
The second category of bowling is usually played outdoors on a lawn. Here the players throw a ball, which is sometimes eccentrically weighted, in an attempt to put it closest to a designated point.