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Bobble Ball Articles
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Written By Devra Robledo, Co-Inventor
Article: Bobble Ball - The Game
What is all of the babble about Bobble Ball? Bobble Ball® is a unique new game which deviates from the "accepted" format of playing traditional billiard games and yet utilizes the basic concepts of billiards in such a manner that more people will be comfortable in approaching and playing at a pool table. As a general rule, non pool players are intimidated by the game of pool. Unless there is a desire to learn, the average person does not want to demonstrate his or her lack of skills in the presence of others and it is the rare occasion that a person can practice in privacy. In addition, billiards is a game incorporating the sciences of physics and mathematics which are concepts not so easily grasped by many people even though we all unknowlingly and unwittingly use these principles daily as a matter of routine.
Bobble Ball is designed to bring to a pool table the concepts of a variety of sports with which people are familiar and enjoy playing. Just as billiards has evolved from the game of croquet which used a mallet to hit a ball to a hoop, the sport of Bobble Ball Hand Billiard Bowling has evolved from the game concepts of shuffleboard, bocce ball, billiards, horseshoes, darts, and bowling. When playing Bobble Ball, players use their hand to roll a ball toward the intended target of Bobble Ball rather than a cue stick as is used in billiards.
The concept of using one's hand or a non-spherical billiard ball is foreign to the game of billiards and has been perceived through the years as being unique and unacceptable. Two examples can be sighted. The first example occurred in 1878. A famous exhibition player, Yank Adams, placed odds and challenged his opponent to a carom game where Yank Adams would use his hands and his opponent could use his cue stick to move the cue ball. The fact that this was so uncommon and that Yank Adams won the match (and the bet by the way) resulted in the local newspaper reporting the story.
The second example references a quote from the works of W.S. Gilbert where he speaks of a billiard shark who was condemned to play "on a cloth untrue, with a twisted cue, and elliptical billiard balls." Using faulty equipment is considered a curse to the skilled billiard player and yet, Bobble Ball intentionally incorporates these "unacceptable" billiard concepts into an enjoyable game played on a pool table for people of all skill levels.
Rolling a billiard ball by hand ("a twisted cue") is not a new concept. Children naturally enjoy rolling the balls on a billiard table since they are usually not trusted with a cue stick due to the damage that they could cause to the table or others. Adults also naturally enjoy rolling billiard balls with their hand when removing the balls from pockets and rolling toward the rack or when finishing a game and rolling balls toward the pockets in an effort to clear the table. Bobble Ball is unique in that it has taken natural activities (rolling by hand) and unacceptable equipment (a nonspherical billiard ball) and incorporated them into a fun game designed with structure and rules.
Most pool players and table owners are increasingly aware of the limitations of the most popular billiard games. Friends and guests are hesitant to play due to a lack of confidence while the intense individuality of the game counteracts the social setting of why friends and guests were invited over in the first place. Therefore, Bobble Ball is a game which incorporates skill and luck together in an effort to allow people to interact happily and competitively in a social setting around a pool table. Bobble Ball may be played within the home environment, club environment, tournament environment or within a league environment and has been designed so that people from all ages can compete, have fun, and be rewarded for their increasing skill level. Bobble Ball is not strenuous for the active adult who desires social companionship or competitive challenge and yet simple enough for children who are generally speaking, not skilled enough to handle the disciplined rules of traditional billiards. And yet the game appeals to players of all ages and at all skill levels allowing families, friends, and even strangers to participate together without the prerequisite of prior game experience. Bobble Ball acts as a stepping stone for people to become interested in playing billiards, acts as a game of practice drills for the experienced billiard player, and always acts as a game of learning, fun, and mental gymnastics resulting in the successful play of Bobble Ball and improved skills of traditional billiard games.
Both Bobble Ball and billiards further a player's scientific understanding of physics and mathematics. People just beginning to learn how to play billiards are many times overwhelmed. The game is easily watched, but more difficult to actually put into practice. The basics of the game need to be developed simultaneously with an acceptable execution of the game. Beginning players (as well as seasoned players) must learn the cause and effect of ball speed, contact, friction, and angles. A new player in traditional billiards struggles until these basic elements are first learned and then implemented. Bobble Ball provides the introduction to all of these billiard elements in a manner which is fun, yet challenging. The necessity and knowledge of handling a cue is not initially necessary in order to begin learning the effects of speed, contact, friction, and angles among billiard balls. In addition, the increased ingredient of luck due to the random Bobble Ball movements removes pressure from the new player as his skills are developing. However, at the same time, Bobble Ball challenges even the most advanced billiard player because he has the opportunity to execute a precision shot at every roll. This opportunity broadens both the player's thinking and skill level because he may choose only one of the many varying strategies that could be implemented.
As you have read: Bobble Ball is unique. Bobble Ball is different. Bobble Ball is fun. Bobble Ball is challenging. So why are you still reading this tiresome dissertation?
"An Egg Shaped Billiard Ball? What an 'Egg'cellent idea!"
Bobble Ball - Black/Ivory
The chaotic mixture and reaction regarding the introduction of Bobble Ball®, the nonspherical egg shaped billiard ball, is not unlike the mixture of chaotic reaction Bobble Ball itself gives while performing on the pool table. The introduction of Bobble Ball to the game of billiards simultaneously introduces an element of unpredictability and intrigue. Typically, games are played with spherical balls and the laws of physics allow highly skilled players to control the balls to achieve the desired result of winning the game. Bobble Ball brings to the game an element of irregularity which causes the skilled player to consider possible alternative ball behavior and gives the unskilled player a certain amount of "luck" when Bobble Ball rolls in a direction to his favor.
Introducing Bobble Ball provides structure with both good and bad chaotic results similar to the use of dice in a game. The roll of the dice is unpredictable, but the player continues within the structure of the game based on the outcome of his last chaotic roll. Players using traditional spherical balls may plan their next one, two, or three moves because they may depend on the rules of physics to accurately achieve the desired results. Onlookers and opponents are also great predictors of future moves or moves that players should have performed. When Bobble Ball is introduced into the mix, players and onlookers must not contemplate "Plan B and Plan C" ball movement in case "Plan A" fails due to the chaotic movement of Bobble Ball disrupting the desired ball placement.
The purpose of Bobble Ball is to allow for a mixture of regular and chaotic dynamical systems to occur when Bobble Ball is used in conjunction with other balls, most predominantly spherical billiard balls. In a dynamical system, an object moves according to a rule. Within a setting of moving balls, the rules of motion are that a ball will move in a straight line until it hits another object. The ball will then bounce off of the object while obeying the rule: "angle of reflection equals angle of incidence." As the ball bounces away from the object, it may move in a regular, predictable fashion, or it may move in an irregular, chaotic fashion. Mathematicians and physicists study whether these movements are chaotic or regular. The introduction of Bobble Ball provides further intrigue to these studies. The questions that may be studied by introducing Bobble Ball are "When are contacts by or to Bobble Ball regular and predictable?" and "When are contacts by or to Bobble Ball irregular and chaotic?"
Within a setting where all spherically balanced balls are present and these balls are contacting one another or stationary objects in their path, the science of physics as it relates specifically to kinematics is demonstrated. The study of these theories would include, but are not limited to: Linear Momentum Glancing Collisions Torque and Angular Acceleration Friction Moment of Inertia Conservation of Energy Rotational Kinetic Energy
By incorporating Bobble Ball into the mixture of the above entree of kinematic theories, both the studies and actual play of Bobble Ball introduce an element of chaos which is not only intriguing to quantify and observe, but fun to play with. The mathematics and theory behind Bobble Ball is interesting, but mind-numbing. So why are you still reading?
Since Bobble Ball® Hand Billiard Bowling games are played on a pool table, people naturally compare Bobble Ball with billiards. Are the two even comparable? To answer that question, we must focus on the pool table itself. A pool table is a piece of equipment engineered to maximize the properties of physics and mathematics when a billiard ball is rolled on its surface. Any game played on a pool table uses these scientific properties to some degree which is actually why many people are hesitant to play billiard games; they are not familiar with these principles of science. However, by offering a game where people need only roll one ball toward another ball by way of an angle, people unwittingly use these scientific properties and find themselves having fun on a pool table. Bobble Ball is that game.
Bobble Ball simplifies the implementation of pool skills necessary to successfully play on a pool table. As a result, many Bobble Ball players naturally transform and blossom into billiard players if they chose to progress further in the sport. However, just as the caterpillar is different from the butterfly it becomes, Bobble Ball is also conceptually different from billiards. These differences actually act as a variation which sharpens a player's skills and perceptions of the pool table when players move between these two games. Consider the following comparisons between Bobble Ball and billiards:
»BOBBLE BALL utilizes a player's hand to move a ball into a rolling state whereas billiard games utilize a cue stick to move a ball into a rolling state.
»BOBBLE BALL utilizes the non-spherical Bobble Ball whereas billiard games utilize only spherical billiard balls.
»BOBBLE BALL utilizes two sets of six distinctive billiard balls which do not require numerical markings in order for the game to be played whereas the most popular billiard games use two sets of seven distinctive billiard balls and/or require numerical markings on the billiard balls for successful play of the game.
»BOBBLE BALL utilizes both offensive and defensive strategies during the course of game play whereas the most popular billiard games primarily use one or the other of these strategies during the course of a game. For example, a player may choose to defensively roll his billiard ball as close to Bobble Ball as possible or he may choose to offensively aim toward an opponent's billiard ball in order to move it further away from Bobble Ball or he may choose to defensively aim toward his own billiard ball in order to knock it closer to Bobble Ball. A player's game strategy is constantly jumping from offensive to defensive or vice versa depending on the new billiard ball arrangement caused by the previous billiard ball rolled.
»BOBBLE BALL allows for the natural expressions of emotions as players groan or celebrate the outcome of their roll because of the unpredictable movement of Bobble Ball whereas outward personal expression within billiard games is viewed negatively and in some cases even considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
»BOBBLE BALL allows a player to hit any billiard ball first (the opponent's billiard ball, Bobble Ball, or his own billiard ball) whereas most billiard games typically place a limitation on which groups of billiard balls may be contacted first by a player's shot.
»BOBBLE BALL does not use the pockets as a scorekeeping devise, but rather as a gutter, whereas the goal of most pocket billiard games is to place designated billiard balls into the pockets for scorekeeping and winning purposes.
»BOBBLE BALL is most successfully played when all billiard balls remain on the table and gutter balls are minimized whereas the object of pocket billiard games is to clear the game surface of billiard balls by shooting them into the pockets.
»BOBBLE BALL becomes strategically more difficult as the game progresses because more billiard balls are accumulating onto the playing surface whereas pocket billiard games become strategically less difficult as the game progresses because billiard balls are diminishing into pockets leaving fewer potential obstacles on the playing surface.
»BOBBLE BALL begins with one object ball, Bobble Ball, and increases the number of object balls as each new billiard ball is rolled onto the playing surface whereas most billiard games begin with numerous object balls the number of which decrease as the game progresses and they are played into pockets.
»BOBBLE BALL allows players to roll forward a different billiard ball at each turn whereas billiard players are only allowed to shoot at the same "cue ball" throughout the entire game and at each turn.
» BOBBLE BALL does not require a player to "call his shot," but rather allows for the combination of his skill, luck, and movement of Bobble Ball to determine his fate whereas most billiard games require a player to "call his shot," before a billiard ball is shot into motion which minimizes the potential for luck and maximizes the need for skill.
» BOBBLE BALL allows players to only stand or sit behind the "foot rail" of the table to roll their billiard ball into play which limits their physical maneuverability, but maximizes their potential maneuvering skill whereas billiard games allow for players to stand at any position around the table in order to execute their shot in the best possible position.
»BOBBLE BALL strategy discourages pocketing one's own billiard ball during play and encourages a player to pocket an opponent's billiard ball (because pocketed billiard balls are considered "dead balls,") whereas billiard games encourage pocketing one's own ball and discourages a player from pocketing an opponent's ball or cue ball.
»BOBBLE BALL determines score based on the measured distance of team billiard balls from Bobble Ball whereas billiard games determine score based most commonly on pocketed billiard balls or number of billiard ball contacts.
»BOBBLE BALL allows for the natural interaction between opposing team members because all team members may remain at the pool table during the course of play whereas opponents in billiard games are restricted in their communication with each other and with nonplayers and a player must stand away from the table or sit when it is not his turn.
»BOBBLE BALL allows for a variety of roll strategies to be executed at each turn so that the chosen roll is always unpredictable by his opponent whereas billiard shot strategies are predictable and typically limited to only a few options causing the game to become rote to an opponent or onlooker.
»BOBBLE BALL places the non-spherical Bobble Ball at different locations at the beginning of each game played which provides players with alternative first roll strategies whereas billiard games set up the rack or billiard balls at the same location at the beginning of each game played.
As you have just read, Bobble Ball is unique, Bobble Ball is different, Bobble Ball is fun, Bobble Ball is challenging. So why are you still reading?
Pool and billiards are really clean, fun, wholesome, challenging sports. Unfortunately, through the years they have been tarnished by association with gambling, smoke filled rooms, drinking, and sex appeal. And it is not the game that has caused this reputation, but the environment in which many pool tables are found. Ask someone to describe a billiard scene and, more often than not, he will describe a group of bulldogs with cigars in their mouths hovering around a pool table with beer in their paws and money on the table. The only piece missing from this artistic work is FiFi, the gorgeous figured French white Poodle!
Over the past years, proponents of billiard games have made successful strides in removing the soiled reputation of the game. Senior centers, youth centers, community centers, restaurants, sports bars, and many churches eagerly offer billiards as a form of recreation and yet even these wholesome environments must overcome the traditional "back room" reputation of the pool table.
Bobble Ball Hand Billiard Bowling introduces a fresh, clean pathway in which to attract more players to gather around the pool table. This new game changes the focus away from the common conception of billiards because who can take seriously an egg shaped billiard ball? That is just not pool! And yet non pool players who play Bobble Ball find that playing on a pool table is really not that difficult while pool players who play Bobble Ball find that their pool playing skills are actually being sharpened.
After all, the pool table is really just the medium used to allow movement of a billiard ball. Consider other sports. Football requires a field to play and move the ball (a somewhat egg shaped ball by the way). Tennis requires a court to move the ball. Bowling requires an alley to move the ball. Golf requires acres of land to move the ball and waterpolo requires a pool of water to move the ball. All of these sports require a medium to move a ball skillfully in such a manner so that the goal of winning is achieved.
A pool table is nothing more than a field of felt surrounded by cushions which provides the necessary medium to move the billiard balls in such a manner as to win a game! Players must learn the speed of the cloth, the reaction of the cushions, and the angle trajectory that balls take when they hit a cushion or another ball in order to play the table successfully. As these skills are developed, new players gain confidence as they begin to understand how a pool table works and seasoned players find a fun and creative way to advance their game.
Bobble Ball offers a new pathway to draw people into the enjoyment that a pool table can provide. There is no artistic work drawn yet that depicts the environment of a pool game with an egg shaped ball so that we all have the opportunity to create a fresh new image for billiards. An image of families playing together, kids hanging out together, adults socializing together, and people of all ages competing together. So let's go find a pool table and enjoy some good clean Bobble Ball fun!
We use our pool tables as desks, laundry tables, Christmas wrapping counters, parking lots, and as step ladders to change a light bulb. We clean our pool table off for guests in hopes that they will play, but their excuses range from the standard "I don't play pool" to "I'm no good" to "I would embarrass myself" to "You're probably too good and I would lose" and to my personal favorite from the women, "I'm not going to bend over the table with these 'hims' in the room!"
Pool table owners, take heart! The answer to our social woes is finally here. A game that will entice even the most hesitant of guests to step up to the table. Introducing the new sport of Hand Billiard Bowling using Bobble Ball. This new game responds to every excuse attempted by hesitant guests and is simple enough for the beginner and challenging enough for the pro. All you have to be able to do is roll a billiard ball by hand toward an object: an egg shaped billiard ball.
Let's think about it. Most all sports use a ball and something is usually used to move that ball. Football generally uses a hand, tennis uses a racket, basketball uses a hand, billiards uses a stick, bowling uses a hand, croquet uses a mallet, bocce ball uses a hand, golf uses a club and the list goes on and on. The fun of playing these sports is trying to control the ball that is being moved toward some goal whether it be two posts, a hoop, wicket, pocket, or Bobble Ball. We, as humans, are entertained by this challenge and we spend hours either trying to perfect our skills or hours watching others trying to perfect theirs. We are all sports nuts in some manner and the most popular games that we play uses a ball. Bobble Ball is no different other than it uses two shapes of balls in the same game: a round shape and an egg shape scrambled together to create a tasty new game. Now that's an attention getter!
Bobble Ball is a fun way to break the ice with guests and creates a social setting of fun and challenge. So next time your guests start their back up maneuver when you try to lead them to your pool table, say, "No! Wait! There's this new game using an egg shaped billiard ball and you don't even need to use a cue stick to play. It's like shuffleboard, bocce ball, billiards, bowling, and horseshoes all rolled into one game. All you have to do is roll a billiard ball by hand toward the egg shaped ball." Then watch with delight as your guests roll back in for an evening of fun (and hope that you don't have to get up early the next morning because they won't want to leave!)