New Billiards GamesNew Billiards Games - "Harold Hill" 5-BALL:
"This is the first billiards game I created," says Andy. Its nickname is "THE HAROLD HILL COMPROMISE." (As inspired by the musical THE MUSIC MAN which features the song TROUBLE, during which the title character, Harold Hill, decries the evils of "pool" (i.e. pocket billiards) after first lauding the virtues of traditional (carom) billiards.) "And so I created a game that essentially combines pool and billiards."
The game is played with nine balls, racked as in 9-BALL but with the 5-BALL in the middle. 5-BALL relies on pairing the balls whose values add up to ten (i.e. 1 & 9, 2 & 8, 3 & 7, 4 & 6) thus leaving the 5-BALL as the sole, unpaired ball. The thus 5-BALL becomes the "wild" ball of sorts. The object of 5-BALL is to win five points, but a ball may only be sunk if, in the course of play, a player "combinations" with one of the given pairs.
In this case, to "combination" means one of two things: either hitting, say, the one ball into the nine ball, or vice versa, OR hitting the cue ball into both the one ball and the nine ball in a given turn. Whether the cue ball ought to hit the paired balls WITHOUT hitting another ball in between, I haven't decided.
As in other billiards games, a player is rewarded simply for making contact with the ball pairs. That is to say, a player continues to shoot even if he doesn't actually sink a ball, providing he makes a successful combination. Finally, the shooter, should he decide that it's an easier prospect than attempting a combination, may sink the 5-BALL into any pocket of his choosing.
Though he doesn't win a point for doing so, he may then withdraw the 5-BALL from the pocket, place it on either of the two foci and shoot again. The 5-BALL ALSO serves as a substitute ball once the first of a pair has been sunk, e.g. once the nine ball is sunk, the 5 ball becomes partner to the one ball. And so the 5-BALL becomes increasingly important as play progresses.
NOTE: Once the 5-BALL becomes a partner ball, it means that a player CAN indeed win a point by sinking it through a successful combination. However, if, say, the one-ball being long gone, a player hits the nine-ball into the 5-BALL and sinks it, the 5-BALL comes OUT of the pocket, the nine-ball is taken OFF of the table, (the player scores a point) and the 5-BALL is placed where the nine-ball had been.
Play ends when a player scores 5 points. That said, in the case of a 4-4 tie game, leaving only the 5-BALL remaining on the table, the rules of 8-BALL suddenly apply, i.e. a player must call the pocket and avoid scratching. As in 9-BALL, all other instances of scratching result in the opponent getting ball in hand; any balls sunk when a player scratches are removed from the pocket(s) and placed on the focus or foci of the opponent's choosing.
Slop only counts if the sunk ball is still the result of a successful combination between pair balls; otherwise, as in the case of a scratch, the sunk balls are placed on the foci of the opponent's choosing.
NOTE: if a player successfully combinations a ball-pair, but also happens to sink another ball, he continues to shoot, but the opponent places the inadvertently sunk ball on the focus of HIS choosing.
New Billiards Games - ACTIVATION:
As I have been playing solo a lot of late, this is my current favorite. Designed as a solitaire game it may also be played as a two (or more?) player game. Here's the solitaire version. The balls are racked as in 9-BALL but the 5-BALL is the center ball, not the 9-BALL. Upon breaking, the 1-BALL presumably makes contact with the 2-BALL. Thus after the break the 2-BALL is the "active" ball. Going forward, a ball is "activated" when the player combinations (or the cue ball connects with both) the active ball with the next consecutive ball.
If any ball other than the 1-BALL is sunk during the break, it is retrieved and placed on the focus. A player may only sink a ball once it is no longer "active." Moreover, a player may not sink a ball BEFORE it becomes active either. However, the only true error (resulting in sudden loss of the game) occurs if the player sinks the "active" ball. For example, let's say the 3-BALL is "active." This means a player may sink either the 1-BALL or 2-BALL, assuming either one of them is still on the table. Or, a player may attempt to activate the 4-BALL. He may either hit the 4-BALL into the 3-BALL, the 3-BALL into the 4-BALL (more dangerous, because if he sinks the 3-BALL before making contact with the 4-BALL he loses the game) or the cue ball into both of the balls (though the cue ball's allowed to hit, say, the 6-BALL after it hits the 3-BALL but before it hits the 4-BALL and it still counts as a legal activation of the 4-BALL.)
In order to sink no-longer-active-balls a player may combination using any ball on the table. As the 9-BALL is the last ball to be activated, a player may hit the active 8-BALL into the 9-BALL and sink it without penalty. If a player scratches in his attempt to sink the last remaining ball, he loses. Otherwise, when a player scratches, any sunk balls are placed on the focus from which the balls were broken and the cue ball is placed on the opposite focus (the side from which the cue ball originated).
There are two ways to adjust the game such that it becomes suitable for (two or more) players:
1) Same rules as above, but, as in 5-ball, a player scores a point each time he legally sinks a ball. A player continues to shoot provided he either sinks or "activates" a ball. As in 9-BALL, a player gets ball in hand if a player (table) scratches.
2) Instead of needing 5 points to win, a player needs 9 points. Thus, there may be multiple "sets" involved in the winning of a single game. Instead of the accidental sinking of the active ball constituting a win for the opponent, the set ends, the balls racked and the opponent getting both the break and, subsequently, the opportunity to shoot again. (In a two person game, whoever breaks necessarily gets to shoot again.) First person with 9 points wins.