Skee Ball Scoring System
Traditional Skee Ball Rules (12 Rounds)
Skee ball has two versions and thus two different rule sets. “Traditional” skee ball involves 12 rounds of back and forth play between two teams of 3 – 12 players. Here’s how it works:
- For each turn, a player rolls a frame of nine balls
- The score is added up according to where the balls landed
- Teams can use 3 mulligans (or “re-skees”) per match if a player is not satisfied with their score
- After 12 rounds, there is one final “mystery round”
- The team with the most points at the end wins!
Match Play Skee Ball Rules
Some leagues also utilize a different set of rules known as “match play”, which involves two teams competing in 7 rounds. To play a round, each team sends up three rollers, who each roll three consecutive balls. These points are added up, and the winning team earns one point toward the final tally.
In traditional skee ball, after 12 rounds, a final mystery round is played. In some skee ball leagues, this is only done if there is a tie. The tiebreaker varies depending on league house rules, but can include:
Each player per team throws one ball, continuing until all nine balls have been thrown. The team members must throw in the same order for the whole round. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Essentially a combination of speed and relay. Teams play according to the relay rules above, but the winner is decided not by total points but by the quickest team to have the machine count all their balls.
One player from each team rolls a full frame while blindfolded. Teammates may offer verbal direction but may not physically aid the blindfolded team member. The team with the highest score wins.
Teams choose one player from the OPPOSING team to compete against one of their team members that the opponents have chosen. The roller with the highest score after a round of 9 balls wins a bonus 100 points!
The team with the lowest total score after rolling nine balls wins the round! However, players must score at least 10 points with each ball.
Price Is Right
Each team competes to achieve an exact score in the course of a standard round like the classic game show. If a team goes over that number, they cannot win the round.
Scoring Or Machine Malfunctions
Depending on the age and model of the skee ball machines, scoring errors can happen. Here is what to do if this occurs:
- Immediately bring it to the attention of the opposing team and host.
- If both teams are able to agree on how the score should be altered to fix the error, the game may continue.
- If the teams are unable to agree, the host should make the judgment.
Skee ball is a social game that is more about having fun than winning or losing, so it is important to maintain good sportsmanship. Even if you’re playing in an arcade or your own home, you sometimes need to remember not to take it too seriously!
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Skee Ball Tips And Tricks
Develop A Strong, Low Stance
In skee ball, although you roll with your arm, all your power and control comes from your lower body. Keep your knees slightly bent and press your leg against the lane. Keep your feet on the ground and your core firm, just like when you hold a pool stick. If you are in the market for pool sticks, click here.
Keep Your Wrist Straight And Your Hand Flat
Once you have developed a solid base, the next step is improving the precision of your roll. Keep your arm as straight as you can with your wrist up. Maintain this form for the entire motion – no need to flick your wrist as you might in a basketball arcade game – click to read more!
Skee ball lanes are short, so all you need is a soft arm motion, similar to when you play shuffleboard. Throw too hard and the ball may bounce out of the intended hole and land in the 10-point slot. Always grip the ball with your fingertips and use a smooth, gentle motion.
Aim Small, Miss Small
For the best score, aim for one of the middle circles. 40 is a good choice, because it’s one of the highest scores, but it’s also near other point markers.
If you aim for the 40 point hole and miss, you are still likely to score some points and could even score a 50.
Mind Your Appetite
Going for the 100 point holes is tempting, but these are notoriously difficult to land. If you miss, you’ll almost certainly get only 10 points or none at all. Best to steer clear!
Take Your Time
One of the great things about skee ball is that unlike in pool, there is no time limit when you’re taking your shot. You can take all the time you need to make the best shot you can.
Practice Makes Perfect
Frequently Asked Questions
The average skee ball score is 260, but anything above 200 is very respectable. In fact, most people score under 200 – the 260 average comes from the rare very high scores. Even seasoned players frequently score between 180 – 200. Newbies tend to fall short because they make the mistake of trying for the 100 point hole.
Skee ball came from the brain of one man: Joseph Fourestier Simpson, who patented the game in 1908. In 1909, Skee Ball Alley Company was founded to oversee construction and distribution of Simpson’s tables. However, they did not take off until 1914 when they were installed on the Atlantic City boardwalk and the game skyrocketed in popularity!
They call it skee ball because “skee” is an old alternative spelling of the word “ski”. When you roll your skee ball, it jumps or “skis” into the ring the same way a ski-jumper rises from the bump and lands back down to earth. The game was originally referred to as “skee-ball bowling”.
A skee ball is on average 0.33 lbs (150 g). However, there is no standard weight and it varies from one skee ball machine to another. If you are buying your own skee ball, keep in mind that it should be something that can be tossed freely without too much effort. You can find our list of the best skee ball machines here.
The dimensions of a skee ball game vary according to model and make. While the original machines were 32 feet (9.7 m), today the ramp is between 10 and 13 feet (3 – 4 m) long. The height of the machine at its tallest point (the top of the scoring area) ranges from 80 – 86 inches, or 2 – 2.2 m.
Now you know how to play skee ball and you will know exactly what to do in the next game you play! Hopefully this article has inspired you to give this awesome arcade game a try, to work on your techniques or even to join a league in the coming season.