It seems that Bonus Ball has finally made its way out of the ether and into reality!
I remember a few years ago first hearing about this new game being developed with Johnny Archer and a few others as the driving forces behind it. The goal was to give professional pool a makeover and transform it into a marketable product while also inventing a game that the general public can support. During one early interview with “The Scorpion”, I recall part of his argument: (paraphrased from memory) “Every other organized sport in the world has teams, uniforms, arenas and a scoreboard, but not pool. If we want to market pool to the world we need to integrate these things.”
The game itself is completely new and it integrates elements of all other games. Believe it or not, there’s 9-ball (the rack shape and order of balls pocketed), snooker (the points by color and balls spotted after a make), one pocket (limited pocket choices by team) and even straight pool (the continuous rack/break shot)! You can read more about the game and the future in the official press release.
On the Bonus Ball website you can watch a preview video with clips from a match between Archer and Klatt. The screen shot below shows a little of what this game entails: Uniforms, scoreboard and multi-colored balls that must be shot in sequence; with the black ball spotting up in the center of the table after each make (another snooker element). Players have to then play shape to make balls in only 3 specific pockets (2 corners on a long-rail and the side pocket opposite that rail). The mandatory sequence is the purple ball first (for 1 point), then they can shoot an orange ball for 2 points, then (and only then) can they make an attempt on the black ball (for 3 points). The players MUST complete this sequence, even if it’s across innings. If a player misses an orange, when they return to the table, they must continue with an orange in their next inning. This adds a layer of defensive strategy to the game for the outgoing player (if you know what ball your opponent has to shoot next, playing safe just became a little bit easier.
It seems like a lot to take in right now, but it really does transition into automatic thinking fairly quickly. More information and a full HD match is to be released later this week. I, for one, am pretty excited about this and I hope this project does well.
Pool purists wont like it, but as anyone that’s been around a while can tell you, pool is not doing that well (in a professional sense) and needs something it can market to sponsors in order to survive in this digital age. I think bonus ball can do it. If bowling and darts can make money (which they do – and more than pool players), so can pool.