Note: The current story-arc begins at Strip 621
March 31, 2008
So I got a pool table last week. I've been playing a great deal. I came up with a solitaire game to try to improve my skills.
I call it "Clear". The objective is to sink all the balls. Start by racking all 15 balls (rack them any way you like, the balls have no unique distinctions). Then break. Then, you get ball in hand to start the game.
Once placing the ball, sink balls as best you can in any order. It's a called shot game. If you miss a shot, you gain a point (points are bad). If you scratch you gain a point. You can only get 1 point on any given shot. So if you miss the shot and scratch it's still only 1 point.
If you scratch, you get ball in hand. This seems like a reward for scratching, but it really isn't. You really work hard to avoid getting points. You're hardly likely to deliberately gain one.
Once you have cleared the entire table, note your score. The lower the better. Obviously, the best score would be 0, meaning you ran the whole table. So far, my personal best is 1. Just 1 miss while sinking 15 balls. I feel pretty good about that. :)
Special case: When there is only 1 ball left on the table (ignoring the cue ball), you simply take 1 shot at it. If you sink it, great. If you miss, you gain a point and the game immediately ends. You do not chase the ball around the table, missing shot after shot. The reason for this rule is because the game is intended to teach pool fundamentals. Mostly it teaches you how to leave the cue where you want after you make shots. But when there's only 1 ball left, you have nowhere you're trying to leave the cue ball. You can't predict where the object ball will be if you miss, so it becomes an exercise in making shots that are poorly positioned over and over. To combat this, you only ever shoot once at the final ball.