Billiards Foul and Break suggestions

Billiards is a plaza game I can play for hours with a friend. I find it fun, but I think it can be even more enjoyable with some additional ways to foul (and break).

With these new ways to foul, you are forced to come up with creative solutions to the situations you are put in. Instead of plowing through your opponent’s balls to pocket your own balls, you must think creatively on the spot. It also provides for counterplay, where you can purposely shoot the ball to put your opponent in a tough spot.

Foul suggestions

So far, there is one way to foul in eight-ball:

  • Pocketing the cue ball

Here’s my suggestion to make it feel a bit more like regular 8-ball with bar rules

  • Foul when striking an opponent’s ball first
    • A player shooting stripes must hit a striped ball first
  • Foul when striking the 8-ball unless it is the only legal shot you can make
  • Foul when the ball does not strike a legal ball or rail
    • If you don’t hit any ball, you foul
    • A rail must be struck by either the cue ball or any other ball after the cue ball contacts the object ball

This is what I would like to see the most. Having fouls can produce some interesting situations. It also allows for some counterplay.

Quick 8-ball suggestion

Currently, shooting the 8 ball when it is the last ball will immediately result in a win.
Even a combination shot will result in a win.

I suggest

  • Only allow pocketing the 8 ball on its own turn
  • Scratching and pocketing the 8 ball on the same turn results in a loss
    • Pocketing an 8 ball will not immediately result in a win

Break suggestions

Pocketing the 8-ball when it is not legal will cause you to lose.
This also applies to the break. This means you can lose on your first shot.

Under APA rules, you win. You lose if you scratch the cue ball along with it.

4b. If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, it is a win unless the player
fouls the cue ball, in which case it is a loss.

It would be cool to win upon pocketing the 8-ball on a scratch instead of losing.

Another break suggestion

The APA ruleset seems to be much more beginner-friendly and social.

Some ruleset text walls

The rack must be struck before a foul can occur.
A player must break from behind the head string for
the break to be considered legal; in addition, at least
four object balls must be driven to the rails or a ball
must be pocketed. The cue ball may not be shot into a
rail before hitting the rack

The cue ball must make contact with the rack as follows to be
considered legal:
• 8-Ball - The head ball or the second row of balls must be struck
first. Failure to strike the head ball or the second row of balls does
not result in a foul.

If the rack is struck, but the break does not qualify as legal, the balls are
reracked by the non-breaking player and rebroken by the same
breaking player.
If the rack is struck, but the break does not qualify as legal and results
in a scratch, the balls are reracked and broken by the opposite player.
Breaking safe or soft is not allowed. Make a note on the scoresheet if
you observe a player breaking safe or soft. Local League Management
may issue penalties to teams and players who are not breaking hard.
Breaking just hard enough to comply with this rule is not a guarantee
against penalties. Break as hard as you can while maintaining control.

In short, along with some of these rules, it could be nice to let players break from anywhere behind the head string (the line on the left side of the table in the picture below).

1 Like