Saturday, September 4, 2010

Uniards - if every other game is too easy for you, try this

I had my first encounter with Uniards by watching a youtube video of Semih Sayginer playing Daniel Sanchez.
I was in Marburg, Germany at the time, this must have been towards the middle of 2009.  I immediately brought this fabulous game to the attention of fellow billiards junkie and friend Jan, who is a regular at the private club I frequent in Marburg (Marburg Billiardfreunde 86 e.V.), and we proceeded to try it on our heated 10-foot billiard table.  Someday soon I will write a post just about this club, one of my favorite places on the planet to kick back, shoot billiards and snooker and discuss all matters of cue sports with great friends.
In the video, Semih and Danny play by the following rules:
  • Danny has the white cue ball
  • Semih has the yellow
  • The game is only played with those two balls
  • You score a point by making contact with the object ball, having your cue ball then go at least three rails before again striking the object ball.
This has GOT to be one of the most difficult games in existence.  Semih and Danny are two of the best billiards players in the world, and they average far below 0.5 points per inning.  Gives you and idea of the ridiculous skill required.
The game is profoundly frustrating.  Often you get very close - but alas, getting 3 millimeters away from that invaluable second kiss counts for nothing.  Points are very rare at my and Jan's level.
After trying the version of the rules that Semih and Danny play in the video, we modified the rules a bit to allow us to finish a race to 7 points within 1.5 hours:

  • Each player can use either cue ball on each shot
  • A point can be made not only in the way described above, but in any shot in which there was at least 3 rails with the cueball and two kisses between the balls : this means you can go 3-rails first, then double-kiss the object ball (Jan's knowledge of a wide variety of billiard systems allows him to convert this type of shot with *relative* ease).

Here are a couple videos from some of our uniard sessions:

Jan gets a solid one, followed by one of the infinite variety of "sooooo cloooooose" misses

Me and my hacktacular stroke somehow pull off this ridiculous after-contact "umdreher" :

Felix pulls off an absolutely wonderful shot : (he's chiefly a snooker player, but sometimes wanders into the billiards area intrigued by the exotic games that Jan and I come up with)

We also have two 7-foot billiard tables in the club - here is Jan running ALMOST A 3 POINT SERIES!

Check my youtube account for more selected uniard shots - but remember that it's kinda like watching poker on TV, they never show the hundreds of hands that are played where nothing happens ;)

Have you played uniards?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Update : My brother just reminded me that when I showed him this game he made a point on his FIRST try.