This game is one in which a player brings a plastic or wooden ball that is rolled down an alley to nine pins. The "bowling ball" is smaller and lighter than in ten-pin bowling, and the ball may have two or no finger holes. Being smaller, the ball will actually roll, rather than slide, down most of the lane distance. The lanes are shorter than those for ten-pin bowling. The nine pins (cones) are placed in a diamond shape on the alley. In most lane systems the pins have a rope on top, as part of a "string-setter", to pick up the pins and replace them back in to the diamond shape for the next roll. In Germany there are three kinds of bowling lane systems in different regions of the country (not counting ten-pins which has made some inroads). The systems differ both in their measurements and in the materials used for construction. One of the systems uses a lane that starts out narrow, but widens when approaching the pins. One uses flat asphalt lanes, while two use wooden lanes that are slightly elevated at the outer edges. There is one more special lane system only used in a small region of eastern Germany (Mansfelder Land), in this a very heavy ball is literally thrown at rather than rolled towards the pins; it is usually played outdoors. The different lane systems require noticeably different throwing techniques for successful play.
The game is played in 120 throws of four lanes. On each lane 30 throws. On one lane there are fifteen throws on all nine pins (full) and fifteen throws where knocked down pins remain out of play until no pins are left (cleaning). One of the lane systems doesn't use cleaning, so that all throws are on nine pins.
The standard diameter of the ball is 160 mm, the weight is approximately 2.85 kg. The U14 (11–14 years) plays with 140 mm/1.9 kg. The pins usually have a weight of approximately 1730 g.