The aim of the game is simple. Get your bowls as close as possible to a small yellow ball called the 'jack'.
It might sound easy, but the fact that the bowls do not travel in a straight line seriously adds to the tactical challenge.
Bowls can be played indoors or outdoors, and the rules are the same, with top stars from both formats coming together to play lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games.
HOW COMPETITIONS UNFOLD
All the action takes place on a standard bowling green, which is a flat square 34-40m long. This is divided into six playing areas called rinks.
After a coin toss, the first bowler (the lead) places the mat and rolls the jack to the other end of the green as a target.
The jack must travel at least 23m and, when it comes to rest, it is moved across to the centre of the rink.
The players then take turns to bowl.
When all the bowls have been played, a competitor or team gets one point for each of their bowls that is closer to the jack than the opponent's closest bowl.
After all the bowls have been delivered, the direction of play is reversed. This is the end of an end!
Bowls can be played in singles, pairs, triples and four-player teams.
Each player has four bowls per end in singles and pairs competitions, three in triples, and two in fours.
At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, players had four bowls each per end in the singles, and two each per end in the pairs and triples competitions. There was no four-player event.
The team captain, or 'skipper', always plays last and is instrumental in directing the team's shots and tactics.