Shuffleboard tables come in all shapes and sizes, but if you want to play on a professional size table, you’ll need a 22 feet long, 20 inch wide table. That’s right. The biggest is the most authentic! But I totally get that not everyone has enough space for a 20 foot table in their house, especially when you factor in the extra space you need for playing room. Experts say you’ll want at least three feet of playing space on each end of the table, plus comfortable room to walk around. So if you want a professional sized table, you’ll need a pretty big room!
Luckily, you can play all of the normal shuffleboard games on smaller tables. Just like pool, the length of the table isn’t all that important to the game - unless you plan on competing.
So what games can you play on a shuffleboard table? And are there other games around the world similar to this interesting game? There are five different games that can be played in table shuffleboard, and there are tons of similar games around the world. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Table Shuffleboard is also known as American Shuffleboard, Indoor Shuffleboard, Slinger, Shufflepuck, and Quoits. Players push metal and plastic weighted pucks, called weights, down a long, smooth wooden table into a scoring area at the opposite end of the table. All shooting is performed with the player’s hand. No matter what game you’re playing, players will take turns sliding (shuffling) the weights to the opposite end of the board to score points, bump opposing pucks off the board or protect their pucks from bump offs. Points are scored by getting a weight to stop in one of the numbered scoring areas. However, the weight must be completely across the zone line in the scoring area to count as a full score.
The object of the game, depending of course on the game variation you are playing, is to slide all four weights alternately against the opponent’s so that they reach the highest scoring area without falling off the end of the board into the alley. Again, depending on the game, your pucks will need to be farther down the board than your opponent’s in order to score.
When playing a general game of table shuffleboard, each player is assigned a puck color. Each color has four pucks. Players alternate shuffling one weight at a time to the other end of the table until all 8 pucks have been shuffled. This is the end of the round. Play will continue until one player reaches the set number of points -15 or 21. Player can knock the opponent’s puck off the board to get a better score.
Once the predetermined score has been achieved, the frame ends. A match is a set of predetermined frames.
Playing in Teams
When playing in teams, teammates will stand on the opposite end of the table from each other, playing every other round. Sometimes players will switch to the other end of the table between frames to switch it up. One variation of team play has all players at one end of the table. In this variation each player gets two shots.
In Canada, the rules for Table Shuffleboard are set forth by the Canadian Shuffleboard Congress. In one-on-one play frames are played to 15, while two-on-two frames are played to 21.
Tap and Draw
Tap and Draw is a great Shuffleboard game for beginners. The game can be played one-on-one or in teams. Players will take turns shuffling weights to the opposite end of the table. In this game, they MUST avoid knocking other player’s weights off the table to avoid penalties. The game ends when one player reaches 51 points and the frame ends. If the first team/player to reach 51 points reaches those points at the end of the frame, the game is over. If the other team has not played in the frame, they will play, and the team with the highest score wins. When playing the game one-on-one each player will shuffle all 8 weights. When playing in teams of 2, each player will shuffle 4 weights (of same color), for teams of four, each player will shuffle 2 weights. For each frame, scoring will begin when a weight lands in a 3-pt zone and no weights behind the foul line.
Target Shuffleboard is a lot like regular ol’ table shuffleboard. Players are allowed to knock off their opponent’s weight and the area in which their weights rest determine their points. This game can be played one-on-one or in teams. Each team uses one color of weights (red or blue). The game is played in frames until one team reaches 51 points. Scoring doesn’t begin until a weight rests on a 3-pt target or higher.
Horse Collar Shuffleboard
Horse Collar can be played one-on-one or in teams of two. As in other shuffleboard games, players take alternate turns shuffling the weights. When one player or team reaches 51 points, and the current frame ends, the game is over. The team with the highest score wins. The objective of the game is to keep one weight on the surface of the board in or near the scoring zones. The other team can knock your weights off the board to better their chances of winning.
Crazy Eight is a crazy fun table shuffleboard game! Before the game starts, players decide on a target number of points to reach in order to end the game. The higher the points the longer the game will last. This is definitely a one-on-one game. Before scoring can begin the first 4 weights (one color) must be shuffled simultaneously with one hand - all 4 weights must stay on the board to continue player’s turn. If all 4 weights remain on the board, and they are past the long foul line, the shooting player must then take the other four weights and knock the original four weights off the playing board - player has 4 shots (one for each weight). In order to score points all of the following must be done and at least one of the shooter weights must remain on the board to calculate points. If any of the steps are not achieved, it is the next player’s turn, and no points are awarded.
Knock Off is a popular table shuffleboard game played one-on-one or two-on-two. Team members play at opposite ends of the board, and games continue until one team scores 15 points - occasionally games will be played to 21 points. The player with the highest score, of course, wins.
Before game play begins, teams must decide who will start with the hammer - the last weight in a round. Players flip a coin - the winner of the coin toss will either choose a color of weight or they will elect to have the hammer. The team without the hammer will shoot first.
In Knock Off, only one team can score in each round. The team with weights closest to the end of the board is the one who will score. All of the weights from that team that are ahead of their opponent’s deepest - closest to end of board - weight - will be used to calculate the score.
Bankboard, also known as Cushion Shuffleboard or Bumper Shuffleboard, is a variant of table shuffleboard. However, some say it is more closely related to billiards and air hockey than it is to table shuffleboard. Players may bounce the puck off one of the rubber cushions - banks - that run the length of both long sides of the table. The banks are used in place of shuffleboard’s gutters. Pucks can be banked off the side to go around other pucks on the board.
Bankboard tables are considerably smaller than professional shuffleboard tables. The average size is 12 to 13 feet.
Sjoelen is a Dutch variation of Table Shuffleboard. It also has influences from bagatelle - a billiards offshoot and pinball ancestor - and related games. The game uses a long, unidirectional board placed on a table. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to slide - shuffle - 30 wooden pucks toward the end of the board and into the small open arches. These arches open up into numbered scoring boxes. Each player has 3 sub-turns to get as many pucks in the scoring boxes as possible. Players want to even the scoring boxes because with each set of pucks - a puck in every box - the player’s score is doubled.
Shove ha’penny is a game in the shuffleboard family that was developed hundreds of years ago in England. Instead of being played with weights it is played with coins - traditionally ha’pennies (half pennies). The playfield is a small, rectangular, smooth board made of wood or stone. Five small coins - similar in size to British ha’pennies - are placed one by one at one end of the board slightly protruding over the edge. Each player/team shoves the pennies one at a time with the palm of their hand toward the scoring lines. If the shoved coin doesn’t reach the first line on the board it doesn’t count as a turn. The player may move it back to the start position and shove it again. During gameplay players can attempt to hit their opponent’s coins with their own to advance their position and their score.
Deck Shuffleboard, also known as Floor Shuffleboard or Shuffleboard, is the floor version of Table Shuffleboard. Players use cues, called tangs, to push weighted discs, called biscuits down an elongated court - similar to a shuffleboard table. The biscuits should come to rest within a marked scoring area, where points are calculated based on the location of the biscuit. Generally, Deck Shuffleboard is played in matches that consist of 4, 6, or 8 frames. The player with the highest number of points at the end of the predetermined frames wins the game. Occasionally, a 75 point match will be played where the first player to score 75 points wins the game.
Curling is a sport very similar to deck shuffleboard but it is played on a sheet of ice. Players slide stones along the ice toward a target area that is segmented into four concentric circles. The game is played with two teams, each with four players. Teams take turns sliding heavy polished granite stones across the curling sheet toward the house - circular target marked on the ice. Each team has 8 stones. The purpose of the game, as always, is to get the highest score. Points are scored for the stones resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end. And end is completed when both teams have thrown all their stones. Each game has 8 to 10 ends. Although curling originated in medieval Scotland, it is best known as a Canadian sport today.
Bowls, sometimes called Lawn Bowls, is a game that originated in 13th century England, but Scottish bowling clubs in the 19th century established rules that became the basis for the modern game.
The game is normally played outdoors on a bowling green - made of natural grass or turf. There are some indoor venues as well. The objective of the game is to roll the balls on the bowling green so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”. Points are awarded for each bowl a player has that is closer to the jack than his opponent’s. For example, if a player has one bowl closer to the jack than the opponent’s nearest bowl, they get one shot. Scoring varies between competitions. Generally when playing one-on-one the game is played until one player reaches a predetermined number of shots - usually 21 or 25. In team play, a specified number of ends is played, and the team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
The Laws of the Sport of Bowls states that the team with the highest score after 21 to 25 ends wins the game.
Although I previously said that Table Shuffleboard is also known as Quoits, the game of Quoits is a little bit different.
Quoits is a game that requires players to throw metal, rope or rubber rings over a set distance and land over or near a spike. In fact, it shares many qualities with the game of horseshoes. The history of Quoits dates back to Ancient Greece. Actual horseshoes were bent to form the rings used in the game.
There are several variations of quoits, but the one most closely associated with table shuffleboard is Indoor or Table Quoits. This game is generally played in pubs and is most popular in mid and south Wales, as well as England. Matches are played by two teams and consist of four games of singles, followed by three games of doubles. In turns, players pitch four rubber rings across a set distance - generally 8.5 feet - onto a raised Quoits board. On the board is a central spike/pin and two recessed sections - an inner circular section called the dish and an outer circular section. Five points are awarded for a ring landing over the pin, two points for landing in the dish, and one for landing on the outer circle. The Quoits scoreboard has numbers running from 1 to 10, 11, or 12. The object of the game is to score each of the numbers separately on the scoreboard by using four or fewer rings. The first team to score each of these numbers is the winner of the game.