How to Play Shuffleboard
Shuffleboard Rules: Learn How to Play Shuffleboard The Right Way!
Shuffleboard tables have been a long-time pub staple. Not only is the game fun, but it also takes skill and practice. If you are looking to master the game, you first need to make sure you understand the rules. We've put together this guide to help you learn how to play shuffleboard with your new Playcraft™, Venture™, or Hathaway™ table. We've also thrown in a few options for variations to the shuffleboard rules to mix it up a bit. Enjoy!
Shuffleboard Rules: Classic Version (Knock Off)
When people refer to “regular shuffleboard”, they are most likely referring to the classic table shuffleboard game called Knock Off. In Knock Off, two players play a series of frames (or rounds), until one player reaches 15 points. You can designate any point goal you'd like, but 15 points is the standard.
The rules of shuffleboard are fairly simple. Players stand side-by-side at one end of the table, and take turns sliding their weighted pucks down the playing surface. To decide who goes first, toss a coin. The winner of the coin toss can choose which color pucks they want to use, and whether they want to go first. The last shot in the frame is referred to as "the hammer”, and most people consider having the hammer an advantage. As a result, most coin toss winners prefer to go second.
The goal of each frame is to shoot your pucks closest to the end of the table without them falling over the edge. You can either try to outdistance your opponent's pucks by sliding past them, or you can try to knock off their pucks into the alley, leaving only yours on the table. There are different techniques for making these shots, and shots can be more difficult on longer shuffleboard tables 16 feet and up. Each player has four pucks, and a round is complete when all eight pucks have been shuffled down the tabletop. Once the round is complete, take score and move to the other side of the table for the next round. Once a player reaches 15 points (or the point amount agreed upon), the game is over and you have a winner.
Here's how to take score. In the rules of shuffleboard, only one player can score per round. Only the player with the furthest puck on the table can gain points, and they only collect points for pucks of theirs that are further down the table than all of their opponent's pucks. Pucks between the shuffleboard foul line and the 1 line are worth 1 point.
Depending on the size of your table, you may have one or two foul lines. The one closest to you while you are shooting is the short foul line, and the one closest to the opposite end of the table is the long foul line. Pucks can earn points when they are past the short foul line.
Pucks in zone 2 are worth 2 points, pucks in zone 3 are worth 3 points, and those in zone 4 (if your table is large enough to have a fourth zone) are worth 4 points. If a weight is touching a score line at all, then that weight scores in the lower of the two score zones. For instance, if a weight is touching the line between zones 2 and 3, that weight would earn a score of 2. There are also special pucks called hangers. A hanger is a puck that is hanging off the end of the table, without falling into the alley. Hangers are worth 5 points.
Want to add more people to your game? Shuffleboard can easily be played with four people as well. You will have two teams, with two people on each team. Players on the same team will stand at opposite ends of the table, next to one of the members of the opposing team. One person from each team will take turns shuffling their pucks down the table. The players on the opposite side of the table will take score, clear the table, and shoot from their side. When playing teams, players stay put on their end of the table; they don't move from end to end like they do in a one-on-one game.
Whether with teams or with individual players, there is a reason that shuffleboard is such a popular game. At Shuffleboard City, we have a large selection of shuffleboard tables that you can put in your own home. Check out some different game variations below and start shuffling!
Shuffleboard Rules: Horse Collar
Are you looking for something a little more challenging with a bigger point payout? Horse Collar is played to 51 points, with some shots being worth up to 26 points.
To start playing, flip a coin to determine who will shoot first. For Horse Collar, players take turns shooting the hammer shot (going second). Players stand at opposite ends of the table and stay there the whole game. One player at a time will shuffle all 4 of their weights consecutively, and then count up any points they have earned.
For a player to gain points in a frame, every puck must land beyond the foul line, and the player must have at least one puck that qualifies for 3 or more points. After these conditions are met, points are generally counted the same as in Knock Off. One exception is a hanger. Hangers earn you a lot of points. A weight that is hanging off the end of the playing surface (but not over one of the corners of the playing surface), is worth 13 points. A weight that is hanging over the edge of a corner of the playing surface is worth 26 points.
In Horse Collar shuffleboard rules, the first player holding the hammer (the last shot in the frame) to reach at least 51 points is declared the winner. If the first player to reach 51 points does not have the hammer, the game will continue until one player has both the hammer shot and 51 points or more. Once that happens, the player with the highest score wins the game.
Shuffleboard Rules: Crazy Eight
Crazy Eight is a fun and challenging alternative to regular shuffleboard rules. Rather than shooting pucks one at a time, a player shoots four pucks of the same color, all at once, using one hand. In order to score, all four of those pucks have to both stay on the playing surface and land beyond the foul line. If the pucks meet those requirements, the player will then get to shoot the remaining four pucks of the other color one at a time. The goal then is to try to knock off the four pucks you just worked so hard to keep on the board! If you are able to knock off all of the original four pucks you shuffled, and still keep at least one of the second colored pucks on the board (and past the foul line), then you earn the score for whatever that puck is worth, according to Knock Off Shuffleboard scoring. To play your best game, make sure to properly maintain your shuffleboard table.
Players stand at opposite ends of the table and stay there until the end of the game. Each player has a turn in each frame, and plays to an agreed upon number of points, usually 15 or 21. Once someone reaches the agreed upon number of points, continue playing until the frame is over. Whoever has the most points at the end of that frame wins the game.
Now that you know how to play shuffleboard, grab a friend and start practicing your skills! Before long, you will be entering tournaments and playing like a pro.