Shuffleboard is somewhat of an underrated game; it is fun and easy to play and thankfully this ancient game is enjoying something of a resurgence. It is believed that the game dates back 500 or 600 years ago and while there is some confusion over the exact location of origin it is thought to have begun life in Europe. It was recorded that King Henry VIII was a huge fan of shuffleboard, perhaps also proving that you do not need to be particularly fit to take part. In terms of physical activity, it is limited to shoving the puck with a paddle in towards a target area. This description might sound similar to you as also describing other games like curling, bowls and table air hockey, and you are certainly correct. However, it is the original variant of shuffleboard that becomes the focus of this article.

The Game

The game is played on the floor, most commonly with an outside court although over the years newer courts have been developed for indoors and portable purposes enabling clubs to compete and meet in many different locations. In its most basic form, the object of a shuffleboard match is to shove the weighted pucks using the paddle into a scoring zone, which reflects the amount of points you win depending on where the puck lands. When it is played outdoors there are strict measurements on the size of the court, it should be 52 feet long, by 10 feet wide. The sizing’s do not necessarily apply to the other types of court mentioned for indoor and portable use. Traditionally green in colour or a combination of green and red the long thin coat features two triangles at each end. Behind them is a six-foot space for the players to stand when they are playing towards the opposing end. There is then space in the middle which is left empty sometimes with a centreline marked sometimes with three lines dividing the rest of the space. The main body of the court is green and sometimes the ends for players to stand are red.

The Play


The game is played either as a singles game where two players play one-on-one against each other or as a doubles game with two players against the other two players. The maximum number of players will therefore be for. Looking at the triangles on the floor you can see that they are divided into three zones of different points. 10 appears at the tip of the triangle nearest the players pointing into the middle of the mat, then you have in descending order A row of two zones marked eight beneath this a row of two sevens and finally the 10 off zone across the base of the triangle which forms the penalty area. Each player has a paddle, which is officially called a Tang, and these are used to shove or propel the parks which are officially called biscuits into and towards the marked scoring triangle. The rules of the game states that the paddle, or Tang must not be any longer than 6 foot 3. A coin toss is used to determine which player or team of two will go first and these will naturally become the yellow biscuits. The second player or second double will become black pucks. The rules are also stringent on the size and shape of the Puck or biscuit; they must have a diameter of 6 inches and a thickness of no more than just 1 inch.


How the Game is Scored


The first player shoves the biscuits down the court and tries to land it in a scoring zone, each player gets four pucks each, and the scores are only registered once all eight have been shot. In order to count the biscuit must land entirely within a scoring zone and not be touching any of the lines otherwise it doesn’t count. So, as you can see there is an element of skill and luck. It is also a game of skill and tactics, as you may choose to send your biscuit down with the sole aim of knocking your competitor’s puck out of the scoring zone. If you knock it so it touches online it stops them scoring, if you send it into the 10 off zone, they receive a penalty which removes 10 points as you can probably guess. If a pack of either player lands on the line of the 10 off location there is a five-point penalty, and finally if the biscuits land outside of the court or touching the side-lines a 10-point penalty is applied.

The Rules


The game is either played for 10 rounds, or until one player reaches 75 points, whichever ever happens first. Should both players reach 75 during the same round the highest scoring player will win. The players take alternating turns to shit one pack of each until all eight are gone. You must shove the biscuit with one smooth sweep forwards and may not use hook shots. As players alternate, they must wait for the previous puck to come to a complete standstill before taking their turn. each game takes place at alternating ends of the court. Should you play a puck that belongs to a different player you will receive a 10-point penalty.


So, as you can see shuffleboard is an easy to play fun game that anyone can get involved with.