The most common table shuffleboard game played around the world – for fun and in tournaments – is called “Knock Off”.
Knock Off is played one-on-one or with two teams of two people, with each team member playing at opposite ends of the table against one of the competitors.
Knock Off games are scored first to 15 points, although some people choose to play first to 21 (to lengthen the playing time) or first to 11 (to shorten the game).
Each game of Knock Off starts from an agreed end of the board, with players taking alternate shots until all pucks have been played. It is considered advantageous to play second, because the second player gets the final shot of that end.
When all of the pucks are played, points are counted up and then play continues from the opposite end with the previous winner starting off. If no points are scored at one end after all the pucks are played, the player that shot the last puck now plays the first shot in the next round.
The game finishes when one player/team scores a total of 15 points (or 11 or 21 if agreed).
The most common way of scoring in Knock Off is to count only a winner combination of pucks (ie. Only one team can score per round). All of the pucks that are ahead of their opponent’s deepest puck (closest to the end of the board) are added together for the score for that round.
A puck scores 1-point if it finishes between the foul line and the “2” line (in the 1-Zone). A puck that crosses the “2” or “3” line scores 2-points or 3-points, respectively. Some players elect to up-score a puck if it finishes more than half-way over a line (ie. Scoring a 3 if the puck moves 51% or more into the 3-Zone), but in USA Tournament rules this isn’t acknowledged, so confirm this before starting.
If a puck hangs over the end of the board when it comes to rest, the shot (called a “hanger”) scores a 3 unless it’s agreed before the game starts that hangers will score 4-points.
Any puck that doesn’t pass over the foul line must be removed from the table before the next turn & scores no points.
The game of Knock Off can be played with either “Foul Line” and the USA Tournament rules state that pucks are considered in-play when they are on the board and past the “Close Foul Line” (which is closest to the shooter).
The “Long Foul Line” is rarely used in competition, but is often preferred in domestic games and on shorter tables. It definitely requires more accuracy, skill and experience.
Note: Like any contestable table game, there are often several heated decisions to be made at a shuffleboard table. Which end should be played first? Who gets to be what colour? Who shoots to start? How will the game be scored?
All of these questions can be answered by one of two age-old and universally-accepted ways: Coin flip or a game of rock-scissors-paper! So simple, but oh so effective…