Shuffleboard is an exciting, challenging and often dramatic table game to play, whether it’s for fun with friends, in a tournament environment or at home on your own.
There are a several different games to play and ways to score, so familiarise yourself with the following, then get your shuffle on…
How to start…
You only need three things to start and play a game of shuffleboard:
1. You need a shuffleboard table
2. You need a full set of pucks (4 x blue, 4 x red)
3. You need to evenly apply silicon beads to the table
How to play with 2 players
Shake hands with your opponent, then decide who plays first with a coin toss or single game of rock-scissors-paper. It is to your advantage to play after your opponent, so good luck. You’ll be playing from the same end, taking turns with your opponent to slide your pucks along the table to the scoring sections at the other end.
Outscore your opponent by either outdistancing their pucks or by knocking their pucks off the board. The best players mix finesse, power and strategy.
Any puck that falls off the table must remain in the cradle gutter and is a no-score. Any puck that falls short of the foul line must be removed from the table before the following player takes their turn. It is a no-score.
Once all pucks have been played, walk to the end and calculate the score. The traditional way of scoring sees the player with the furthest puck down the table winning the round. Calculate that player’s score by adding the points of all the winning pucks that sit further then the other player’s best puck. The losing player receives no points for the round.
NB. Although the above mentioned is the traditional way to score in shuffleboard, there are actually several different ways to score/play. Check out “Different Ways To Score” for the variations.
Once you’ve calculated the result for that end, mark down the score and continue playing. Shuffle the pucks back up the table again, with the winner of the previous round starting.
Continue playing up and down the table until one player wins with a total of 15 points. You’ve got to win by 2!
How to play with 4 players
Shake hands with your opponents, then decide who plays first with a coin toss or single game of rock-scissors-paper.
Team members play from opposite ends of the shuffleboard table, only two people play at each end. You and an opponent play from one end while your team mate and the other opponent play from the other end.
Take turns with your opponent to slide your pucks along the table to the scoring sections at the other end. All eight pucks must be played. Your team mate at the other end of the table can give you instructions and shot suggestions, but they must not touch the table or pucks.
Outscore your opponent by either outdistancing or outmaneuvering their pucks or by knocking their pucks off of the board. Some people play with finesse, some play with power, the best play a mixed game.
Any puck that falls off the table must remain in the cradle gutter and is a no-score.Any puck that fall short of the foul line must be removed from the table before the following player takes their turn. It is a no-score.
Once all pucks have been played, your partners will calculate the score. The player whose puck is furthest down the table is the winner of the round. Calculate the total score by adding the points of all the winning pucks that sit further than the losing players best puck. The losing team receives no points for the round.
Once the scores have been calculated for that end, it’s your team mate and opponent’s turn to play their end. They will shuffle the pucks back down the table towards you, with the first turn going to the team mate of the previous winner.
Continue the back and forth play until one team wins with a total of 15 points. They’ve got to win by 2!
Different ways to score your game
- All games shall be played to 15 points unless otherwise agreed upon by the players.
- All games must be won by 2 points (15-13 or 19-17).
- Any puck that does not cross the foul line must be removed from the board before the next turn and scores no points.
- Any puck that falls off the table into the cradle gutter scores no points.
- Each player or team shall be responsible to mark down and track their points after each end.
- Pucks shall not be removed at the completion of an end until all players have agreed upon the score.
Pucks that sit in the 1-Zone score 1 point each. Pucks that sit in the 2-Zone score 2 points each. Pucks that sit in the 3-Zone and hang off the very end of the table (hangers) score 3 points each.
NB. Some players prefer to score hangers as 4 points, but this way of scoring must be agreed upon before starting a game.
Knock Off – Traditional
- The furthest placed puck wins the end for that player.
- The winning player scores all of their pucks that sit further on the table then the opponent’s furthest puck.
- If the winning player has 2 pucks in the 3-Zone and the loser’s best puck sits in the 1-Zone, the score is 6-0 for that end.
- If the winning player has 1 pucks in the 3-Zone and 2 pucks in the 1-Zone, while the loser’s best puck sits in the 2-Zone, the score is 3-0 for that end, because the winner does not count any pucks that sit shorter than the opponent’s best puck.
Variation – One Puck
- The furthest placed puck wins the end for that player and the score is added to that player’s game total.
Variation – All Pucks
- All pucks that stay on the table are scored, no matter what their position.
- If one player has 1 puck in the 3-Zone and the opponent has 3 pucks in the 1-Zone, the score is 3-3 for that end.
- If the end is scored even, the first turn goes is switched to the player who played second in the previous end.
Sliding the puck
- Pucks must be slid/shuffled/pushed along the table
- Pucks must be played one at a time (unless you’re playing “Crazy Eight”)
- Pucks must be released before the foul line
- Always check the bottom of the weight for dirt build up before starting a game
Hints, Tips & Strategies
Attack an opponent whenever possible by knocking his pucks off the playing surface and into the cradle gutter.
Defend your own weights from an opponent’s attack. Once you have a puck placed in prime scoring position, use your subsequent turns to surround it, block it and protect it from your opponent’s pucks.
Try to place two scoring pucks on each corner of the board. This should be your aim if you shoot first and your opponent fails to knock your first weight from the board.
Attack your opponent’s weights when you shoot second; if you are able to eliminate all of your opponent’s weights from the board, you win the round by default so long as you have at least one weight on the board.
When defending your weights, be careful not to place your defenders too close to your scoring weight, as a skilled attacking opponent can eliminate both at once.
Learn to use spin and learn to use both hands for shuffling with equal skill. Practice the same number of shots with both hands, so that you can place a weight in better position on the table.
Before a player shoots, the player can dust the board if dry spots are showing.
Players must have one foot behind the playing surface while they are shooting.
Hitting, bumping or shaking the table is never allowed.