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What Are The Rules Of Shuffleboard?

Updated on August 26, 2017
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The Shuffleboard Federation has been providing premium quality table shuffleboard products since 1987.

Table shuffleboard has been around for a long time. In the 15th century England, it was popular after dinner game called shove-groat, in which players slid a large coin down a table. Modern table shuffleboard or American shuffleboard has changed since then, although the basic idea remains the same. Players push pucks (sometimes called weights, or quoits) down a long wooden table to the scoring area. The shooting action is performed with the player's hand. Experienced players learn to play with either hand. The object of the game is to slide, by hand, all four of your weights, taking turns with your opponent. You want your weights to reach the highest scoring area, but you do not want your weight to slip off the end of the playing surface into the alley. To gain points, your weights must be the farthest down the board. This can be done either by outdistancing your opponent's weights or knocking them off.

Equipment

Be sure to use discs from the same set, so that they are a consistent weight and thickness. There are eight discs in a set, four in each of two contrasting colors.

Points

A singles game is played by two people and a doubles game is played by four people. When playing singles, the game is played to 15 points. When playing doubles, the game is played to 21 points. It is a good idea to agree on the number of points to win before starting the game. Both players shoot from the same end. Players alternate end after each round.

Playing

There are various versions of shuffleboard, but there are a set of rules that players commonly follow. Players flip a coin to determine who goes first. It is to your advantage to shoot last. Players take turns shuffling the weights to the other end of the table. A player may not cross the near foul line while the weight is in his hand. The weight must cross the far foul line in order to be eligible for scoring. Generally, a weight that does not pass the short or long foul line is removed from the table. This is done so that it does not block the next player's shot. If the weight goes off the end of the table, or into the alley, it is not counted towards the score. To begin, the players toss the coin to decide who starts and what color weights each player has.

Let's imagine you are the first player. You slide your first weight towards the other end of the table, which becomes the scoring end. Your opponent then takes a turn and tries to either outdistance your weight or knock it off. You both continue to take turns until all eight weights have been played. This completes a round of play. If your leading weight is the farthest down the table, you win the round and your score is totaled according to the zone it is in. The weight must be completely in the zone to score. A winning weight that extends over the far edge of the table is called a hanger and counts as 4 points. No score is recorded when the leading weights for each player are tied. If a weight crosses the foul line closest to the shooter, it is considered legal and remains on the table. As the winner of the round, you shuffle the first weight on the next round. The game continues in this manner until you or your opponent scores the winning point.

Penalties and violations

  • Points resulting from violations are deducted from the score of the offending player or team. Common violations include:
  • Weights not in starting area 5-off
  • Played weight touching front or back line 5-off
  • Shooting opponent's weight 10-off
  • Stepping on or over the baseline while shooting 10-off
  • Touching any part of body on or over baseline any time while executing a shot 10-off

Note that these are rules used for casual home play. For tournaments or league play, check for specific rules and violations. Shuffleboard is easy to learn and fun to play for all ages. Start playing today!

© 2017 The Shuffleboard Federation

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