How often have you found yourself losing to your friends at a game of tabletop shuffleboard? Perhaps, you cannot get the rules straight and end up with a foul each time. Perhaps, you are new to the game and have not learned the many tricks your friends have acquired over the years. Whatever the reason, you always end up ashamed of losing such a simple game. I too, counted myself amongst the unfortunates who could not get the game right. Shuffleboard always seemed like a fun game to me and I was bent on learning it. So, after some helpful advice from a friend and a lot of practice, I finally perfected my shuffleboard game. Now, I almost always win as I know all the tricks and rules by heart!
When trying to perfect my game, I did go to the Internet only to come up with really complicated tutorials. These tutorials used very complex language and were very disorganized. They did nothing to simplify the learning process. Thus, I took it upon myself to help those forlorn souls seeking a proper guide to shuffleboard in the easiest way possible. So, if you are willing to learn how to play shuffleboard, buckle up, we are set to help you win!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO FOLLOW THIS TUTORIAL:
When learning how to play shuffleboard, ensure you have the following items beforehand:
- Shuffleboard tabletop: Shuffleboards mostly have a wooden finish and vary in length according to your preference. They have gutters on either side of the table.
- 8 pucks: 4 of one color and four of the other, usually red and blue.
- Shuffleboard wax: to ensure the board is smooth to help the pucks glide on it.
- A coin.
- A scoresheet.
Alternatives for Shuffleboard Tabletop:
Instead of a tabletop, you can use a bank-board which is equipped with cushions at the sides of the table instead of gutters. You can use a regular table as well, however, it must be smooth enough for the puck to slide across. I would recommend using the original tabletop as it is much smoother and slipperier, and the pucks will not harm it as much. It is easy for the puck to bounce off a cushion and so, a table with gutters is preferred.
Alternative for Pucks:
Coins can be used as replacements for pucks as they are easily available. However, I would not recommend using them if you had any other choice. You might have noticed that coins have small ridges at the edges, these can seriously damage the smoothness of the board. I recommend good old pucks for the best play.
Alternatives to Shuffleboard Wax:
Shuffleboard wax is great to use on a traditional lacquer board, but it can be slow as you need to buff the wax in. The fastest alternative is an aerosol polish which could be harmful to your health. Powder works great as well, however, it can be easily used in excess and the pucks will end up plowing the powder, slowing them down. I have found the shuffleboard wax to be the best for beginners learning how to play shuffleboard.
Step One: Set Up the Table and Position the Players
Before beginning to play, you need to polish the table with wax or powder. When playing with powder, each player can blow some powder down into the gulley. No more powder is allowed after the game begins, however, you can blow on the table to reposition the powder. For one-on-one play, each player gets four discs or pucks of the same color. Both players must stand at the far end, away from the scoring lines.
Step Two: Toss the Coin and Decide
Next, one of the team players should toss the coin and the other should call it. The one who wins has two choices. They can either choose the color of their disc or they can choose to play as ‘hammer’. This is a shuffleboard term meaning that the player who has hammer goes second. This term is extremely important to understand for those just learning how to play shuffleboard.
You might think, going first will be easier for you as it will provide you with more table space. The player who has the ‘hammer’ is usually always at an advantage. They can easily knock down the player’s puck. So, this is one place where losing might actually make you a winner in the long run.
Step Three: Play
The main focus of players is to slide their discs as far away as possible without it falling into the gutter. Ensure you do not push it too hard or else it will end up in the gutter. When your discs end up in the gutter, either by you or after getting knocked out by an opponent, you lose that puck.
You can follow any of the following strategies when you play:
- You can try to land your puck as close to the other end of the table as possible.
- You can try knocking the other player’s puck out of the table.
- You can try knocking your own puck into a higher scoring area.
- You can try shielding your winning puck with other pucks so it is protected from getting knocked off.
Each player takes alternative turns until you both run out of pucks.
Step Four: Score the Disks
After you are all out of disks, it is time to score the winning player’s disks. The one who has the farthest disc is the winner. Only the winner’s discs are scored. Out of those discs, only those are scored that are ahead of the opponents. For example, if red wins, then only those red discs will be scored that are ahead of the blue. The point distribution is given as follows:
- 4 points for a puck that hangs at the far end (not the edges) called a ‘Hanger’
- 3 points for a puck that crosses the 3-line, but does not hang off the far end.
- 2 points for a puck that crosses the 2-scoring line.
- 1 point for a puck that crosses the 1-scoring line.
- If a disk is touching a line, the player will get the points of the lower scoring area.
Step Five: Repeat
The pucks are then brought back, and the game is played again until one of the players achieves 15 or 21 points. They are then declared the winner.
Well, I bet all that shuffleboard talk has got you excited to try out your newly learnt skills. I hope I have sufficed the need for a complete and comprehensive guide on how to play shuffleboard. It was an incredible journey for me to learn all the tricks that go into winning the game such as blowing the powder from time to time, blocking your winning puck with other pucks and choosing the hammer. I wanted to share this with others who had a passion for the game and a willingness to conquer it.
Did you enjoy the tutorial? Put our steps to the test and leave comments below telling us how it turned out! Do not forget to show your appreciation by liking and commenting!