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What are the Rules and Scoring to Play Table Shuffleboard?


To understand what table shuffleboard is, you must first understand the original game that it’s based on. Deck shuffleboard (or floor shuffleboard) is a game where players use cues to slide weighted discs down a narrow game court, aiming for specific marked areas to earn points. Table shuffleboard follows a lot of the same principles, but on a much smaller scale.

With table shuffleboard, opposing players take turns sliding weighted discs called pucks or stones down the length of the play table, aiming for marked zones to earn points. The goal of the game is to earn the most points without having your pucks fall off the edge of the table. Table shuffleboard can be played one-on-one or in even-numbered teams.

What are the rules of table shuffleboard?

Shuffleboard-Blurry-BackgroundThe specific rules of table shuffleboard depend on the type of game variation you decide to play. In a generic game, the player who earns the highest score by simultaneously sliding their pucks the furthest and knocking their opponent’s pucks off the table is the winner.

But for those players looking for a bit more of a challenge, there are different variations of the game that can really make table shuffleboard incredibly exciting. Each version of the game has its own set of rules and point allotment for pucks shuffled down the board.

Horse Collar Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard-Deuce-Trey-LinesHorse Collar is a very popular variation that can be played on any standard table shuffleboard. The goal of the game is to get 51+ points, but there are a specific set of rules that makes this achievement incredibly challenging. Horse Collar can be played one-on-one or in teams of even numbers. Each player uses four stones (pucks) per frame that they can shuffle.

Both teams must agree on what the foul line should be (there are several lines on the table shuffleboard before the halfway point). Any pucks that stop before the foul line don’t count towards their total score. There are five specific ways to score points.

Points System
  • Any pucks that lie between the foul line and the deuce line (the line right before the section labeled ‘2’) equals one point
  • Any pucks that lie between the deuce line and the trey line (the line before the section labeled ‘3’) equals two points
  • Any pucks that lie between the trey line and the edge of the board equals three points
  • Pucks that fall off the board and into the gutter don’t earn any points

Shuffleboard-Zones-Hanger-3But there are two special ways to earn points. If a player is able to shuffle their weight so that it’s balanced on the edge of the board past the trey line, this equals thirteen points. The move is also known as a ‘13-point hanger’ because of the way the weight ‘hangs’ on the edge of the board. If a player is able to place a weight on the edge of the corners past the trey line, they can earn a total of twenty-six points (aptly named ‘26-point hangers’).

How to Win

As mentioned before, the goal of a game of Horse Collar is to be the first to earn 51+ points. Once the first player or team reaches or surpasses 51 points within their turn, this triggers the final round (also known as ‘a frame’).

The second team will still be given the opportunity to finish their frame, at which point scores are counted, and the player or team with the most points is the winner. If the second team or player earns 51+ points before the first, they are automatically considered the winner.

Similar to the rules of curling, players can try and bump their opponents’ pucks off and into the gutter to keep them from scoring too high. While this does add to the challenge and fun of the game, it can also result in having your own pucks fall off the edges of the board.

Knock Off Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard-Zones-Lined-2Knock off is another table shuffleboard variation designed for one-on-one or for teams of two. The first team to reach a score of fifteen is declared the winner. A coin flip determines which player or team shuffles first. Knock off is an ideal game for those looking for a quick game and enjoy a simple scoring system.

Points System

Similar to Horse Collar:

  • Any pucks that lie between the foul line and the deuce line equals one point
  • Any pucks that lie between the deuce line and the trey equals two points
  • Any pucks that lie between the trey line and the edge of the board equals three points
  • If a weight is balanced on the back edge of the trey line, this is known as a ‘hanger’ and equals four points

Unlike in Horse Collar, pucks hanging off the corners or side edges do not count. Additionally, pucks only count for points if they are positioned past the opponent’s farthest weight.

For example, if team one’s furthest weight stopped at the trey line, only pucks past the trey line would count towards team two’s score. As a result, any of team one’s pucks before the trey line would be ‘knocked off’ the score.

Crazy Eight Shuffleboard

This variation of table shuffleboard can actually involve a gambling element. Crazy eight is played one-on-one or in even-numbered teams. Players alternate turns after throwing all eight (four per player) of their pucks, and the first to earn an agreed upon number of points (usually fifteen, or twenty-one) is declared the winner.

What makes Crazy Eights so crazy is that four pucks must be thrown simultaneously with one hand down the length of the board. If any pucks fail to score, this is known as a ‘hickey.’ For every hickey, players must place a dollar in a jar for collection. The winner of the game earns the sum total of the jar.

Points System

Crazy Eights follows a similar scoring system to a standard game of knock off. The only exception is that any weight that falls between the deuce line and the foul line is counted as one point. If a weight is balanced on the end of the board past the trey line, it is counted as four points.

Tap & Draw Shuffleboard

A game of tap and draw is played to 15 points (like Knock off) or 51+ points (like Horse Collar). The main objective is to shuffle your pucks to the farthest scoring position (past the trey line) without knocking any other pucks on the board. Players take turns shuffling pucks until all eight have been thrown – four pucks (stones) per player.

In this variation, your pucks are allowed to ‘tap’ other pucks to try and move them around on the board, just not knock them into the gutter. If you accidently knock your own weight into the gutter, they remain out of play until the game is over. If you accidently knock on of your opponent’s pucks into the gutter, they get to put the weight back in its original position.

Points System

If you’re playing to 15 points:

  • Pucks between the foul line and the deuce line equals one point
  • Between the deuce line and the trey line, pucks count as two points
  • Anything past the trey line equals three points
  • And if you manage a hanger, the weight is worth four points

If you’re playing Tap & Draw up to 51+ points:

Then follow the same scoring method as Horse Collar. The only difference is that you’re not allowed to knock any of your opponent’s pucks into the gutter to gain a point advantage.

Target Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard-Zones-TargetAnother variation of table shuffleboard is known as Target Shuffleboard. Instead of using the shuffleboard lines to determine how points are awarded, Target Shuffleboard requires players to aim for a specific zone. Target Shuffleboard is typically played until one player (or one team) reaches 21 points. In this variation, it is highly encouraged that you try and knock your opponent’s pucks into the gutter to reduce the number of points they earn.

Points System

The player who threw the furthest-reaching weight is the only one who is awarded the point. The first to 21 is the winner.

  • Zone one is worth one point
  • Zone two is worth two points
  • Zone three is worth three points
  • Any pucks balanced on the back edge of zone three are worth four points

Players can use their other pucks to try and ricochet off of placed pucks in hopes of blocking their opponent from a clean throw or to knock them into the gutter.

Conclusion

Deck shuffleboard can commonly be found played on cruise ships, as it’s a very simple game requiring few parts. Table shuffleboard can sometimes be found in the hands of private collectors, sometimes in bars or community halls, and most importantly in our gamerooms.

The primary objective of any variation of table shuffleboard is to be the player or team that earns the most points by shuffling and controlling where your puck/stone ultimately lands on the table. The number of points you have to earn, as well as how points are calculated, vary depending on which variation of the game you decide to play.