Where did all this salt come from? Oh, you just played a game of shuffleboard, fun. Take a seat at this barstool and I’ll slide you some knowledge of the game.
It is likely that not everyone is familiar with shuffleboard. Is it the term used to describe the table space in front of a blackjack or poker dealer? Is it a sidewalk designated exclusively for slow-moving teens who can’t seem to pick up their feet? Maybe a device used by the elderly to help them stay on their feet. Those would all be good guesses, but no, it is none of those things.
The shuffleboard we’re talking about is a bar game that involves sliding a small round weight down a long, salt covered narrow board, attempting to place it in a better scoring position than your opponent. It is also referred to as American, table, or indoor shuffleboard. As well as slingers, shuffle puck, and quoits. You may be familiar with the larger scaled version as seen in retirement communities or on cruize ships, where they use a long stick to slide larger weights down a longer and wider, ground-based board. The table version only requires a little hand-eye coordination, two sets of four weights, and two or four players.
The surface of a regulation-sized board is made of polished and sealed wood, is 22 feet long, about 30 inches off the ground, and only 20 inches wide. A foul line is drawn six feet in from each end with two more lines at 12 inches and 6 inches from each end as well. These two lines are called the 2 and 3 point lines.
To start a game the players or teams must decide who goes first. Traditionally a coin toss would determine this, but sometimes an informal “you can go first” works just as well. After all, it is advantageous to go second in this game.
The players then slide their weights, or pucks, down the board in alternating order. Each player begins with four. The goal is to get their weights as close as possible to the other end of the board without sliding off the end or sides as well as advancing beyond the foul line. If a weight stops short of the foul line it is to be removed immediately. It is common for players to deliberately knock into their opponents’ weights, with their own, attempting to deflect them out of play and putting themselves in a better position to score points.
Rounds in shuffleboard are called “ends”. Once all the weights have been slide by both players, the end is over, and the score can be tallied. To score any points, a players weight must be on the table, have fully crossed the foul line, and be nearer to the end then their opponents best weight. Only the closest weight(s) to the end can score any points. A weight can score anywhere from 1-4 points. Fully crossing the foul line up to touching the 2 point line gets you 1 point. To get 2 or 3 points the weight must be positioned completely across the respective point line. Any weight touching a line counts as being in the lower scoring area. If a player manages to get a weight to overhang off the end of the board, that counts as 4 points. If it is too close to tell, sliding a flat object across the end of the board can help determine if it is actually overhanging or not. If the weight moves as it passes, then it was overhanging.
The winner of each end goes first in the next round. If no points are scored, the winner of the previous end then goes second. A game played with just two players goes until the winner scores 11 points, while games with four players, or doubles, play to 21.
If you’re interested in seeing a little bit of what all goes into the manufacturing of one of these shuffleboards, check out this video about Hudson Shuffleboards.
Okay, we’re up. Better have the bartender sit out the butter because these guys are toast! Hopefully, I helped you learn something new today. Thanks for listening and see you next week.