How To Play Table Shuffleboard

Table shuffleboard is one of the oldest pub games we know of today. It is believed to have originated in Europe over 600 years ago, and has changed little since. The game lost its popularity in the 1960s, but today it is making a resurgence as a family friendly game. 

The great thing about shuffleboards is that almost anyone can play this game. The rules are simple, and with a number of variations, you can easily switch up your play for teams, or a greater level of competition.

outdoor shuffleboard

How is Table Different from Floor Shuffleboard?

We’d like to address this question first, since people often think that the rules of these two games are very different. The fact is, both games have similar rules, it’s just the equipment that is different.

Floor shuffleboard is played on the floor (yes, that’s obvious) which is also known as the “deck”. You use cues (like a pool cue) to push your puck down the deck marked on the floor.

Table shuffleboard is played on a long, narrow table. The table is shorter than the floor deck, and narrower as well. The table has a gutter around all four sides, this is called the alley. Players use their hands to shove their puck toward the scoring end of the table. The goal is to not drop your puck into the alley.

Both the deck in floor shuffleboard and the table in table shuffleboard are waxed to increase slide. This can greatly increase the difficulty of both games.

An old school tavern game….shuffleboard

The Rules of Tabletop Shuffleboard

If you are ready to enjoy some table shuffleboard on your next visit to your local pub, here are the rules of the game, so that you can play like an expert.

1. Find some players. Shuffleboard requires at least two players. If you only have two people, you’ll play a singles game. However, there is a doubles option as well. For doubles table shuffleboard, you’ll need four people.

2. Hand out the pucks. Each person (singles) or team (doubles) will get four pucks. Usually the pucks are colored red and blue. One person/team will play red, and the other will play blue.

3. Toss a coin. This is the traditional way to determine who starts the game. You can use other methods, but a coin toss seems to be the easiest option.

4. Slide your pucks. Each person or team will take turns shoving their puck down the table. The goal is to get as many of your pucks as far down the table as possible, without a puck falling into the alley. You may want to use your puck to knock your opponent’s pucks from the table. This is a fun way to increase the competitiveness of the game.

5. Score your game. The way shuffleboard scoring works is that you can only score pucks that have gone past your opponent’s furthest puck. The table is marked with the point values for each section of the table. 

6. Collect your pucks. The team or person with the most points will start the next round. Singles will play to a score of 15 points, doubles will play to a score of 21 points.

While the basic game is fun, for added excitement, table shuffleboard has a number of variations. Variations change the scoring scheme or add interesting twists to make the game more competitive. Table shuffleboard is a great game that the whole family can enjoy. While it seems complicated at first glance, shuffleboard is actually quite easy to play. 

Tom Erickson