Shuffleboard: From Across the Pond to Our Game Rooms
By Lance Lohr
I started playing shuffleboard in 2010 with my best friend at an establishment a few blocks from my house and from there I quickly fell in love with the game. Over the last 10 years I have I have found myself occupying a number of roles within the game including being a competitive player, league player, California Shuffleboard Hall of Fame Vice President, and national rater (providing input on player’s national ratings).
But one of my most rewarding roles is as a parent when we play shuffleboard at home as a family. It’s nice being able to put our personal digital devices down and come together, enjoying our time as a family while creating lasting memories. It’s interesting to think how the game has arrived in our communities.
In 15th Century England, people played a game of sliding a “groat” (a large British coin worth about four pence) down the length of a table. The games were played by young and old and was a favorite pastime in the country houses Staffordshire, Winchester, and Wiltshire. Shuffleboard or “shove groat” was an extremely popular game with the colonists and was played throughout the 13 colonies. Later, shuffleboard tables were built, originally 32 feet long, then shortened to 28 feet and then eventually 22 feet. The weights (pucks) were originally heavy brass but later turned to stainless steel of today. The game reached its peak in popularity in the 1940s-1950s when over 100 companies manufactured shuffleboard tables.
Today, there are hundreds of organized events throughout the country, some small, some large, with a North American Shuffleboard Championship (NASC) held in Reno, Nevada in late October every year. Hundreds of players compete in the 12-event tournament that takes place over a ten-day period in Reno. The motto of The Shuffleboard Federation, organizer of the NASC is, ”Friendship through Competition”. The competitive shuffleboard players play, practice, and hone their skills in preparation for the biggest event in North America.
How To Play:
There are several different types of games played on the shuffleboard table: Knock off, horse collar, crazy eights, and Maze. The most popular and most commonly played game in tournaments is “knock off”. This game can be played with 2 people or two teams of two people, singles or doubles. A player from each team will play at the opposite end of the board the entire game. To win, a team must be the first team to score 15 points. One team is red and the other is blue and they alternate shots each frame. Whichever team scores points, goes first the next frame. Points are scored by being farther down the table past their opponent. Scoring zones of 1, 2, 3, and weights hanging off the back edge or “hangers” 4 points are used to calculate a score.
Horse collar is played by each player throwing all eight weights in succession. The goal of the game is to score 51 points before your opponents. In order to score any points each round, one weight must be completely in the 3 zone or a “hanger”, and if not, no points are scored that frame. A “hanger” is worth 13 points in horse collar. This is a great game to practice bumping and tapping weights.
Most people play table shuffleboard in a more social climate, rather than in a tournament or competition. The goal is to have fun while playing a fair and competitive game with friends and family. One common courtesy is for each player to step back from the board after they have shot their weight, in order to give their opponent complete freedom of the board, with no interferences while shooting. Also, it is a common practice to shake hands before the start of a game and after a game is completed.
Carrom Tabletop Shuffleboard – Doorway into a Fun Community:
The great thing about the Carrom Table Top Shuffleboard Game is its ability to get people interested in the game with minimal financial investment and commitment of space. The game is great for any kitchen or coffee table or popped up by any campfire or backyard fire pit. Once people see how fun it is, then there is a really fun world waiting for them if they want to dive in deeper in the game.
I play recreationally with friends on weekends. I also play in a Shuffleboard league in Southern California and travelled and played in tournaments around the country. (California, Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, and Oklahoma).
I enjoy shuffleboard not only for the competition, but also for the friendships that I’ve created through going to new places and playing with new people. The shuffleboard community is a close-knit group that shows hospitality and appreciation for all those who play the game.
I hope to continue traveling to new venues and meeting new people through the game. I want to grow as a player and friend. I also hope the game will grow, with new players starting to play, and I will continue to show others the game as well.
Shuffleboard, friendship through competition.