Depending on who you are, you may think of very different games when someone asks, “So, you wanna play some shuffleboard?” Table shuffleboard is a popular game in bars and pubs, while floor shuffleboard is now often associated with retirement communities and cruise ships. The two games and their origins share some common elements – but they also have some significant differences.
As with lots of games played in the United States, the history of shuffleboard goes back to many centuries ago in merry old England. Documentation of a game called “schoffe-groat” can be found as far back as the 1400s. This early version of the game used a coin called a groat and would see who could slide it the closest to the other end of a table without it falling off. At some point, the royals also got in on the fun. The English royal ledger even shows notes where King Henry VIII had to pay out nine pounds to Lord William:
‘Paied to my lord Wylliam for that he wanne of the kinges grace at shovillaborde’ – or as we might say today, ‘The king lost and had to pay Lord William, and Lord William better hope he doesn’t end up like one of Henry’s deceased wives.’
The game has had many versions but has always involved sliding a round disc down a surface towards a scoring area. Both table and floor shuffleboard follow this formula. They also both require competitors stand next to each other on one side of the surface. The competitors alternate turns, potentially allowing the other to knock off the previous player’s points. There are doubles versions of both games; after players on one side are finished taking their shots, the players on the other side can then gather the discs and slide them back across during their turn.
The main difference between table shuffleboard and floor shuffleboard is that they are played on different surfaces. The names make clear what that distinction is for each. Table shuffleboard is played on a smooth, wooden table that could be anywhere from 8 feet up to 22 feet. The pucks are slid to the other side by hand. Floor shuffleboard is played on a 52-foot by 6-foot court with the discs being shot by a long cue with a prong at the end.
The other key difference is in the scoring. In most versions of table shuffleboard, scoring is from 1-4 points. For the shortest shots that make it past the foul line, those count as one point. Then there are sections for two and three points before the edge of the table. If a player can get a puck into the three-point section but with part of the puck overhanging the edge of the table, that turn counts for four points. Depending on the number of players, typical games are to 15 points (2 players) or 21 points (4 players).
Scoring in floor shuffleboard is much more complicated. Triangle-shaped areas on either side of the court have sections marked off for different scoring. The most points are achieved by getting into the small tip of the triangle – which is worth 10 points – even though it is closer, not farther, from the players. Then there are areas for 8 points and 7 points as well as a large area marked “10 off” that takes away 10 points.
Triangle Home Gamerooms has shuffleboard tables
Because we focus on gamerooms, you can probably guess which of these two versions of shuffleboard you would be able to find at Triangle Home Gamerooms. Our convenient location between Durham and Raleigh has different models of shuffleboard tables as well as pucks, table powder, and other accessories. Come see us, and we’ll show you our selection.
If you would like more information about any of our products, please call us at (919) 661-2738.