As a Greeley Avenue regular, you have probably stumbled past the 22 foot long monstrosity in the middle of the bar a few times. While it may look like a butcher block on steroids, it is actually a shuffleboard table. Not long ago that Tavern Shuffleboard was a very popular pastime, with a number of leagues all across town.
It’s a fun game once you know the basics, and in this blog post, we are going to teach you how to play.
There are actually several different shuffleboard games that can be played, so we are only going to cover the most popular, which is Knock Off.
(Before you play, you will first have to ask your favorite bartender for the shuffleboard weights. If he/she gives you a blank stare, just roll your eyes and ask for the “pucks”.)
The rules to Knock Off are pretty simple.
A match between two people is played to 15 points; if you’re playing doubles, the match goes to 21.
A match starts with a coin flip. Then, you and your opponent take turns sliding all your weights from one end of the board to the other. The object is to make it to the highest scoring area of the shuffleboard without falling off the end of the board or into the alley. In order to score, your weights need to be the farthest down the board. Important note: only one color can score per round. Whichever player/team that scores during the round shoots first in the following round, with the opposing player/team receiving the “hammer”. Players continue playing rounds until one player or team reaches 15 or 21 points. (It is an unspoken rule that the loser of the match buys the next round.)
Strategy comes into play as you either knock off your opponent’s weights, out distance them, or use your weights to protect your highest scoring weights. In shuffleboard vernacular, this is known as “putting pants on”.
There are two ways to “shoot” a weight. One way is freehand, with your fingertips on the top edge of the weight and the weight in the center of the board. Real shuffleboard players, however, shoot from the edge of the table. With a bit of practice, you can learn to control the speed and direction of your weight and even make it curve around your opponents weights.
Foul Line – the line just a few feet ahead of the shooter. At either end of the board All weights must cross the foul line.
Hammer – the last weight used in each round. It is usually an advantage to have the hammer, but if you have the hammer at the end of every round, it means you are losing.
Hanger – a shuffleboard weight that is hanging over the edge of the end of the table. This is good for one bonus point.
Lag – to slide your weight slowly down the length of the board to gauge the speed of the board.
Putting Pants On – to protect your higher scoring weights from being struck by your opponent.
Wax – the granular substance on the shuffleboard table. (Most people think this is sand or salt.) Wax helps the weight slide more easily down the board, and the table should be waxed every so often between matches.
Weight – A weighted Red or Blue object with which the game is played. Erroneously called a “puck”.