Table shuffleboard has been around for centuries, with variants of the game dating back to 15th-century England. Shuffleboard tables are often seen in bars and recreation centers, and the game's simplicity attracts both casual and skilled players. The game's rules are easy to learn, allowing players to focus on the finesse and accuracy required.
To play table shuffleboard (sometimes known as knock-off shuffleboard), you need a shuffleboard table and eight shuffleboard weights, four for each person. Liberally sprinkle the table with silicone beads to reduce friction with the weights. Flip a coin to decide which player goes first -- the winner of the flip can choose to go first or second. The player who goes second has the last shot of the game, known as the "hammer." For this reason, it is considered advantageous to go second.
Both players stand at one end of the table. The player who goes first slides a weight towards the opposite end of the table. The goal is to get the weight to land as close to the edge of the table as possible without falling off. If the weight does not cross the closest foul line, it must be removed from the game. After the first player has shot, the second player takes a turn and tries to land his weight closer to the edge and/or knock the first player's weight off the board.
Progression and Scoring
Players take turns shooting weights until all the eight have been used. When the round is over, the score is tallied based on the weights that rest within the numbered scoring areas. The player who has the weight closest to the end of the table scores points for all of his weights that are farther than the other player's farthest weight, while the other player scores no points. For example, if a blue weight lies in scoring area "3," a red weight in "2" and a blue weight in "1," the score would be Blue: 3 and Red: 0. If a weight hangs off of the end of the table, it is worth 4 points. A weight only gains points if it completely crosses into a scoring area; for example, if a weight rests on the line between "2" and "3," it is worth 2 points. If no weights remain on the board, or if both players' farthest weights are the same distance from the edge of the board, there is no score for the round.
After the round is over, players walk to the other end of the table and repeat the process. The player who scored points in the previous round must shoot first in the new round, thereby giving the other player the "hammer" advantage. If no points were scored in the previous round, the player who shot second must shoot first in the new round. The game continues until one player has scored 15 points.
Position your weights carefully in order to maximize your chances of scoring. If you have a particularly high-scoring weight on the table, try to place another weight behind it, to protect it from an attack by your opponent. Land weights in each corner of the board, to make it more difficult for your opponent to attack you. Practice shooting weights to improve your accuracy, and attack your opponent's well-placed weights.
Based in New Mexico, Carlos Soto has written video gaming and technology articles since 2005. His writing has appeared on popular websites such as GameFAQs and Destructoid. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dramatic writing from New York University.