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Shuffleboard Tables Overview
Shuffleboard tables vary in length, usually within a 9–22 foot range and are at least 20 inches wide. Shuffleboard tables are intended to be kept level, but any given table may have its own slight slope, adding an extra challenge. In order to decrease friction, the table is periodically sprinkled liberally with tiny, sand-like beads of silicone or shuffleboard wax. These beads act like ball bearings, letting a puck slide down the table a great distance with only a slight push.
Each end of the shuffleboard table is divided into three scoring sections by straight lines across the width of the table. The scoring sections extend from the very edge of either end of the table towards the middle of the table, covering approximately one-third of the length of the table. The end of the table's outer scoring section covers approximately 4 to 5 inches from the edge, and is labeled with the number "3" in the middle (for "3 points"). The next section is adjacent to this section, of equal length, and is labeled with a "2." The final section, "1", is adjacent to section "2." This section is about 4 times the length of the first two sections. The center third of the table is unmarked. The line that separates the center third of the table and the beginning of the "1 point" section is called the "foul line" (a weight which does not pass the foul line closest to the player is removed from the table for the round). The table is surrounded by a gutter or alley. Pucks that accidentally fall, or are knocked into the gutter are out of play for the rest of the round.
Shuffleboard Table Game Play
In general, players take turns sliding, or "shuffling," the weights to the opposite end of the board, trying to score points, bump opposing pucks off the board, and/or protect their own pucks from bump-offs. Points are scored by getting a weight to stop in one of the numbered scoring areas. A weight must cross the line marking a scoring area completely to receive the points for that area. For example, a weight that's stopped partially in the 3-point area and partially in the 2-point area will only receive 2 points. A weight that's hanging partially over the edge at the end of the table in the 3-point area, called a "hanger" (or sometimes a "shipper"), usually receives an extra point.
Weights that haven't passed the foul line closest to the player are removed for the round. Pucks that fall off or are bumped off the table into the gutter are removed from play for the round. No points are tabulated until the end of the round.
When all weights have been shuffled, the player with the puck closest to the far edge of the table takes points for all pucks that are ahead of their opponent's furthest shot. The other player does not take points. For example: there is a red puck in 3, a red in 2, a blue in 1, and two red pucks in 1 but further away from the end of the table than the blue puck. Red player would receive 5 points, blue player does not score.
In one-on-one, each player is assigned a color of puck (4 pucks per player). Play begins at one end of the table, and each player alternates shuffling one weight at a time down towards the opposite end of the table (which becomes the "scoring end" of the table), until all 8 pucks have been shuffled. Each player tries to either land their puck closest to the end of the table, knock the opponent's pucks off the table, knock their own puck into a higher scoring area, or position a puck so that it will block their opponent from being able to hit another puck off the table.
This finishes the "round." Play then continues from the other end of the table, where the pucks have come to rest. When a set number of points has been reached by a player (often 15 or 21), that player has won that "frame." A "match" consists of a predetermined number of frames.
In two-on-two, teammates stand on the opposite end of the table and play every other round, shooting from alternating ends of the table. In effect two games are effectively played at once, with team scores combined. Sometimes players will switch to the other end of the table between frames.
An unofficial but common variation has all players at one end of the table. Each player will have 2 weights/shots per round. Teams alternate turns, with each teammate shooting every other turn.
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