Shuffleboard is a centuries-old game that’s in the midst of a big comeback in Britain – as you’ll already know if you’ve seen our recent post on the list of up-and-coming UK venues to enjoy this brilliant game. Like many of the enduring games we stock here at the Games Room Company, the historic game of shuffleboard has gone through its own peaks and troughs over the centuries, but its famously addictive gameplay ensures that it always bounces back. That gameplay, though, is just part of the reason for its ever-lasting international appeal – this week at the Games Room Company, we look at a couple more!
1. Literally anyone can play it
When you think about it, a great many games heavily depend on speed and agility to build tension in the outcome. There are the obvious examples of physical sports like football and rugby, but it’s true of tabletop games too, like our retro arcade video games or our refurbished pinball tables. They may not require a lot of running about (if they do, you’re playing them wrong), but there’s no denying that the fastest reflexes get you the most reward.
Shuffleboard, on the other hand, is a game of patience, tactics and sleight of hand. It’s not gendered and demands no physical feats of speed or agility from players, and even those with wheelchairs or canes can play it just as well as those in peak physical ability. (You can’t say that about every international game!) While the rules might take a brief bit of explanation, the underlying principle is understandable at a glance. Most importantly, it possesses that treasured characteristic of all the most timeless games – easy to pick up, and hard to truly master.
2. It's a highly social game
One of the main reasons why shuffleboard does so well in bars and pubs throughout the world is that it’s a game conducive to conversation, to socialising and making friends. Friendly rivalries quickly develop in one-on-one games, and in team scenarios, the fact that only one person can take a shot at a time leaves plenty of time for everyone else to enjoy their drinks, mingle and relax – when they’re not cheering on their teammates, that is!
3. It comes in many different forms
As we touched upon above, shuffleboard is a centuries-old game, and it’s had an impressive range of influences. That means that throughout history, various countries and cultures have had ample time to put their own stamp on the game, and that’s resulted in a number of fascinating variants. We won’t list these exhaustively, but just a couple of them include:
- Table Shuffleboard – the most popular type of shuffleboard in the United States and the UK, and the formal name for the type of shuffleboard tables we stock right here at the Games Room Company.
- Deck Shuffleboard or Floor Shuffleboard – a larger-scale variant of the game most frequently played on cruise ships, with the deck serving as the playing surface.
- Bankboard or Bumper Shuffleboard – we confess, we can’t help but think of this one as ‘shuffleboard with stabilisers’. It’s essentially the same game, but the playing surface is lined with banks of rubber cushions that run the length of the table, allowing players to ricochet their shots around their opponents’ pucks. Basically, these cushions act on the same principle as those on pool tables.
- Sjoelen – influenced by the historic game of bagatelle (which modern pinball tables are also partially based upon), Sjoelen is a Dutch variant of the game which consists of a long unidirectional board with small open doorways placed at one end. The aim is for players to get these pucks into the doorways to score.
Although the variants are fun in their own way, we’re most partial to the most well-known format of the game ourselves. It’s got just the right balance of difficulty to be rewarding, without being too frustrating!
4. It's something of an international icon
This is a lot to do with what we were just discussing; so many countries and cultures have their own take on the game that it allows them to claim a certain amount of sovereignty over their own version. Thus, the game of shuffleboard becomes a shared symbol of individual national pride – quite the achievement for any game!
If you’re wondering about the British take on shuffleboard, well here at the Games Room Company actually developed a couple of our own. We manufacture them under the personal brand of our Managing Director, Alexander Waldersmith, and we’re thrilled to say they’re doing very well indeed – especially our Buckingham shuffleboard table, which is a particularly impressive sight in any interior. Not sure what we mean? Why not click the link above to find out more about it – or alternatively, come and visit us in our Weybridge showroom to see what else we’ve got in stock!