It’s true that any game needs to keep itself regulated by a strict set of shuffleboard rules, otherwise things can get out of hand quickly. However, there are some rules out there that make us want to scratch our heads and ask why. Here’s a brief explanation of some of the more unique shuffleboard rules and why they are included in gameplay.
Rule 2.3: Weight caps shall not be switched or replaced on weights after the colors have been determined unless replacing a cap with the same color before the match starts, or replacing a damaged cap during the game. Weights may not be changed during play unless they are damaged.
We can only imagine how many times something like this has happened on a shuffleboard table before someone finally went and put it into the rulebook. It’s not like a lot of players would think to do this during a match, but keeping a lid on the weight caps makes sense in context. If perhaps a less than honorable player were to replace the normal caps with weighted ones, it could through off an opposing team’s game and give them an unfair advantage. Though, it seems like a simple “don’t mess with the pucks” rule would work just as well.
Rule 2.9: Winners shall make the board after the game is over. However if the next team using that board wishes to remake the board, they may do so if all players agree upon which player will remake the board. Otherwise they may request a tournament official or a mutually agreed upon third party, to remake the board.
It’s the end of the game, it’s not like it really matters who makes the board for the next group, right? Wrong. Just like the weight caps rule, officials need to make sure that no one is trying to give someone else an unfair advantage, or disadvantage as it were, by messing with the shuffleboard wax. If there is perhaps a bit of mistrust between two teams, the best thing to do is to have an official or third party make the board for the next game, to keep everything nice and fair.
Rule 5.3: A player or team shall be responsible to mark and track their due points at the end of each frame. Any points earned and not marked before the last weight of the next frame may be forfeited.
This is one of the more odd shuffleboard rules, considering the day and age of technology we live in. It seems that a designated scorer could easily be added into the game to keep track of points. It’s a little confusing, until you take this next rule into account as well:
Rule 5.6: Weights shall not be removed at the end of a frame until both parties have viewed and agreed upon the score to be marked. If a scoring weight is removed by an opponent before the players agree, the scoring weight will be given the maximum points in doubt.
Since the players have to make an agreement about what the score actually is (we can only imagine how many heated debates that may have caused) it only makes sense for them to keep track of the score as well. Bringing in a third party would more than likely just make things more confusing.
9.1 More than 30 seconds between shots, or more than five minutes between games once the match has started shall constitute slow play.
9.3 A player may walk to the opposite end of the board to examine the position of the weights, or ask their partner’s opinion on the value or position of a weight. Viewing the position of a weight at the opposite end of a board does not constitute a “time-out” and shall be exercised within the 30 second time limit.
Yikes, those are some harsh constraints on time, especially when including taking the time to view weight positions. But that’s what has to be done if we want the tournaments to finish within some reasonable time. Shuffleboard rules may be stern, but they’re fair.
Keep these shuffleboard rules in mind for your next tournament or even as a way wrangle your slow playing friends at home. They weren’t put together by any malevolent group of officials who want to make the games less enjoyable, they’re made by people who are just as passionate about the game as we are, and want each and every shuffleboard game to be as enjoyable and efficient as possible.