The 8 Best Shuffleboard Tables
8. Hathaway Avenger
- one-inch thick playing surface
- plastic feet dig into carpet
- does not include instructions
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
7. Atomic Platinum
- comes with eight pucks and wax
- more affordable than similar options
- materials are somewhat cheap
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Playcraft Coventry
- available in four lengths
- walls and gutters are carpeted
- included play pieces are low quality
|Model||COVENTRY ESPRESSO 9-P|
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Hathaway Challenger
- plywood corners are cabinet-grade
- includes integral climate adjusters
- included wax is too fast
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
4. Playcraft Woodbridge
- hardwood cherry construction
- uses less space than a pool table
- perfect for entertaining guests
|Model||WOODBRIDGE CHERRY 9-P|
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
3. Fairview Signature
- built-in storage cabinet in one leg
- chrome leg levelers included
- twelve feet long
|Brand||Fairview Game Rooms|
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Playcraft Georgetown
- three types of finishes available
- level can be easily adjusted
- sturdy and won't tip easily
|Model||GEORGETOWN ESPRESSO 12-|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Carmelli Dark Cherry
- includes shuffleboard wax
- easily adjust to climate with wrench
- weighs 250 pounds
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
The Beautiful, Sandy Game
If you’re lucky enough to live within striking distance of a bar or rec room that contains of shuffleboard table, then you’re undoubtedly familiar with how competitive matches can become. The game seems so simple at first blush, and its rudiments are fairly straightforward. From there, however, the nuances and complexities of the game only grow.
For those of you who are a little unfamiliar with the game, here are its basic tenets:
Two players — or two teams of players — face off in an effort to slide little pucks made of plastic and metal from one end of the shuffleboard table to the other. Either end of the board contains scoring lines. A puck across a line is worth a certain number of points, with the lines closest to the far edge of the table leading to the highest scoring areas. This way, riskier shots that might go too far and fall off the table are rewarded with more points. It's like a much more complicated version of paper football.
Players or teams take turns shooting, giving either side an opportunity to knock the other team’s pucks out of place or to land pucks in a defensive position, making it harder for the other team to score points. If a puck fails to cross the initial line that opens up the scoring area, or if a puck goes off the table to the side or in the back, it is taken out of play and is not eligible for any points.
Once all the pucks have been played, the team with the puck or pucks in the highest scoring zones wins. Points are calculated by adding together the number of points scored by the winning team counting from the farthest end of the table backward, with the tally stopping at the first opposing team’s puck. For example, if the red team wins a set with two pucks in the three-point zone and one in the two-point zone, but the blue team also has a puck in the two-point zone that’s closer to the end of the table than the red team’s, only the red pucks in the three-point zone will count, and they, combined, are worth six points.
One of the things about shuffleboard that makes it so fascinating is the texture of the surface. While most surfaces are made of finished wood, they are also often covered in a thin layer of silicone beads often referred to as shuffleboard wax. They aren’t made of wax at all, but they serve to speed up the play of the table, acting kind of like ball bearings beneath the puck as it glides. Depending on the level of skill you expect your players to have, you can go with any variety of wax, some of which create a lot more speed than others. This material often lasts a while, as it collects in the puck-catching gutter that runs around the whole of the table, and can easily be reused.
What To Look For In a Shuffleboard Table
Before you select a shuffleboard table, it’s important for you to realize that these are heavy installations. They’re often made of solid wood and will likely remain where you put them for years to come, very much like a good pool table. Whether you’re a business owner looking to put your new shuffleboard table in a bar, pub, or restaurant, or you’re simply an enthusiast looking to add some class to a game room in your house, your intentions for the table will go a long way towards helping you pick a model.
Bar owners know how rowdy customers can get, and how disrespectful they can be toward your facilities. One look at any bar’s collection of bent and mismatched darts (as well as the absent space left behind by lost and stolen projectiles) can quickly confirm this. If you have this kind of clientele, it might be a good idea to save a little money on your table and go with a model made from less expensive wood. At the end of the day, most of the woods used in these tables are comparably durable, and it’d be much less painful to replace a cheaper shuffleboard table that’s been beaten into uselessness by drunken fools. Less expensive tables are also ideal for environments where children will have access to the game.
If you have a classier sort of customer on your hands, or if your game room is off limits to anyone who doesn’t meet certain height requirements, then you have the liberty to choose from among the finest tables on the market. These will be smoother-playing and heavier than their less expensive counterparts.
Whatever quality table you end up with, there are some additional features that can make the game easier and more enjoyable to play. High-quality pucks, included shuffleboard wax, and a built-in means for keeping score are among the most useful features to seek out.
A Brief History Of Shuffleboard
Shuffleboard tables are miniaturized versions of the original game of shuffleboard, which is played with much larger pucks that competitors move with long cues. The history of this full-sized game is muddy at best, but it is interesting that it, like croquet, eventually developed into a tabletop game, with billiards being the smaller, indoor offshoot of that lawn-based pastime.
We do know that shuffleboard, or some variant thereof, was played in the royal court of King Henry VIII. As with many of the games played in that court, the King made it illegal for commoners to play shuffleboard. Henry VIII was a big fan of making and breaking rules — just ask the Roman Catholic Church.
Since those days, the game has shared a marginal place with the likes of Bocce ball, and curling. Its tabletop variant is far more ubiquitous, gracing the halls of any good bar with a long enough room or wall to accommodate a table.