In my experience,
shuffleboard players can be broken into two categories:
those that play with strategy
and those that don't.
There's nothing wrong
with playing a friendly game of
'push and giggle'
one of the best features of our game
is the fact that beginners
can easily learn the rules, push some disks,
and have a ton of fun.
But if you want to experience the true appeal of shuffleboard
dipping your feet in the shallow end
of the strategy pool
will surely be a rewarding
tinkling of the toes.
There's a grand history of shuffleboard strategy writers.
Unfortunately most of their books are long out of print…
If you can get you hands on the work of
Floyd Swem, Karl Von Shuler or Lary Faris
Snap that shit up!
I’m nowhere near the writer or the player that these legends of the game were, but in this column I'm going to try to distill some of the finer points of the game down to something concise and digestible.
Everyone has good shooting days and bad shooting days. Sometimes the disks do what you want and sometimes they just don't. The measure of a good player is one that can find a way to win even when they're not hitting shots.
You can’t always hit your shots—your weight is wrong, can’t quite grip the drift—but you can CHOOSE the right shot.
Perhaps the most important strategy advice ever given is written on the wall of The Royal Palms: "Trust Your Silent Captain."
The Silent Captain is the scoreboard. A good player plays very differently if they're ahead or behind, if it's early in the match or late in the match… Choosing the right shot is ALWAYS dependent on match situation.
Example: If yellow is ahead 15 points on the last frame of a game and yellow has one disk left and black has one disk left, then the last thing yellow wants to do is to put up a 7. Now, black could make a miracle shot: Knock the yellow 7 into the kitchen and stick for a 17 point net and a win. Yellow should just push off the board and they've won the game.
Playing towards the scoreboard is at the very heart of shuffleboard strategy. I’ve heard people refer to shuffleboard as “Chess with Disks.” If you’re new to the game, I know you’ll find even deeper enjoyment of it by thinking about the finer points of choosing the right shot.