The ancestors of shuffleboard were board games in which coins were shoved onto a scoring pattern. Ocean liners enlarged these games into a deck game for passengers. The scoring patterns used on shipboard (a typical example is illustrated to the right) show that the game emphasized luck as least as much as skill.
In the United States shuffleboard became a not-too-strenuous game of skill for landlubbers. On land, permanent lanes, with drains, gutters, bumpers and so on were possible. The rules and dimensions of the lanes were standardized in 1924.
According to the National Shuffleboard Association rules, the disc shall be 6 inches in diameter, 9/16 inch to 1 inch thick, and weigh 15 ounces when new. Friction with the concrete surface of the lane takes its toll; a disc may no longer be played when its weight drops below 11½ ounces. Brand new discs are not permitted in tournament play; they must be broken in first.
The cue may not be longer than 6 feet 3 inches.
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Last revised: 27 December 2005.