Table Shuffleboard Bowling 101 – All You Need to Know7 min read

If you’re an avid bowler, there may be times you wish you could go bowling whenever you want – even from the comfort of your own home. Unless you’re fairly wealthy, you won’t be able to build a bowling lane in your home. That’s where shuffleboard bowling enters the picture. This game is a great way for anyone who owns a shuffleboard table to take the fun of bowling into their own home.

What is Shuffleboard Bowling?

So what exactly is this shuffleboard bowling game? As the name suggests, it’s a combination of shuffleboard and bowling which involves turning your shuffleboard table into a miniature bowling lane. This is one of the biggest benefits of owning a shuffleboard table. Besides using it for its actual purpose, you can adapt it to suit some of your favorite games like bowling and even Crazy Eights.

Of course, you’re going to need some special equipment to play shuffleboard bowling. There are special bowling pins to fit this game setting, since a shuffleboard table isn’t as large as an actual bowling lane. These pins are typically made of wood or plastic, and instead of traditional bowling balls, you use your shuffleboard pucks to hit these pins.

Since it’s a miniature version of bowling, shuffleboard bowling is not as intense as traditional bowling. So besides being a great in-home solution for avid bowlers, it’s also an excellent alternative for players that cannot handle the strain of the traditional game.

While it’s much easier to play, it is also quite challenging in that it you need to have skill and accurate aim to win at this game. You’ll need good hand-eye coordination to ensure the accuracy of your bowls, and the best part is that it’s a great game to help you practice your bowling skills for traditional shuffleboard.       

Setting Up Your Table for Shuffleboard Bowling

Before we can start talking about how to play the game, you need to first learn how to set up the table for shuffleboard bowling. Although a few people play it with five pins, a shuffleboard bowling game typically requires 10 pins. You need to arrange your pins in descending order in a 4-3-2-1 formation.

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This means you need to line up four of the pins in the 3-point section of your shuffleboard table. Follow this up with three more pins in the front, still within the 3-point section. Then line up two pins in the 2-point section. Finally, add one pin in front but make sure it’s still within the 2-point section. Just as with conventional bowling, you need to line up all these pins with the same amount of space between them.

To make this job easier, you should invest in a pinsetter to add to your shuffleboard accessories collection. Most shuffleboard bowling pin sets would come with a pinsetter and a scoring chart. So try to look for a complete set whenever you’re buying pins for your shuffleboard bowling game.

How to Play Shuffleboard Bowling

If you’re going to learn how to play this game, you need to learn a few basic rules. There aren’t a lot of differences between the basic rules of shuffleboard bowling and that of conventional bowling. So if you’re familiar with the basics of bowling, you can jump right in and start playing.

However, you do have to make some adjustments to your shooting technique if you’re only familiar with the rules of shuffleboard. Unlike in traditional shuffleboard, you need to aim for the center when shooting in a shuffleboard bowling game. Because you can’t put spin on the shuffleboard puck the same way you can with a bowling ball, the conventional technique of shooting from the side of the table will not be an effective way to get hits in this game.

Another big difference between traditional shuffleboard and shuffleboard bowling is that you can have as many players as you want. So it’s a great game for parties and social events. Each of the players get two attempts at knocking down all 10 of the pins. Once they have completed these two turns, the frame is over.

You have to complete 10 frames to have a complete game. However, you can go for fewer frames if you have time limitations. Once the game finishes, you calculate the points in the scorecard to find out who is the winner. The player with the most scores wins the game.

Scoring Rules in Shuffleboard Bowling

When you’re learning how to play shuffleboard bowling, it’s crucial that you understand the scoring rules, which are similar to traditional bowling. So if you knock down all 10 pins on the first try, that’s a strike.

Instead of scoring only 10 points for the frame, you will end up scoring a total of 10 points and the points you score in the next frame. For instance, let’s say you manage to knock down 8 pins in the second frame after a strike. So your score for the first frame would be 18 instead of 10.

When you knock down all 10 pins on your second try, you have a spare. Instead of scoring only 10 in this frame, you get 10 points plus the number of pins you knock down in your first attempt in the next frame.

Let’s say you manage to knock down 5 pins in the first attempt and 4 pins in the second attempt of your second frame after a spare. This means score for the first frame would be 15 instead of 10. As in conventional bowling, you get an extra frame if you manage to get a strike or a spare in the final frame.

Best Practices and Tips to Master Shuffleboard Bowling

Another similarity between traditional bowling and shuffleboard bowling is that you can shoot something like a gutter ball. But in this case, it’s called a gutter puck. And if you manage to shoot one, you end up with zero points and a wasted turn. So it’s crucial that you brush up on your shooting skills and improve the accuracy of your aim.

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While you can eventually do this with enough practice, you could still benefit from a few pointers. Here are a few best practices and tips that could help you master how to play shuffleboard bowling:

  1. One of the most effective tactics to avoid a gutter puck is by bowling your puck down on the board and making sure that it’s smooth and even.
  2. Try using both your hands so you can have more control over the puck and improve the accuracy of your aim, helping you send your weight as you shoot.
  3. See if you gain better balance by using only your palm area to move the weight.
  4. It’s best to keep experimenting with different techniques to come up with your own style of shooting, as one technique may not necessarily be the best for everyone.

Parting Thoughts

Now you have a better idea of what is shuffleboard bowling and how to play this game. It’s fairly easy to learn and can be a fun way to spend time with friends and family. You can definitely use the game to brush up on your shuffleboard shooting skills as well. Make the most of these instructions and tips to master the game of shuffleboard bowling.