What is Sjoelen?
Before we get to our Best Sjoelbak Board Review, we thought it would be a great idea to first, inform those of you not in the know, what Sjoelbak is. First, it’s not only referred to as Sjoelbak (the name of the board) , other common names are Sjoelen or Dutch shuffleboard (the name of the game). The names refer to the board and the game.
image credit – Flickr
Of course, as you may have guessed by the name, it’s commonly played in the Netherlands, though it’s fairly popular in Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, as well as the UK and the US. It’s not really on its way to becoming an Olympic event, but there are championships round the world, in case you get a bit too competitive. The game is very entertaining – we have played it on holiday in Ibiza and Cape Verde, and like Darts, it requires a certain degree of hand-to-eye coordination.
It’s very similar to real shuffleboard in that you push your pucks or discs from one end of the board to another, however, rather than trying to get the pucks to stop in a certain place at the end of the board, you try to push the pucks through scoring holes which resemble open barn doors. The more pucks that you get it, the more points you score.
Best Sjoelbak Board Review
Masters Club Dutch Shuffleboard Review
As far as dimensions go, the Masters Club Dutch Shuffleboard from Masters Traditional Games follows the guidelines – 78.7 x 16.1 x 2.6 inches (L x W x H). It’s crafted in Europe by folks with years of experience in making these, so if you’re ordering from the US, you’ll need to give some allowance in terms of delivery.
It’s worth mentioning that the board is not all that heavy – it weighs in at about 17.6 pounds in total. This, coupled with the relatively small footprint (just shy of 9 square feet), makes for easy set-up, as well as storage.
You can play this in pretty much any room in your house (not sure about the bathroom, though), and then just pack it under a bed or behind a door when you’re done. Keep in mind, however, that this thing doesn’t fold up, so there are some limitations to how efficient it stores.
The material they used in making the board is beech, which does add a bit more in the way of weight and price, but it more than makes up for it with durability and quality feel. Now, as opposed to a regulation board, this one has scoring marks printed rather than etched into the wood. On that same note, the sides are somewhat lower, which makes the board a bit lighter, though not any less stable.
In case anyone’s still wondering, the board doesn’t come with any base whatsoever – just lay it flat on your dining table or any stable surface, and you’re good to go. Of course, the deal includes not only the beech board itself, but also a full 30-piece set of regulation concave disks of the same material (or pucks; again, either is fine), as well as a handy rulebook. All in all, the package is pretty basic, but comes with pretty much everything you need to start a-shuffling.
Sjoelbak Basic Rules
The rules are pretty simple – each player gets a set of 30 disks or pucks and a single turn at the board. One turn equals 3 rounds of throws, which we’ll explain in a sec.
The goal of the game is to shuffle the disks in one of the four holes at the far end. The holes look like door openings. Each hole is worth 2, 3, 4 and 1 points, respectively (going from left to right). Throw 1 opens with all 30 pucks. Throws 2 and 3 uses any of the pucks that were not successfully thrown through the scoring holes on the previous throw.
The only time you’re allowed to touch any disk during any given sub-turn is when it’s on your side of the start bar, which includes bounce-backs. Of course, its full diameter has to be over the line to count, both for scoring and for bounce-backs.
Here’s where things start getting interesting, though – if you get one puck in each of the four seconds in one turn, your points are doubled. So instead of scoring 10 points (2 + 3 + 4 + 1), you double the points to 20. Any remaining pucks that do not qualify for double points score the single value for that compartment.
Let me paint a picture to make it clearer – let’s say you score nine pucks in compartment 1, five of them in compartment 2, nine again in compartment 3 and six in compartment 4. That’s five full sets worth 100 points (2+3+4+1 =10 x 2 x 5 full sets = 100), three additional pucks worth 1 point, none worth 2, three more worth 3 and four worth 4. Your total tally, in this case, comes to 124. Here’s the math, if anyone’s interested:
100 (calculated above) + (4 x 1 = 4) + (0 x 2 = 0) + (4 x 3 = 12) + (2 x 4 = 8) = 124 points
In theory, the maximum you can score is 148 – Again, here’s the math:
7 sets of 4 (28 pucks) = 140 points, plus 2 odd pucks in hole 4 = 8 points.
You can play games consisting of one turn each, or the best of 3 turns, 50 turns or more. The choice is yours. Whatever you decide, we know you will have fun playing this game.
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