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Sjoelen is a Dutch shuffle board game played on a sjoelbak with 30 discs. It is a true family winter game and at least a century old. The objective is to shuffle the 30 discs in the four compartments at the opposite end in three sub-turns.

In The Netherlands there is a very active league competition, while every year tournaments are organized between Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The official rules in Dutch can be found on the web site of Algemene Nederlandse Sjoelbond (General Dutch Sjoel League). The rules in English used to be published on that web site as well, but not anymore. We just happen to have a hardcopy and after some typing they are once again available, in English, on this web site. Enjoy.


If in this regulation he, participant, player, etc. is used, this also includes the female members, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Game material

The game material, as described in these regulations, is in accordance with a competition sjoelbak (shuffle board) approved by the league.


The sjoelbak (shuffle board) consists of the following wooden pieces:

  1. Start bar
  2. Bottom
  3. Side walls
  4. Gate bar
  5. Compartment partition walls
  6. Back wall
drawing 1 still to be added

Gate bar

On the front of the gate bar there must be an indication above each gate. These indications may be numbers or other means, but must reflect the value of each gate from left to right: 2, 3, 4, 1.

drawing 2 still to be added


Measurements in addition to those give in the above figures:

  1. Thickness side walls: 12 mm
  2. Thickness compartment partition walls: 12 mm
  3. Thickness back wall: 14 mm
  4. Thickness gate bar: 14 mm


  1. Material: beech
  2. Surface: concave (rounded inward)
  3. Weight: 20 gram ±3 gram
  4. Diameter: 52 mm
  5. Thickness: 13 mm

Control line

The bottom must have a control line perpendicular under the backside of the start bar.

Components or measurements of the sjoelbak that are not mentioned above are considered to be of lesser importance.

Remarks: all measurements are given in millimeters (1 inch = 25.4 mm).

Tolerances: length measurements ±0.15%, other measurements ±0.3%.

Game rules

  1. Each turn starts with 30 discs.
  2. The player is expected to have counted the discs before the start of his/her turn.
  3. A disc is in play as soon as it has completely passed the control line under the back side of the start bar.
  4. Once a disc is in play, nobody is allowed to touch it anymore during the current sub-turn. Exceptions to this rule are:
    1. A disc that gets out of the sjoelbak;
    2. A disc that enters the compartment going over the gate bar;
    3. A disc that gets out of the compartment, but not through the gate bar, and somehow:
      1. returns in the same compartment,
      2. returns in one of the other compartments,
      3. remains on one of the partition walls.
      In all these cases the jury takes the disc immediately out of play.
    4. A returning disc that has completely passed the control line under the back side of the start bar (i.e. towards the player). After permission of the jury, the player must remove this disc from the sjoelbak (shuffle board) and place it on the side of the sjoelbak where the jury is, such that it is separate from the remaining discs to be played.
  5. A disc is only in the compartment when it has passed under the start bar and completely passed the front side of the gate bar. In case of doubt the jury must shove a straight gate stopper along the front side of the gate bar. If the disc moves because of this then it is not in the compartment.
  6. The jury piles the discs in piles of 4 for the first 4 discs in the compartment. The next discs are piled in piles of 3. The bottom disc of the first pile in all compartments is kept loose from the back wall with a maximum of 5 millimeters in order to function as a "buffer" for the next discs to come.
    drawing 3 still to be added

Score counting

Score counting is done as follows:

In case any compartment contains more than the others, these extra discs will count for the value indicated on the compartment. For example: each compartment contains 5 discs plus and extra disc in the compartment with value 4. The score is then 100 + 4 = 104 points.

The maximum score is thus 148. A bonus of up to 8 points can be earn if this score of 148 is made in one or two sub-turns:

Game sequence

A turn consists of 3 sub-turns and played as follows:

  1. The player counts the 30 discs.
  2. After permission of the jury the player plays the 30 discs, and clearly announces when no more discs are left.
  3. The jury decides which discs stay in the compartments and returns the remaining discs, including the discs taken out of play as described under game rules.
  4. The jury piles the discs and then allows the player to play the remaining discs. Piling is done as described under game rules. The player checks the returned discs and then starts the second sub-turn.
  5. After the second sub-turn the procedure as described under c. and d. above is followed again.
  6. The player plays the remaining discs for the last time (the third sub-turn).
  7. The jury again decides which discs stay in the compartments and counts the score. The jury clearly informs the player of the score and, after agreement of the player, this score is noted on the match card which thereafter, if so desired, is shown to the player.
  8. If a player has scored 148 in two sub-turns the player gets one disc returned to play the third sub-turn in order to score a maximum of 4 bonus points as described under score counting.
    If a player has scored 148 in one sub-turn the player gets one disc returned to play the second sub-turn and again one disc to play the third sub-turn in order to score a maximum of 8 bonus points as described under score counting.
  9. If after the first or second sub-turn all discs are in the compartments, but the score is not 148, then the player gets no extra sub-turns and the jury proceeds with score counting.


  1. A player is allowed to play from a standing or seated position, but must remain behind the sjoelbak (shuffle board) during and after the game.
  2. Upon request the player is allowed to play 5 discs as a trial attempt.
  3. After the start of a turn, that is after playing a possible 5 trial discs, it is not allowed to move the sjoelbak (shuffle board) anymore. Each player is responsible for returning the sjoelbak (shuffle board) in its original position. A player is not allowed to change the equipment through gliding materials or in between polishing.
  4. If a disc breaks during the game then the whole turn must be played again.
  5. If a game is played with more than 30 discs then the whole turn must be played again.
  6. If a game is played with less than 30 discs then no correction is possible.
  7. During the game the jury is not allowed to talk and/or act that may influence the player. Only upon request of the player the jury is allowed to indicate how many discs are in the compartments.
  8. No discs may be placed on the start bar.

Rules at league matches

  1. The jury is not allowed to have his/her match card on the table.
  2. If the jury makes an error on the match card, the correct score must be filled in and initialed by the ring leader for that sjoelbak (shuffle board).
  3. In case of deletions, whatsoever, automatically the lowest legible score counts.
  4. The jury passes the match card to the jury of the next sjoelbak (shuffle board) where the player will play.
  5. After the score of the 10th turn the jury gives the copy of the match card to the player and the original to the ring organizer. Under no circumstances the complete match card may be given to the player.
  6. If it can be proven on the spot that a player has changed a score to his/her advantage then the match organizer will immediately take punitive measures. These can consists of the deduction of the score of one turn up to the deduction of the scores of all 10 turns.
  7. The player and jury are not allowed to smoke, eat or drink during the game.

Closing conditions

For those conditions in which these regulations do not provide the match organizer will made a decision.

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Updated: 5-Feb-2019 21:20 EST -- Copyright © 2003-2019 Pieter van Vliet. All rights reserved. (Remove "NoSpam" before sending)