Navigating faith, love, and life in the Netherlands

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sjoelen: Dutch Shuffleboard

Sjoelen (pronounced "shul-en") is a game that I hadn't heard of in the past 2 and a half years.  Somehow it missed part of my Dutch cultural orientation!

Ironically, I learned this game from my Czech friends when we visited them this weekend, and not from Dutch people!  

Trying to concentrate and aim

Materials - 

Sjoelbak: The board that we used fit on the dining room table, with some overlap on the ends.
Stenen: There are 30 puck like objects, according to Wikipedia, and they are slightly larger than double-stuf Oreos.
Poeder: Our friends' game board seemed to be sprinkled with a laundry detergent-like powder (my sister in law tells me it was talcpoeder) which makes the pucks slide better.

The other end of the sjoelbak

Game play - 

Each player takes their turn, sliding the set of stenen 3 times in one turn.  In the photo above, you can see that the player has scored some points (in the background) while the ones in the foreground do not count.

Each scoring area, behind the "gates," is labeled with a particular number of points - 2, 3, 4, or 1.  Tricky, huh?

If the puck makes it into the scoring area, it is out of play for the remainder of your turn.  If you do not score, you have a chance to reuse those pucks at the next part of your turn, thus clearing the play area.

Randolf trying his hand

Scoring points - 

The maximum any player can score in a turn is 148.  Only R and our friend Z got close to this, scoring 113 and 114, respectively (as far as I can remember).  This would mean that there were at least 7 pucks in each section, with the remaining two in the "4" section.  

"Huh??? How does that work?" you might be thinking.  How can you get such a high score when the maximum number of points on the board is 4?

The objective is to spread out your pucks equally into each category.  If you have at least 1 puck in every category, then you start at 20 points, and then count the remaining pucks based on their section.

More details are found at the Dutch Games website.

Video: Intensely concentrating

My experience -

This game was so confusing to me at first.  My friend explained it to me in Dutch, but I couldn't grasp the point system - it got lost in translation!  All I understood (after Z and R's example turns) was to aim the pucks into the scoring sections.

Every turn we rearranged seats, and every time I sat where K (and the scoring paper) were, I hoped that they wouldn't make me do the scoring!  Z and K counted up the score in Czech sometimes, and Dutch the other times, which was also confusing.  Czech numbers (up to 10) are similar enough to Russian, and Dutch two-digit numbers are spoken/read "backwards."  For instance, 27 is read as "seven and twenty."

Finally, they did, but at least by then I had figured out how the scoring worked.  Then they teased me about my mental math skills, since I'm supposed to be a math teacher!


Click here to visit Dutch Games and order your own set.  In America, the price is about $200, but the game board is definitely durable!


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