Games can be played one-on-one (2 players) or with two or more teams of two players per team, playing on same end of the board. Each player/team uses one set of weights [red or blue]. Depending upon the number of players, teams may need to alternate ends as the frames change. Games are played in frames until one team scores 51-points. However, scoring 51-points first does not necessarily make that team the winner. Every team gets to finish each frame and the highest score is the winner. If the team that scores 51-points or more has the hammer (the last team to play), then they are declared the winners. Before a team can score any points at all, at least one weight must be 3-points or more. Weights are considered in play if they are on the board and past the designated foul line [which typically is the "short" foul line nearest to the player's end of the board]. It is important to know before the game starts which foul line has been designated, but typically it will be the "short" foul line nearest to the player that is shooting.
If playing singles, one player will throw all eight weights. If playing teams (4 or 8 players), one player will throw 4 weights of the same color, then the other player will throw the remaining 4 weights. The objective is to get at least one weight into the 3-point or more zone to get the scoring started. You may bump or tap weights to accomplish this or simply lag one in. All weights must be past the designated (short or short) foul line or off the board. If a weight remains on the board that is not past the designated foul line, no points can be awarded - but if it is not your last weight, it may be knocked off. Again, the objective is to get at least one weight into the 3-point or greater zone [without any weights short of the designated foul line - again, typically the "short" foul line], in order for any points to count. See below for specifics of How to Play with 2 players or in teams of 4 or 8 players.
HOW TO PLAY WITH 2 PLAYERS
Players stand at opposite ends of the board, facing each other. The first player shoots all 8 weights (4 blue; 4 red) consecutively towards the opposite end of the board. After all weights have been shot, the score is counted as shown in below illustration under "Method of Scoring". Then the board is cleared and the opponent shoots in the same manner from the end of the shuffleboard at which he is standing. Players alternate shooting until one player has scored 51 points (See "Technical Points" - Rule 1 below).
HOW TO PLAY WITH 4 OR 8 PLAYERS
With more than two persons, Target is a team game. If there are 4 players, they divide into teams of 2 each; if 8 players, they divide into teams of 4. To start a game the opposing teams station themselves at opposite ends of the shuffleboard - all players of one team at one end, all their opponents at the other end. The first team shoots all 8 weights toward the opposite end at the other end of the board. The first team shoots all its 8 weights toward the opposite end, with each member of the team shooting his quota consecutively, in the following manner:
On a 2-player team, the first player shoots 4 weights, in a row and then his partner shoots the remaining 4 weights of opposite color.
On a 4-player team, the first player shoots 2 weights in a row, and each of his partners in turn shots 2 weights in a row until all 8 weights have been shot.
When all 8 weights have been thrown, score is counted as shown below in "Method of Scoring". Then the opposing team clears the board and shoots its 8 weights in the same manner as described above. Teams continue to alternate shooting until one team has scored 51 points (See "Technical Points" - Rule 1 below).
HOW TO COUNT TEAMS/PLAYERS SCORES / METHOD OF SCORING RULES
After all 8 weights in a round have been played, it must first be determined whether at least one weight is completely in the trey (3)-zone or overhanging the End or the left or right hand Corner of the shuffleboard playing field. If there is NO weight in this zone, NO SCORE OF ANY KIND CAN BE COUNTED, regardless of how many weights remain on the board.
If there is at least one weight in the trey (3-point zone) or overhanging the End (13-point zone) or the left or right hand Corner of the board (21-point zone), then the score is counted, as follows:
1. All weights touching or in front of the deuce line count 1 point. This applies to the entire area up to the designated foul line (typically "short" foul line is designated), but weight must be completely clear of the designated foul line to count.
2. All weights between the deuce line and the trey line (including any touching the trey line), count 2- points.
3. All weights between the trey line and the far end of the board count 3-points.
4. All weights overhanging the board at the far end count 13-points (13 point hanger).
5. All weights overhanging the left and/or right hand corner of the board count 26-points (26-point hanger). Note: Some establishments or tournament directors may not include or count the hanging corner any more than a hanger from the end of board, but most tournaments will include the 26-point count possibility. Hanging corner is another item you should be informed about before you start to play.
6. All weights which fall into the alleys, or do not clear the designated foul line are dead and do not count.
SCORE COUNT SUMMARY
In order to score, a team must have at least one weight being worth 3-points or more [It does not have to be the first weights thrown in order to score]. For example, if a team throws 1 weight worth 3-points and 2 weights worth 2-points and 3 weights worth 1- point and all remaining weights on the board are past the designated foul line (again, typically "short" foul line), the team would score 10-points.
Hangers are worth 13-points [hanger being a weight that is hanging partially off the end of the board].
Hanger on Corners are worth 26-points [weight is hanging partially off the end and partially off the side of the board in either corner]. Note: a weight just hanging only off the side of the board does not have any special meaning or point value unless it is a 26-point hanger on one of the two Corners.
Games are played in frames until one team scores 51-points. However, scoring 51-points first does not necessarily make that team the winner.
Every team gets to finish each frame and the highest score is the winner (51-points or greater).
If the team that scores 51-points or more has the hammer (the last team to play), then they are declared the winners.
OPTIONAL: Sometimes players will play Target also having what is called a "Hickey" count which means every time a player does not score, it constitutes a "Hickey", and each player that does not score in a round puts an agreed upon amount of money into a "Hickey Jar" (e.g., $.25, $1, $5, etc.) and the final winner of the game gets the contents of the Hickey Jar. This is just something that can be done to make the game more interesting, but may or may not be part of your agreed upon Target tournament rules.
1. A game is NOT complete until player or team which has been shooting last has taken its LAST TURN AT THE BOARD, even though the player or team shooting first has already scored 51-points or more. If both teams go over 51 points, the one with the FINAL HIGHEST SCORE IS THE WINNER.
2. During play, no contestant may leave his position to check the location of weights he or his partners have played.
3. All weights which do not completely CLEAR the designated foul line (typically the "short" foul line nearest to the player shooting are dead weights, but must not be removed from the board.
4. On the 9-ft. and 12-ft. cushion boards (a.k.a. bank boards), Target is played and scored exactly the same as described above, except that each weight played must first carom off either side cushion on its way to the scoring areas. On cushion shuffleboards, the center foul line applies on all foul line rules (Note: On the 9-ft. BANK-SHOT the "5" zone is disregarded and anything in that zone is considered in the trey zone.)
Before a player shoots, the player can dust the board if dry spots are showing. Note: In tournaments this may be restricted to the edge of the board or left to the discretion of the Tournament Director.
Shooters must have one foot behind the playing surface while they are shooting.
Hitting or shaking the table is never allowed.