Game On: Best Buys in Pool, Table-Tennis, Foosball & Air-Hockey Tables (cont.)

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Another change, which was introduced in 2014, is the widespread adoption of the side ball return. Previously, the ball stopped on the end of the foosball table where a goal was scored, so a player had to retrieve it before putting it back in play at faceoff. Now, the ball is returned automatically to the midtable faceoff position. Nice.

SHUFFLE ON. Retailers and manufacturers whom we interviewed say a surge in interest in shuffleboard tables for the residential market led to an increase in sales. Although he declined to provide figures, Cris Gould of manufacturer Legacy Billiards says sales of shuffleboard tables “increased dramatically in the past year.” Brian Rosselli of manufacturer Olhausen and Chance Pack of Valley-Dynamo, which makes Champion shuffleboard tables, agree that shuffleboard tables surged in popularity. Rosselli tells us that he hasn’t seen any slowdown in 2016.

Manufacturers point to the increased use of shuffleboard tables in arcades and other game-table venues and retailers credit Olympic coverage of curling for the interest. Whatever the impetus, you won’t find more models available despite the sales increase. We found 39 residential shuffleboard tables that start at $870 from 10 manufacturers, and Pack says that number is consistent with years past.

That doesn’t mean that shuffleboard tables haven’t been tweaked, however. Starting in 2014, manufacturers added climatic adjusters to shuffleboard tables that start at about $2,000. Climatic adjusters consist of a rod that’s bolted to the underside of the shuffleboard table that you tighten or loosen by adjusting a nut. This allows you to ensure that the shuffleboard table maintains a slightly concave shape, so the puck remains on the surface as it comes to a stop instead of sliding over the sides.

Shuffleboard tables that are as long as 22 feet are available, but manufacturers and retailers say 12- and 14-foot lengths are the most popular. Pat Sullivan, who owns retailer Total Recreation, says customers like that a shuffleboard table can be placed along an outer wall and doesn’t take up the entire room, like a pool table or table-tennis table does, so you can squeeze in another game table.

Keith Loria is the editor of BCA Insider, which is the official publication of Billiard Congress of America.

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