Wilbur Estes, The Guy Who Wrote The Book!!
Posted on 2014-04-30 by stanistheman
Wilbur Estes, The Guy Who Wrote The Book!!
I am a passionate, and active, proponent of “The 75-Point Game”, and am on a crusade. At my age, and in my condition, it is obvious that I need help to reverse the current trend toward “Frame Games.”
I believe that you will learn that “75-Point Games” are more challenging, and more fun than “Frame Games”. Perhaps, as you learn the intricacies of “The Modular System”, and “The 75-Point Game”, you will join the crusade.
A short history of Florida Shuffleboard may help you understand what has happened to shuffleboard in the last decade; and explain the reason for the passionate objection to “Frame Games”.
Until the early 1990s, “Frame Games” were “16-Frames, or 75 Points; whichever comes first”. This terminology showed the intent to limit the time necessary to complete a “Match”. It worked well.
Games between opponents who did not try to accumulate 75 Points, ended when the 16th Frame was completed; thus effectively controlling the length of the tournament, and reducing “waiting”.
In the mid-nineties, because the term “Frame” confused some players, to “simplify” scorekeeping, the FSA Board voted to change the definition of a “Frame”.
At the time, play from the Head of the Court was a “Half-Round”, and play from the Foot completed the “Round”. (Down and back, a “Round”, was termed a “Frame”). I did not anticipate the profound adverse effect this change would have on the shuffleboard. I supported the change.
Under the “Old Definition” each team had 16 Hammers (a potential 128 Points, if all Hammers were 8s. Of course, they were not). In a “well-played” game, there was more than adequate time to accumulate 75 points.
Most players aggressively tried to accumulate the necessary 75 points as quickly as possible. It was possible to do so, quite quickly, in a “16 Round” game. Rarely did a well-played game require 16 Frames.
The change of definition caused “16 Frames” to become only 8 “Rounds”. Each team has 8 Hammers (a potential 64 points); making it difficult, if not impossible, to accumulate 75-points (regardless of how diligently you try).
Accumulating 75 points, in a “16-Frame Game”, requires an extreme mismatch.
The definition change also changed Shuffleboard, — and not for the better.
Because it is nearly impossible to accumulate 75 points under these restraints, the object of the “Frame Game” became simply, “get ahead, and stay ahead”.
This is also how to win in a 75-Point Game, but in a “75-Point Game”, scores are necessary, which makes a tremendous difference in the goals.
In “Frame Games”, the need to “get ahead, and stay ahead” made “10-Off” more valuable than “8-On”, which created a “Kitchen Mentality”. You (nor I) cannot deny that Kitchening is “Fun”; all players enjoy Kitchening.
In a “Frame Game”, there is no need to “Score” to advance, especially when “10-Off” serves you better.
Having no need to score, players simply try to Kitchen any available disc, and regardless of the result of the “Shot”, the game is one “Frame” closer to the end. The player with the “Best Kitchen” wins.
To make this undesirable condition worse, most “Frame Games” are now “12 Frames” (a potential of only 48 Points). Attempting to “score” when there is an opposing disc available to “Kitchen”, is not only unnecessary, it is STUPID.
Today, the need to score is only a memory for a few ancient “has beens”, such as myself. New players learn very quickly that Kitchens are the object of the game, thus perpetuating a destructive trend.
You may question why I am on this crusade.
Shuffleboard is losing players. I think this is because it is no longer a challenging, and interesting, game. It is devoted almost entirely to Kitchens.
In addition, when “Frame Game” players play in a “75-Point Game Tournament” they have a “Frame Game Mentality”, instead of “Scoring” to advance toward 75 Points, they choose to “Kitchen”. There is no effort to win, all effort is directed toward “Kitchening”. When they are of equal “Kitchen Ability”, matches last “forever”.
The prolonged Matches, and the “waiting”, discourages the less dedicated players, interest wanes, tournament attendance drops, and shuffleboard suffers. Club membership declines.
“The 75-Point Game” is challenging, and is similar to Chess, where players try to out-manoeuvre their opponents. It requires advance planning, psychology, and skilful execution.
All that remains of those requirements in a “Frame Game”, is skilful execution. Shuffleboard is now dull and uninteresting.
I hope that by knowing this bit of history, and its effect, you may see that “The 75-point Game” is “Real Shuffleboard”. I hope that you will want to learn how to win a “75-Point Game”. I hope that you will enjoy the challenge of “The 75-Point Game”, and will join the crusade, and actively lobby for more 75-Point play within the Lakeland club, and within shuffleboard everywhere.
I hope that the destructive “12 Frame Game” will be stricken from the club schedule; or that the FSA changes the description of a “Frame” back to one full “Round”; or that a “Frame Game” be “75-Points, or 32 Frames, whichever comes first” (emphasis on “75-Points”).
WILBUR ESTES, THE GUY WHO WROTE THE BOOK. 2006 04 22
The Shuffler Responds: >( in 2006.) Stan McCormack.
For those who did not read The Shuffler during this period, 2002 onward, we regularly engaged in controversial discussions!! The Shuffler was widely read during this period. My response to Wilbur follows:
Wilbur is indeed on a crusade, a campaign, even a battle!! His passion is evident. He goes on to invite others to join with him in this crusade to advance, promote and preserve the 75 Point Game!!
I thought it may be appropriate to provide some balance to his crusade; not so much to refute the position Wilbur is supporting, but rather to put it into a greater perspective. Wilbur knows that even in Florida, most shuffling takes place in the form of 75 Point Games. In fact the FSA, the governing body, by Regulation, imposes restrictions, and sanctions to anyone who violates said regulations!! (Could this be a part of the problem?) Outside of Florida we have an entirely different situation; 75 Point Games are unheard of in Arizona; unheard of in Texas; unheard of in California; unheard of in Alberta, unheard of in Saskatchewan, unheard of in Nova Scotia and while on the rule book in Ontario, never played!! In short the rest of the Shuffling World including the International Shuffleboard Association all employ the Frame Game. Further; while we do not have access to accurate/scientific data on participation rates for these jurisdictions, we have shuffled in Arizona for a season, we have shuffled in Alberta, and of course we regularly participate in Ontario. Not only that, THE SHUFFLER maintains a wide network of connections with shufflers in North America and to a lesser extent, South America. No other area appears to be experiencing the drop off to the extent of Florida; no other area insists on the rigid adherence to the 75 Point Game!! Is there a direct relationship?? We do not know!! However; it is possible.
We acknowledge that a different strategy is indicated when one plays a 75 Point Game. We are not sure if there exists another game where we establish an end score to determine the ending!! We do believe however; that the difference in strategy is over emphasized. Wilbur goes on to point out that many 75 Point Games “last forever”; a fact which he attributes to “kitchening”; he goes on to point out that waiting caused by this has had a negative effect on participation rates. Note my observation about participation rates above.
Our reply is not intended in any way to convert “75 Pointers” to the Frame Game, nor is it an attack on Wilbur’s position. If only we had more shufflers with the enthusiasm, the determination, and yes the judgment demonstrated by Wilbur Estes!! Our reply is an attempt to provide BALANCE to an ongoing debate ~~ a debate in which we most often here from the “Pro 75” people. I am confident that Wilbur has read (on THE SHUFFLER) the absolutely great Shuffling Events in many parts of North America ~~ events which employ only Frame Games. Wilbur’s emphasis appears to be on Skill and Ability; we would support both and add Physical Exercise, Social Interaction and just plain Enjoyment!!
Finally, we thank Wilbur for his input; we invite others to join the discussion should you so elect. Stan of THE SHUFFLER; 2006 04 23.