Bull Board: An Historic Game Played on Steamships
The principal outdoor games provided for the amusement of the passengers during the voyage, are known as bull-board, shuffle-board, and quoits.
The bull-board is a large flat board, about the size of an ordinary kitchen-table, and covered with black canvass stretched tightly over it, and nailed at the edge or back. White lines are painted across the face of the board, dividing it into twelve squares, on each of which a number is clearly painted.
The sloping board is marked off into nine divisions, all of which are numbered except the two upper corner ones, which have a bull’s head painted upon them.
The players are provided with flat pieces of lead covered with leather, and these they throw upon the board, standing at a distance of a few feet. Each player has four throws, and his score is reckoned according to the value of the squares upon which the leads pitch.
Any lead, however, pitching upon either of the squares marked with a bull’s head, deducts ten from the score. Leads lying upon a line do not count.
"Bull Board" is one of the favorite games at sea. It is played with the aid of a padded board which is like an inclined plane. This board has numbers upon it, also a square lettered "B." Rubber disks or little bags of sand are thrown at the hoard, the aim being to get the discus or the little bag of sand on the highest numbers.
Six disks are used in playing the game, and the one having the highest score wins. If a disk falls on the "B" the player is disqualified or else he loses his score and is obliged to begin again. Any disks knocked off numbered spaces are lost.
The game is can be played as follows: —The board is laid on the deck, and something usually placed under the further end, to raise it about a foot. A chalk mark is drawn a few yards off, and the object of the game is to throw small leaden weights, about the size of an old-fashioned turnip watch, on to the prize squares, a bystander keeping account of the scores made by the respective players. Of course the rules of this game can be varied.