The Rules to Deck Quoits

Quidditch and Deck Quoits have one thing in common. In Quidditch you ride a broomstick, in Deck Quoits you push with a broom. Of the many versions of the game Quoits, the one on board ship seems to have origins around 1930 but the original game dates back to the Ancient Greeks. Then is was more akin to the field athletes sport, discus, but mutations have become fairground attractions like throwing horse-shoes at spikes. Basically, it is aiming something at a target for points, in teams.

Deck Quoits was invented as a pass time for passengers then cruising to go from A to B on long slow journeys. It was then a ‘rope ring’, similar to Quoits played in gardens and pubs, thrown at a target. That rope ring version thrown at a circular target can still be found on some ships. On other ships, the throwing element went when alcohol consumption went up, but that may just be a coincidence.
The more commonly found sliding version uses a discus actually closer to the original ancient Greeks throwing game of discus, which was spread across Europe by the Roman army. In Deck Quoits the discus never leaves the ground; as a solid disc it is pushed at a target, which can be more like a hop-scotch grid. A pole rather like a broom is used to push, so no worries if you can’t bend. This game is perhaps more like Curling which is played on ice. It is a long slim playing field like a bowling alley, and there is a target at each end, so, again like in Curling when you have played one end you play backward to the target at the other end.

Whichever way it is played, the normal winner is the first to reach 21, but again scoring targets can vary as there are no set standards for Deck Quoits – partly because of its informal nature and partly because the game has to adapt to the shape and area of each particular ship it is played upon. The player who won the previous end normally goes first in the next phase.

After all the quoits have been pushed or thrown, the winner  receives the points scored by any quoits nearer to the jack, but on deck it is normally an addition of the squares you are in. A quoit touching a circle scores the points for the outer ring or the lesser score if you are being harsh.  A quoit that lies on top of another quoit typically does not count.  The first player or partnership to score 21 points, wins.

In England, quoits became so popular that it was prohibited by Edward III and Richard II to encourage archery. Despite that, it became a well-organised sport, especially in pubs and clubs. The official rules first appeared in the April 1881 edition of a sports magazine called The Field. The rules you will need will be written near the equipment on the ship. Don’t be afraid to join in.

The picture we have used is from Virgin Holidays who have just announced that they intend to revolutionise cruising. See here.

Here are some versions of a print of the game, a jigsaw, and some versions of the game of Quoits that we have found that you could buy for any cruise addict.

Deck Quoits is certainly played on the older smaller ships, and also on the Azura,

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