Shove Ha'p'ny Board




Introduction: Shove Ha'p'ny Board

About: hgv driver but only because it pays more than I can make otherwise

shove ha'p'ny was one of the permitted games playable in English licensed premises (pubs) for reasonable stakes (1 measure of spirits or 1/2pint of beer) a discussion earlier this year revealed only a few people had heard of it and no one knew the dimensions of the board. I knew there was one at my parents house somewhere and having found it I'm making this instructable so any one wishing to can make a new board and try playing.

How I missed this web site at the time I'm not sure, but having read the glossary of terms I find my self thinking why are they making a simmple game sound so hard?

Step 1: The Half Penny

A Half Penny is a pre decimal British coin. This means coins of this design stopped being legal tender in 1971, when the UK nominally adopted the metric system all pre decimal copper coins were withdraw from use. They are 1" in diameter and 1/16" thick, and there were 5 to the ounce. Prior to decimalisation in the UK there were 12 pennies(d) to a shilling(\-) & 20\- to a pound (£) or 240d. No decimal coin matches these dimensions for obvious reasons. Therefore I doubt anyone has made a shove ha'p'ny board since the 1960's.

It turns out I'm wrong about that they are available for between £60 to £100

Step 2: The Board

All dimensions are in inches (") or fraction of as this game was played with pre decimal half pennies originally later regulation brass discs were used as a smooth face is less damaging to the board and smoothing the head off a coin was illegal at the time and the weight was not then consistent.
The board is: 24" long by 13"&3/4 wide and 7/8" thick. I suspect this means the board started out 14" wide and has been planed smooth. The grain runs length wise.
The top is curved with a radius of 7" and has a raised lip or fence of 3/4" this permits a coin to be bounced back into the playing area. This is formed from a strip of wood nailed around the end.
The bottom of the first bed of the playing area is 4" from the bottom edge of the board. The top of the last bed 8"&1/4 from the top of the board. This puts the centre for the 7" radius for the curve of the top of the board 1"&1/4 above the last bed. The playing area is 11"&3/4
The underside has a batten screwed square to the bottom edge and slightly inset from it this stops the board moving up the table during play.

Step 3: Playing Area

The playing area is 9 parallel beds each is1"&1/4 (this is critical an old half penny was exactly 1" in diameter thus the beds are 25% wider than the coin)
The black stripes are just black board paint & are score boards. There should be 12" between them.
The grooves between the beds are 1/16" the width of an old half penny & 1/8" deep. This is so a coin can be drawn through it to decide if a coin is in or out of the bed when playing. The depth is not overly critical, deep enough that a coin stands vertically in it but not deep enough to weaken the board. However they must be cut at 90° to the playing surface and a tight enough fit on a coin that they can't be tilted. How they were cut I am unsure they are dead straight and parallel they might be saw cuts, be made with a rebate plane, or with a fine carving gouge. The total distance from the bottom of the first bed to the top of the top bed is 11"&3/4 (at this point I stopped and looked up How to divide fractions came up with an answer I didn't like and remeasured both the board and coin and then did an edit). The top and bottom grooves are part of the dead area not the playing area dimension given are to the beds not the grooves.

Step 4: Resurrection

I'm not a great wood worker so maybe my amazement at the accuracy is miss placed. This board is well over 100 years old possibly 200 so made just with hand tools.
Its a single pice of unknown hard wood probably oak, elm or beach. Finding a similar piece of wood now would be very expensive.
As a starting point use a marker pen to draw a board out on a pice of furniture board (coarse partical board with a plastic laminate available in white or a variety wood grain effects).
Start by drawing the lines in pencil. Then ink them in with permanent marker, it is best to use a beveled edge rule for this. Doing so means ink isn't drawn under the rule smudging the line this takes practice so start with the boarders of the dead areas before moving onto the lines between beds. Finish by putting clear sticky tape over the score board areas this lets you use a dry marker for scoring. I tested it using 2 pence coins the lack of grooves means judgement as to in or out is by eye,and the lack of a top rebound fence means anything entering the top dead area is dead, it's not often that it is used that way and normally just stops coins struck too hard falling off the board.
Sticking veneer to the particle board would probably work as an advance on this. Using a section of scrap work surface would allow for cutting of grooves as would 3/4" plywood I think.
At present I only use a coarse carbide tipped rip saw blade in my circular saw but it does have depth control and a fence and I've used it in the past to cut rebates to hold plywood draw bottoms. finer blades are available so I think this is the route I would go to cut the grooves.
No post decimal coin matches the dimensions of an old half penny. 2 pence coins are slightly bigger (approximately 1/32" oddly not a round number of mm considering the UK went metric at the same time) US quarters are slightly under 1" diameter as is a modern UK 10 pence coin. cutting discs from 16swg brass sheet would probably produce the best result 1" penny washers would do. But so long as you have 5 identical coins play would be fair.


Step 5: Play / Rules

The aim is to get 3 coins in each bed in the least number of turns. 5 coins are used each turn so in theory a game can be won in the 6th turn. There is no advantage in getting more than 3 coins in a bed, some play that additional coins in a bed count to your opponent.
A coin must be fully in a bed at the end of a players turn to count. No part of the coin should be over the dividing groove. To decided another coin is draw down the groove if the coin moves it wasn't in the bed if it doesn't it is in the bed.(this test is only conducted at the end of a turn) A coin that enters the score board area is also deemed to be out on this board that is harder to judge but I recall seeing boards with additional grooves between the playing area and score boards.
Each turn a player uses 5 coins.
A coin is placed so it overhangs(the amount of overhang effects how far the coin travels) the bottom edge of the board and then struck with either the ball of the thumb or flat of the index finger so it slides across the board.(if struck badly or too hard the coin could skip or rattle across the board this should be avoided) The Once a coin has entered the playing area it may only be moved by striking it with another coin. Hence it is possible to nudge a coin fully into a bed by playing a second coin into it. A coin that has passed fully through the playing area into the top dead area may not be retrieved and replayed. If it bounces off the fence and back into the playing area it may still be counted if it stops fully in a bed. The only time a coin may be retrieved and replayed is if it fails to enter the playing area. In this case if it moves when a coin is drawn across the bottom groove it is in play and may not be replayed. (this test may only be conducted if there is no risk of moving a coin that might not be fully in the bottom bed) The only time this is likely to occur is when trying to fill the bottom bed and a coin is struck to gently to enter the playing area or has been used to nudge a coin sitting across the bottom groove into the bottom bed (laws of physics suggest the coin played will stop dead and transfer all its energy to the coin it strokes).
All 5 coins should be played each turn at the end of the turn the coins in beds (to max of 3 per bed) are recorded. The coins are then retrieved for the second players turn. The only time all the coins are not played during a turn is if the previous coin played is the last one needed to fill all the beds for that player, the number of coins not used being the decider if the other player can complete all their beds in the same number of turns. Should that last coin prove not to be fully in the bed the rest of those coins are deemed to have been played and it is the other players turn. The winner is the player who places 3 coins in each bed with the least number of turns and coins. The best possible score is 5 turns 2 coins. 3×9=27, 5×5=25 +2

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    Question 1 year ago

    Hi There,
    I recently bought an antique board (with brass lifts and counting rolls with brass handles each side of the board). It's made of Hardwood, I think it's Mahogany and it's very heavy.
    I have had conflicting advice about whether the ha'pennys I use should be smoothed (as used on slate boards), or simply used in their natural state (tails side down) as it reduces friction with the board when 'pushed'.
    Any advice would be welcome! Thanks Ian


    Answer 1 year ago

    I did once file the heads off some old half pennies it took a long time and the results were not good, varied thickness and weight. I would suggest if you can't find a set of regulation discs on line that just making sure they are burr free by gently rubbing on the finest wet and dry abrasive you have followed by metal polish on thin card would be adequate for general play, so long as everyone is using the same set play would be fair. I suspect originally you might actually have been playing for the coins, preservation of the board being a secondary consideration


    Question 2 years ago on Step 4

    I don't get the same total amount when I add all. the dimensions up


    7 years ago

    I made a board a while back. I got the dimensions and rules at <a href="">Backyard TailGator</a> They had decent looking boards for sale but I wanted to make my own. Turned our really well and the whole family loves playing.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I forgot to add conversion factors at the end.

    1" = 25.4mm

    1Oz = 28g


    7 years ago on Introduction

    When I was but a nipper, myself and a couple of friends would go around to the house of an old lady we called 'Mrs Blackberry', due to the blackberries we used to pick in her back garden. We played shove ha'penny there, and she also had a couple of penny (1d) in the slot bagatelle machines. (She gave us the pennies back afterwards.) Ahhh . . . simpler times.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this is great, I made one of these years ago and now I'm going to make another one thanks for the inspiration.