Windmill in Pella, Iowa

The Game

The game of sjoel (sjoel is the game, a sjoelbak is the board, and sjoelen is playing the game) is at least 150 years old, and probably originated in northern Europe. The game consists of sliding the disks down the board and into the numbered compartments (see Detailed Rules of Play ). It has long been a favorite tavern game in Holland, but is also enjoyed at home as a family game. The game is taken quite seriously in parts of Europe, with sjoel clubs and tournaments all over Holland. Unfortunately it is relatively unknown in the US, perhaps because European Sjoelbakken are prohibitively expensive to ship to the US .
The game of sjoel can be played by people of all ages, from young children to the elderly. In Holland the sjoelbak is traditionally placed on a dining room table for play, and stored when not in use. Some people sjoel standing and some sitting down -- and a wheel chair will fit underneath the board, whether it is resting on a table top or on one of The Sjoelbak Crafter's unique stands.