Simplifying Sjoelen for Beer and Profit with a Raspberry Pi

Unless you live in Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands, you’ve probably never heard of the game Sjoelen. In that region, however, it’s a…

Cameron Coward
a year ago

Unless you live in Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands, you’ve probably never heard of the game Sjoelen. In that region, however, it’s a popular table game that’s very similar to shuffleboard. When the Belgian beer brand Heverlee approached Grant Gibson to build a promotional in-bar experience, he decided Sjoelen would be perfect for drawing in beer aficionados. Of course, this version of Sjoelen needed a little something extra, and for that he turned to a Raspberry Pi.

As Gibson points out, the biggest factor limiting the popularity of Sjoelen is the complicated, math-heavy scoring system. The last thing inebriated bargoers want to do is math, so Gibson’s first priority was implementing a simplified digital scoring system. The goal of the game is to slide pucks into small goal openings, so Gibson monitored those openings with IR proximity sensors wired to the GPIO pins of a Raspberry Pi 3B.

Keeping track of the score was just the first step, and Gibson’s build also needed to promote Heverlee beer. To do that, he made a custom vending machine to dispense cans of Heverlee to players who manage to slide three pucks into a single slot. A large LCD screen next to the vending machine shows the score of each slot, and has a video feed of the player for a little extra pizzazz. The custom Sjoelen machine has already been used at events in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where thirsty patrons were able to play a fun game and win beer — win, win!

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