Being an ancient British game, that has even been mentioned by Shakespeare, with no governing body, rules are varied and loosely defined.
Two players take turns sliding 5 coins up a board which is marked with horizontal lines to form gaps between the lines (beds) in which a coin must end in order to score. Any coins that end up touching or crossing a line do not score.
Shove-groat, named also Slype-groat, and Slide-thrift, are sports occasionally mentioned by the writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and in 1900 were described as "probably analogous to the modern pastime which is confined to common pot-houses, and only practised by such as frequent the tap-rooms."
Shove-groat itself descended from Shovel-board and history records that this was among the many pastimes that Henry VIII. indulged. The privy purse expenses of 1532 show that in January Lord William won £9 of the King at "shovilla bourde," and "My lord of Rocheforde won of the King at shovilla bourde and betting at the game £45." In the following month Lord Rocheford won £41, 12s. 6d. of the King at the same pastime.