Shuttle and Shift (Badminton Game)

Shuttle and Shift (Badminton Game)

The Three Player Badminton Game

Shuttle and Shift is a unique and exciting badminton game which I devised so that three players can play without the unfairness of going two against one (or doubles vs singles) for a whole game. Game highlights include:

  • Players regularly switch round to play with each other.
  • Players play on both sides of the court throughout the game.
  • Each player competes independently against the others (three-way scoring).
  • Players can lose points!

There are three positions on the court - Server, Assisting and Defender. Players begin by choosing starting positions, Server and Assisting players on one side and Defender on the other.



Shuttle and Shift begins like a normal game of badminton. Service initially follows Doubles rules where the Server (S) serves from the Right Service Court into the opponents Left Service Court up to the Long Service Line for Doubles (the inner square around the Defender (D) as shown in the image below).

After the service is returned, either the Server or Assisting player may hit the shuttle from any position on their side of the net. The Defender does the same, and so on, until the shuttle ceases to be in play. The scoring area on the serving side (S and A) is the normal Side Line for Doubles (outer side line), the scoring area for the Defender (D) is the normal Side Line for Singles (inner side line).

When the Server scores a point against the Defender, the point is applied to the Server's score only, the Assisting player does not benefit from the awarded point. In Shuttle and Shift each score is individual and you can only gain points when you are the Server, not when Assisting or playing as Defender. When a point is won, the Server and Assisting players swap sides (the same way as you would when playing regular Doubles), as does the Defender so that they remain diagonal to the Server. The service then continues.


Tactics and Penalties

Since all three players have individual scores, it is possible for some tactical play by the Assisting player. They could deliberately miss or knock out the shuttle to end the Server's service. To hamper abuse of this power, the penalty for the Assisting player will be that they will lose a point (to a lowest score of 0 (zero)) if any of the following conditions are met:

  1. The shuttle is knocked out of play by the Assisting player.
  2. The shuttle is dropped (lands on the floor) on the Assisting players side and that player is alone. (ie. this does not apply if the Server has crossed over the Centre Line onto the Assisting players side. If they were over (even a toe) when the shuttle was dropped the service ends with no penalty to the Assisting player).

This can lead to some interesting tactics by all players:

  • The Assisting player could opt to sacrifice one of their own points in order to end the Server's service should they choose to.
  • The Server can also play tactically, by staying on their side of the Centre Line and not helping the Assisting player in the hope that they do something that makes them lose a point at the cost of the Server's service ending.
  • The Defender could focus all their attention on the Assisting players side of the Centre Line in an attempt to not only end the service, but also force the Assisting player into loosing a point should they mess up.

Service End

At the end of the service, the Server takes/passes the shuttle to the current Defender and moves over to their side to take the new position of Assisting the Defender, who now becomes the new Server. The player who was previously Assisting is now on their own and therefore changes to Defender. At this point the service starts again, but with each player in their new position. (See Part 1: Service)


Winning and Losing

Play continues until one player reaches the maximum score of 10 points, this player wins the match. The second highest scorer is the runner-up and the lowest scorer has lost, eg. 10-7-5. Whilst there can only be one winner, it could be a tie for the other two players (eg. 10-8-8) at which time both players take the title of runners-up.

Have Fun!