Crokinole for the Carrom Player

Posted by Emily Ogle on

Carrom and Crokinole

We’ve explored why players of pool, curling, and shuffleboard would all love crokinole, for different and overlapping reasons. Now we’ll turn our sights to a closer relation of crokinole, carrom. Although carrom comes from South Asia and crokinole from Canada, carrom’s history suggests that it might be a precursor of crokinole.

Carrom, though very like crokinole in that it also involves flicking discs across a wooden board to score points, far more resembles a cue sport. In carrom, players flick a “striker” disc (which functions as the cue ball) to try to knock object discs (called “carrom men”) into the corner pockets. There are many variations on how to play carrom, but the common objective is to be the first to pocket all nine of your carrom men, then to pocket the solitary queen (functioning as the eight-ball).

Below are five reasons why, if you’re a devoted player of carrom, you would enjoy crokinole just as much—if not more.

1. You’re looking for another board game that’s family friendly but has room for professional play.

Child Playing Crokinole, World Crokinole Championship logo

Crokinole and carrom are abstract, social board games, meaning that they’re easy for children to understand and there’s not a lot of thematic information to remember, as in something like Magic: The Gathering. They have existed for centuries and have many variations, so play can be flexible. Like carrom, which has informal variants that allow players to pocket carrom men of any color, crokinole has optional rules that fit beginner play. It’s easier to master than carrom, with a lower skill floor, so beginners can get more out of the game faster than they can carrom. However, there are international tournaments for both—the International Carrom Federation’s World Cup and the World Crokinole Championship, for example—so options are available for competitive play.

2. You enjoy flicking discs with your fingers, and you’re particularly skilled at it, too.

Tournament Size Crokinole Board

If you’re an avid carrom player, you probably get a kick out of flicking the striker disc into the carrom men. There is no striker disc in crokinole: rather, the disc you are shooting remains on the board and earns you points on its own. The manual dexterity skills required to effectively aim and flick your discs are the same in both carrom and crokinole—if you’re a skilled carrom flicker, then you’ll excel at this aspect in crokinole, as well.

3. You prefer shuffleboard to pool.

Table Shuffleboard

You may enjoy carrom because it’s a tabletop version of pool, but if you simply like flicking the discs across the board and would prefer a similar game that feels more like shuffleboard, crokinole is the one for you. Where carrom is tabletop pool, crokinole is tabletop shuffleboard: you are flicking discs across a surface and trying to get them to rest in marked areas rather than to pocket them. If you like table shuffleboard more than pool, you would probably prefer crokinole to carrom, so give it a try!

4. You love cue table sports of all kinds but value the more relaxed and portable aspects of carrom.

Billiards, Pool

A crokinole board is about the same size as a carrom board: the former’s size can vary, but crokinole commonly has a playing surface of around 26 inches in diameter (30 inches total with the base), whereas a carrom board is usually a 29-inch square. Compared to pool and table shuffleboard (and curling, which requires access to a rink), both carrom and crokinole are much more portable and easier to take with you on the go. They are also played sitting down at a table as opposed to the others, which require you to stand, so you would not be sacrificing your sedentary nature to pick up crokinole in addition to carrom.

5. Both feature wooden boards that can be created with the highest degree of craftsmanship.

Crokinole Board

Carrom and crokinole boards both have distinct designs and markings that distinguish them as unique art pieces in addition to their practical uses. The boards themselves, of course, are much smaller than pool tables that you might display in your home—you can hang a crokinole board on your wall as though it were a work of art, like you would a carrom board, without taking up too much space. The boards themselves can have simple appearances (an unstained plywood, for example), but there are also resources online for you to wholly customize your crokinole board, just as there are for carrom boards. You can choose the wood stain, the shape of the base, and even any art or designs you’d like printed on the surface.

While crokinole and carrom appear very similar on the surface, the games can still be appreciated for their differences. If you enjoy playing carrom, then we guarantee that crokinole will bring you the same joy, just as it has us and our families.


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