Crokinole for the Pool Player

Posted by Emily Ogle on

You’re an avid pool player, and you’ve played more than a few different varieties of pool games. Perhaps you’re looking for another game that scratches the same itches that pool does for you, or perhaps you love playing all kinds of tabletop and board games, as well, and you’re looking for something that combines the two. Well, we can confidently advise you to look no further than the Canadian table sport called crokinole.

Crokinole BoardPool, reimagined

Crokinole is a 19th-century, dexterity-based board game in which players use their fingers to flick discs across a small table in turns, aiming to send their pieces through eight central pegs and into a 20-point hole in the center. They try to direct their discs to areas that are worth the most points and also try to knock opponents’ pieces away from the same higher-scoring spaces. 

Below are five reasons why, as a pool player, you’ll get a kick out of crokinole.

1. You get to practice your pool-honed, hand-eye coordination.

While you need to stand to take a shot in pool, in crokinole you sit or stand at a table as you shoot your discs. In both games, you need to spend time lining up your shot, and an impressive, well-placed shot is celebrated. In pool, the focus is on the way you strike the cue ball with the stick (i.e. where on the ball you strike it and with how much force). In crokinole, the concept is the same, except instead of striking the cue ball with a stick, you are flicking a flat disc with your finger.

2. You can still play in the same environments and under the same conditions.

Both can be spectator games, with audiences cheering after a particularly skilled shot with the cue stick or when a disc flick is angled just right. Both can be played at casual gatherings, yet people assemble worldwide for high-stakes crokinole tournaments just as they do for pool. Like darts, as well, both crokinole and pool can be played in noisy or crowded places like bars or restaurants, unlike many board games that require intense mental focus every time you play, such as chess or Twilight Struggle.

3. You don’t have to worry about excluding anyone from your gaming group.

Customarily, crokinole is a head-to-head battle between two players and offers the same intense experience of a one-on-one duel that pool does. However, both games can be played with two teams of two players each, as well. In doubles games, the turn order swaps back and forth between members of the two teams.

4. You want something you can proudly display as a feature of your home.

If you like how your pool table sparks conversation with visitors, you will love surprising your friends with your new, artistic crokinole board. Crokinole boards can have the same high quality of craftsmanship as pool tables, and a beautiful wooden crokinole board on your coffee table or dining room table is sure to raise questions and eyebrows alike.

5. Your greatest wish is a more compact, portable, and inexpensive pool table.

Pool tables measure up to 4.5 feet by 9 feet (and need at least 3 feet around them to use their cue sticks) and can cost upwards of $2,000. Crokinole boards typically measure 26 to 30 inches in diameter and cost a tenth of that price. Crokinole’s other features (using small discs rather than heavy billiard balls, forgoing cue sticks for one’s own fingers) also make it easier to transport. If you want to play pool, the location must have a pool table, unless you’re able to purchase and transport your own, which probably means involving a pickup truck or forklift. If you want to play crokinole, simply pick up your board and go!

Like pool, crokinole has endured for centuries for a reason, and we’re hoping that it finds its way into your homes and your hearts just as it has ours.

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