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The game of Carrom

Carrom originated in India several centuries ago and is now very popular in the UK. It is the ancestor of pool, snooker and billiards. Carrom is played with counters and you flick the pieces into the pockets using a striker. Children as young as seven can pick the game up easily. It is also played seriously all over Asia, with international tournaments for cash prizes. The game is sometimes referred to as finger billiards and is described by some as a cross between tiddlywinks and pool.

If you want to buy a carrom board, take a look at our carrom pages. These are all made at our workshop in London. We also sell carrom strikers, carrom pieces and carrom powder.

Compendia's Rules to the game of Carrom

Carrom is a two or four player game. For four players you play as two teams, the person sitting opposite you is your partner. Read these rules through once before you begin to play.

To score as many points as possible by potting the counters. The winner is the first player to 29 points.

Arrange all the pieces in the centre of the board.

shows initial setup and striker positioned on carrom bed

Sit down. In front of you are two lines, usually ending in circles, which form the ‘bed’. The striker must be placed on the carrom bed when you shoot, and it should touch both the lines. You can only shoot from the carrom bed in front of you and you must remain seated at all times.

Decide who will be black and who will be white. The white player breaks. Place the striker anywhere in your bed so that it touches both the lines. Flick it into the pieces. Keep your finger very close to the striker and will not hurt your fingernail.

Take it turns to shoot. You are trying to get your own pieces in any of the pockets.

International rules state that you are allowed to shoot in any direction from the carrom bed. If you want to shoot backwards then you can use your thumb to filck. Some versions of the rules state that you may not shoot backwards, so if you have your own colour pieces between you and your carrom bed then you must use a rebounding shot to move or pocket them. Remember, you must remain seated at all times.

While shooting, your elbows must stay off the board and may not go out past the side of the board.

You bring the striker back to the Carrom bed every time you shoot and you can place it anywhere along the bed, to line up the most useful shot, but it must always touch both lines.

If you pocket your colour then you get another shot and keep shooting until you fail to pocket a piece.

If you pocket the striker then you must get one of your pieces out of a pocket and place it in the centre of the board. Or owe one if you don't have any pieces down yet.

If you pocket an opponent’s piece, there is no penalty, but of course, you are helping them to win the game.

If you hit your opponent’s colour first, or at any time during the shot, there is no penalty.

The first player to pocket all their pieces is the winner of that game.

The Queen.
The queen is usually the red counter. She is worth five points, called the "queen's premium", to the player who pockets her, covers her and then goes on to win, so she's worth spending some time on. If the player who pockets and covers the queen loses the game then nobody scores any points for her.

Once you have pocketed one of your own pieces you may go for the queen on any subsequent shot or turn. You must pocket the queen and then immediately pocket any one of your own pieces. This is called ‘covering the queen’. You can cover the queen by pocketing any of your pieces into any of the pockets.

You can cover the queen in the same shot as the pocketing the queen, if both the queen and one of your pieces go down. It does not matter if the queen or the other piece goes down first.

If you do not manage to cover the queen then she comes back into play and is replaced in the very centre of the board.

International rules state that one of the players must successfully pocket and cover the queen. So you cannot finish a game with the queen still on the table and you must cover the queen. For new players however, this can make for a very long game so when starting out you could decide that the queen can be the last piece to pocket, like the black ball in pool. If this is the case then you could reduce the queens premium to 3 or even 1 point. It is best to decide this before you begin playing.

You cannot score points until a board is won because only the winner scores points. The winner of the board scores five points if they potted the queen and one point for each of the other pieces left on the board.

You usually play several boards of Carrom in an evening and keep count of the points from each board. The first player to reach 29 points wins the game.

The maximum score for each board is 14 points - that means the winner pocketed all of their pieces along with the queen for 5 points, while the loser failed to pocket a piece, leaving 9 of the losers pieces on the board for 9 more points. Since two maximum scores would achieve 28 points, at least 3 boards must be played.







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Last updated: Feb/2016 phone: 07930 997155 email: