Carrom: Wikis


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Children playing carrom in Yemen

Carrom also Caroom or carroms is a family of tabletop games sharing a similarity in that their mechanics lie somewhere between billiards and table shuffleboard. The game has various other names around the world, including carrum, couronne, carum, karam, karom, karum, fatta (Punjabi) and (rarely) finger billiards.



The origins of carrom are uncertain, although western sources suggest that the game is of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indian, Portuguese colonial, or Burmese origin.[1] Variations of the game played with a cue stick similar to those used in billiards-type games may have independently developed in several cases as a mixture of billiards and shuffleboard.

The game is very popular in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Similar games are played throughout the world, and may or may not share common origins with carrom. There is a carrom-like game also played with cues in China. Games similar to carrom appear all over Asia, for example vindi vindi in Fiji and szhe szhe in Israel. Some variants make use of discarded objects instead of fashioned playing pieces; bottle caps are used for games similar to carrom in both Mexico and Java.[citation needed] Various North American and European games bear a resemblance to (and may be related to) carrom, including crokinole, pitchnut, pichenotte and novuss.

According to the International Carrom Federation (ICF), the world carrom champion recognized in 2003 is Indian striker Wasif Osmani[citation needed]. He has been Indian defending champion 6 years running[citation needed]. The national competition consists of over 10 million competitors[citation needed].

Standardised equipment

The standardized Indian game is played on a board of lacquered plywood, normally with a 29 inch (74 cm) square playing surface. The edges of the playing surface are bounded by bumpers of wood, and the bottom of the board is covered by a net with a 10 cm2 or larger capacity.[2] Instead of the balls of billiards games, carrom uses disks. The object of the game is to strike or flick with a finger a comparatively heavy disk called a "striker" such that it contacts lighter object disks called "carrom-men" and propels them into one of four corner pockets.



Carrom-men and two strikers, arranged at the start of a game

A carrom-man (also carrom man, carromman, carroman; plural -men; sometimes abbreviated c/m; and known by colloquial terms such as seed, coin, puck, or goti) is a usually wooden (sometimes plastic), uniform small disk used in playing carrom. The Carrom-men have a smooth movement in a flat position on the surface of the carrom board when hit by a striker of standard specification.

The carrom-men come in two colors denoting the two players (or, in doubles play, teams). Traditionally, these colors are white (or unstained) and black.

ICF-sanctioned pieces must have a diameter of no more than 3.18 cm and no less than 3.02 cm, and must be between 7 mm and 9 mm thick, with an edge that is round and plain, and a weight of 5–5.5 g.

The queen

The queen

The red (or sometimes pink) queen or "match-taker" coin/seed, is the most powerful carrom piece. It is placed at the center of the circle. Under ICF rules, if a player wins the board with the queen, this adds three 3 "queen points" to the player's total score. A player has the right to pocket the queen and to cover it provided a carrom-man of the player's own has already been pocketed and if pockets opponents piece then he looses. In other way, if a player sinks the opponents coin while trying to cover the queen, the queen comes out and is placed on the center, the opponent's coin stays down, and the player loses his turn. When playing for acumulative point, the player must pocket a white coin.[3] Under ICF rules, the dimensions of the queen must be the same as those of the other carrom-men.

The striker

The striker is a larger, heavier piece, flicked with the finger to hit the carrom-men and knock them into the corner pockets or into each other. According to the laws by ICF, the striker "shall be smooth and round, with a diameter not more than 4.13 cm.".[2] Its weight should not be more than 15 grams.[4] Ivory and metal strikers are not allowed in tournaments.[2]


Fine-grained powder is used on the board to enable the pieces to slide easily. Boric acid powder is the most commonly used for this purpose.[2]

In the UK, many players use a version of anti-set-off spray powder from the printing industry which has specific electrostatic properties with particles of 50 micrometres in diameter. The powder is made from pure, food-grade vegetable starch.

Standardised rules and regulations

Carrom board

International rules (sometimes hyperbolically called "the laws of carrom") are promulgated by the ICF, the governing body of carrom. The organisation also ranks players, sanctions tournaments and presents awards, and has many national affiliates such as the All-India Carrom Federation, Australian Carrom Federation, UK Carrom Association and US Carrom Association.There is a penalty a person has to pay if his striker goes in the hole.This term is referred to as deuce. The penalty is usually 10.

The toss

Order of play is determined by the process of "calling the carrom-men" or, simply, "the toss". Before the commencement of each match, in formal play, an umpire hides one black and one white carrom-men in his hands and the players have to guess which carrom-men are being held in each hand. The player who wins the toss must either choose to strike first or to change sides (from white to black) and give up the opening break. No option to pass this decision to the other player is available. If the player chooses to strike, the loser can change sides, but if the winner chooses to change sides the loser must strike first.

In a doubles event, the team winning the toss has the choice, as above. Once the toss-losers have sat down, they may not interchange. This order of sitting continues throughout the match.

Whoever plays first or breaks gets white.


The aim of the game is to pot one's own nine carrom men before one's opponent pots his/hers. However, before sinking one's final carrom man, the queen must be pocketed and then "covered" by pocketing one of one's own carrom men on the same or subsequent strike. Fouls, such as crossing the diagonal lines on the board with any part of one's body, or potting the striker, lead to carrom men being returned to the board. The player is allowed to shoot with any finger, including the thumb (known as "thumbing" or a "thumb shot").

At any point of time the player should not strike any of the coins on the diagonal line closer to the player.

Point carrom

A variant often popular with children or an odd number of players. Play is as above except that all players try to sink all carrom men, regardless of colour. The nine carrom men of one color are worth one point each and the nine carrom men of the other color are worth two points each. The red queen is worth five points and may only be captured by pocketing another carrom man on the same or subsequent strike. A player reaching 17 or more points is the winner, otherwise the winner is the player with the most points after all carrom men have been pocketed.

Board variations

Carrom boards come in various sizes, as do the corner pockets. Smaller boards, and boards with larger pockets, are often employed by beginners for easier gameplay. On traditional carrom boards the corner pockets are only slightly larger than the carrom men, and smaller than the striker. On boards with larger pockets, it is possible to sink the striker, resulting in a "scratch shot" as in pool. This is called a "due". Typically on a "due", one of your pocketed men come back into the table.

American carrom

A simple American version with cue sticks and a chess/checkers pattern. Note the pockets, which are much larger than traditional Indian carrom holes.
A more elaborate American board, with even more markings for other games.

American carrom is a variant on carrom derived in America by missionaries to the East, around 1890.[citation needed] Believing that the game required restructuring for Western tastes, a Sunday school teacher named Henry Haskell altered the game.[citation needed] Much of the game is the same, but the striker's weight is reduced and the carrom men are smaller. Generally, instead of disks of solid wood, ivory, or acrylic, carrom men (including the striker) In addition, American carrom uses miniature cue sticks. American carrom boards also have pockets built into the corners, rather than circular holes in the board, to make pocketing easier. While traditionally made boards vary widely, current commercially-produced American carrom boards are 28 inches (710 mm) square, are printed with checkerboard and backgammon patterns, among others, and are sold with checkers, chess pieces, skittles, etc., to allow other games to be played on the same board. Often, these boards are also built to play crokinole.


A version of American carrom was played in Southern California schools in the 1950s-1980s, using a somewhat larger square board and wooden rings struck with cue sticks.[citation needed] There was both a golf version and a maze version. In the golf version, there was a series of nine "holes" (really just green areas on the board.) A player had to start at the tee for a particular hole and get a carrom coin completely within the green region to advance to the next hole. Sand trap hazards would cause the player to lose a stroke and lake hazards would cause the player to lose two.[citation needed] A modified commercial version also exists. In the maze version, the playing board was divided by wooden rails into a maze of spiral corridors. The object was to be the first to get to the center. The surface was marked with areas that would send the player forward or back if landed on, similar to other board games. A commercial version of this is now also available.


A popular variant in Latvia and Estonia is called novuss (or koroona), and is subject to notable amateur and even professional competition between the two countries. Like the American game, it is played with cue sticks (but they are much closer in size to pool cues, and the game is played while standing), and the board has comparatively large netted corner pockets instead of simple round holes. The board is 40 inches (100 cm) square, mounted on a roughly groin-height table, and there are two striker pucks (one for each player), eight object disks ("men") per player, and no queen. The game dates to the mid-to-late 1920s, the first professional match was held in 1932, Latvian national championship began in 1964, and "international" (i.e. Latvia vs. Estonia) competition began in 1993. There are an estimated 55,000 players.

Filipino carrom

A cued variant of carrom is also played in the Philippines, and is called "karambola" and "pool table". It is similar to novuss, but both players use the same puck for striking with their cues, and only twelve object disks (six per player) are used. The table is usually rotateable so that the players would not have to move to where they will strike the puck, and just rotate the table to a position they are comfortable making a shot at.[citation needed]

Australian carrom

Australian carrom, also known by the trademark Puckpool, is a variation created in the mid-1990s. Like the Indian game, it is played with the hands directly, without cue sticks, but has essentially adopted many of the rules of the popular pool game blackball. Australian carrom is only played with eight pucks per side (whites vs. blacks) as opposed to nine, and calls the "queen" the "crown" or the "colored puck" instead. Shots are taken from each player's "driveline" (a line on the board near the rim of the playing surface closest to the player). Only one striker is used, shots are taken in turn, and all shots are taken from the player's driveline (unlike in blackball). The commercial variant is played without the use of powder, on a smooth, 735 mm (29 in.) square-surfaced, coin-operated machine reminiscent of table-top video games of 1980s, intended for pubs and similar venues.[5]

Japanese carrom

Carrom was introduced to Japan in the last years of the Meiji period or Taishō period by someone from the UK and in the early Shōwa period by someone from the USA. In the middle Shōwa period, carrom was called "fighting ball board" or "tossing ball board" (闘球盤 or 投球盤 tōkyūban?) and was a popular board game throughout Japan. Carrom gradually lost popularity, but is still played in Hikone, Shiga. In Hikone, carrom is called karomu (カロム?) and many homes have their own carrom boards and use derivative rules.

Other related or similar games

The chiefly North American games crokinole and pichenotte (and the latter's derivative, pitchnut), bear a striking resemblance to carrom, and may be local variants of it. The Russian game chapayev is seemingly a hybrid of draughts (checkers) and carrom. In Denmark a game called bob, similar to carrom, is played with cues rather than fingers.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "What is Carrom?". Carrom UK. Retrieved 26 November 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Standard equipments". Punjabi State Carrom Association. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Queen". Punjabi State Carrom Association. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Official Laws of Carrom". Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  5. ^

External links


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