It’s a very popular indoor family game played in almost every dwelling, but people are always eager to know the facts. What is carrom? Carrom or carom is an indoor tabletop game of Indian origin based cue sports. The game is very common in the Middle East as well as in South Asia and is identified by multiple names in different dialects by various names. 

According to carrom information, there are numerous clubs and cafés in South Asia that regularly organize tournaments. Carrom is played very frequently and fervently involving all family members and is duly recognized at social functions too. The game of carrom bears different rules and regulations in different countries.

The concept of carrom evolved in India. It grew in popularity among the masses post First World War. Prior to that; State-Level Tournaments started to be conducted in the various parts of India during the beginning of the 19th century.

It is assumed that Real carrom tournaments might have conceived in Sri Lanka probably in 1935 and by the year 1958, India and Sri Lanka had jointly formed formal carrom club federations, funded tournaments, and with prize money at stake. 

The ICF (International Carrom Federation) was founded in Tamil Nadu (Chennai), India in 1988. The structured guidelines were released in 1988 for the Indian edition of the game. In the same year, the guidelines were formally promulgated by the ICF.

Also, the game is very popular all over South Asia, mostly in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The game has also gained popularity in many Arabian countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. It has developed a certain prominence in the United States and Europe where it was launched by the Indian immigrants. 

The United States Carrom Association jointly conducts US and Canadian tournaments and has also published a player ranking list for their tournaments. The carrom board and its parts available in the United States and Europe are generally imported from India. 

Though cheaper boards are always available, the costliest boards are also manufactured, maintaining a high standard with good-quality wood and attire. Names of some of the biggest carrom exporters of India are; Sports Syndicate, Surco, Precise, and Paul Traders.

a) Equipment Used in the Game

▸ The game of carrom is traditionally played on a plywood surface. The uniform game dimensions are a 29 “(74 cm) the square-shaped playing surface on a glazed plywood board.

The margins of the playing surface are flanked by wood bumpers and a net which is 10 cm or broader covers lying underneath each bag.

▸ The game of Carrom is played through small wood or plastic disks identified as carrom men (CM). Apart from the famous queen, such pieces can also be referred to as pawns (as in chess), coins, seeds, etc.

When hit, Carrom men are supposed to slide easily due to the smooth surface when stacked flat on the wall. They are hit by a standard size Striker which is bulkier and larger in size. Carrom board game is meant to follow simple hit and pocket process, such as pool, using angles, rebounds, and blocking opposing team’s carrom pieces.

▸ A carrom game includes 19 pieces (excluding the striker) in three distinct colors; one for the queen and one for each player. The normal colors for the players are black and white and the red queen.

Pieces accepted by ICF must have a diameter not exceeding 3.18 cm and not below 3.02 cm. The pieces have to be in the range of 7 mm to 9 mm thick. The pieces also bear a rounded but plain edge. The components will be weighing around 5.0 and 5.5 g.

▸ Striker bits are used to drive the carrom men and the queen into the pockets located in the wall. The striker on the carrom normally weighs 15 grams.

▸ If the disk falls into the pocket or some kind of foul is committed, the opponent can take one piece of the foul maker and put it anywhere on the board inside the middle ring while the coin player should first hold the coin on the board and then the opposition player can push the coin anywhere within the ring without moving the hand.

▸ It has already been mentioned that the red or purple disk is labeled as the queen; it’s the piece with utmost importance. It is positioned at the center of the circle during setting up the carrom board before the play starts.

Pocketing the queen, therefore, adds 3 points to the player’s total score according to the ICF regulations. The queen’s measurements must be similar to those of other carom men.

▸ The player has to pocket the queen and then pocket a carrom man with the player’s own selected color. It is called queen shielding or covering. If by error, upon pocketing the queen, a player places a carrom man of the opposite team in the pocket, then the queen must again be positioned in the middle of the board.

If the following carrom man is not pocketed by the player, the queen is substituted in the base of the board. If the player is pocketing the last carrom man of his rival before taking home the queen, it is said to a foul in that case.

If a player places a carrom man of the player’s own color and the queen in the pocket with one hit by the striker, the queen will be instantly covered, regardless of the fact which goes first.

▸ The fine granular powder will be used on the carrom board to allow the fast sliding of the bits. It’s customary to use boric acid powder for this purpose. The EU has, however, cautioned that boric acid may cause health injury and observes that this element may affect fertility or cause the biological disorder.

In the UK, several players use a variant of the printing industry’s anti-set-off spray powder that has a unique electrostatic characteristic, containing 50-micrometer fragments. The powder consists of vegetable starch and pure food grade.

b) Carrom Board Types or Variants

1) Point Carrom

It’s very equivalent to the family point carrom game except that both the white and black disks will award you one point each, while it will also earn you three whole points after shielding the queen. 

The player, who crosses the benchmark of 25 points, is adjudged the winner and if there is no clear favorite to win the board, then the player with the highest points is declared the winner. 

In the event of a tie, a tiebreaker rule is applied, where teams are allowed to pick two separate numbers of disks and only rebounds have to be pocketed.

2) Family Point Carrom

Carrom’s game emerged as a family game; therefore the first version is naturally linked to how individuals play carrom games at home. The main aim of this version is to have fun with the kids and spend some quality time. 

There are no bindings in play here on the color disks you have to pocket, the player receives 5 points for each black disk owned, ten for the white, and the queen wins 25 points for the player if it is protected. Eventually, the highest percentage of point winners claims the carom board match. This match can also be performed in pairs, or on an individual basis.

3) Professional Carrom

Such carrom board rules are developed by the ICF and these carrom rules are used for the domestic and global Carrom championships. According to these rules, each carrom game consists of 29 points. 

Every player is assigned a disc color, and only the allocated color disks have to be pocketed. The players can’t pocket the queen until pocketing the first disk and pocketing after the last disk. 

The queen must also be properly guarded in compliance with common rules here. You can’t just put the queen and its cover in the same bag. The person is declared the winner who pockets all of his allocated discs first.

4) Total Point Carrom

Two players play individually and wait for their turn in this version which is very common in Pakistan and India. 

You receive 10 points for the white discs and 5 points for the black, and 50 points will be awarded if the queen’s coverage is right. The players continue to play carrom until the first round when all the carrom men are garnered by the lowest scorer.

c) Playing Rules

The carrom board game is played on varying sizes of plastic or wooden frames. The goal is to force the compact and lightweight wooden discs named carrom men into the four separate pockets on the board’s four corners, with the aid of a plastic striker. The carrom men do comprise of Black, White, and pink in three different colors.

Overall 9 black and 9 white are set in such a manner that a ring is formed in the middle of the board and the pink carrom man termed as the Queen is placed in the very center.

Measurement accepted by ICF conforms to 3.02-3.18 cm in diameter for the Carrom men. The Queen can only be earned if she’s covered in successive strikes by another carrom man. In India, a pinch of boric acid powder is sometimes used to make the board surface smooth and glossy.

FAQs Related to Carrom Board

The uniform scale is a playing surface with 5–10 cm (2–4 inches) and the boundaries of 74/74 cm (29/29 inch).
International norms say you're able to strike from the carrom bed in either direction. If you really wish to strike backward, then you can flick the striker with your thumb.
Once in a while, you can use a cigarette paper to clean your carom board. After playing, do not keep the board in open space and make certain the playing surface is fully covered without any moisture. Before and after practice or play, clean your carom using a soft cloth.

Conclusion

You will surely feel that carrom game is only another game played in the Indian Sub Continent just like any indigenous game, but it’s incorrect thinking. 

The carom game is scattered throughout South East Asia and some of the worldwide championship games are conducted too. So you’ll be prepared to answer a majority of the doubts about carrom board game once you go through this post.

Feature Image: Pexels

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