What even is Crokinole?

A photograph of a crokinole board on a white background.
Lookout! Game night memories incoming! David Victor Lagasse via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been asking yourself this question, wonder no more!

by parth pathak, contributor

In my previous company, I was introduced to a new board game: Crokinole. Its uncanny resemblance to Carrom, be it the board and lubricating powder or wax, coupled with elements of curling all put together on the table-top piqued my curiosity.  

What followed was my thorough grasping of the knowledge needed to play, trying my hand at playing, and eventually having fun! 

Originating from Canada in the early 19th century, its name is derived from the French word “croquignole” meaning “donut.” It can be played with two to four players. If there are more than two players, they would team up.  

Simply put, players take turns flicking the discs into a high-score region while also trying to eliminate the opponent’s discs. This goes on until they run out of discs and the player with the highest amount of points wins. There are 12 discs for each player and each player or team has a distinct colour for their discs. Generally there are two coloured discs available – black and white. Additionally, other coloured discs could be ordered in. 

In a broader sense, there are rules about how to flick or shoot. Discs are to be shot only with a finger, without any finger guards. However, some players are allowed to use finger cues. While playing a shot, only the shooting hand alone can come into contact with the board or table. Players cannot intentionally move the board, table or chair in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.  

Also, a shooting disc cannot be placed on the board until it is your turn. It has to be placed on the table or other playing platform outside the board. Typically, the size of discs are 32 mm in diameter and 10 mm in width. 

Fun fact: the board design is attributed to craftsman Eckhardt Wettlaufer from Perth County, Ontario. The overall playing surface diameter is 26 in., with the outer circle diameter being 24 in., the middle circle diameter being 16 in., the inner circle diameter being 8 in. and the ditch being, at a minimum, 2 in..  

The 8 posts on the board are made of latex rubber, which allows the disc to bounce to lower scoring zones worth 10 or 5 points. These posts are called Crokinole Bumpers and are 3.6 cm tall and 1 cm wide. 

For the rules, starting from the innermost circle, here are a few points to consider. If the disc lands in the hollowed-out black dot in the center, the player gets 20 points. If the disc lands between the first circle and the center, the player receives 15 points. Next is the zone worth 10 points and eventually the 5 points outermost zone.  

The line for the five points zone indicates the end of the shooting range within which the player is supposed to shoot their disc from. A player may only shoot from their shooting range, not anywhere else.  

The Ditch is from where the player actually shoots. When shooting the disc, a player’s hand must not exceed the first circle scoring line. All invalid discs, discs which are no longer playable, are also placed in the ditch. For example, a disc would be considered invalid if it were to fall off the board or if it doesn’t cross the five points zone. Note that a disc touching the line of a dividing circle is counted at the lower value. 

Did you know there’s an annual tournament held for Crokinole that’s been going on since 1999? The World Crokinole Championship (WCC) happens every first Saturday of June in Tavistock, Ontario.  

Newbie or playing for fun? You can still have a spot in WCC under the “Recreational” category! Aside from this category, they have: Competitive, Cue, Youth Intermediate and Juniors. All the specified game formats can be played in either Singles or Doubles. 

It’s interesting to note that if a player were to win in a recreational division, they cannot compete in the recreational category for the 2 consecutive years following their win. 

All their information from eligibility to scoring cards to elaborated tie-breaking rules are written in this website: worldcrokinole.com/thegame.html 

Will we see a University of Regina alumni in the Championship? Only time will tell. 


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