Want to know the basic rules of Crokinole? We’ll show you in 3 minutes! Watch this video first and if you still have questions, or want to play three-player or four-player game, look up the required rules here. Have fun!
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1. Aim of the game
Players alternately try to flick their discs into the center hole of the round board or into higher value fields. In the flicking fight for points, opposing players will try to hit each others’ discs to knock them out of the playing area or into lower scoring positions.
The player with more points wins the round. Usually more than one round is played to decide which player is the best. According to traditional scoring the player has to collect at least 100 points in one or more rounds to win the game (for scoring details see chapter 7).
2. Basic rules
Commonly Crokinole is played by 2 players. Cooperative 4-player-mode is also very popular when two 2-player teams face each other. Also there are rules for 3-player mode (for 3-player game see chapter 9).
The standard Crokinole board is a 66 cm (26”) diameter wooden board with a shallow hole in the center. Players flick small wooden discs on the playing surface into valuable positions. The playing area is divided into 3 scoring fields by concentric circles with increasing values towards the center. There are 8 bumpers around the most inner circle to make it more difficult to flick the discs in the center hole. The most outer scoring filed is divided into four quadrants. Players can only shoot discs from their quadrant. The most outer circle is the shooting line.
Discs landing within the scoring circles are worth 15, 10 and 5 points moving out from inside. A disc falling into the center hole is worth immediately 20 points to its player. Discs leaving the playing area are worth 0 point. The shooting line is also the border of the playing area (see image 1). Players count their points at the end of each round (as detailed in chapter 7).
3. Preparing the game
Place your Crokinole board on a table to be comfortable enough for each player to reach his/her quadrant. In the following, the board can not be moved during the game. Place a 20-bowl (e.g. a glass, a cup or bowl – optional accessory!) on the table next to the board. Choose the starting player by any drawing method.
4. Two-player game
In a 2-player game, players are seated in opposing quadrants. Both players receive 12 discs in the choosen color. They alternately flick one disc at a time with one finger aiming at the center hole or at the opponent’s discs. Before the shot, the shooting disc always has to be lying on one of its flat side on the player’s shooting line (disc can touch quadrant lines from either side). Each disc can only be shot once in a round.
Positions ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ are valid shooting positions. Position ‘C’ is also valid because the disc still touches the quadrant line from outside. Discs placed in ‘D’ and ‘E’ positions are invalid, shot can not be executed from here (see image 2).
If there are no opposing discs in the playing area the upcoming player aims into the center hole or in the center scoring field (free-shot). This rule is also applied for the player starting a new round.
If the disc falls into the center hole (meaning the disc is lying completely within the hole) the player places it immediately into a 20-bowl visible to the opponent as well. The value of the discs in the 20-bowl will be added to the final/total score at the end of the round.
When executing a free-shot a disc that stops outside the center hole can only stay on the playing surface if it is within the 15-score field or it is touching the circle of the bumpers. In every other case the disc has to be removed from the game. Eliminated discs must be placed into the ditch framing the board (see image 3).
If the opponent has one or more discs in play the next player MUST shoot his/her disc to strike at least one of the opposing discs with any of his/her own discs (see image 4).
If the shooter fails to hit all opposing discs, shooting disc must be removed to the ditch, furthermore every discs of the shooter involved in the shot must also be removed from the playing area (including any discs that have fallen into the center hole).
Striking can also be made indirectly (e.g. by first hitting a bumper or any other disc) by bumping an own disc to the opposing disc (for carom rules see chapter 8).
After collision of at least two opposing discs, they can finish their movements anywhere within the playing area. Only discs that stop touching the shooting line are deemed out of play and must be removed to the ditch.
One round lasts until both players run out of their 12 discs. Any discs that once left the playing area stay out of the game until its end. After this scoring takes place.
5. Four-player game
4-player mode only differs slightly from the above introduced gameplay for two players. The four players are divided into two 2-player teams, teammates facing each other around the board. One team’s 12 discs are divided in half between teammates, so every player will start playing with 6 discs.
Starting player is choosen by any drawing method and players follow in clockwise. Other rules are applied similarly. The round also lasts until all players run out of their discs. After this scoring takes place.
6. Using gliss powder
Due to microscopic roughness of the discs and the playing surface, the slide of the discs can be uneven. To compensate this effect and ensure smoother slide it is reccommended to use gliss powder. Spread a pinch of gliss powder in the ditch in front of you. Slightly rub the shooting disc into the powder before flicking. Don’t let too much powder to stick to the disc because it may slow down your shot.
Scoring takes place after players have shot all their discs. A player/team counts every disc within the shooting line adding any discs in the 20-bowl. Every disc can only be counted once.
Each disc in the 20-bowl is worth 20 points. Discs within the bumpers line are worth 15, 10 outside the bumpers and 5 in the outer scoring ring (see image 5). All discs in the ditch are worth 0 points. Any discs touching a separating line of a circle is counted at the value of the lesser cirlce. Of course discs touching the shooting line after the last shot must also be counted 0 points.
Traditional scoring (differential and simple):
To win the game a player/team must collect at least 100 points in one or more rounds. The result of a round should be added to the scores of the previous rounds. Use a piece of paper and pen to esier follow up.
The commonly used differential scoring means that the score of the losing player/team is subtracted from the winnig score and the result is recorded for the winner. In case of a tie both parties get 0 points. Simple scoring means the scores are recorded per player/team and no substraction occurs.
When scoring on a championship the player/team with higher points receive 2 points and the losing player/team receives 0 points. In case of a tie both parties receive 1 point. Also every 20 shot is counted separately after avery round (for more details visit www.worldcrokinole.com).
8. Special rules
The following rules are for special cases occuring more rarely. You may look up the required rules when the event occurs during the game.
Carom or indirect strikes: If any opposing discs are in play, but the player can not (or do not want to) hit an opposing disc directly, he/she may strike an own disc to the opposing disc to achieve a valid shot (carom). The order of the strikes is inessential. If a valid shot is not made then the shooter’s disc and all the other discs of the same color that were struck, including any 20’s, shall be removed from play.
If there is no opposing disc in play, you may carom your own discs towards the center hole. In this case the shot is only valid if at least one of the shooter’s discs falls into the 20-hole or stays within the inner circle or touching the bumper’s line. If none of the moving discs gets into the middle circle (or touches its line) they all must be removed to the ditch.
Almost 20-point shot: A disc leaning on the edge of the center hole or halfway overturned into the hole must stay in its place, it is not worth 20 points. If it stays there till the end of the game/round value of the disc is only 15. In the middle of the game an almost 20-point disc can be struck out or pushed into the center hole. Only the flat lying discs can be removed to the 20-bowl and counted as 20 points.
20 points for the opponent: An unfortunate shot can result in striking one of the opponent’s disc into the center hole. Due to strike between opposing discs this shot is always valid and 20 points goes for the opponent.
Returning discs (damage rule): An out-of-bound disc re-entering the playing area (e.g. ricocheting from the rail) is considered to be out of play and must be removed after its movement stops. Any discs that were hit by the re-entering disc must stay in their new position (20-disc is counted as well).
Line or not line?: Whenever it is difficult to decide if a disc is touching a line or not, ‘look under’ the disc! If clean board can be seen between the edge of the disc and the mentioned line then the disc is not touching it.
Longer or shorter games: If you have less time to play Crokinole, play until lower total points using traditional scoring. The player/team that reaches at least 50 points first is the winner. For longer gameplay aim for higher total points (e.g. 150 or 200 points). Both differential or simple scoring can be used with these variations. You may also play with less discs. Using championship scoring can easily define the lenght of a game. Win 2 rounds out of 3 played for a really quick game or use the international WCC scoring table for longer games.
- Players (especially the shooting player) must not move and can not leave their chairs to gain better position.
- Using traditional scoring if both teams reach or pass the scoreline required to win the game, the winner will be the one who passes the scoreline with more points. If it is a tie both teams win – if this occurs it is advised to start a new game to decide.
- When starting a new round two rules may be applied to choose starting player: A) The next player sitting clockwise from the previous starting player starts the next round. B) The losing player/team decides whether he/she wants to start the new round or not.
(After a tied round only ‘rule A’ can be used.)
9. Additional rules
The usage of the following rules are optional.
3-player game: Crokinole for 3 players can be played in two different variations depending on the number of disc sets in play.
- Playing with 2 sets of discs is a little more complicated (team vs. one player), but not impossible. Teammates share the 12 discs while the player alone plays with the whole dozen in his/her color. To keep the game playable, the player alone must shoot after both opposing players. Scoring is the same as in 2-player mode.
- Playing with 3 sets of discs is more comfortable, because all players play individually with their own color. For standard game length use 8 discs per player (for longer rounds all three dozens can be used). At the end of the rounds differential scoring can not be used, use traditional simple scoring instead.
Less restrictions for children and beginners: When playing with children or people new to Crokinole it might be favorable to ease some rules. See below 2 examples:
- Re-shoot: If the player’s shooting disc does not interact with any other disc in play and it is not a valid shot (e.g. ricocheting from a bumper into the ditch, flies off the board or misses the disc with his/her finger), then it is a nice gesture to let the player shoot again. This rule can be ignored when doing a free-shot (and attempts can also be limited).
- Free to move: The player may move his/her seat to a more comfortable shooting position or smaller children may stand up for flicking.
More restrictions for advanced players:
- According to a widely accepted rule, the shooting disc should be placed on the shooting line and should not exceed more than half into the playing area. This rule can be extended regarding the quadrant lines as well. In this case placing the disc in ‘B’ or ‘C’ positions in image 2 is invalid.
- Another restriction for free-shots says the shot is only valid if the shooting disc is totally within the inner circle (or falls in the center hole) and any discs stopping on the line is out of play.
- Restriction regarding ‘free-carom rule’ (when no opposing disc is in play) states the shot is only valid if no other but the shooting disc falls in the center hole or stops in the middle circle or at least touching its line. If a valid shot is not made then the shooter’s disc and all the other discs of the same colour that were struck, including any 20’s, shall be removed from play.
- Neither the board nor the chair of any player can be moved while the game is in progress. This includes no tipping of the chair. When a player is shooting, at least one portion of the posterior (the ‘one cheek rule’) must be in contact with his/her chair.
(These restrictions can be applied individually or simultaneously.)