The table-top game of Carrom

An account of what many call “finger billiards”

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Photo of someone about to flick a carrom piece across the game board.
Play the ultimate game of focus, precision, and strategy. Photo: Lino Lakes/ Unsplash

By: Vanshita Sethi, SFU Student 

A carrom board can often be found in a dusty, old corner in Indian households waiting to be pulled out on special family occasions. Some historians believe the game to have first been enjoyed leisurely by the Maharajas of India. Since then, carrom remains relevant in many parts of India to this day. 

Carrom consists of 19 wooden coins (carrommen), a striker (a bigger disk used to try to pocket the other pieces), and powder (for glidability). It’s typically a game for four players with pairs of two seated across from each other. The 19 carrommen are divided into two distinct colours, black and white, with a queen placed right in the middle of the board. Similar to billiards, the goal is to pocket the carrom men of the chosen colour as fast as possible, along with the queen — the most valuable piece. Whichever player pockets their pieces first wins the game and receives a point for each of their opponent’s pieces still left on the board. If said winner pockets the queen, they will also receive five bonus points.

Over the last century, various Carrom organizations have been established to bring “uniformity in the specifications of equipment and rules of the game.” The All-Indian Carrom Federation was the first to be established on March 4, 1956. In 2012, Carrom Canada was introduced by Francis D’Costa and now has more than 150 members. During the pandemic, carrom saw a resurgence among players in Canada, and D’Costa considered opening the federation up to prospective players who wanted to learn before the pandemic

It might sound elaborate and intense, however, the “strike and pocket” game might just be your next favourite pastime while stuck at home, and can be bought at the following link.