Two, three or four people can play. In singles, your opponent sits across from you; in doubles, you play opposite your partner. With three, you can play for points.
How to arrange the pieces on the board
Line up the double whites to aim 'dead-on' into a corner pocket.
Whoever plays first, or breaks, is always white. The object of the game is to sink all of your pieces, using the heavier 'striker', in any of the pockets before your opponent. Your turn continues as long as you keep sinking your pieces - luck shots count and all combinations are permitted.
When placing the striker on the board to shoot, the striker must touch both 'base lines' (see left diagram), either covering the red circle completely, or not touching it at all. The striker may not touch the diagonal arrow line.
Shooting styles are very personal - whichever 'grip' works for you is fine as long as you 'flick' the striker and don't push it. Generally, it's best to orient your body in order to see the line of your aim while shooting comfortably; you may not move or leave your chair.
For forward shots, you can use your index finger, middle finger, or even the 'scissors' shot (right).
Tip on technique: Before shooting, try touching the striker with your fingernail, to be sure that it's really on line. This will improve your accuracy and prevent you from hurting your finger.
For 'back-shots' you may only use your thumb or the scissors technique.
No part of your body, except your hand, may cross the imaginary diagonal line (wrong in illustration) nor may your elbow protrude over the frame in front of you. Even your feet or knees my not leave your quadrant.
The red piece, or 'queen,' can be pocketed at any time after sinking your first piece but must be sunk before your last one. After pocketing the queen, you must sink one of your pieces, thereby 'covering' it, into any pocket in the next shot, or she is returned to the center spot.
Once the queen is covered, whoever clears their pieces first wins the 'board'.
The winner of a board collects one point for each of the opponent's pieces left at the finish and three points for the queen if covered by the winner (if covered by the loser, no-one gets those points). No more points are collected for the queen after your score reaches 22.
A game consists of 25 points or eight boards, whichever comes first.
For more detailed rules and regulations, refer to the Laws of Carrom booklet.
- Sinking the striker costs you one piece and your turn. But, if you sink a piece in the same shot, then two come up and you shoot again.
- After sinking the striker, your opponent places the due piece(s) within the center circle. If you haven't sunk one yet, you owe one.
- If while shooting for the queen you also sink one of your pieces, the queen is automatically covered, no matter which went first.
- If a piece jumps off the board, it is placed on the center spot. If pieces land on end or are overlapping, they are left that way.
- If the center spot is partially covered when replacing the queen or a jumped piece, the piece should cover as much red as possible. If totally covered, the piece is placed opposite the next player behind the red spot.
- If you sink your opponent's piece, you lose your turn. If you sink their last piece, you lose the board and three points.
- If you sink your last piece before the queen, you lose the board, three points and one point for each of your opponent's pieces left.
- If the striker does not leave both lines, go again. You get three tries to break before losing your turn.