Carrom is one of the most interesting indoor games and is commonly known as the "strike and pocket" table game. Carrom is also the most loved game of the Eastern nations and there are many clubs and cafe's where amateur championships take place which makes it the favorite past time game amongst the people there. This sport holds a resemblance with both Billiards and Table shuffleboard.
The International Carrom Federation (“ICF”) is the official governing body of Carrom which frames the rules and regulations of the game as well. A number of championships are held at regular intervals under the guidance of ICF.
Carrom is said to have been originated in India, although there is not much evidence to prove the saying substantially, but it is believed that it was first played by the Indian Maharajas who ruled the nation. The sport gained much popularity amongst the masses by the end of World War 1 and is now played at a much larger platform. State level competitions were held in India during the nineteenth century. Moreover, later on, the formal or official Carrom tournaments started in the year 1935 in Sri Lanka and by 1958, India had its official federation of Carrom.
The International Carrom Federation, also known as the ICF, was founded in 1988 in Madras (now Chennai), India. The ICF codified and formed the rules in the same year.
Board is a format in which each carrom men (total of eighteen black and white coins on a carom board) carry one point whereas the ‘Queen’ carries three points. In total, there are only eight boards played at professional level to decide the winner based on points. The total points are twenty-five. However, there are other variants of the game as follows.
Carrom is played in only one fixed format that is the Board at a professional level. However, the game Carrom can be played in other ways too, but only for fun as given below:
Total point is the funniest side of the carrom game in which a player is free to pocket any carrom men and is very popular in India and Pakistan. The black carrom men carry five points; white (off white) carry ten points and the Queen carries fifty points depending on the group. In this game one player strikes first and keeps on striking until the player loses the strike and does not get to score any carrom men. Then the strike is passed on to the other player. This game is played amongst two individuals or groups and the group or individual who has maximum points is declared as the winner.
Duboo is a variant of carrom which is commonly played in Karachi, Pakistan. It is played on a board that is larger (2.50 ft. x 2.50 ft.) than the usual carrom board and in this format the striker is slid and is not flicked.
The word “Tokyo-ban” means “Fight ball board” in English and was introduced in Japan in the early 20th century. It became popular in the Shōwa era (The period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). This game is still popular in Hikone, Shiga, Japan. The Hikona carrom board has larger pockets than the usual carrom board and the discs (carrom men) are arranged in a ring. In this game the player is given twelve discs instead of nine and the “Queen” is known as the “Jack” and is pocketed at the last.
Point Carrom sport is commonly popular in some parts of East Asia amongst children. In this game the players can pocket any color (white or black) carrom men. The black ones carry one point, the white ones carry one point and the queen carries three points. The player has to score twenty-one points to win the game but if no one scores twenty-one points then amongst them the player with highest points wins the game.
Family Point Carrom is quite popular in various regions of South Asia. In this game, a player can pocket any color carrom men. The black ones carry five points, the white ones carry ten points and the queen carries twenty-five points. The player who scores the highest points wins the game.
The professional carrom variant is popular in UK and India. Each player is assigned with a color and the player has to pocket only that color. The game consists of twenty-nine points and a player cannot score more points for covering the queen if the score is already twenty-one. The queen must be pocked before the last carrom men (also known as puck) and moreover, the players are free to choose any striking style. The winner gets one point for the opponent’s puck on the board and gets three points if the queen is covered.
The objective of the participants in all the Carrom games is to score more points than the opponent player or team by acquiring more number of carrom men (black and white) and the queen that holds the highest points.
The game is played in singles, doubles and or in mixed team format. Over the years, Asian countries players have dominated this sport over the non- Asian Countries.
Carrom game requires very less investment as all that we need to play is just a board, carrom men and the queen (nineteen pieces), and most important the striker.
The playing board that is usually a square board made up of plywood with a pocket at each corner. The standardised association and federation size is a 74 × 74 cm (29 × 29 inch) square playing surface with 5–10 cm (2–4 in) borders, also called frame. Other play-area sizes are not used in tournaments and competitions.
The board is divided into a circle at the center known as the center circle and the outer circle is the concentric circle after the center circle. The base lines are present on the four sides with each line ending with two circles called a base / base circle. Usually the striker is used in between the base lines or on the base circle of one side (the player’s side). Moreover, every carrom board has four arrows drawn on it at each corner.
The carrom men are circular pieces of wood colored with black, white and red. There are in total nine black, nine white and one red (queen).
This is also a circular piece, commonly made of plastic that is used to strike the black and white carrom men but it is bigger in dimension than carrom men.
Each corner pocket (hole) is covered beneath with nets to collect the carrom men. Moreover, the pocket (hole) is covered by a net beneath that is of 10 sq.cm or larger in area.
The carrom board is placed on a stand so that the game can be played at a comfortable height.
A light is hung over the board for better visibility and clear shots.
This sport is played amongst individuals, doubles and groups. All the players sit opposite to each other on either side. The game begins with a toss where a referee hides the black or white carrom men in his hands and whichever player calls it correctly wins. The player who wins the toss is given the choice to either strike or change sides. Now that the players are ready to start, the referee places the black and white carrom men with the queen placed at the center circle.
The black and white carrom men are arranged alternately in circular formation and it is made sure that the formation does not exceed the outer circle. The player who strikes first plays for the white carrom men and attempts to pocket them. If the player pockets carrom men, then they get another chance to strike. But, if they miss the strike the opponent player is given the attempt and the rotation takes place anti-clockwise. The players continue the game by taking attempts alternately as per the strike misses and the person who has the highest points is declared as the winner.