Carrom is a cue based table top game that was initially played at home just for amusement, but gradually became the part of national and international championships. Popularly played in clubs, cafe house, etc. it is a simple game needing understanding of angle, outstanding accuracy and intense focus.



This table top game is said to have originated in South Asian countries in 18th century. Named differently in regional languages, it is popular in Sri lanka, India, Afghanistan, Nepal and in areas situated in proximity of these. The rules at national and international level as per ICF are similar in all nations.

Aim of players

Players are supposed to use their fingertips to flick a plastic made circular shaped Striker. Striker is used to move and pocket any of the round and small wooden carrom men into holes situated on four corners of board. The game is all about pocketing as many carrom men and queen by following rules laid down by the federation.

Team Size

Carrom may be played in singles or doubles in both men’s and women’s category. The maximum team size is two. It is not played in mixed doubles team at any championship. However, the players with same nationality are grouped into team at major carrom events held all over the world.


Tools involved in Carrom

Besides the carrom board itself, you need following more tools to start playing the cue game of carrom:

Carrom men – These are small circular pieces of wooden in three colours white, red and black. The strength of all the carom men are fixed, i.e. nine black, nine white, and one red (queen) precisely.

Striker – It is larger when compared to the size of carrom men. It is a circular piece made of plastic having the purpose of hitting the carrom men to the pockets situated on four corners of the board.

Powder - A soft and unique boric acid based powder is also a part of carrom, that is sprayed on the board to reduce friction or to confirm smooth movement to carrom men and striker.

Light - With a motive to facilitate better visibility, a source of light is hung over the board. Apart from enhancing the visibility for players, light produces heat that ensures lesser amount of powder sticking to the round tools of carom.

Stand - In order to have the carrom board at comfortable height, a stand is used to place the board.

Design of Carrom Board

You may get to see many lines on board. Each and every line has significance in the game of carrom. You may see a well decorated circle at the centre. It is the spot where all the three types of coloured carrom men are placed together at the start of the game. The base lines on four sides may be said to be home to a striker as players are supposed to place the striker here on the base line of their side before striking. Watch out for arrow showing off way to players towards the holes on all corners of board. Look for base circle situated at the end of every base line.

The board is made of wood but its surface is of plywood with minimum 6mm thickness. The playing surface of the ply is then surrounded by the wooden frame of 1.90 cm to 2.54 cm. The width of frame can range from 6.35mm to 7.60mm. You may also see in centre a red circle. Near the centre circle, an outer circle is drawn and is the place where all carrom men are placed.


, Dimensions of a Carrom Board

Carrom boards are available in various sizes and materials. The size and material of carrom is fixed at competitive levels. They are available in smaller size and in plastic for kids playing casually for fun.

Common Terms in Carrom

You must get acquainted with popular terms of the game before striking the striker: –

Queen - It is a red collared carrom men having maximum value and is to be placed at the center of the board at the time of commencing the game.

Foul - Any wrong strike by the player is considered a foul. She/he has to miss their turn and stand a penalty of one carrom men.

Break – The very first strike on the board is termed as a break.

Push – It is an abrupt yank of the board called push. It is a sort of foul.

Strike - The act of hitting of carrom men with a striker is said to be a strike.

Due – The submission of carrom men on the board at the time of foul is said to be due.

Penalty - A penalty is applied on players in the case of violation the laws of carrom.

Covering - It refers to pocketing a carrom men as coat for the queen.

Thumbing - Strike played with thumb is referred as thumbing.

White slam - It refers to winning all white carrom men with or without queen.

Black slam - It is succeeding to pocket all black carrom men with or without queen.

Rules and regulation of carrom –

ICF, the governing body is entrusted with the responsibility for laying the Laws of Carrom or international rules of Carrom. ICF possesses the authority of ranking players on the basis of their performance, plans the tournaments and conducts tournament across the world. It has numerous national affiliates such as United States, Carrom Association, Australian Carrom Federation and the All-India Carrom Federation and many more around the world.

The toss

The order of play is determined by an umpire through the process of toss. The umpire and the representative of two competing teams are involved in the event of toss. It doesn’t comprise of traditional tossing with the coin. Umpire secretly holds the two coloured white and black carrom men in his one hand each and let the player guess it. The one who guesses it correctly wins the toss and is given the choice of first strike. The winner of the toss is not only given the advantage of opening break, but can also decide the sides from white to black and give up the opening break. The decision has to be taken solely by the toss wining player and it cannot be passed to the opponent. At times, situation may turn out to be blessing in disguise for looser as he gets the strike in the case when winner opts to change side.

The player who goes for first shot plays with white carrom and the opponent gets to play with the black carrom men. In the case if the striker does not score any points, the strike automatically passes to other team and gets the opportunity to pocket both black and white carrom men.


If a player succeeds in pocketing any of the carrom men, he is given benefit in the form of one more chance to strike again. This is the moment when a professional player turns the table around and tries to secure queen without giving the other team a chance to intervene into their strategy. This is not all, for player successful in pocketing the queen, it is mandatory to pot any of the carrom men on a strike successive to the strike in which queen was secured. In case player fails to secure carrom men after getting queen, he is supposed to return the queen to the game and give chance to opponent team to secure queen and other carrom men.

• It is against the law of carrom to retain queen despite of getting failed in potting the carrom men after securing the queen as the queen has to be covered by all chances.

• There has always been confusion amongst the aspiring players regarding the thumbing. International Carrom Federation considering the different individuality as well as physical preference permits the players to strike the striker or shoot with any of his/her finger. It is also termed as Thumb hit, Thumb shot or thumbing.

• Players are said to have committed a foul on crossing the diagonal lines on the board. They should not cross the diagonal lines by touching the diagonals while striking. Pocketing the striker is considered as foul. Likewise, players must also confirm that their hand do not infringe the diagonal- either physically or aerially.

• A player on committing a foul is ought to return one carrom men that was pocketed by him earlier.

• Pocketing a striker amounts to foul and the player is instructed to pay penalty. This penalty involves giving up of 10 points.

Types of fouls -

Foul results in penalty. Check out some of the common incidents of foul -

• As discussed earlier, a foul is said to have occurred when a player touches or disturbs the position of carrom men and player is imposed penalty of 1 carrom men.

• The striking player loses his/her turn on striking the carrom men out of the board. As a result, striker loses his turn.

• Player loses his turn if a striker is pushed to hit the carrom men. Player is imposed penalty of 1 coin and also is supposed to give up chance.

• Pocketing the striker also amounts to foul.

• Securing the queen first is a foul again.

So, this was a comprehensive insight into carrom- a mind-boosting and entertaining board game. Play it with all your heart and mind!

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