Carrom Board Game – How to play, Rules, History & Variations

Carrom Game Guide

You have come to the right place if you are new to the Carrom board game or unsure about its rules and gameplay. This article will act as your guidebook to learning all about the Carrom board game.

Carrom board game

Carrom is a classic board game commonly played with family and friends at social functions. However, you can play it more competitively by participating in tournaments. The Carrom game combines pool and air hockey but is more compact and portable.

Carrom is an indoor tabletop game, but with technological advancement, you can play Carrom online. The game’s main objective remains to flick the striker to drive the carrommen into any four corner pockets. However, the format and rules of the game may differ.

There are many Carrom games online, each with rules to follow. So, check the rules of the online Carrom game you choose.

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Here is an overview of the Carrom board game:

Country of Origin India
Game Genre Board game
Players 2-4
Playing time Not Defined
Skills required Aiming and striking
Can I play carrom online?Yes
Carrom board game overview

Here are some articles related to the Carrom board game:

Carrom History

Very little is known about the exact origin of Carrom before the 19th century, but it is believed that the game originated in an Indian sub-continent. There is a theory that The Indian Maharajas invented Carrom, but no concrete evidence supports this claim. So, our understanding of who invented Carrom is a bit ambiguous.

Another theory states that Carrom originated from Portugal and became famous through its vast empire in India and Asia during the 19th century. And that’s not all. Interestingly, in Ancient Egypt, a similar board exits. There are references to a similar-sounding game found in ancient Greek literature.

We cannot trace who invented Carrom, but the game became popular after World War I. Moreover, state-level competitions were being held in different states of India during the early part of the 20th century. Although by 1958, India and Sri Lanka formed official federations of Carrom clubs, sponsoring tournaments and awarding prizes, it was not until 1988 that the International Carrom Federation (ICF) was not formed. In the same year, the formal rules for the Indian version of the game were published.

Formation of ICF

ICF was founded in Chennai, and the head office is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland. The focus of the ICF is the administration and governance of Carrom worldwide by developing, promoting, and leading Carrom around the globe. The game has been popular throughout Asia, Europe, and the USA. Here is a brief overview of the associations governing the Carrom game:

  • Asia: Under the supervision of the Asian Carrom Confederation, SAARC country’s championships are organized every year  
  • Europe: The European Carrom Confederations allots Euro Cup every year and coordinates the activities of the national federations in rotation
  • USA: The US Carrom Association holds a National open championship annually

Carrom Board game Rules

The ICF enforces the International rules of Carrom, also known as “The Laws of Carrom.” We have divided Carrom rules into three broad categories:

  1. Carrom rules to break
  2. Cover the queen
  3. Win the game

Carrom rules to break

Before starting the game, the referee hides one black carrommen in one hand and one white carrommen in the other hand. The player needs to guess which color carrommen is in each hand. The player who guesses correctly wins the toss and gets to strike first. The winner can give up their first turn and change sides from white to black. So, if the toss winner chooses to switch sides, the loser must strike first. The player who takes the first shot has to play for white carrommen.

Carrom rules to Cover the Queen

Any player pocketing the queen needs to cover it immediately by pocketing one or more carrommen of their own color. If they fail to do that, the queen is returned to the center of the board.

Other rules

Apart from the rules mentioned above, general rules are there for covering the queen and shooting a carrommen.

Take a look at our article to learn about Carrom game rules.

Carrom Board Game – Tricks and Tips

The first tip for playing Carrom is excellent precision, concentration, and a good sense of angle. You must flick the striker in a way it hits and pockets the game pieces. Moreover, to improve your game, learn different striking styles like scissors or index finger striking styles.

Take a look at this article, where we discuss the 10 best Carrom tricks.

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Carrom Board Game – Equipment

Carrom is played by two (in singles) or four players (in doubles) on a square polished plywood board, with a pocket in each corner. The Carrom board involves nine dark colors, nine-light colors, a red/pink queen, and a striker. The dark pieces are black, whereas the light ones are generally white.

To play Carrom, you require the following:

  • Carrom board
  • Carrommen
  • Striker
  • The Queen
  • Powder

Carrom board

A standardized Carrom board is 29 inches (74 cm), and the edges are bounded by wood bumpers, with each pocket covered by a net 10 cm2 or larger.


The nine light and dark color pieces are called carrommen. They are made of wood or plastic, coins, seeds, pawns, or pucks. The Carrommen has a smooth surface that slides easily when laid flat on the board. They are struck by a larger and heavier striker than the carrommen.

ICF approves pieces with a diameter of no more than 3.18 cm and no less than 3.02 cm. The carrommen should be between 7 and 9 mm thick, and the mass must be between 5.0 and 5.5g.


A striker is a carrom board piece that pushes the carrommen and queen across the board. Typically, the striker weighs 35 grams of size 4.1cm in diameter. Know about how online Carrom striker rules are different from classic Carrom games.

The Queen

The most valuable piece is Carrom is the Queen. According to the ICF rules, pocketing the queen adds 3 points. The dimensions of the queen must be the same as those of other carrommen.


A fine-grained powder enables pieces to slide easily on the Carrom board. The most widely used powder is Boric acid powder.

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Carrom Game Variations

Apart from the standardized Carrom board size, you can also find a smaller board with large pockets. Beginners use boards with larger pockets for easier gameplay. Here are 4 Carrom board variations:

  • Duboo
  • Tokyu-Ban
  • Fichapool
  • American Carrom

Duboo – Pakistani Version

Duboo is mainly played in the largest city of Pakistan – Karachi. In Duboo, the size of the board is much larger than the usual size. Moreover, instead of flicking the striker, the player slides the striker to hit the carrommen or queen.

Tokyu-Ban – Japanese Version

The Carrom game became popular in the Showa period by the name of Tokyu-ban, which implies a fight ball board or a throw ball board. The game is still prevalent in Hikone, a city in Japan, under the name Hikone Karomu. The Hikone Karomu board is much smaller (60cmx60cm) than the standardized board and has large pockets.  The striker is wooden and is of the same size as the pucks/carrommen. Moreover, pucks/carrommen are arranged in a ring with the jack/queen in the center to set up the board. Also, each player has 12 pucks/carrommen instead of 9.

Fichapool – Mexican version

Fichapool, or colloquially, is the Mexican variation of Carrom. The board has large pockets; each player has 12 men/carrommen. Interestingly, the men/carrommen are of plastic rings.

American Carrom

The American version is a variant developed around 1890 in the United States. In this version, the striker weight is reduced, and the carrommen, including the striker, are rings. The game pieces are originally made of wood but are commercially made of light plastic today. Moreover, some American Carrom boards use miniature cue sticks to hit the striker.

Carrom Board Game – Advantages of playing

While playing Carrom allows you to bond with your family, it also allows you to relax and refresh your mind. A side effect of any board game like Carrom is laughter. In general, laughing and having a good time helps to reduce stress. Moreover, studies have found that challenging the brain with mentally stimulating leisure activities like playing Carrom would largely reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Playing board games increases brain function, and engaging in play assists in practicing essential cognitive skills, such as strategic thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving.

Carrom Board Game – FAQs

How to play the Carrom board game?

To play carrom, you need to follow 4 steps:
1. Get Familiar with the board and pieces
2. Start the game
3. Strike the Carrom game pieces and cover the Queen
4. Win the Game

How to win a Carrom Game?

There are many tips and tricks to win a Carrom game. Moreover, there are Carrom shots, such as a Side shot, Board shot, and Double shot, that can help you win the game. Take a look at this article to know the 10 best Carrom tricks.

Can I play Carrom online?

Yes. You can Play Carrom Online on various platforms.

How many tokens are there in Carrom?

There are 9 Black and 9 White carrommen in a carrom board game. The carrom game also has one red carrommen called the queen and a striker to pocket carrommen.

Which country invented carrom?

The game of carrom is said to be originated in India. Look at this article to learn about ancient board games that originated in India.