How to play Carrom? 4 Steps to Win the game

How to play Carrom Board game

Are you new to the game of Carrom? Then we got you covered. Here is a detailed guide on how to play Carrom. Players use their striker to push the carrommen into any of the four corner pockets to play Carrom. They need to collect all their carrommen to win the game.

Carrom has grown progressively, and many clubs now hold competitions and tournaments. On the other hand, Carrom can be enjoyed in a more relaxed setting, such as with family at a social event or with friends.

How to play Carrom?

To play Carrom, use your figure to flick the Striker at the Carrom coins/Carrommen so that it falls into any of the four corner pockets. The game aims to pocket maximum carrommen with the Queen before your opponent.

At a time, four people can play Carrom. In a two-player game, players sit opposite each other. In a 4-players game, two teams are formed, where partners sit opposite each other and opponents sit on either side.

Here are 4 steps to playing carrom board games:

  1. Get Familiar with the carrom board pieces
  2. Start the game
  3. Strike the Carrom game pieces
  4. Win the Game 

Step 1: Get Familiar with the carrom board pieces

The first step to learning to play Carrom is to familiarize yourself with the symbols on the Carrom board and its pieces. In total, there are 20 game pieces in Carrom:

  • 18 Carrommen: Carrommen are circular pieces of wood or any other material colored in light and dark colors. Generally, the Carrommen are colored in black and white
  • 1 Queen: which is the red-colored circular piece. It is considered the most valuable piece in Carrom
  • 1 Striker: which is a circular piece that is used to push the Carrommen and the Queen across the board to the pocket

A Carrom board is a large wooden board with a circular hole at the 4 corners. A net is placed under each hole to catch the Carrommen. Each side of the Carrom board has two parallel lines on the board and a small circle at the end of the parallel lines. The board also has two concentric circles in the middle of the board.

How to play Carrom - carrom board set up

Step 2: Start the game

The Carrom game begins with a toss where a player hides either a white or a black carrommen in his hands, and the player who calls it correctly wins. The player who wins the toss gets to strike first. Once it’s decided who will go first, one player arranges the Carrom board. Each Carrom board has 9 light color carrommen, 9 dark color carrommen, 1 Striker, and 1 Queen.

Place the Queen (the red piece) in the center of the Carrom board (within the same circle in the center of the board), and arrange the remaining light and dark pieces around the Queen within the large circle. The white and black carrommen are placed alternately in a circular formation.

How to play Carrom - Step 2

Step 3: Strike the Carrom game pieces

The first player should strike in one go and position the Striker on the baseline. The baselines are the parallel lines running along the board’s four sides. It is considered a foul if the player jerks the Striker or the board when striking.

Here are fundamental rules that you need to keep in mind while striking:

  • The Striker must touch both the baselines
  • You can strike by placing the Striker in the center of the circle at the end of the lines; otherwise, it should not touch the circle at all
  • The Striker should not be touching the diagonal lines in the corners

The player can use their index or middle finger to strike, whichever is comfortable. If the carrommen you aim for is behind the Striker from your seated position, you can shoot backward.

The goal of the Carrom game is to earn points and win by pocketing carrommen. The player who strikes first plays with light carrommen and attempts to pocket them. If the player misses pocketing the light carrommen or pockets the dark carrommen, they do not get any points, and the Striker is passed to the opponent’s player. The player’s turn will continue as long as they pocket their own color carrommen by striking them into one of the corner pockets.

Cover the Queen

After the player pockets at least one of his carrommen, they can go after the Queen. To cover the Queen, the player has to pocket his carrom man after pocketing the Queen. If the Queen is not covered, it is returned to the center of the board.

Note: The Queen is covered if the player pockets a carrom on the same shot when they pocket the Queen.

Step 4: Win the Game 

Once the queen is covered, whoever pockets all their carrommen wins the board. The player who won gets one point for each opponent’s remaining pieces on the board. If the player pockets the Queen, they get 3 points. However, no one gets those points if the player who won the board did not cover the queen. The game of Carrom consists of 25 points or eight boards, whichever comes first.

If a player pockets opponents’ carrommen, it will lead to a loss of turn. Moreover, if the player pockets the opponent’s last piece, they lose three points. If the player pockets the Striker instead of a carrommen, they lose their turn and one carrommen.

Note: If the player pockets Carrommen and the Striker in one go, one Carrommen is placed in the center of the board, and the player gets to go again.

Learn carrom board tricks to win the game.

Fouls of Carrom Board Game

While playing the carrom board game, it’s important to be careful and avoid committing fouls, as they incur penalties. Understanding the fouls in carrom board rules can help you play the game more effectively.

When a foul occurs, your turn ends immediately, and a penalty is imposed. As a penalty, one of your pocketed pieces is returned to the board and placed by your opponent anywhere within the main circle. Your opponent will strategically position the carrom men to gain an advantage.

Fouls can be committed in various situations:

  • Pocketing the Striker.
  • Pocketing an opponent’s piece.
  • A piece leaving the board.
  • Your final piece is being pocketed before covering the Queen.
  • Incorrectly positioning the striker before taking a shot.
  • Crossing the diagonal line on the board with your arm.
  • Failing to break correctly after three attempts.
  • Having no pocketed pieces.

If a penalty is incurred but no pocketed pieces to return, the penalty remains owed until a piece becomes available. When a penalty is owed, and a piece is pocketed, the opponent places it at the center at the end of the turn. However, if the opponent forgets to do so before the start of the next turn, any owed penalties are lost.

Now that you know how to play Carrom, let’s take a look at other related articles on the Carrom board game:

How to play Carrom? FAQs

Can I play Carrom online?

Yes. You can play Carrom online on various platforms.

How to play Carrom and win always?

You must learn about Carrom trick shots such as Side shot, board shot, Alley Oop, and Second Hit to win Carrom. Take a look at this article to learn about the 10 best carrom tricks and 4 expert tips for improving your carrom game.

What are the rules to play Carrom?

The first rule of Carrom is to pocket only your chosen color carrommen. Look at this article for 10 carrom rules and fouls to avoid. One key foul is committed when the player pockets the striker.

How many players can play Carrom?

If you are playing the classic carrom board game, 2-4 players can play. However, you need to play in teams with two players on each team.

Is a back shot allowed in Carrom?

Yes. A back shot is allowed in Carrom.

What happens if the striker goes with Queen?

If the striker goes with the Queen, the Queen is placed back on the board and the player needs to sacrifice a carrommen.

What happens if the Queen goes first in Carrom?

If the player pockets the queen during the break shot, they must pocket one assigned carrommen first and then pocket another carrommen to cover the queen.

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