How To Play Crokinole Like A Boss (Rules and Instructions)

Crokinole is a fun game of strategy that involves good judgment as well as technique. But how is Crokinole played?

A look at the game and even a rookie can tell, crokinole rules are heavily inspired by a few billiard games like carrom. Some might even observe that crokinole is almost the circular (or octagonal) version of shuffleboard.

The World Crokinole Championship has recognized the dexterity of the game and it has become an indoor game of international importance. However, the rules continue to be altered with every locality and setting.

Let’s get more clarity on the game rules and guidelines. 

What Is The Game Of Crokinole?

Crokinole Board Game Info Image

In a casual sense, crokinole is a fun game that revolves around flicking your disc and making the highest scores possible. In its professional sense, crokinole is about being able to understand which shot can both bring you an advantage, and your opponent disadvantage, and being able to play such a shot.

Number Of Players: 2 to 4

Ages: 10 and above

Difficulty: Medium

Main Objective: Landing your disc in the highest-scoring region while pushing away opponent’s discs into lower-scoring ones.

Why We Love It: The game doesn’t cease to capture our focus and interests right till the end. The more we play, the better we get at it. And there’s nothing better than getting a hang of a game of strategy.

Brief History Of Crokinole

The game gets its name from the French words that mean cookies and donuts owing to the board’s resemblance to the two. Crokinole’s origins can be traced back to being Mennonite or Amish and it is believed to have emerged first in the 1860s from the British and South Asian games. 

However, the first known and recorded crokinole is attributed to Eckhardt Wettlaufer in the 1870s Canada. Needless to say, the game has earned a pretty decent reputation for itself. The WCC has been conducting international tournaments of the game ever since 1999 and is a favorite for casual home gatherings.

Equipment For Crokinole

Crokinole and Checkers, 27-Inch | Genuine, Classic Board Game for Two Players | Canadian Heritage Game Great for Families and Friends
$96.99 $87.99
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A game of crokinole is played with two basic components:


  • 2 sets of different colors are generally required.
  • 1 set contains 12 discs.

Crokinole Board

  • A wooden, circular board that is 66 inches in diameter and divided into 3 uniformly concentric regions.
  • The inner region further centers a hole of virtually the same size as that of the discs. This region is guarded or bordered by small bumpers, leaving only enough space for a disc to pass by.
  • The scores corresponding to regions from the center hole to the outermost one are 20, 15, 10, and 5 respectively.
  • If any disc touches the line separating two regions, the lower region score is considered. 
  • The outermost line is called the scoring line.
  • Beyond the scoring line, a ditch surrounds the entire playing field.
  • A good crokinole board is the one with precise markings and the right amount of friction, like this one by Crokinole Canada. The best part is that it is an NSA standard board that comes along with extra sets of discs and crokinole powder.
The Black Tournament Board Crokinole Kit (Meets NCA Standards)
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Crokinole Rules, Tips, and Instructions

The players or teams choose a color each and the rest of the game is played with an objective to flick their colored discs into higher scoring zones and pushing the other color in lower zones.

Alternating Turns

The game consists of players, each with 12 discs (two-player game) or 6 discs (four-player game), flicking one at a time, in alternate turns. This means there are a total of 24 turns played combined.

Each player is assigned a quadrant on the table. The players or teams can decide in any way convenient who goes first. 

In one round, every disc needs to be flicked once, and only once directly by a player. However, through the game, it can be moved by the same player’s or opponent’s discs indirectly. 

A Valid Disc Shot

According to official crokinole rules, a valid disc shot is taken from the shooting line that marks the boundary of the playing area. If the disc is placed in the 5-point scoring zone but not touching the shooting line, it’s regarded as a foul and the disc goes to ditch.

When a player does make a legal shot, there are two conditions that determine whether the player will score points or not; and if yes, how many.

When the field is clear of opponent’s discs 

This case is that of a straight shot. The player can conveniently aim for the center hole or higher scoring zones towards the center. The closer the disc goes to the center, the higher the score is counted.

When an opponent’s discs are present

This case demands a player to compulsorily hit or move an opponent’s disc for the shot to be able to make points for the player. 

It doesn’t matter if the player’s disc is directly contacting the opponent’s disc, or indirectly hits it through another disc. What matters is that the contact should be made and in a manner that moves the opponent’s disc to a low scoring zone

If the player fails to do so, that disc goes to the ditch, along with any other disc that was moved in the turn. This also includes any disc that went straight into the 20-point center hole. Yes, all effort goes literally down the ditch.

Disc In The Ditch

Now, what happens when a disc goes to the ditch? The player’s chance to add to the final score using that disc’s contribution, no matter how little, is gone. The disc is effectively out of the round. 

This also means clearer ground for the opponent to make a good score and push around the remaining of the opponent’s discs with good strategy.

Scoring And Winning The Game

Once all the discs are flicked once, the discs remaining on the table contribute to a player or team’s score. After the points scored by each disc are added up for each team, the final scoring decides the winner in either of the two ways:

  • Both teams keep a record of the round score. Once the pre-decided number of rounds is played, the total scores of each round are added up and the team with the highest game score wins.
  • The team with the higher score in a round, regardless of the difference, gets 2 points. The losing team gets 0. If there’s a tie, both teams get 1 point. The team with a higher score after the pre-decided number of rounds wins the game.

The main difference between the duo is that in the former, the difference of points with which a team wins or loses matters. That way, a team could be losing most rounds, but still, end up winning the game because the margin was low enough to cover up with a single final win.

This is not possible in the latter case. No matter how good a team performs, a win is a win. The number of rounds won is directly proportional to ultimate victory.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you accidentally push an opponent’s disc into the center hole?

By the standard rule, any disc that falls into the center hole earns the corresponding player 20 points. This rule is regardless of who pushes the disc. So if you push an opponent’s disc into the hole, you just scored them 20 points.

Can crokinole be played among 3 players?

Yes, the game can be played among 3 players by simply expanding the generic rules to be applicable to three teams and adding a set of differently colored discs. It can actually also be played with the same two sets of discs, however, in this case, 2 players pair up to form a team and one player plays alone.

What is a carrom shot in crokinole?

A carrom shot, in simpler terms, is any indirect shot where the disc that the player flicks ends up hitting more discs. A player can carrom both, their own discs and an opponent’s disc.

Must-Try Alternatives To Crokinole

The best thing about board games is the variety. When playing with boards, you can never get bored.

Have you tried out Pictureka yet? It is a stark contrast to crokinole and will leave you and your family refreshed, guaranteed. 

Or if you’re looking for something similar to this game, Shuffleboard and Klask should not be missed.

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