Discover The Ancient Game of Carrom

 In Play Magazine, Rules & History

Carrom originated in India hundreds of years ago and today is amongst the world’s most popular indoor games. A fast paced tactical game of skill and technique, effectively the tabletop version of pool, where discs replace the balls and you flick the striker with your fingers.

All our Carrom Boards are supplied with wooden Carrom Men, a Striker, Carrom Powder and the rules of Carrom.

All Uber Games Carrom boards have an internal playing area of 29″ x 29″ which is the official size, excepting the Junior Carrom board which has an internal playing area of 23″ x 23″. Thicker and better quality ply gives the Carrom Board a faster playing surface. The thicker and harder the edges the  faster the rebound. The thickness of the frame and the weight of the board often reflects the overall quality and sturdiness of the board.

History of Carrom

Carrom originates from the Indian subcontinent. Little is known about the game’s origins prior to the 19th century. There is a theory that Carrom was invented by the Indian Maharajas. The Maharajas are credited with creating polo, badminton and hockey so they may also be responsible for Carrom but there is no concrete proof. It is more likely that Carrom has been played in India for centuries but was never documented.

An alternative theory is that Carrom originates from Portugal and became popular through their 19th century empire in India and Asia. Another theory puts the origins of Carrom much earlier because similar boards have been found in Ancient Egypt and there are references to a similar sounding game in ancient Greek literature.

Uber Games Carrom

The Game of Carrom

Carrom is a tabletop game which resembles snooker or billiards, and the more modern games of subbuteo and air hockey.

The game of Carrom is played by propelling discs and potting them into the four corner pockets on a wooden playing board. Some variations use small cues but most Carrom is played by hand. Carrom is most widely played in India but is becoming more popular across the world.

The aim of Carrom is to “pot” (as in snooker or billiards) your Carrom men or discs before the opponent pots their own pieces. Carrom is played with lightweight wooden discs which make up the Carrom men and Queen plus a heavier disc called a striker.  There are nine Carrom men for each team or player plus one red piece called the Queen. Carrom is played by flicking the striker at the Carrom men to propel them into the pockets.

The Board

The Carrom board is a square flat board with pockets in each of the corners. Two lines are marked out along the diagonals which are the “foul lines”. There is a boundary area marked on the board which is known as the base line and within the square there is a central circle.

Players face each other across the Carrom table. If playing with four people in teams of two, partners sit opposite each other.

The playing board is set up by placing the Carrom pieces in the centre circle. The Queen is placed at the centre and the white pieces are positioned so that they form a Y shape, with the two branches of the Y of aiming towards the opposite corner pockets. The other colour Carrom men are arranged around these pieces so that all the Carrom men form a circle.

Playing Carrom

The person playing white starts the game. Players can only strike from the side of the Carrom board that they are sitting at. When positioning the striker to shoot, it must be placed within the base lines and touch both sides but it must not touch the diagonal arrow line. It is allowed to touch or cover the end circles. Aim the striker at Carrom pieces or the Queen to sink them into a corner pocket.

A player’s turn continues as long as Carrom men continue to be potted. When a player fails to pot or commits a foul, their turn ends and play passes to the opponent.

The striker must be flicked and not pushed.  All body parts must remain behind the Carrom table and stay in the players quadrant within the foul lines. Players cannot lean over to their opponents side. You may sit or stand to play Carrom but no part of the body, except the hand, may cross diagonal foul lines.

Any finger can be used in Carrom. For forward shots the index finger, middle finger or the scissors shot can be used. The thumb can also be used in certain positions such as back shots.

Scoring in Carrom

The winner gets one point for each of the opponents Carrom men left on the board at the end of the game. Plus three extra points if they have successfully potted and covered the Queen.

The winning score of a game of Carrom is 25. A round of Carrom is called a board. The game is over once a player reaches the score of 25 or 8 boards have been played.

Opening the Carrom game

The opening player gets three attempts to break the central group of Carrom pieces. The striker can hit any of the Carrom men in the opening moves. If the striker one of his own Carrom men, the turn continues. If the player does not pot any Carrom men or commits a foul, the turn is over.

Covering the Queen

The Queen can be potted at any time and scores three points, however the Queen must be “covered” in order to score. To cover the Queen the player must pot a Carrom man after the Queen has been pocketed. Once the Queen has been potted both players try to pot their remaining Carrom men.

A player can only pot and cover the Queen if at least one of their Carrom men has been already potted. If the Queen is potted before being allowed to, the Queen is replaced at the centre of the board when the turn ends. Potting the Queen and one of their Carrom men simultaneously counts as a player covering the Queen and points are awarded. If a player pots the Queen but is unable to cover it, the Queen is replaced to the centre circle by the opponent.

Positioning of Carrom men

Carrom pieces returned to the centre can be put on top of other Carrom pieces within the main circle if there is not enough space to lay them flat. Any Carrom pieces that come to rest on edge or overlapping any other Carrom pieces are left until they move naturally during play. If the striker comes to rest under a Carrom piece move it carefully so as not to disturb the board more than necessary.


If a player commits a foul their turn ends immediately, and they receive a penalty. The penalty is one of their potted Carrom men being returned to the board by the opponent. The opponent gets to place the Carrom piece anywhere within the main circle.

In the event of a foul being committed but the opponent having no potted Carrom men to return to the centre, the penalty is owed until a piece becomes available. Once the offending player has potted a Carrom man, this is returned to the centre circle at the end of their turn.

The following fouls incur penalties:

  • The striker is potted
  • Any of the Carrom men leave the board. Carrom can become pretty lively at times and pieces can fly off the board!
  • A player pots any of the opponents Carrom men
  • If the Queen is potted at the same time as an opponents Carrom piece, the Queen and the players penalty piece are returned to the centre circle
  • A player potting their final Carrom piece before the Queen has been covered. Both the Queen and a penalty piece are returned to the centre circle
  • Touching any piece by hand other than the striker (except where it is necessary to move the striker from underneath a playing piece)
  • A player leans over the Carrom board and moves out of their quadrant
  • Failing to hit and break up the Carrom men in the three turns allowed for the opening move

Carrom is a fascinating and addictive game enjoyed by all ages and played at all levels, from simple home games right up to international competition level.

Now you know the rules, get one of our quality wooden Carrom boards and enjoy this strategy tabletop game again and again.

Here at Uber we offer a range of Carrom Boards from our Junior Carrom Board through to our  Championship Carrom Board.

All our Carrom Boards are supplied with wooden Carrom Men, a Striker, Carrom Powder and the rules of Carrom.

If you have any question on our Carrom Boards or which Carrom Board would be right for you please contact us.

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