The broad objective of carrom is to use the striker with a flick of the finger to drive the carrommen into any of the four corner pockets. The aim of the game is to pocket one's nine carrommen along with the queen before your opponent.
As mentioned earlier, carrom requires a lot of concentration, practice, precision, and a good sense of angles. Above all, it is important to know the laws of carrom and how to play the game.
In singles, the players sit opposite to each other. In doubles, partners sit opposite to each other and opponents sit on either side.
The players are not allowed to lift and move the chair or table to reposition themselves for strike. However, players can change their positions without moving the seat.
A player is not allowed to take support of objects around and play the game.
The game begins with a toss where a referee hides either a white or a black carrommen in his hands. The player who calls it correctly wins.
The player who wins the toss gets the choice to either strike or change sides. If she/he chooses to change sides, then the strike automatically goes to the opponent.
The referee then arranges the carrommen at the center of the board with the queen in middle of the arrangement. Nine black and nine white carrommen are used for this arrangement.
The black and white carrommen are placed alternately in circular formation around the queen. The arrangement should not cross the outer circle.
Before we get into the rules of the game, here is a quick glimpse of the first round that demonstrates how the strike moves among the four players.
Let’s assume, there are two teams of two players each. The team that wins the toss gets the opening strike and the two players can decide between them who wants to take the first strike.
The player who strikes first plays with white carrommen and attempts to pocket them.
If he pockets a carrommen, he gets another hand to strike.
If he misses to pocket, then the strike passes to the opponent player sitting right next to him in anti-clockwise direction.
The opponent player in his turn attempts to pocket the black carrommen and the game continues as the players take turns to strike alternate white and black carrommen.
While striking, players should ensure that only their playing arm rests on the board and no other part of the body is touching the board.
The player striking first should position the striker on the base line and strike in one go. The player is not allowed to jerk the striker or the board when striking, as it will be considered a foul.
The opportunity to break shifts alternately in singles game. In doubles, the break moves in anti-clockwise direction.
The opponent does not get a strike until the player who breaks or strikes doesn’t pocket a carromman.
While positioning the striker on the base circle, it should not touch the imaginary line at any moment of play.
When a player’s strike or turn is over, the referee is responsible to pass the striker to the opponent if needed. Players are allowed to play with personal strikers provided they abide by the laws of carrom.
Queen can be pocketed after the player nets at least one of his carromman.
The player has to cover the queen by pocketing his carromman, in which case, the points of queen will be awarded the player goes on to win the board.
Each black and white carromman carries one point and the queen carries three points.
A player gets the points of queen if it is covered and the player wins the board.
A board comes to an end when the opponent’s carrommen are left and rest all are pocketed. The winner gets points equal to the number of opponent’s carrommen left on the board plus the points of queen if the winner of board has pocketed it. Else, the winner gets points equal to number of carrommen left on the board. In such case, the opponent doesn’t get queen’s points since the player has pocketed it.
If a player pockets queen and the striker in one proper strike, then the queen and additional two carrommen are placed in the circle for the player to continue with his turn.
If the player pockets a cover with the striker, then the queen plus two carrommen come back into the circle. The player then continues to play. It is same even when the queen and opponent’s carromman are pocketed by mistake. Just that the opponent’s carromman is not placed in the center.
Suppose, a player has due without pocketing any of his carrommen, then the first carromman pocketed will return to the board and player continues with strike. In such case, the player can now pocket the queen first and cover it.
If only one carromman of each player is left on the board with queen and the player to strike pockets queen and opponent’s carromman then, opponent wins the board and gets points equal to number of carromman left on board.
If a player pockets queen and the carromman in a single strike, then queen is considered to be covered.
The total points of a board game are 25. The players cannot count on queen for 21 and above points. The player who gets to 25 first is declared winner of a game.
A player is given 10 seconds to strike or break. Post that, the opponent gets the opportunity.
There are a maximum of eight boards played. A player who gets to score 25 points first within this number of boards will be the winner or a player with maximum points by end of eight boards will be the winner.
All the eight boards must be finished within 25 minutes from the start of play. If unfinished, then the player with maximum points by the end of the last board will be declared as the winner.
A foul committed by a player results in a due or penalty. Following are few common instances of foul −
A player disturbs or touches the board or carrommen while idle or playing. It is considered as a foul and the player has to pay a due of one carromman.
If a carromman bumps out of the board in a strike or play, the striking player loses the turn.
A striker if pushed to hit the carrommen is considered a foul and a penalty of one carromman is given or the player loses his turn.
If a player pockets the striker alone or the striker with a carrommen, then it is a foul. As a penalty, the carromman is returned back on to the board and the player loses his turn. In such a case, the opponent gets chance to place the carromman anywhere inside the circle. Further, the striking player loses his turn.
If a player pockets the queen first in strike or turn, then it is a foul.