Carrom Board Rules [ Serving, Striking, Position, Faults ] Expert Guide

Playing Carrom is an enthralling experience. This easy, simple board game involves a very simple set of rules and regulations along with basic carrom stuff like carrom board, etc.

Playing carrom board provides immense fun and entertainment because it is really easy to learn, play and master.

Let’s scroll down to an immense carrom board learning experience.

Carrom Board Rules | Equipment, How to Play, Serving, Arranging, Faults & Penalties Explained


Carrom Board is one of the popular indoor games like ludo etc. Indoor games are played in either singles or doubles. It requires a high, oddly-sized, and square wooden board with arrows, lines, and netted holes as the court of the game.

It also requires18 (9 white and 9 black) round-shaped“carrommen”, one round-shaped“queen” of red or yellow color, and one heavier-cum-larger piece of disc known as a “striker”. In addition to that, it requires chairs for the players to sit on and play the game.

This game is an awesome example of sheer skills, immaculate accuracy, and an absolute thriller. Here, the prime aim of the players is to pocket their carrommen before their opponents.

The pocketing of carrommen into netted holes is done by means of a striker.

The more carrommen one pockets, the more points one gets(one point for one piece of the disc). However, the pocketing of the queen and its covering offers 3 points to the player that does so.

What are the Playing Objectives?

The objective of players is to pocket or sink all their coins/carrommen before their opponents do. Other than that, players need to pocket as well as cover the red carrom “queen” in order to get 3 additional points.

However, there is different rule for pocketing general carromen and the queen. Normally, carromen don’t require covering but the queen does require covering after being pocketed. Hence, the player who pockets and covers the queen gets an upper hand.

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5 Equipment You Need to Play Carrom Board

Carrom requires you to have the following equipment on your side. The equipment is;

  1. A Square Wooden Board
  2. A Set of 18 Carrommen
  3. The Queen
  4. The Striker
  5. The Lubricating Substance

Let’s briefly introduce you to carrom stuff.

1. The Square Wooden Board

The board is usually square, high, flat, and smooth. Moreover, it has four netted holes or pockets (one hole at each corner) to accommodate carrommen; it has different lines and arrows to declare playing areas.

The board can be of small or large size.

2. Set of 18 carrommen

The carrommen, discs or coins are made of wood, ivory, or bones. They are small in size and round in shape.

They come in two different colors; 9 carrommen of the same color are used by one player or team, and the other 9 carrommen of the same color are used by the opposite player or side.

3. The Queen

The queen is of the same size of carromen but has different colors preferably red or yellow. The queen appears visible among all the other discs owing to its unique color.

4. The Striker

A striker is a large and heavy disc that is used to strike the carrommen and queen. Generally, the striker is four times heavier and larger than carrommen.

5. Lubricating Substance

Since the surface of carrom board gets rough due to the repetitive friction of the striker and carrommen, you must be in need of making the surface smooth again.

In order to maintain the smoothness of the surface of carrom board, you need to have boric acid, potato starch or chalk dust.

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The Carrom Board | Where to Play Carrom?

The dimensions of the carrom board vary as per the requirements of players. The teens use a small carrom board, whereas the elderly or professional players use the large-sized carrom board.

Generally, the carrom board is square and positioned high. It has a circular netted hole in each corner of the board.

Moreover, the board has a number of lines, circles, and arrows, such as foul lines, baselines, straight lines, concentric circles, and centric circles.

The foul lines stretch along the diagonals. The baselines are placed near the edge of the board—these are the lines inside which a player has to position his striker while striking.

The center is the place inside which all the carrommen should be placed during the first strike.

Team Composition | How Many Players Needed to Play

Normally, carrom board is played as either singles or doubles. In singles, one player plays against one opponent, and they sit in opposite directions to each other.

While in doubles, a team of two players plays against another team of two players—however, in doubles, players of the same team sit in opposition to each other.

Scoring & Winning in Carrom

In a carrom board match, a player or team has to score 25 or 29 points before an opposing player or team.

As per carrom board scoring rules, the player who pockets all his carrommen first gets 1 point for each carromman (that still remains un-pocketed) of the opponent.

In case the winner has pocketed and covered the queen too, he gets 5 bonus points for that. In this way, a game has maximum 14 points—9 points for pocketing 9 carrommen and 5 points for pocketing and covering the queen.

However, a player doesn’t get any bonus point for pocketing and covering the queen if his score is 24 or more points at the time of pocketing the queen.

Carrom Rules | 7 Basic Rules to Play Carrom Board

Playing Carrom is as easy as 123! You just need to understand and apply the following simple rules in mind.

If you are unfamiliar with the game and are willing to learn it, just go through its following straightforward rules and adapt them while playing it.

Following are the most essential rules to play carrom board.

Rule #1. Serving First Rules

Who serves first in Carrommen: Rules for serving first in a carrom board.

In order to decide on the first server, you can hold a toss or use any such method.

The winner of the toss may either serve first or invite his opponent to do it.

In either case, the first server has to pick white carrommen and the black carrommen go to the 2nd server.

Rule #2. Arranging Carrommen on the Board

How to arrange Carrommen: Rules for arranging Carrommen on the board.

As soon as the first server is finalized, you have to arrange 19 carrommen, including the queen, in the center of the board. The arrangement goes like this:

  • First of all, place the queen in the center.
  • Then place white and black carrommen so as to surround the queen.
  • Place white carrommen in a way that makes a “Y” shape.

Note: Each upper side of “Y” should aim at each pocket of the opposite side. Note: Similar colored carrommen should be placed adjacent to one other.

Rule #3. Striking the Carrommen with Striker

How to strike carrommen: Rules for striking the carrommen with the striker.

As per carrom board rules, the first server has three attempts to break the cluster of carrommen on his first strike.

However, after the first turn is over, you have only one chance to strike the carrom men properly. To make the most of one’s strike, one has to bear the following points in mind:

  • You have to place your striker either behind the baseline or on its left-ended or right-ended circle.
  • Your striker should be in contact with the front and back lines of the baseline.
  • Your striker should not be placed half on the baseline and half on the baseline circle. Rather, it should either be fully within the baseline or be fully within the baseline circle. In short, cutting the moon is prohibited.
  • In order to make the striker cross the front part of the baseline and hit the carrommen, you ought to flick the striker with only one finger.
  • You cannot flick the striker in the backward or horizontal direction.
  • While attempting a stroke, you cannot let your hand or arm cross the diagonal lines that are known as foul lines.
  • You are allowed three attempts to break the cluster of carrommen on your first turn.
  • On your first turn, you are not penalized for missing your target, and striking the opponent’s pieces. You have three attempts to disperse the pieces.
  • In case you strike and luckily pocket as well as cover the queen, you get points and retain the striker.
  • After the first turn is over and the cluster of pieces/carrommen is scattered, you should neither fail to pocket your carromman nor fall prey to improper stroke. In either case, your turn will end.

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Rule #4. Rules for Queen/Red Queen

How and when to cover the Queen: Rules for the queen/ Rules for the red coin

As per the rules of carrom board, you can neither pocket nor cover the queen whenever you like. So, let’s see when and how you can pocket and cover the queen:

  • You can pocket the queen only after you have pocketed at least one of your carrommen.
  • However, when you, during the process of breaking the cluster of pieces, pocket only piece, and that too is the queen, the queen is returned to the center.
  • In case you pocket the queen before pocketing any of your own carromman, the queen is returned to the center while you retain the turn.
  • When you pocket the queen after pocketing at least one of your carrommen, your pocketing the queen is legal. However, you will not get points unless you cover the queen.
  • When you pocket and cover the queen legally, you get points. Moreover, you can pocket the queen and its cover simultaneously—no matter which piece enters the pocket first.
  • In case you manage to pocket the queen but fail to cover it, the queen is returned to the center for both the players/teams.
  • As per rules, a successfully pocketed and covered queen earns you five bonus points. But, when a player, after reaching 24 odd points, pockets and covers the queen, he will not get any bonus point at all.

Rule #5. Carrom Board Arrow Rules

Position and Role of arrows and Lines on Carrom Board

As we see, there are a number of lines, circles, and arrows on the carrom board—all of them serve some definite purposes.

When it comes to the diagonal arrows on the board, they should not be touched by the striker while attempting a stroke.

These arrows define the limits within which one has to confine one’s striker.

Rule #6. Last Coin Rules

Carrom board last coin of opponent’s rule; last coin and the queen rule

A) Rule for the last coin of the opponent

When a player pockets his opponent’s last carromman onboard, he is penalized with the loss of three points as well as the board.

Therefore, one has to be extra vigilant in these situations and avoid striking the last carromman of one’s opponent.

B).  Rule for the last coin and the queen

In case a player has only one piece left, and the queen has not been pocketed yet, he can strike his last coin without any penalty; however, he cannot pocket it before the queen.

In case he pockets his last carromman before pocketing the queen, he is penalized with the loss of three points and the board.

Rule #7. Position Rules

Rules for the Position of Pieces and strikers after they leave the board or get entangled

During the course of play, some pieces and the striker may take awkward positions or may go out of the board and fall on the ground.

Let’s see what the rules for such situations are:

In case a piece has overtaken another piece, you cannot reposition them with bare hands. Rather you have to separate them by means of strokes.

In case any piece, either yours or that of your opponent’s, has fallen down from the board, you can simply take that and place it in the center of the board.

If a piece is positioned on the edge of the board, you cannot settle it with your hands. Rather, you have to consider it in play; hence, strike it with the striker.

In case your striker is entangled under some pieces or even comes under only one piece, you can remove the striker without causing much displacement of the pieces/piece. After all, it is the striker with which you have to continue your game.

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Rule #8. Rules for Faults & Penalties

Every game is based on certain predefined rules to follow, and the violation of those rules is deemed unacceptable. Hence, it is penalized.

Similarly, the carrom board has certain rules which, if violated, will lead to fouls/faults and subsequently cost the culprit either points or loss of his turn.

However, in carrom board, these violations are often unintended—they are not under the control of the players and take place by chance.

Let’s now have a thorough look at the common fouls/faults in carrom board and their subsequent penalties:

  • When a player pockets his striker instead of his carrommen. In this case, the violator has to return one piece from his pocketed pieces and place it in the centre, and finish his turn.
  • When a player, instead of pocketing his own carromen, pockets his opponent’s carromen. This foul is known as improper stroke, which is penalized in the same way as mentioned above.
  • After the stroke, either the striker or the carrommen fall off the board. In this case, the offender has to sacrifice his turn and place the grounded piece or striker on the board. The piece is positioned in the center, whereas the striker goes to the opponent.
  • When a player pockets the last carroman of his opponent. In this case, the offender is penalized with three points and the loss of the board.
  • When a player pockets the queen and covers it with his opponent’s piece. In this situation, the queen is taken out of the pocket and placed in the center. Moreover, one carromman of the offender is also taken out and placed in the center as a result of a penalty.
  • When a player pockets his last carromman before the pocketing of the queen. In such a situation, the offender is penalized with three points, and the board or the piece that he has pocketed lastly and a penalty piece are returned to the center.
  • When a player, either knowingly or unknowingly, touches any of the carrommen with his hands or any other body part. As per rules, one can touch the carrommen only with the striker.
  • In case the first server, during his first turn, misses breaking the cluster of carrommen in three attempts.
  • In case a player violates the rules while making strokes—as per rules, one has to follow the striking rules that have been mentioned above.
  • When a player, while making a stroke, pushes the striker rather than flicking it with his finger. In carrom board, pushing the striker is not allowed.

Important Notes:

In carrom board, the commonest penalties are the return of the pocketed piece and the loss of one’s turn.

But, in case you have committed a fault but have not yet pocketed any piece to fulfill the penalty, you are liable to fulfill it as soon as you pocket your carromman.

This type of penalty is known as owe penalty. And, if your opponent forgets to avail himself of this penalty, he loses this as soon as the board ends.

Most Asked Questions

1. Can we change hands while playing carrom?

Yes, you can change your hand while playing carrom board. However, you cannot use both hands simultaneously.

2. Can we hit back in carrom?

Yes, you can hit back in carrom board. This unique stroke is known as thumbing because it is played with the help of your thumb. However, you have to keep the striker within the limits of imaginary lines.

3. Can we hit the opponent’s coin in carrom?

Yes, you can hit the opponent’s coin on the carrom board, but this involves some risks.

If the coin of your opponent goes into the hole, you lose your turn and also have to place your one coin (that you have put into the hole) in the center as a result of a penalty.

4. How many types of carrom board games are there?

There are many variations of carrom board, and some of them are Pakistani duboo, American carrom, Japanese carrom, South African fingerboard, and Mexican fichapool.

5. How to play carrom with 3 players?

Playing carrom board with three players is a rare happening. However, three players can play carrom board as if they were three teams of a single player.

In order to win the match, each player tries to get more points than the opponents.

6. How to practice carrom?

In order to practice carrom, a player may place all the coins in the center of the board and hold the striker in his hands.

Then strike the coins as if he were playing against his opponent. He can also assume dual roles—one as a player and the other as an opponent.

In this way, he can avail himself of repetitive strikes and can improve his game to a great extent.

Most importantly, he must be following the laid down rules of the game in order to make his practice fruitful.

7. What is an improper stroke in carrom?

When a player, in an attempt to pocket his own carrommen, pockets his opponent’s carromen instead is said to be an improper stroke.

8. Who is known as the father of carrom board?

Bangaru Babu, carrom crusader, is known as the father of carrom board.

Brief History; How Carrom Board Emerged!

Historically, Carrom Board emerged from India in the 18th century; and it has been played ever since in many parts of the Subcontinent and South East Asia.

Since this game involves less physical effort and more excitement, it is very popular with teens, adults, and the elderly alike. This game has multiple variations.

Hence, the variation of rules also exists. However, every variation has a similar shaped wooden court (though of different sizes), 18 carrommen of two different colors, one queen, and a heavy striker to play with.


Carrom board is one of the least laborious but most entertaining indoor games. A carrom board match is played by singles or doubles with the aim of pocketing the pieces into netted holes.

A game lasts until one player or team reaches 25 or 29 points. As for as its equipment are considered, you need a high tabled board, 18 carrommen, one queen, one heavy and large striker and the lubricants.

Moreover, it has certain rules to follow and some faults to avoid. On the whole, this game is really easy to play and master.

We hope you will cherish every moment of the game once you have gone through the basics that we have mentioned above. Good luck with the carrom!