Introduction to Crokinole
To the uninitiated a Crokinole board probably has more in common with a half-finished coffee table than a game, but what Crokinole may lack in sex-appeal it most definitely makes up for with entertainment value. Over the course of this article we will be exploring what Crokinole is and how a game that emerged from Canada in the 1800s has managed to remain cemented in the BoardGameGeek Top 100 for years.
Crokinole is a dexterity based game, this means it relies on players physical reflexes to win. The object of the game is to try and get as many of your wooden discs, known commonly as "pucks" into the centre hole. However, trying to achieve this is trickier than it seems, not only will you have to navigate past the pegs surrounding the centre circle you will also have to deal with your opponent tactically flicking their pucks to block yours.
How does it play?
Crokinole can be played with anywhere from 2 to 4 players. Players first set themselves up adjacent to one of the four quadrants of the board, once their chair and position is set, they cannot move. Players then take it in sequential turns to flick pucks from their respective firing line; which is the outer circle that runs around the edge of the board.
All points are scored at the end of the game, apart from shots that land in the centre. Once your puck sinks into the centre hole, it is immediately removed from play and scores 20 points. Pucks that don't manage to make it into the centre hole are scored based on their location on the board, as pictured in the diagram above. During the course of play, players may attemt to knock their pucks into the centre to score more highly while in equal measure doing the same to their opponent to block them from scoring.
Games are played across a series of rounds - the smaller score is subtracted from the larger score and the point difference awarded to the winning player of the round. The first player to reach 100 points is then the winner.
Why should you play it?
The fact that Crokinole's rules can be summed up so quickly is a testimony to the elegance of the game's design. It's simple rule-set allows nearly anyone to dive in. From young kids to your grandma literally anyone can get started with Crokinole. It's almost universally accessible and this combined with the instant satisfaction of watching your puck slide effortlessly across the beautiful wooden surface creates a game that just leaves people going... "just one more round".
This unique combination of simplicity with hard to master dexterity skill is what makes Crokinole such an addictive and entertaining game. In fact many players spend years dedicating themselves to this hobby, just check out the World Crokinole Championships - which has cash prizes for its champions.