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Crokinole 01.jpg
A crokinole board
Designer(s) Eckhardt Reiner Elton Wettlaufer
Years active ca. 1876–
Players 2 or 4
Skill(s) required Fine motor skill, eye–hand coordination, intuitive understanding of physics & plane geometry

Crokinole (/ˈkrknl/ KROH-ki-nohl) is a dexterity board game similar in various ways to pitchnut, carrom, marbles, and shove ha'penny, with elements of shuffleboard and curling reduced to table-top size. Players take turns shooting discs across the circular playing surface, trying to have their discs land in the higher-scoring regions of the board, while also attempting to knock away opposing discs.


Board dimensions vary with a playing surface typically of polished wood or laminate approximately 26 inches (660 mm) in diameter. The arrangement is 3 concentric rings worth 5, 10, and 15 points as you move in from the outside. There is a shallow 20-point hole at the center. The inner 15-point ring is guarded with 8 small bumpers or posts. The outer ring of the board is divided into four quadrants. The outer edge of the board is raised a bit to keep errant shots from flying out, with a gutter between the playing surface and the edge to collect discarded pieces. Crokinole boards are typically octagonal or round in shape. The discs are roughly checker-sized, slightly smaller in diameter than the board's central hole, and may have concave faces to reduce sliding friction. Alternatively, the game may be played with ring-shaped pieces with a central hole.

Round tournament style crokinole board from Boards may also be octagonal, which is the more "traditional" shape.


The use of any lubricating powder in crokinole is controversial, with some purists reviling the practice.

Powder is used to ensure pieces slide smoothly on the surface. According to Carrom rules, the powder must be of high quality to keep the surface smooth and dry, and shall not be wet. Pouches and containers are used to spread the powder over the playing surface. There must be no impurity in the powder. Boric acid powder is mostly used for this purpose.

In the UK, many players use a version of anti-set-off spray powder, from the printing industry, which has specific electrostatic properties, with particles of 50-micrometre diameter (3.9×10−5 in). The powder is made of pure food-grade plant/vegetable starch.


Crokinole is most commonly played by two players, or by four players in teams of two, with partners sitting across the board from each other. Players take turns flicking their discs from the outer edge of their quadrant of the board onto the playfield. Shooting is usually done by flicking the disc with a finger, though sometimes small cue sticks may be used. If there are any enemy discs on the board, a player must make contact, directly or indirectly, with an enemy disc during the shot. If unsuccessful, the shot disc is "fouled" and removed from the board, along with any of the player's other discs that were moved during the shot.

When there are no enemy discs on the board, many (but not all) rules also state that a player must shoot for the centre of the board, and a shot disc must finish either completely inside the 15-point guarded ring line, or (depending on the specifics of the rules) be inside or touching this line. This is often called the "no hiding" rule, since it prevents players from placing their first shots where their opponent must traverse completely though the guarded centre ring to hit them and avoid fouling. When playing without this rule, a player may generally make any shot desired, and as long as a disc remains completely inside the outer line of the playfield, it remains on the board. During any shot, any disc that falls completely into the recessed central "20" hole (a.k.a. the "Toad" or "Dukie") is removed from play, and counts as twenty points for the owner of the disc at the end of the round, assuming the shot is valid.[1][2]

Scoring occurs after all pieces (generally 12 per player or team) have been played, and is differential: i.e., the player or team with higher score is awarded the difference between the higher and lower scores for the round, thus only one team or player each round gains points. Play continues until a predetermined winning score is reached.

History of the game[edit]

The earliest known crokinole board was made by craftsman Eckhardt Wettlaufer in 1876 in Perth County, Ontario, Canada. It is said Wettlaufer crafted the board as a fifth birthday present for his son Adam, which is now part of the collection at the Joseph Schneider Haus, a national historic site in Kitchener, Ontario with a focus on Germanic folk art.[3] Several other home-made boards of southwestern Ontario origin, and dating from the 1870s, have been discovered since the 1990s. A board game which appears similar to crokinole was patented on April 20, 1880, by Joshua K. Ingalls (U.S. Patent No. 226,615)[4][5][6]

Crokinole is often believed to be of Mennonite or Amish origins, but there is no factual data to support such a claim. The reason for this misconception may be due to its popularity in Mennonite and Amish groups. The game was viewed as a rather innocuous pastime – unlike the perception that diversions such as card playing or dancing were considered "works of the Devil" as held by many 19th-century Protestant groups.[7] The oldest roots of crokinole, from the 1860s, suggest the British and South Asian games[clarification needed] are the most likely antecedents of what became crokinole.[citation needed]

In 2006, a documentary film called Crokinole was released. The world premiere occurred at the Princess Cinema in Waterloo, Ontario, in early 2006. The movie follows some of the competitors of the 2004 World Crokinole Championship as they prepare for the event.[8][9]

Origins of the name[edit]

The name "Crokinole" derives from croquignole, a French word today designating:

(1) in France, a kind of "cookie" (or "biscuit" in British English),[8] similar to a biscotto;
(2) in French Canada, a pastry somewhat similar to a doughnut (except for the shape).[10]

It also used to designate the action of flicking with the finger (Molière, Le malade imaginaire; or Voltaire, Lettre à Frédéric II Roi de Prusse; etc.), and this seems the most likely origin of the name of the game. Croquignole was also a synonym of pichenotte, a word that gave its name to the different but related games of pichenotte and pitchnut.

Crokinole is called knipsbrat ("flick-board") in the Low German spoken by Mennonites.

World Crokinole Championship[edit]

The World Crokinole Championship (WCC) tournament has been held annually since 1999 on the first Saturday of June in Tavistock, Ontario. Tavistock was chosen as the host city because it was the home of Eckhardt Wettlaufer, the maker of the earliest known board. The tournament has seen registration from every Canadian province, several American states, as well as participants from Germany, Australia, Spain and the UK.[11]

The reigning world Adult single's crokinole champion is Justin Slater from Toronto, Ontario. The reigning world Adult doubles champions are Tony Snyder of Waterloo and Jon Conrad of Poole. This is their second World Championship as a pairing.

The WCC begins with a qualifying round in which competitors play 10 matches against randomly assigned opponents. The qualifying round is played in a large randomly determined competition. At the end of the opening round, the top 16 competitors move on to the playoffs. The top four in the playoffs advance to the semifinals to play each other, and the top two compete in the finals.

The WCC has multiple divisions, including a singles finger-shooting category for competitive players (Adult Singles), novices (Recreational), and younger players (Intermediate, 11-14 yrs; Junior, 6-10 yrs). The WCC also awards a prize for the top 20-hole shooter in the Competitive Singles qualifying round, in the Recreational Singles qualifying round, in the Intermediate Singles, and in the Junior Singles.

Chinese Championships of Crokinole[edit]

Originating in Dalian in 2005, the Chinese Championships of Crokinole (CCC) has been heavily contested since. Dalian was chosen due to the large number of Canadian expatriates in the area.

In 2005, the CCC established that the winner of the Chinese event was to be given a seat at the World Championships. This, of course, gave great prestige to the Chinese version and in the first four years of play only one winner has emerged from China. The current[when?] 4-time champion is Adrian Conradi; however, due to his return to Canada a new champion will be declared. The tournament is a double-knockout formula, best of three series, games to 100.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aubrey, Irene Elizabeth (1982). Sports and Games in Canadian Children's Books. National Library of Canada. ISBN 0-662-51763-6. 
  2. ^ Bell, R. C. (1979). Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-23855-5. 
  3. ^ "Crokinole: City flickers revive a country pastime". Waterloo Region Record. Aug 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Patent Images". Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Croquignoles
  6. ^ "What is the history and background of the game of crokinole?". Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  7. ^ "Crokinole - Board Game - BoardGameGeek". Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Jonathan Steckley, Joshua Steckley (2006). Crokinole (DVD). Gillies Lake Productions. 
  9. ^ "Crokinole (2006)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  10. ^ For a photo and a recipe, see: Recette Croquignoles: Biscuits
  11. ^ "World's best crokinole players in Tavistock for Saturday's World Championship". New Hamburg Independent. May 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]