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Crokinole: The Latest Trend in Family Games

If you've never heard of crokinole, it won't be long before you do. This traditional game is enjoying a resurgence, and is becoming the hot trend among family games in North America. Because everyone from young children to seniors can play crokinole (pronounced croak-i-noll), its popularity as a family pastime continues to increase. Because you never know when a family member or friend will bring out crokinole boards, here's a primer on the history of the crokinole game and a rundown of crokinole rules.

According to Miracle Ventures, a company that specializes in crokinole games and crokinole boards, the oldest known crokinole game was discovered in Ontario, Canada, in 1876. Also referred to as Pichenotte (pronounced peesh-nut), crokinole is a game where the players shoot discs in order to leave their discs in the highest scoring position while eliminating opponents discs from the playing surface. In this sense, crokinole is similar to shuffleboard or curling.

Crokinole Boards

A crokinole board playing surface is round, and is usually between 26 and 31 inches in diameter. Because the goal of crokinole is to shoot round pieces across the board surface into ring areas while knocking out the opponents' discs, there are three ring areas, worth five, ten, and fifteen points respectively. A crokinole board also has what's called a "twenty hole," a shallow hole in the center of the board. If a player's piece lands in the hole, he or she gets twenty points.

Crokinole boards also have what's called a "pin circle," a series of eight posts that are situated on the inner 15-point scoring line of the crokinole board. The discs often bump into these pins, adding both excitement and challenge to the game. The outer edge of a crokinole board is called the rim or the rail, and prevents the discs from falling to the floor.

Crokinole Rules

Crokinole can be played by either two or four players. When two players participate, they face each other across the board. When four people play, they play opposite each other in two teams. In a two-player game, each player has twelve discs; when four play, each player has six discs.

The typical crokinole game is played to 100 points, although players can opt to play a 50-point game. Play always proceeds in a clockwise direction. The player's rear end (or at least part of it) should be on the chair, and both feet on the floor while shooting.

The first player attempts to shoot his or her disc into the twenty hole. If the disc misses but stays within the fifteen-point zone, the next player attempts to hit the first player's disc into the ditch of the crokinole board. If the player misses, his or her shooting disc is removed to the ditch. Play then progresses, with other crokinole rules pertaining to bouncing a disc off of other discs or posts, when a disc lands on the starting line, and shooting from the player's own quadrant. Once all of the discs have been shot, scoring commences. The number of points awarded depends upon the zones in which the discs rest. Once the scoring is completed, the next round begins.

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