Crokinole Rules

So, you have got your Tracey Board, you have got your buttons and your wax. Now all you need is to understand the rules. So, you read and you read and you read you read some more, then you re-read and next thing you know, you are saying to yourself, Holy crap, how long have I been here? Man, I should have just watched that video. Yeah, you should have.

Rule 1 Getting Ready

A player or team’s initial order of play, colour of discs and seating position shall be determined by chance or by the organizers of a club or tournament. So basically, if you show up at a club or a tournament and you have never been there before, you do not need to worry about it, someone will guide you to what you need to do for where you sit and order of play.

As far as playing at home I will tell you how we decide, we look at each other and say you want to go first or you want me to go first? And yeah, we just pick our favourite colour and play. Make sure you stick around for the bloopers.

Rule 2 How to Play Crokinole

A round shall proceed as follows. Each player in turn proceeding clockwise around the board shall attempt to make a valid shot. We will go more in depth on that in just a minute. After each turn any 20 sunk shall be removed and placed in a designated area visible to all players. That is not visible. Now the rest.

And must remain there until the end of the round. At the end of the round the score on the board shall be counted with the 20’s before any discs may be moved.

That is just a courtesy thing, at the end of the round you make sure both you and your opponent agree as to whether one of you won or it was a tie or what the situation is before you start pulling buttons off the board. The player or team with the higher score shall receive two points and if the round is tied each player or team shall receive one point. The game shall consist of four rounds. The number of games in a match shall be determined by each separate tournament rules.

Rule 3 Valid Shot

Here is the official NCA definition of a valid shot. If any opposing discs are in play at least one of the shooter’s discs must strike an opposing disc either directly or by bumping one of his or her discs already in play into an opposing disc.

So, if there are any, if I am shooting green, if there are any blue on the board, I must contact at least one of those. And it does not matter if I do it directly or if I hit one of my own already in play into that disc. When I shoot a green button at some point must contact a blue button. It does not matter how it happens but contact must be made for it to be a valid shot.

The no hiding rule.

That is not what he means. This comes into play when there are no opposing buttons on the board. Either for the opening shot in the round or at some point when the board comes completely clear. If there are no opposing discs in play then the shooting disc or at least one disc struck during the shot must end up touching or within the 15 lines.

A 20 is within the 15 lines. So, what that means is it does not have to be completely inside it has to be at least touching. After I shoot it must be touching or anywhere. It needs to be touching or within that 15 line.

Now the second part of that where it says that something touched during so there are no blue buttons on the board, so there are no blue buttons on the board, it is my shot as green. I have got a whole video teaching you how to do a shot called the bump and run.

So, what happens during a bump and run is you bump your own button up into the 20. But let us say you do that and you mess up and you come up a little bit light. Alright So you bump that and it does not go in. In this case both of those buttons come off, or let us say you do this, you blow it right on through.

So, it went into the 15 but come back out. Neither of the buttons of mine that I touched ended up within the 15, both will come off. Even if one is within here if its already in the 15 and somehow, I made a horrid shot like that and both end up outside then they will both come off. Not a valid shot. At least one needs to end up within the 15.

Now here is a rule that can make a huge difference in any round of Crokinole. If on any turn a valid shot is not made then the shooting disc and all other discs that were struck including any 20s made shall be removed, considered out of play, and shall not score.

What that means like let us say there is a blue button on and I am shooting green, If I do this and bump my green went into the centre it does not matter it is not valid because I did not touch a blue button, my shooter and any of mine that I met are taken off the board.

Does not matter the situation if there is a blue one on and do not hit it then my green shooter as well as any green buttons that I contacted are in the gutter and do not count.

Rule 4 Singles

Opponents shall sit on opposite sides of the board from each other and have different colour of discs. Players shall each begin with eight discs and shall alternate turns. In each of the rounds in a game, players shall alternate starting.

So, if you and I are playing, I will start round one and three and you will start rounds two and four or vice versa but we will take turns, of the four rounds we will each start two rounds. In each subsequent round in the game, the obligation to start shall move one player clockwise around the board. In each of the games in a multi-game match between two players, players shall alternate starting each game. A single player is not allowed to be coached during play.

Drive that over there and drift 20.

No coaching.

So, in an NCA tournament and we get to the semifinal or final or any match in the tournament for that matter no player is allowed to be coached. Even if it is one of my kids playing, I am not allowed to tell them what to do. Now when we play at home, we absolutely coach each other and that is how we learn better and stronger strategy but in NCA play no coaching allowed.

Rule 5 Doubles

Partners shall sit on opposite sides of the board and play with the same colour of discs which shall be a different colour from the colour of their opponents’ discs. If a team is chosen to play first, the partners may decide which of them shall start. Players each begin with six discs.

That means that the team will have a total of 12 discs, six to each partner and let us say we are at the worlds and my partner and I are sitting across to each other and we have the red buttons and the officials determine that red starts then my partner and I have a quick chat and say do you want to start or should I start? It is up to us to choose who starts that round. In each subsequent round in the game, the obligation to start shall move one player clockwise around the board. In each of the games in a multi-game match between two teams, the teams shall alternate starting.

So as the play moves clockwise around the table there is four rounds in a typical NCA match, each player will have the opportunity or the obligation to start a round for a total of four rounds. A doubles player may only be coached by his or her partner during play.

So just like I said in singles, if one of my kids is doing well in the tournament or a close friend and they are playing in a final or a semi-final and I am watching that match, I cannot say a word. That should be here. I said no coaching.

I must keep quiet, the only person that can coach in a doubles match is the partner. They are allowed to discuss and deliberate any shot they want during the match if they are being respectful of the time limits in a timed match.

Rule 6 Scoring

This is the section of the rules that explains how the scoring works. If you are the type of person that would rather read and look at visuals, we have a blog post up at our website I will put a link in the description box below if you would like to look at more specific examples of how scores count at the end of a round.

But these are the official rules as they are written in the NCA. The centre hole shall count as 20, the regional rounded 15, the next region just outside the pad is 10 and the outer region is 5. A disc shall score the lowest value of any region on the board that it is touching. And what that means is that if it is touching two, if it is clearly touching the five and the 10 it will count as a five.

If it is clearly touching the 10 and the 15, it will count as a 10 so a count is the lower region if it is touching two regions. More on that in a minute. To score a 20 a disc must be completely in the centre hole and lying flat.

Is that a 20?
It is in the hole.

If it is not lying flat on the bottom it is not a 20 so it does not get removed and set off to the side, it counts as a 15. So, if it is seating here, it is what we call a leaner, if it is the end of the round it counts as a 15, if it is during play then play continues with that leaner in play so your opponent can knock at it.

If a disc is touching a line, not completely touching two sides but just touching a line, it scores the lower value of the two regions adjacent to that line. So, if it is here and it is just barely touching this line between the 10 and the 15 it accounts as a 10. Soon as it touches that line, it counts as the lower value. If a disc is lying flat on the board the determining factor in deciding whether it is touching a line is whether the bottom edge of the disc is over any part of the line not by where the edge of the disc appears to be when viewed from above.

Jeremy explaining Crokinole rules in a video tutorial. Jeremy gestures towards a Tracey Crokinole board while providing detailed explanations.

Rule 7 Shooting

During an opponent’s turn, a player may not touch the board, the table or place the discs in position or make any unusual noise or motion designed to distract the player.
Aside from just ridiculousness in trying to distract your opponent.

Probably the most common thing that I see happening is just completely out of not thinking about it, is a player will while the opponent is shooting, they will be getting ready for their shot and they will wax their disc which shakes the table a little bit and is not completely fair.

So, to keep this rule super simple, what it is you are not allowed to touch the board, not allowed to touch the table, nothing you sit back and put your hands to yourself just like they teach you in kindergarten keep your hands to yourself and let your friend play the game.

During a shot, only the player’s shooting hand and associated wrist and forearm may touch the board or table. So just like you are not allowed to touch the board when your opponent’s playing, the only thing that you are allowed to touch the board or to the table with is your shooting hand.

You cannot have your hand here or here or on the table or help keep balance, anything you do like that has to only be your shooting hand that touches the board or the table.

Before shooting a player must wait until all motion of the discs from the previous turn has ceased. Most common thing that happens here is that a button will spin like a top and it can spin and spin, you are not allowed to take your shot until that motion has completely stopped because it could alter how the discs interact when they hit each other on the board.

So just wait until they stop moving before you take your shot. A disc must start from a flat stationary position and be touching some part of the outer boundary line of the player’s quadrant or touching both the outer boundary line and the player’s quadrant dividing line. So, it is this shooting line that is in your quadrant right in front of you.

The disc must be touching that and the outer extreme of how far you can go is you can go right over if some part of your disc is touching both the shooting line and your divider line.

So right here is legal but as soon as it moves over so it is not touching that divider line, it is not a valid shot. A disc must be struck with one or more fingers. No aids such as finger guards are permitted, the only exception if you play in a cue specific tournament or division of the tournament. Intentional or excessive shaking of the board with the shooting hand or by any other means is not permitted.

We just want to keep that board as stable and still as possible. Once a player has his or her finger and disc in a set position in preparation for a shot and the disc leaves his or her finger, a shot is judged to have taken place.

Now what that means is once you have this set-in place even if you accidentally flick it a little bit and it is not the shot you meant to take, that still counts as a shot taken.

The reason the rule is written the way it is sometimes you have got the button and it might fall out of your hand as you go to set it in place. We are not going to count that but once it is set, you are lined up, even a little bump will count as a shot taken.

Neither the board nor the chair of any player may be moved while the game is in progress except that a player may move his or her chair if necessary to pick up a disc that has fallen out of reach. Pretty straight forward, I think. When a player is shooting at least a portion of his or her posterior must be in contact with the seat of his or her chair.

Are we playing with the queen of England?

Okay how about we call for one cheek rule?

Sure, that works.

Each leg of a player’s chair must be in contact with the floor. No leaning or tipping of the chair is permitted. No part of the player’s body except the feet may touch the floor. No other means of support may be utilized.

Rule 8 Other

Granulated shuffle board wax shall be placed in the ditch so that players may rub their discs in the wax prior to shooting. It may be applied to the playing surface by tournament officials and only by tournament officials if in their opinion conditions warrant it. No other lubricant is allowed.

If time runs out in a timed match one additional shot will be allowed if necessary to equalize the number of shots.

What that means is if we run out of time and I have taken six shots but you have only taken five when the buzzer goes, you are allowed to take one more shot to equalize the number of shots taken.

If a disc touches or crosses the outer boundary line, it is out of play subject to rule eight E which we will cover in just a bit.

If a disc if out of play it shall be placed in the ditch before the next player’s turn and must remain there until the end of the round. What that means is when the shot is done, if it is touching the outer boundary line, we are going to knock it into the ditch so that the next person, it is not going to distract the next shot or any following shots in that round.

The spinning disc rule.

If a disc touches or crosses the outer boundary line and does not strike anything other than the playing surface while touching or across the outer boundary line and returns under its own momentum to end up within the outer boundary line it will be considered still in play.

You may ask yourself two questions, one how on earth does this happen?
Well, a couple of things can happen, one is the disc can be spinning like a top and find itself going a little over the line and then coming back in.

The other thing that can happen is sometimes when it goes off a peg, it ends up spinning like that and that can roll over the line and come back in. So, if it goes out over and comes back, wherever it ends up will determine whether it remains in play or gets tossed in the ditch.

And your next question may be why do they have this rule?
And this is just my opinion but I think they have the rule because where it ends up, we cannot argue that, it either ends up inside or touching the line or outside. There is no way we can look at it and see exactly where it is but we could potentially if we are super competitive arguable oh no that did not cross the line or yes it did or no it did not back and forth.

The other thing is that sometimes in like the World Championships you will call a referee over to settle if there is any kind of a dispute.

Well, the referee does not know what happened, all they are going to know is what they see when they come there so with this it cuts down on any disputes or debates and makes it blacker and whiter what the final call is.

The damage stays rule.

This can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how the button bounces. If a disc touches or crosses the outer boundary line, strikes the back board or any other play discs then re-enters the playing surface, the disc is out of play but the altered position of any disc struck shall remain and any 20s made shall count except for the out of play disc.

And here is what that means, a button shoots out of play whether it does not matter what button it is, any button that was in play shoots out of play and bounces back in, whatever damage it causes will stay but that button that was out of bounce is dead regardless.

What happens though is that it will move, sometimes it will hit one or two or three buttons and it will move them around the board but whatever the final lie is that is how the game continues.

And just like the spinning disc rule I think the reason for that rule is it cuts down on disputes because you and I could argue about where this button was before the damage hit it but we cannot really argue about where it sits now.

And again, you call the referee over, the referee does not know what happened unless we enter like instant camera reply in to the world of Crokinole, this is just the best cleanest way to settle any damage that happens on the board.

And again, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Final Thoughts

We really hope this helps and maybe it can prevent you from getting so frustrated that you rip your hair trying to understand these rules. Please keep in mind that these are the official NCA rules that will be used at NCA tournaments.

So, when you are playing at home, please adjust the rules to suite everyone at the table and make sure everyone is having as much fun as possible playing the greatest game on earth.

Make it a great day.

Official World Championship Builders

Used & trusted to determine the World Champion.

Hand-Crafted by Players, For Players

The Traceys are high-level NCA competitors.

Now Shipping Worldwide

Tracey Boards can ship almost anywhere

Quality Shipping Guarantee

Your board will arrive as beautiful as it leaves our shop.

GENUINE Tracey Tour Boards

Used and Trusted at the World Crokinole Championship!

Crokinole Accessories

Elevate your game and add even more fun!

Black Crokinole Board

Black Crokinole Board

Black Crokinole Board

Red Crokinole Board

Black Crokinole Board

5-Hole Crokinole Board

Grey Rock Crokinole Board

Grey Rock Crokinole Board

Traditional Crokinole Board

Traditional Crokinole Board

Crokinole Board Wall Mount

Crokinole 20 Holder

Crokinole Scorekeeper

Crokinole Cards

Crokinole Replacement Pegs

Crokinole Board Dust Cover

Crokinole Buttons

Crokinole Playing Wax

Crokinole Imperium Card Game

Tracey Boards T-Shirt

Crokinole Carrying Bag

Crokinole 8-Button Tray

Crokinole Buttons Bag

Crokinole Gripper

Tracey Boards Baseball Cap