Should Crokinole Rules Be More Strict?

Dec 15, 2023 | 0 comments

Crokinole, as a game, thrives on principles of good sportsmanship. The existing rules, like those laid out by the Official National Crokinole Association, emphasize fair play and camaraderie. However, some players and enthusiasts have raised questions about certain aspects of these rules. In this blog, we’ll delve into four specific Crokinole rules that have been subject to scrutiny and debate in online discussions.

Common Crokinole Rule Questions

People often ask us about the detailed rules of Crokinole. Here are four questions we hear a lot:

  • What is the rule about shooting out of turn?
  • If someone accidentally bumps the table (which is against the rules), what happens?
  • You are not allowed to touch a button that is in play, but what if you do?
  • And, what if a player shoots with the wrong color button?

The simplest and best answer to all these scenarios is: Don’t do it. Don’t shoot out of turn, avoid bumping the board or table, refrain from touching buttons that are in play, and, use your disc, not your opponent’s. 

Even Crokinole Rules Have Keyboard Warriors 

Spend any amount of time online where Crokinole is being discussed, and sooner or later, the rules will become a topic of debate. Recently, an unusual situation sparked a heated discussion. It involved a player picking their disc out of the 20-hole and accidentally dropping it on the board, subsequently hitting and moving a piece in play. Comments ranged from “reset the board and continue” to “their 20 shouldn’t count,” and even jests like “OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!!!” 

Crokinole Rules

While I understand some of the criticism that current Crokinole rules face, there is also a good reason why they are written the way they are. One of the fantastic things about current Crokinole rules is how quickly newcomers can learn and start playing, which might not be the case if we had an extensive 14-page rulebook. 

The few examples mentioned above are just some of the rules that do not have clearly stated repercussions for violations. But why is that?

With each of the examples above, the belief is that the infractions are typically accidental and not deliberate attempts to gain an advantage. Shooting out of turn is highly unlikely in competitive play, where players are more focused. It’s more likely to happen in a social setting where distractions like conversations and friendly banter are common.

Bumping the table or touching buttons in play is also generally regarded as accidental. I have played a lot of competitive Crokinole and not once did I think an opponent did this on purpose. 

And shooting the wrong color disc… is just a brain cramp altogether. In my opinion, the offending player should (and has been) teased relentlessly but I don’t think there should be serious consequences that can impact the game’s outcome.

Regarding the example of the disc that was dropped while moving it from the center to the 20s cup, I have a concern about imposing severe consequences. I have seen situations arise in competitive play, where to the location where the sunk 20s were being stored, the player’s opponent was removing their 20s for them. What if, in the process, one of those 20s was accidentally dropped? This situation arose due to a high level of sportsmanship. Do we need a rule against removing your opponent’s 20s? I don’t think so.

The Hutch-Daddy Principle of Crokinole Rules

Whenever a rule lacks clear repercussions, I always share the link to our video explaining the Hutch-Daddy Principle. You can watch it here.

During the match between Andrew Hutchinson (AKA: Hutch-Daddy) and his opponents Jeremy Tracey and Roy Campbell, Hutchinson accidentally bumped the table, causing one of his opponent’s discs to fall into the center hole. 

With no clear rule to guide them, and in a timed match with limited room for debate, Hutchinson swiftly admitted, “That was my fault, so the 20 counts,” and the game continued. This exemplifies how players typically handle grey rules, even at the highest level—they make a decision based on fairness at the moment. Was it the right decision? I’m not entirely sure.

 House Rules

 As always, I am a huge fan of house rules. If you tell me that the rule at your house is to penalize players for shooting out of turn, bumping the table, or touching an in-play disc by making them lose the round or even the entire match, I’m perfectly fine with that. However, it’s important to note that such strict rules are not in place at an NCA event. 

Do Crokinole Rules Need to Evolve? 

The reality is that as Crokinole gains popularity, the competitive scene is becoming more, well, competitive. There might indeed be a need for a stricter set of Crokinole rules. I hope that as the rules evolve, we can preserve the wholesome spirit that Crokinole is built upon.

Summary

 In conclusion, while the current set of rules serves Crokinole well, the question remains: Should they evolve, and should they incorporate stricter consequences for rule infractions? Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference and the spirit in which you enjoy the game.

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