The Complete Rules for Crokinole

Illustration of two hands playing Crokinole

Illustration: The Spruce / Colleen Tighe

Crokinole can be traced back to 1876. It is a board game that remains very popular today because it's a simple and highly entertaining game of skill.

In Crokinole, there are two or four players in partnerships. The goal is to be the first team to reach 100 points.

The Crokinole Board

The Swampfox board designed by Carl and Stan Hilinski is a great example of a Crokinole board.

The hole in the middle is the "20 Hole." Players earn 20 points for getting a disc into this hole.

Several inches outside the 20 Hole are the posts or pegs. These are bumpers that make it more difficult to get a disc inside that area.

The very outside area of the board, which generally is lower than the main board, is the "ditch." Discs which are removed from play are put in the ditch.

The line with the largest circumference, about an inch in from the ditch, is the "Starting Line." All shots are made with at least part of the disc touching the Starting Line.

The board is divided into quadrants. When a player takes a shot, his disc must be 50 percent or more within his quadrant.

There are three scoring areas. The area outside the 20 Hole but inside the posts is the 15 Zone. The next circle out marks the 10 Zone, and the area just inside the Starting Line is the 5 Zone. Points are not calculated until a round ends.

Note: The box seen on the board in the Swampfox picture is designed to store the discs; it would not be on the board during gameplay.

Crokinole board

Setting up for Crokinole

Set the Crokinole board on the table so that every player has equal access to it.

With 2 players, each receives 12 wooden discs of a distinct color. With 4 players, each partnership receives 12 wooden discs of a distinct color; each player within a partnership receives 6 discs. Partners sit opposite each other.

Choose the start player randomly. Play always proceeds clockwise.


Once a game starts, the board may not be moved. Players may not move their chairs, nor may they lift themselves out of their chair. (This is often referred to as the "one-cheek rule," as in "One butt cheek must always touch the chair.") No player may touch the board unless it's his turn to shoot.

The shooter places one of his discs on the starting line, with at least 50 percent of the disc within his quadrant. He shoots the disc by flicking it (pushing it is not legal).

Shooting With No Opponent's Discs on the Board

The first shooter, and any subsequent shooter who takes his turn with no opponent's discs on the board tries to shoot into the 20 Hole. If a disc lands completely within the hole, it's removed and set aside for scoring at the end of the round.

If the disc doesn't fall into the 20 Hole but remains on the board, and is either in the 15 Zone or at least touching the 15 Zone line, it remains on the board.

If there are no opponent's discs on the board and a shooter's disc winds up in the 10 Zone or the 5 Zone, it's removed from the board. This rule is designed to prevent players from being excessively defensive by "hiding" their discs behind pegs. Some players don't use this rule, but it is used at the World Crokinole Championship.

Shooting With the Opponent's Discs on the Board

If one or more opponent's discs are on the board, the shooter must try to hit one of them. NOTE: This can be done directly, by ricochet off a post or another disc, or even by knocking another of the shooter's discs into one of the opponent's discs.

If the shooter fails to hit an opponent's disc, the disc that he shot is placed in the ditch. In addition, if the shooter fails to hit an opponent's disc but hits any of his own discs (or his partner's), those are also placed in the ditch.

Disc Balance and the Ditch

After a shot, all discs touching the Starting Line are placed in the ditch.

If a disc is leaning into the 20 Hole, or balanced so that part of it is above the 20 Hole, it remains where it is. It is not removed from the board unless it's knocked into the 20 Hole.

A disc that goes off the board hits anything off the main board and bounces back on is placed in the ditch. Any discs it touched remain where they wound up.


At the end of each round, scoring takes place.

Each player or partnership counts their discs within each Scoring Zone. If a disc is touching a scoring line, it counts as the lesser value.

Discs in the 15 Zone are worth 15 points each; in the 10 Zone, 10 points each; in the 5 Zone, 5 points each.

Each player or partnership also adds any 20 points for each 20 Holeshot set aside.

Subtract the smaller score from the larger. The player or partnership with the larger score wins the difference in points. EXAMPLE: The tan player has 60 points. The red player has 35 points. The tan player is awarded the difference, 25 points.

If neither player or partnership has reached a total of 100 points, the next round is started by the person sitting to the left of the lead shooter.