A square plywood board with a wooden frame and netted pockets in each corner.
The playing surface comprises of a square plywood board with screen printed lines and patterns, polished for a smooth low friction and hard wearing finish. The standard playing area is 74 cm x 74 cm i.e. 29″ square. However, smaller sizes are suitable for children while larger ones are great if you are already familiar with the game and want to try something different, albeit non-standard.
Boards come with different border frame widths, ranging from 1.25″ (about 32 mm) to 3.00″ (about 75 mm), with the thicker and heavier ones being more expensive and far better to play on due to better rebound or cannon effect generated.
The four pockets or holes, one in each corner of the board, feature nets secured underneath to hold the pocketed carrom men or striker.
Wooden bracing supports underneath the board’s surface, secured to both the plywood board and the border frame, reinforce the playing surface and avoid any warping.
A set of nineteen light wooden or acrylic discs or coins (known as carrom men) – nine white, nine black and one red (known as the Queen).
While wooden carrom men are conventional, the recent acrylic or resin alternatives are lighter and less abrasive, thereby facilitating a faster game. However, if you’ve always played with wooden ones, it does take some time getting used to the acrylic ones – almost like driving an automatic car after years on a manual!
An acrylic disc (larger and heavier than the coins) used to “strike” the coins.
There is such a wide variety of strikers available that selecting one in terms of physical appearance is a matter of personal choice. They come in all sorts of colours, ranging from ivory to black, with various illustrations, engravings etc. Since a poor striker can dampen the game altogether, it is important to go for quality ones with a smooth surface, for minimum friction and high impact.
Carrom powder is sprinkled on the board’s surface to reduce friction, thereby enabling smoother and faster play.
Broadly speaking, there are two basic types of carrom powder. The traditional commonly available powder is boric acid based, and works quite well to reduce friction. Also, few retailers now offer a new type of Telfon based super fine or “Disco” powder (usually available in small plastic bottles), which enhances performance significantly. It is important to understand that boric based powder works by reducing friction, while the “Disco” powder comprises of microspheres that act as rollers. Although the latter increases the speed noticeably, it is abrasive and can damage the board surface with prolonged use.
For optimum performance and longer life of your board, spray a small quantity of boric powder before each game, and never use two different types of powders simultaneously. If you wish to switch from one kind of powder to another, lightly wipe off the old powder with a soft cloth completely before using the new powder.