Crokinole; Let us promote as a mental health activity for seniors in Canada
Crokinole board that I saw
What is Crokinole?
Recently when I visited a Canadian home, I saw a hexagonal-shaped wooden board [Figure 1]. Due to my curiosity, I played it with my senior friend who described the game rules and little bit of its history.
Crokinole is a home-based board game in Canada. It has been originated in Perth County, Ontario during the period of late 19th Century. However, the game has been patented in New York in 1880. It is often popular among Mennonite community.
The game is similar to carom, popular in Asian countries. The board is available in various sizes and shapes. The board I saw is octagonal although most ones seem to be round. It contains highest scoring center hole, which is surrounded by inner circle guarded by 8 small posts. The inner circle is again covered by two outer rings. The outer ring is divided into four quadrants. There is a gutter between the playing surface and the outer edge of the board to keep discarded discs. The discs are circular slightly smaller in diameter than the center hole.
There is a score board too.
As an additional equipment, there are sticks for people who has difficulty in using fingers.
Crokinole board at a senior home in Cambridge
When I visited a senior home in Cambridge in the Ontario Province, I saw several sizes and shapes of Crokinole boards. It had the wooden score board as well as sticks for shooting discs. Seniors seem enthusiastic playing the game. Most of the inmates in this home were Mennonites. In fact, the game has been historically popular in the Waterloo region, where the Cambridge is neighboring city.
The main aim of the game is to position shooting discs on the center hole, which carries the highest score, the 20. Failing that, the player can score the next highest score, 15, if the disc stays within the center circle. Then, the next two highest scores are 10 and 5 respectively, of the disc stays within the larger circles which surround the middle circle.
Disc may be played in any place touching the starting line within the shooting area, demarcated by two quadrant lines.
The shooting of the disc is called as a Crokinole shot. it is done by propelling the disc with releasing pressure by thumb and index finger or middle finger.
At the same, each player will make difficult other players' attempts by pushing their discs out of the playing area.
When two players are playing each will have 12 discs of the same color. For 4 players, each will have 6 each. The players sitting opposite will make one team.
For more details, there are Crokinole books.
The above video provides a comprehensive overview of the game and its history little bit. You can enjoy it here.
The World Annual Crokinnole Championship tournament are being held since 1999 in Ontario. There are solo and group Championship positions. You can see a video clip created as a promotional activity of this Championship.
It seems, now there is a Chinese Championship tournament too.
There is a Crockinole newsletter to inform Crokinole players current developments and to keep momentum the game going. You may follow it using the following web address.
Crockinole and mental health
The game requires fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial judgement and understanding. It generates lot of fun, promotes friendship and understanding. The current trend of tournaments and championships creates fellowship nurturing supportive environments.
As a home-based game, it has a tremendous potential as a mental health promotion activity for seniors.
We need to promote this as an inter senior home championships including promotional campaign and training workshops.