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Subject: Poor man's billiards rss

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Tuomas Korppi
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Korona is a game similar to pool, played with disks instead of balls. The objective of the game is to pocket disks by hitting a cue disk with a wooden cue stick.

Equipment

The korona board is made of plywood, and it is made slippery by spreading potato starch on it. Its size is approximately 1 meter x 1 meter. In the four corners there are the pockets that are round and something like 10 centimeters in diameter. The edges rise something like 3-5 centimeters higher than the board.

The disks are made of plastic, approximately two centimeters in diameter and something like 1/2 centimeters high. The cue disks are somewhat larger than other disks. The cue sticks are approximately 1 meter long and wooden.

Since disks are less sensitive than balls to deviations of flatness of the board, korona equipment is quite inexpensive. Simple plywood board on the top of an ordinary table is enough, and unlike in billiards, one does not need expensive special tables. Making a korona board and the cue sticks is even a possible carpentry project for an amateur carpenter. (Actually, when I was 12 years old, one of my classmates made a korona board and cue sticks in the woodcraft class at school.)

I have even seen a 20 centimeters x 20 centimeters sized miniature korona set, which was entirely playable.

The game

The game can be played by 2-4 persons. Any number of persons can play individually, but 4 persons can also play in partnerships. Each player occupies one side of the board. If there are two players, the players occupy opposite sides, and if four players play in partnerships, the partners are placed opposite to each other.

Each player has eight target disks, and they are initially placed next to the edge opposite to the player.

At the beginning of a turn the player in turn places his cue disk on a shooting line next to the side of the board that is closest to him. The line is a bit more than 10 centimeters apart from the side of the board. Then he hits the cue disk with his cue stick and tries to pocket his target disks. (If he accidentally pockets the cue disk, one of his pocketed target disks is returned on the board.) After all the disks have stopped, the cue disk is removed from the board. If the player legitimately pocketed his target disks, he gets a new turn. Otherwise, turn passes to the next player.

The first player to pocket all his eight target disks is the winner.

Evaluation

The game is an OK substitute for billiards, requiring much cheaper equipment and occupying much less space.

Since the player may place the cue disk quite freely (the shooting line spans almost the entire width of the board), it is almost always possible to pocket disks without a need for combination shots or kick shots; cut shots are usually all that is needed. However, there are two kinds of tricky situations that can arise. First, if some of your disks gets behind your shooting line, you need to hit it with a kick shot bouncing from the opposite edge. Second, the pockets are holes in the board (not in the edges), and between the pocket and the edges there is enough room for a target disk. If a target disk gets there, hitting it requires a real skill shot.

The major drawback of the game is the lack of tactics. Korona is almost 100% a game of accuracy. Since the cue disk is placed rather freely before each strike, there is no need to shoot it so that it will end up in a good position.

Many players play with a honor code requiring each player to only try to pocket their own disks, and trying to get the opponents' disks in a bad position is regarded as bad sport. Personally, I hate games with honor codes stating that a person is not allowed actively try to do something, but if they accidentally do it, no penalty is given.
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Dean Hickman
United States
Huntington Park
California
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Is this game similiar to Carrom played on wooden boards in India? I love to play carom billiards.
 
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Juho Lamminmäki
Finland
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Dean_H wrote:
Is this game similiar to Carrom played on wooden boards in India? I love to play carom billiards.
Kind of...
 
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