There are many different types of games that you can play with a cue and balls, and one of the lesser known but highly popular with players that enjoy playing it is carom billiards. Other similar games to carom billiards are:
- Three-Cushion Billiards
- Artistic Billiards
Playing these games you would use a cuing action similar to snooker, or pool, but of course the rules are different and in some cases the table differs.
Invented in France during the 18th Century this game was extremely popular with the upper-classes at the time. Essentially there are three balls in play on the table however the table does not have any pockets. And the objective of the game is to carom your cue ball off your opponents ball and into the third ball all in one shot.
Perhaps this is where we get the term cannoning in snooker. Carom billiards is often called carambole but in America it was adapted slightly and called straight rail.
Rules of Carom
The balls used in carom are slightly bigger and heavier than standard pool balls. There are three balls of different colors (red, yellow, white), one each for the players to act as their cue ball and a third object ball.
The table should be five feet wide by ten feet long and have no pockets, but the surface and base layer should be the same as a snooker or pool table. The object of the game is a player must try to hit the opponents cue ball and the object ball in one shot. However, the difficulty comes that he has to first make his ball hit three cushions before it can hit the other balls.
Points are awarded when a player’s ball hits the other balls depending in what order. When one player misses then his opponent can take to the table for his turn. If the first player is successful with his first shot then he can continue playing and amassing points until he misses. When the fixed number of points is reached by a player the game is won.
To start the game both players strike their cue balls up the table to hit the far cushion, the one that rebounds the least has first attempt. Like billiards or snooker it is a game of strategy and skill and makes pool and snooker players think twice about their strategy.
A video game loosely based on carom has been developed called carrom pool, it is a multi-player game that roughly follows the rules of carom and can be played on android devices or downloaded. Because of its simplicity it has become highly popular especially among younger players.
It is amazing to think that a game that was invented way back in the 18th Century is now available on the internet and a whole new generation of players have taken to carom and have made it popular once again. This only has to be a positive thing and will help bring attention to the game for previous non-players.