Calvin’s Commentaries: Crokinole with Cues

Regular readers are most likely aware that in terms of board games I rate crokinole at the top of the heap.

The game is one where skill is a key, and that means the practice can make you better, which I like.

The game is also one I played often with my dad, so nostalgia plays a part in my rating too.

What all that means is, is that I have played a ton of games over many decades.

But in all those plays I had never played crokinole with cues.

Then I happened upon a website that sold cues, and that led me to Ted Fuller via email. Ted was good enough to fill in some blanks regarding cues and crokinole.

“Cues have been around a long time, I think many would probably be where the game was invented in Perth, Ontario,” he said via email.

“The World Championships in Tavistock, Ontario have a whole category devoted to cues.”

I had thought cues might be a tool for some, but Ted explained that using them creates a unique version of the game.

“It’s actually a different form of Crokinole called ‘Cues’,” he said. “Cues have rubber or plastic tips, can be made of a variety of woods, and sometimes have a knob on the end. I prefer the knobby end and the short cue with a plastic tip. The rubber tip leaves rubber marks on your board which is why I sell Old English Furniture polish. It removes those marks left but doesn’t leave it on the surface of the board, wipe it off with a cloth as it is citric acid and isn’t good for the finish on the board.”

As a result, you have two versions of crokinole.

“There’s no mixing of cues and fingers at the tournament because cues are more accurate than fingers,” said Fuller. “It is amazing to watch a cues game because of the consistent dropping of 20s! We sell two kinds of cues on our site, a shorter cue which is the most manageable, and a longer cue for stronger shots.”

Fuller comes to the business side of crokinole as a fan of the game first.

Interestingly, my mature son who grudgingly plays the game was hitting 20s rather smoothly using the cue right from the get-go.

“I have been a crokinole fan for as long as I can remember,” he related. “During Christmas get-togethers, I would play Crokinole with my grandpa who was a seasoned pro in my mind.

“When I got involved in designing websites for people in 2007, I decided to purchase the domain name as I thought it would be worth owning, maybe for a future venture like I have started now.

“Later on, a friend introduced me to the World Championships in Tavistock, Ontario. I enjoyed going mainly to connect with my friend and have some fun.”

So why does Fuller like crokinole so much?

“Put simply, it’s a relational game,” he said.” I love the fact that you can have a conversation while playing and get to know someone more deeply.

“There’s not a lot of rules, and it’s simple enough for a child to learn. I think it’s a much better alternative than video games which have so much darkness in them these days. I think kids need a break from that and their minds need a rest, and this is the kind of game that will help with that.”

And the love of the game grew into something more for Fuller.

“Later on, I decided to build a store around Crokinole as I saw the opportunity to connect many craftsmen and feature their products on my website, Crokinole Canada,” he said. “When it became a business opportunity that’s when it started to grow and I have been able to work with many craftsmen for which I am very grateful.”

The business side soon had Fuller doing boards too. From the website there are some great looking boards that I am sure would be a pleasure to play on, although to be fair I have not flicked on one of his boards.

So how did Fuller become involved in board creation?

“My first contact was with Murray Skaling, who runs a company called Muzzies Crokinole in Forest Glade, Nova Scotia,” said Fuller. “He gave me permission to dropship his boards and accessories. This was a huge boost to me as I was just starting and wanted to offer my customers the best board on the market. It turns out that his boards are some of the best on the market and I did end up selling quite a lot of them. He is so busy with Crokinole that there is a 4-5 month lead time on average for his boards. If you’re willing to wait for them, they are very nice boards.

“My other suppliers include Tracey Boards, which are also good quality and were historically ‘Willard’ boards. They are not as fancy as a Muzzies board but they have all the great features you’d want to look for in a Tournament play board.

“Not surprisingly, you’ll find these same boards at the World Championships in Tavistock, Ontario.”

So with someone as knowledgeable as Fuller in an email chat, I had to ask; what makes a good board?

“Hands down, it’s the surface that makes all the difference,” he said. “I have one particular board which has a very smooth Maple Veneer called The World Famous and I think it has the most consistently smooth surface across the entire board.

“I have no trouble selling that board because of that very reason.

“I think the second biggest feature that matters is the size of the board. A 26-inch playing surface is just more room for everyone around the table. Those are called ‘Tournament’ boards.

“Some other things I look for in a good board are latex covered pegs which make for an amazing bounce when the disc hits them.

“And if you have an old board, one of the easiest ways to make it ‘new’ again is to buy some crokinole powder. It makes practically any old or slow board fast again because the powder acts like ball bearings on the surface of the board. Sprinkle it on the surface and it will be nice and fast again.”

You can get the powder and all things crokinole at

Since I love the game, I recommend taking a look.

Thanks to Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for helping review the cues.

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