Board game’s popularity growing in Lisbon

LISBON – Some people enjoy board games like checkers or chess. Jerry Ward prefers crokinole.

Three days a week, Ward and friends get together to play this game for enjoyment at his North Beaver Street office. The game has been a hit with Ward and his friends, so much so that they have even had good-sized groups over for this lunchtime tradition.

“We play Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at noon,” Ward said. “Some days we have two or three people playing. Once we had nine come here to play.”

This game has always been enjoyable for Ward as he first played it in his youth.

“My grandfather showed me how to play,” Ward said. “I’ve played this with my grandfather, and now I’m playing this with my grandchildren.”

Crokinole is a two-player game that utilizes a circular board with a shallow hole in the middle, and three circles on the board, the most inward circle protected with eight spikes. Each player gets 12 buttons.

The first player places a button on the line of the circle closest to the player, in which the player shoots the button towards the center of the board.

The second player then shoots. If the second player’s button hits player one’s button, that button is in play and scores points. If the buttons do not touch, player two’s button is removed from play, resulting in no score.

Then player one has to shoot at player two’s buttons if contact was made, to which player one’s buttons are thrown out of play if missed. This process continues until all 12 buttons from each player are shot.

If a player’s button lands in the center hole, that players earns 20 points. Buttons in the inside circle with spikes count for 15 points, the middle circle counts for 10 points, and the outer circle for five.

The game’s roots can be traced all the way to Canada, where the game enjoys its biggest popularity. In particular, the game was started in a small town west of Toronto named Tavistock.

“Tavistock is where the game originated,” Ward said. “It was started by a guy who wanted to make up a game for he and his children to play.”

Tavistock, Ontario, Canada is also the site of the annual World Crokinole Championship. Every year, people from all over the world compete for money and enjoyment.

“Last year, nine of us got together to compete in the World Crokinole Championship,” said Ward, who competed in singles and doubles games in the recreational division of the tournament rather than the competitive division. “I was able to place seventh. I didn’t win money, but I did win a certificate.”

Whether or not Ward won any money, the main idea that Ward expressed was the game’s simplicity, relaxing pace, and that anyone can play.

“It’s fun for all ages,” Ward said.

Ward is also part of the Columbiana County Crokinole Club, a group of 12 members who enjoy the game together.

“We all get together in the spring time, right now just 12 of us,” Ward said. “Anyone is welcome to join us.”

Those who are interested in joining the club, or would like to know more about the game, may contact Ward at 330-424-7800.