Pichenotte is a commonly used Canadian French word that means “flick.” It’s derived from the European French noun “pichenotte,” which also means flick.
But this word also refers to any disk-flicking game such as crokinole, carom, and pitchnut. Learn all about these games here:
What is Pichenotte?
“Pichenotte” is a term commonly used to refer to a type of tabletop game that involves flicking or shooting small discs or tokens across a playing surface. The game is typically played on a wooden board with circular or octagonal boundaries, often called a “pichenotte board.” The objective of the game is to use a larger disc, called a shooter, to strike smaller discs and score points by knocking them into specific areas or targets on the board.
The game is popular in certain regions, particularly in Canada, where it has gained a significant following. The game requires skill, accuracy, and strategic thinking to effectively aim the shooter and manipulate the smaller discs to score points.
Pichenotte is generally associated with Quebec and French-speaking communities in Canada and the United States. It refers to a game where players “flick” a game piece on a square playing surface known as caroms and the round game known as crokinole or croquignole.
Conversely, Crokinole is more commonly associated with English-speaking regions of Canada and the United States. It specifically refers to the game with a round playing surface, distinct from the square game of carroms. Many English-speaking Canadians call the game pichenotte “crokinole.”
Carroms, originating from India, Tibet, and Nepal, is an ancient game played on a square board. It has its own set of standardized rules and is associated with professional tournaments held worldwide. It is believed that games like pichenotte, crokinole, croquignole, and knips-brat evolved from carroms, incorporating variations and regional adaptations.
Knips-brat, associated with German culture, translates to “flicking board” in German. It is used by various communities, including the Mennonites, to refer to the round game.
The history and evolution of these games are complex and intertwined, with influences from different cultures and regions. The specific origins and connections between these games have evolved over time, shaped by cultural interactions and adaptations.
The specific rules and gameplay of pichenotte can vary depending on the regional variations or specific house rules. However, the core concept remains consistent, with players taking turns flicking their shooters and attempting to outscore their opponents by accurately hitting the smaller discs and achieving predetermined objectives.
Origins of Pichenotte
While the exact origins and detailed history of Pichenotte are uncertain, it is believed to have evolved from earlier games like carroms, crokinole, and other flicking games. These games have influenced each other over time, incorporating regional variations and adaptations. The word “Pichenotte” itself may have derived from the French term “croquignole,” which can mean a flick or snap.
Pichenotte is tied to crokinole, and some even consider them the same (pichenotte is sometimes referred to as another name for crokinole). Crokinole was attributed to Eckhardt Wettlaufer, a craftsman from Perth County, Ontario, around the 1860s. Wettlaufer is said to have created the game as a form of entertainment for his family and friends. He named it “crokinole,” which may have been derived from the French word “croquignole,” meaning a small ball-shaped object.
Crokinole quickly gained popularity in Canada, particularly in rural areas. Its appeal spread through word of mouth, and the game became a staple in many Canadian households. It offered a fun and engaging pastime that required skill and dexterity, making it suitable for players of various ages.
The game’s popularity surged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with crokinole tournaments being organized and played in various communities across Canada. It became a significant social activity, and local competitions would attract large crowds.
Over the years, crokinole continued to evolve. Different game variations emerged, including regional rule variations and changes in board design. In the 20th century, crokinole faced some challenges as new forms of entertainment gained popularity. However, it endured as a cherished tradition in certain regions, especially in Canada.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in crokinole, both as a nostalgic game and a competitive sport. The game has gained international recognition, with tournaments held in Canada and other countries. Crokinole boards are manufactured and sold by various companies, and enthusiasts continue to appreciate its unique blend of skill, strategy, and friendly competition.
Pichenotte Gameplay and Equipment
At this point, we’ll talk about pichenotte, a tabletop game that is predominantly played in Quebec and among French-speaking communities in Canada and the United States (not the “pichenotte” that refers to most disk-flicking games).
Equipment: The game board is a square wooden board, typically around 30 inches on each side. It has a smooth and flat surface with a wooden rail or bumper surrounding it. Each corner has an oblong hole, about four inches long by three inches wide. Underneath each hole is a net to catch the game pieces, similar to the pockets on a pool table. The game pieces are round wooden disks, similar in size to checkers pieces. Each player or team has nine disks, typically in three colors: white (9), black (9), and red (1 queen).
Objective: The objective of Pichenotte is to strategically flick or “pichenotte” your own game pieces with a larger disk called a striker in order to pocket them into the corner pockets of the board. The first player to successfully pocket all of their pieces, including the “queen” piece if played with one, is the winner.
- The game begins with the game pieces placed in the center of the board in a circular pattern. The queen piece, if used, is usually placed in the middle of the arrangement.
- Players take turns using the striker to flick their own game pieces, aiming to propel them toward the corner pockets. The striker is used to strike the player’s own pieces, not the opponent’s.
- The goal is to accurately flick the game pieces so that they enter the corner pockets. Each successfully pocketed piece remains out of play for the remainder of the game.
- Players employ various techniques and strategies to pocket their own pieces while obstructing their opponent’s shots. The positioning of the striker and the angle of flicking play important roles in achieving these objectives.
- The game continues until one player successfully pockets all of their pieces, including the queen, if used. The player who accomplishes this first is declared the winner of the game.
Pitchnut Gameplay and Equipment
The term “pitchnut” is an anglicization of the word “pichenotte,” and sometimes, this game is also referred to as pichenotte.
Pitchnut is believed to have emerged from a combination of two other games: carrom and crokinole. While its exact origins are unknown, pitchnut or “pichenotte,” boards are commonly found in St. Edwidge, Quebec, Canada. Many of these boards were constructed by Achille Scalabrini, a local resident and descendant of an Italian settler from Montreal. It’s interesting to note that Pitchnut is a registered trademark in the United States, adding to its distinctiveness among other disc-flicking games.
Equipment: The game is played on a square or rectangular board, often made of wood, with several holes or pits arranged in a specific pattern. Each pit has a point value associated with it. Players use small discs or coins as game pieces.
To play pitchnut, the game board is placed on a flat surface, and the game pieces are distributed evenly among the players.
Objective: The objective of Pitchnut is to score the highest number of points by flicking or pitching the game pieces into the pits on the board.
- Players take turns flicking or pitching their game pieces from a designated starting point toward the board. The goal is to aim for the pits and score points based on the values associated with each pit.
- When a game piece successfully lands in a pit, the player earns the corresponding point value. Some pits may have higher point values than others, adding a strategic element to the game.
- During the game, the positions of game pieces already on the board may affect subsequent shots. Players can aim to knock opponents’ game pieces out of high-scoring pits or strategically position their own pieces to block opponents’ shots.
- The game continues for a predetermined number of rounds or until a specific point target is reached. The player with the highest total score at the end of the game is declared the winner.
Crokinole Gameplay and Equipment
Crokinole is a tabletop game that is primarily associated with English-speaking Canada and the United States. The term “crokinole” is likely derived from the French word “croquignole,” which has multiple meanings, including the noun “flick.” The oldest known crokinole board, crafted by Meister Eckhardt Wettlaufer of Ontario, Canada, dates back to around 1867.
Equipment: Crokinole is played on a round wooden board with a smooth playing surface. The board typically features a series of concentric circles and a central hole. There is a shallow ditch or gutter between the outermost circle and the raised rim of the board. Players use small round wooden discs, called crokinole discs or checkers, as game pieces.
Objective: The objective of Crokinole is to score points by flicking or shooting the discs into the higher-scoring areas on the board while also trying to prevent opponents from doing the same. The player or team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
- The game begins with the discs placed in a circular arrangement at the center of the board, with alternating colors between players or teams. Each player or team typically has a specific color of discs.
- Players take turns flicking their own discs using their fingers from a designated shooting area on the board. The goal is to shoot the discs towards the higher-scoring areas and ideally into the central hole, known as the “20 hole” or “dolly.”
- The scoring in Crokinole is based on the area of the board where the discs come to rest. The outermost circle is typically the lowest-scoring area, followed by the next inner circle, and so on, with the central hole being the highest-scoring area. Players earn points for each disc that lands within these areas.
- Players can also strategically shoot their discs to knock opponents’ discs out of high-scoring areas or to block opponents’ shots. There are rules and penalties regarding knocking opponents’ discs off the board or into the ditch.
- The game usually consists of multiple rounds, and the player or team with the highest total score at the end of the rounds is declared the winner.
Carrom Gameplay and Equipment
Carrom is an ancient tabletop game originating in South Asia – specifically in India.
Equipment: Carrom is played on a square wooden board with a smooth surface. The board is divided into four quadrants, each containing a circular pocket at the corner and a central pocket in the middle. The game pieces include small discs known as carrom men and a larger disc called the striker. The carrom men are typically divided into two colors, often white and black, with a contrasting design on each side.
Objective: The objective of Carrom is to pocket the carrom men by striking them with the striker and accumulate points. The player or team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
- The carrom board is placed on a flat surface, and the carrom men are arranged in a specific pattern within the board. The white carrom men are positioned in a Y-shape, with the black carrom men surrounding them.
- Players take turns flicking the striker with their finger to strike the carrom men and attempt to pocket them into the corner or central pockets. The striker must always be in contact with a carrom man during a shot.
- Points are earned based on the carrom men pocketed. The white carrom men have a higher point value than the black ones. The central pocket typically carries the highest point value.
- Players can use defensive tactics to protect their carrom men from being pocketed by strategically positioning them or knocking opponents’ carrom men away from the pockets.
- The game is usually played for a predetermined number of rounds or until a specific point target is reached. The player or team with the highest total score at the end of the game is declared the winner.