Carline

Snooker Cue

Carline, or Caroline, is a Russian game of not dissimilar character to the American game, of which it was probably the progenitor. It is played with three coloured balls (generally black, blue, and red) and two white balls - white and spot white. It may be played by two, four, or six players, either singly or as partners. The player's score is made up entirely of Winning Hazards and Cannons, while Losing Hazards, Coups, and Misses count for his opponent. The ordinary rules as to foul strokes are the same as in Billiards.

In setting the table the black ball - which is called the Carline - is placed on the centre spot, between the two middle pockets, the red ball on the 'winning and losing' spot, and the blue ball on the centre spot of the baulk-line.
The players strike from any part of the baulk semicircle, and the baulk is no protection to any ball lying between the straight line and the bottom cushion. The players string for lead, and when there are more than two they follow in the order in which their balls fall, whether they play singly or in sides. The winner of the lead has choice of balls.
Each player must strike the red ball first, and if he succeed in making a Hazard or a Cannon, he continues his break as long as he can score.
The points are reckoned thus:- the player reckons three for pocketing the red or the blue in either of the corner-pockets - six for holeing the black in either of the middle pockets; but if he pocket the red or the blue in either of the middle pockets, he forfeits three points for each Winning Hazard so made, while if he pocket the black in either of the corner-pockets, he forfeits six points.
All forfeits, as at Billiards, are added to the score of the player's opponent.
Each Cannon from a white to a coloured ball, or from a coloured ball to a white one, counts two points; and each Cannon from one coloured ball to another counts three.
Successive Cannons count:- Thus, if the player make a Cannon from the white to the red, and from the red to the blue or the black, he scores five. Or if he first play at a coloured ball, and cannon on to another coloured one, he scores three; then if the ball cannon on to the other coloured ball, he scores three more; and if afterwards on to the white, he scores two more - in all eight points. He also counts all the Winning Hazards properly made.
By this mode of reckoning, the whole game is frequently scored off the balls in a single break.
Sixty-two or a hundred and one - as the game may be between two or four players - is the number of points usually set; though of course the points may be increased to any extent.
Suppose the player begin by striking the black, and pocketing it in a middle pocket, he scores six; then if the same ball cannon on to the red (say), and that ball is pocketed in the corner, he scores six more - three for the Cannon and three for the red; then if the same ball cannon from the red to the blue, and the blue be pocketed, he scores six more; and then if the ball cannoned from the blue to the white, and the White Winning Hazard followed, he would score four more - two for the Cannon and two for the Hazard: in all twenty-four points.
This is of course a nearly impossible case; for it must be a very lucky stroke indeed, to say nothing of any kind of calculation on the part of the player, which would make four Winning Hazards and three Cannons! I give it only to show what might be done in the game.
But as a Losing Hazard causes the forfeiture of not only all the points made, but of two, three, or six, according to whether the ball first struck was white, red, blue, or black; so, after having made this extraordinary Twenty-four stroke, suppose the player's ball to run into a middle pocket, he would then forfeit thirty points - the twenty-four already made, and six more for a Losing Hazard off the black in a middle pocket.
These consecutive Cannons and Hazards, however, frequently occur, though to a smaller extent than our supposititious case. While the Winning Hazards count six for the black (in the middle pockets only), and three each for the red and the blue (in the corner pockets only) the same numbers are forfeited by the player if he makes a Losing Hazard in the respective pockets, and two points are added to his opponent's score for every White Losing Hazard he may make in either of the six pockets, in addition to any previously made Winning Hazard or Cannon.
All balls forced over the table count the same as if they had been pocketed - six for the black, three for the red or the blue, and two for the white; but forfeits of the same number of points are paid by the player who forces his own ball off the table, after contact with a ball or balls.

From this it will be seen that Carline is a lively game for young players; and though it is seldom played by adepts at Billiards or Pool, it presents numberless opportunities for the display of science and skill. Indeed, I think it only needs to be better known - and this it will probably be through the medium of my Book - to obtain considerable patronage in country-houses and public-rooms.

This is my way of playing Carline, but other players have other ways, as the game is capable of much variation. Losing Hazards for instance, may count for the player, and Winning Hazards against him; the Following Cannons may not be allowed, &c., &c. I append the method adopted in some of the Clubs, and also, I understand, in St. Petersburg - though a friend tells me that the game is rather German than Russian. This is, perhaps, not unlikely, as the Teutons are to the modern nations what the Egyptians were of old - inventors, classifiers, civilisers! The following is given to me as

KENTFIELD'S METHOD OF PLAYING CARLINE

'The game is forty (or more) in number, and is made up of Winning Hazards, Cannons, and Forfeits. The balls used are two white ones, a red, a blue, and a yellow. The balls at the commencement of the game, and after every Hazard, are placed on the table thus - the red on the spot, the yellow on the centre spot, and the blue on the centre of the baulk-line. This ball is considered to be in baulk, and cannot be played at by a ball in hand.

'The red ball may be pocketed in any pocket, and scores three; the blue ball may be pocketed in any pocket, and score four; the white ball may be pocketed in any pocket, and scores two; the yellow ball must be pocketed in the middle pockets only, and scores six.
A Cannon scores two, but there are no compound Cannons - that is, you cannot count more than one Cannon at a stroke. The striker, in leading off, or when the ball is in hand, is not confined to the half-circle, but may play his ball anywhere within the baulk-line. In leading off, the striker may play his ball out of the baulk, to any part of the table he chooses, so that it be made to pass beyond the yellow ball; and his adversary must play the first stroke at the white ball.
The leader's endeavour, therefore, should be to lay his ball as close behind the yellow ball as possible. If the striker pocket his own ball, he loses according the ball he strikes - namely, four for the blue, six for the yellow, two for the white, and three for the red. The striker, by pocketing his own ball, loses all the points he made by the stroke; so that it would be possible for him to lose twenty-one points by one stroke - that is, if he played at the yellow ball, made a Cannon, and pocketed all the balls.
If the player, in giving his lead, touch either one of the three balls, he loses one point; if two, two points; if three, three points - and the balls so touched must be replaced; and if the player's ball occupy the place of any of the three balls, he must take it up and lead over again.

'If the striker force his own ball off the table after making a Cannon or a Hazard, he loses all the points he would otherwise have gained by the stroke. If the striker force his adversary's ball over the table, he gains two points; if the yellow, he gains six; if the red, three; if the blue, four.'

All the other points of the game are governed by the usual Laws of Billiards. I am not aware of any authorised laws having been made for the game; but by aid of what I have written and what I have quoted, I fancy that any lady or gentleman will be able to play Carline without any particular trouble.


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