Are you looking for an entertaining backyard sport to keep you busy throughout the summer? If so, then why not give carpetball a try? It’s a simple sport that uses regular billiards balls and a long table known as the carpetball table.
A carpetball table measures 12 feet long and 2 feet wide, with a 6-inch × 2-foot sunken tray on both ends. An outdoor or ultimate carpetball table will measure 15 feet long and 3 feet wide with 6-inch-wide trays on each end. The surface of the playing surface must be at least 3 feet above the ground.
So, how do you play carpetball? I’ll explain carpetball and how it’s played down below.
What Is Carpetball?
Carpetball is a popular game that was created back in the 1970s, according to the National Carpetball Association. It started off as a fun activity for campers to enjoy, but in the 1980s, it became a full-blown backyard sport, much like Wiffle ball.
This sport is like a marriage between lawn bowling, pool, and air hockey. 2 players duke it out by rolling a ball toward the opponent’s side of the table in an attempt to knock all the balls into a sunken tray. The first team to sink all of their opponent’s balls wins.
Rules of Carpetball
The rules for playing carpetball are incredibly simple.
- A game of carpetball consists of 2 opposing players, but you can play in teams of 2 members. For simplicity’s sake, I will refer to them as team A and team B.
- Both teams start by placing 5 billiard balls in any way they want, as long as it’s within an arm’s reach from behind the ends of the table.
- The white cue ball is used to knock the other team’s balls into their tray.
- You and your opponent(s) take turns throwing the cue ball at each other’s balls.
- If team A’s balls are all in their tray, then team A gets to take a “mercy roll,” which is a free roll attempt to knock down team B’s balls.
- If a player manages to knock down a ball into the opponent’s tray with a mercy roll, then they can retrieve one ball from their tray and place it back onto the table.
- The mercy roll cycle is repeated until one of the players fails to knock a ball into the opponent’s tray.
- Mercy rolls can be omitted from tournament play.
- If a ball is knocked into a tray but bounces back out, it remains in play.
- If one of the players knocks any ball off the table, including the cue ball, then they automatically lose, and the opponent wins the match.
- No time during active gameplay can a player touch or move one of their balls, except during the mercy roll cycle.
- The players can decide what happens when someone commits a foul—e.g., add a ball to the opponent’s side of the table, automatic loss, loss of a turn, etc.
- In the event that a player rolls a ball too gently and doesn’t make contact with an opponent’s ball, the opponent gains possession of the ball. There are no do-overs.
- All players must agree to the set of rules before starting.
There are only two pieces of equipment you need to play carpetball—a carpetball table and billiards balls.
Carpetball Table Specifications
The carpetball table is where the game takes place. Each player sets their balls on the table and attempts to knock down their opponent’s balls into the trays.
There are two carpetball table variants—indoor and outdoor/ultimate carpetball.
- An indoor carpetball will measure 12 feet long and 2 feet wide. The tray found on both ends of the table will measure 2 feet wide, 6 inches long, and 4 inches deep. The entire playing surface of a carpetball table will measure 11 feet long and 2 feet wide. The table’s legs should be long enough to keep the playing surface 3 feet above the ground.
- Outdoor or ultimate carpetball tables measure 15 feet long and 3 feet wide. The size of the tray is 3 feet wide, 6 inches long, and 4 inches deep. The entire playing surface will measure 14 feet long and 3 feet wide. The table’s legs should be long enough to keep the playing surface 3 feet above the ground.
The following table will break down the measurement specs on both carpetball table variants.
|Parameters||Indoor Carpetball Table||Outdoor/Ultimate Carpetball Table|
|Side Lines||12 ft.||15 ft.|
|Base Lines||2 ft.||3 ft.|
|Tray Dimensions (W × L × D)||2 ft. × 6 in. × 4 in.||3 ft. × 6 in. × 4 in.|
|Height of Playing Surface||3 ft.||3 ft.|
The frame of a carpetball table is usually wood, but you can pick up premade carpetball tables with steel frames. In addition, the playing surface must be covered in felt exactly like a pool or billiards table.
Some carpetball tables come with a hinge that allows users to fold the table up when it’s not in use. However, it’s important to ensure that the hinge is placed underneath the table to prevent bumps on the playing surface.
Carpetball Ball Specifications
Carpetball is played with standard billiards or pool balls. Billiards balls are around 2-13/32 inches in diameter and 7-1/2 ounces heavy. Pool balls, on the other hand, are about 2-1/4 inches in diameter and 5-1/2 ounces heavy. You can use either ball set, as long as both players or teams use identical ball sizes and weights.
Ideally, each player or team will use balls that are the same color or style. For instance, one team will use all red balls, while the opposing team uses blue balls. Alternatively, one team can use solid balls, while the other has striped balls.
The ball that each team uses to knock the opponent’s balls into the tray is a regular cue ball. It should also be the same weight and size, and the balls should be used on each side of the table.