The Game of CRUD

What is Crud?

Crud is an unauthorized, unrecognized, thoroughly Canadian and probably illegal variation of pool or billiards that is played using your hands. The game is rumoured to have been created by bored Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots during WW II who were waiting in Gander, Newfoundland for their flights to the UK. Further speculation has it that the originators were unable to play traditional pool because some the previous visitors to the Gander airfield had broken all of the cues.

Today, the game has spread to militaries all over the world and is enjoyed by all branches of service. One of the biggest attractions to the game for members of the military is that the full-contact "Combat" version allows junior personnel to physically challenge senior officers with no risk of punishment.


Set up

1.     The game can be played on virtually any pool or billiard table. It is strongly advised that players seek and receive permission of the table's owner before beginning play. It's a bit late once the bouncers (or the police) have been called...

2.     Players divide themselves into two numerically equal teams. If an odd number of players is present, the additional player can act as one of the game's officials, or one team may use a Ghost Player

3.     Officials: The game requires a Judge, particularly when rival teams are involved. The Judge is positioned at one of the side pockets, and must be holding a beverage in a cup or glass (usually a beer in a beer glass). The beverage ensures the Judge's physical safety: if the Judge is bumped/jossled in such a way as to spill the beverage, the offending player loses a Life and must replace the beverage. Particularly contentious games use a Judge and a Linesman (opposite sides of the table - and yes, both have beverage glasses). Having both a Judge and a Linesman is also effective if the Judge is not perceived as being completely neutral (ie. is a member of the organization fielding a rival team). A Scorekeeper can be employed, as well, to keep undisputable track of player's Lives (see rule 4).

4.     Each player begins the game with three Lives. The Lives are tallied on some sort of Scoreboard (since players may have or develop poor memories, due to intoxicants or head injuries).

5.     A team's Order of Play is established at the beginning of a game, and recorded on the Scoreboard. Order of Play is critical; a team must play in order, or a member of that team will lose a Life.

6.     A complete game consists of a series of rallies. Teams (represented by a single member at a time) will alternate between Shooter and Receiver.

7.     Two balls are used: the Cue ball, and the Object ball. If available, a striped pool ball (9 through 15) should be used as the Object ball, as this makes it easier for all participants to see if the ball is still moving.

8.     The Judge will then discuss any local rules with the two teams. For example, it is at this point the Judge will declare what closed corners, drop balls, and contact rules are in effect.

9.     To determine which team goes first, the lead players (according to each team's Order of Play) take the Object and Cue balls (respectively), stand together at one end of the table and simultaneously their balls from one end of the pool table to the other. (Example: the Red Team lead throws the Object ball, the Blue Team lead throws the Cue ball). The balls will bounce off the bumper at the opposite end and return. The team whose ball which returns closest to the near bumper without touching it can choose to be the Server or the Receiver.


10.     The Server and Receiver stand at the near end and far end of the table, respectively. The Receiver places the Object ball one forearm length from the far end, more-or-less centered between the side bumpers. The Server rolls/throws the Cue ball towards the Object ball in such a way as to strike the Object ball. The Server has three chances to do this. The Server can wait until the Cue ball has stopped completely before taking another chance (that is, the Cue ball can bounce off of multiple bumpers before hitting the Object ball). During service, the Receiver may distract the Server in any way he/she sees fit, but must not completely obscure the Server's view of the Object ball (this is easier to demonstrate, but there are many evil ways of distracting the Server that are within the spirit and letter of the law).

11.     If the Server does not strike the Object ball with the Cue ball in three or less attempts, the Server loses a Life. The Receiver then becomes the Server, and the next player from the unsuccessful Server's team becomes the next Receiver.

12.     If the Server strikes the Object ball with the Cue ball, the Receiver becomes the Shooter.


13.     All subsiquent attempts by a Shooter to strike the Object ball with the Cue ball must be done from one of the ends of the table. The typical convention is that one of the Shooters legs must be completely past the corner pocket.

14.     The Shooter may make as many attempts as necessary to strike the Object ball with the Cue ball, until the Judge declares the Object ball to be dead.

15.     Play continues with Shooters alternating between the two teams, taking their turn in the Order of Play established at the beginning of the Game (and recorded on the Scoreboard), until a player loses a Life. Once this occurs, Service begins with the next Shooter (specifically, the next player after the one losing the Life, on the opposing team) acting as the Server.

Losing a Life

16.     The Prime Directive: If the Object ball comes to a halt before the Shooter is able to hit it, the Shooter loses a Life.

17.     The Object ball must always travel at least 6 inches (one rotation) after being struck by the Cue ball. If it doesn't, the offending Shooter loses a Life.

18.     If any player leaves a body part on the surface of the table (or very close to it), such as a hand (for example, the next Shooter hoping to rapidly grab the Cue ball), and the Shooter hits him with the Cue ball, that player loses a Life. In general, any interference with the Object ball in any way results in a loss of a Life by the player causing said interference.

19.     If the Shooter shoots the Cue ball from the side of the table, and hits the Object ball, the Shooter loses a life.

20.     If the Object ball is struck in such a way by the Cue ball that it leaves the table, the Shooter loses a life.

21.     At least one of the Shooters legs must be in contact with the floor when making a shot. Otherwise, the Shooter loses a Life. In the case that that one leg is past the corner pocket (see rule 13), the leg at the end of the table is the one that must be touching the floor.

22.     If the Object ball is sunk into a legal pocket (see closed corners), the previous Shooter loses a Life. EXCEPTION: If the next Shooter has been able to, or is deemed by the Judge as being able to, grab the Cue ball before the Object ball enters the pocket, that Shooter loses a Life.

23.     If a player takes his turn out of order, AND this situation is detected by the Judge, the Linesman (if any), the Scorekeeper (if any), or a member of the opposing team (and subsequently corroborated by the Judge), a member of the offending team chosen by the Judge (preferably the one most responsible for the confusion) loses a life.

Losing a Player

24.     When a player loses all three of his/her Lives, that player is out of the Game. Play order is adjusted accordingly.

Winning the Game

25.     When a team loses all of its players, the Game is over, and the surviving team wins.

26.     It is customary for the players of the losing team to buy each player of the winning team a beverage; one house rule dictates that the choice of beverage is left to each player on the losing team, however.

27.     It is also customary for the Captain of the losing team to by each official a beverage of the official's choice.

Other Play Restrictions and "Combat Crud".

NOTE: "Combat Crud" is a full body-contact version of Crud that can result in painful, crippling, and yes, even life-threatening injuries, and is not recommended. As such, the following rules do not apply to Combat Crud. You have been warned.

27.     The Cue ball must not leave the playing surface. Should this occur, the Shooter loses a Life.

28.     Players may not walk on the table, unless it is permitted by local custom (for example, Combat Crud tables are surfaced with indoor/outdoor carpet) and specifically permitted by the Judge.

29.     While taunting one's opponent is legal and often encouraged, players may not physically interfere with each other. Inteference calls may result in the Judge warning the offender, or removing a Life. (In "Combat Crud", you may interfere with the Shooter, but only while he is attempting to get the Cue ball. Holding using the hand(s) and arm(s) is not allowed, but body pinning, tripping and hip checks are. Once the Shooter is in possession of the Cue ball, interference must cease).

The Last Word

30.     The Judge may interpret these rules as he/she sees fit, and modify or extend them within reason as local circumstances dictate.

31.     The Judge's rulings are FINAL.