Sucro Surco Champion Speedo Carrom Board With Coins And Striker, 20Mm
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- Size 30 x 30 Frame Size 3 x 2 Ply Thickness 20mm Indian Ply with Water Proof Playing Surface dull finished complete with French Connection Carrommen and Tournament Striker of 15Gms Wt. Made from wood Ships in 24 hrs. Free accessory pack of 19.99 (coins & striker).
- Frame Size 3 x 2
- Plywood Thickness 20mm Indian Ply
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"Size 30 " x 30 " Frame Size 3 " x 2 " Ply Thickness 20mm Indian Ply with Water Proof Playing Surface dull finished complete with French Connection Carrommen and Tournament Striker of 15Gms Wt. Made from high quality wood in 24 hrs. accessory pack of 19.99 (coins & striker). "
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At the moment I am writing this review (October 2015), there are only two brands of boards available on amazon and ebay: Surco and Uber. Surco is an Indian board manufacturer with a history of making carrom boards - their site (surisports.com) has more details on their history and their manufacturing process. Uber seems to be an English company that imports carrom boards from India - their site (ubergames.co.uk) does not mention the manufacturer of their boards, but their amazon listings indicate India.
Surco builds many models of carrom boards, only a portion of which are listed on amazon. Ellora and Winit are their low end models with 4mm and 8mm thick playing surfaces, respectively. Then there are Tournament boards that range from 8mm to 20mm. And then come Champion boards in 16mm and 20mm. Note that these are not the highest end boards that Surco makes - on their site they list more models and the thickest playing surface they offer is 40mm. These seem to be all constructed similarly, with the main difference being in the thickness of the plywood used and the width of the frame.
Uber offers three models, of which I only found two listings here - one for a 4mm entry level carrom board (4mm) that should be compared to the Surco Ellora and one for a higher end 16mm board that competes against the Surco Tournament/Champion 16mm boards. The entry level board is very basic, whereas the 16mm one seems built similar to the Surco boards, but from different materials and with a different finish.
If you want a basic inexpensive board, you should look at the Ellora or the entry level uber model. They may work fine, but their 4mm playing surface may warp in time.
If you want a board that fulfills official requirements (29"x29" playing surface, at least 8mm thick plywood, 2.5"-3" wide frame), then you will have to choose between the many Surco models and the uber one. The main difference here seems to be in the finishing of the frames (both use English birch plywood for the playing surface and rosewood for the frame). The Uber board has a natural finish, which looks nicer to me, whereas the Surco board frames are painted black, but the painting quality is uneven. In the end I decided to go for this Surco because it offered a 20mm playing surface and was also considerably less expensive than the Uber board.
Looking back, I think anything above 10mm will probably resist warping well, so I could have just as well picked a 12mm or 16mm board. 8mm could be good too as this is the lowest thickness also accepted by the official rules (http://www.indiancarrom.com/laws-of-carrom.htm).
As far as I can tell from my research, there is not much difference in the manufacturing quality of the Surco boards - the price difference you see for the different models is mainly driven by the thickness of the plywood used for the playing surface. This means that this review can also be used to judge the other Tournament/Champion board models.
So now, here's my experience with this 20mm Champion board:
The board came very well packed. I was worried about shipping damage because it is a very large item and quite heavy, but while unpacking it I realized that it would have been very hard to damage it. The box that it was shipped in had another box inside. Inside this box the board was protected with padding around the corners and was bagged twice - a sack cloth cover and a thick plastic bag. Once I removed all these layers I finally uncovered the board. Its playing surface had an additional foam cover which I still keep around to cover it when not in use. I should mention that these inner layers were quite dusty and my fingers got dirty from handling all this content.
Due to the thickness of the plywood, this item is heavy. I have no problem lifting it and setting it on a table, but it is not a light item. Its weight is a good reason why you may want to consider getting a board with a less thick playing surface.
While unpacking the board, I noticed on its box a mention that this model is approved for official games. That mention is repeated on the Sucro site listing of this model. I was not aware of this when I ordered it, but it would have been an additional factor for choosing this model over others.
Besides the board, I also received the following:
- 1 set of carrom men with spares: 11 black, 11 white, 2 red - you need 9 black, 9 white, and 1 red piece for play. This seems to be the regular 24 size of Indian carrom men sets.
- 1 striker in a plastic box
- 1 board cover - this was a surprise as it was not listed - might be the perk of this particular model
There was no powder included. None is needed out of the box. I purchased some separately, in case I notice some slow down.
Now let's look closer at each of these components:
- Board surface: Excellent. It is very smooth. Printing also looked good - I didn't see any glaring issue. The pockets are neatly cut and have the official size of 4.45cm (all Surco pockets have this size).
- Frame: OK. As I mentioned earlier, I would have preferred a natural finish. The black paint isn't applied smoothly so there are areas where it's rougher. The white lettering printed over it is done cheaply and is smeared in places. The corners are not smooth and look as if they suffered some hits before they were painted over. The parts of the frame that you may hit during play look good though - I saw no defects along the edges and corners.
- Board support frame: Functional, no finishing, hence not pretty looking. This frame on the underside of the board supports the plywood surface and gives it some elevation so that the pocket mesh can hang a bit under it. The wood used for it does not look very nice though. For one thing, it has many splinters that you may want to cut or peel off. It also has many defects - wood knots or holes due to wood knots. But leaving these aspects aside, it's a solid frame and provides a solid support for the playing surface.
- Pocket mesh: OK. They're stapled to the support frame, which some people did not like, but I saw no problem with this. It looks like a standard procedure to me. They're doing their job of collecting the carrom men after they've been pocketed.
- Carrom men: Good. They're made of wood and they're handmade, so don't expect the pattern they have to be identical. You may also see differences of tint between the white ones due to the natural color variation of wood. Their surface is smooth but the recessed areas may be a bit rougher.
- Striker: It's a Tournament model (strangely, not a Champion one). It's made of a synthetic material and its underside is smooth. The upper side has an engraved pattern that is hand painted, so again, don't expect machine precision. I have a very tiny nick in the upper edge but other than that I see no defect. The diameter of the striker is 4cm. Some people seem to think that smaller strikers are for kids, but the official rules only specify a maximum diameter (4.13cm), not a minimum one. I cannot weigh it, but it has a good heft to it compared to the carrom men. I trust it has the 15 gram maximum weight permitted by the official rules.
So how do these all come together? Well, the pieces slide and rebound as expected. The official rules mention that you should get at least 3.5 runs for a striker when shot with maximum force from the base line against the opposite edge. I get that travel and even more if I hit the striker harder, and I don't think I have tried maximum force yet - mainly because I don't want to hurt my finger until I get better practice and improve my striking technique. So both the surface and the frame do their intended job very well. This board performs as well as the boards I've seen used in official matches.
If you look through the reviews of these boards you'll see a mix of good and bad reviews. I think this is because people are not used with the quality of Indian hand made products and expect the attention to detail that, let's say, a German wood worker may put into her products. I can sympathize with that, but I am also certain that if that additional attention to detail would have been involved in the making of this product, it would have easily led to its price doubling or tripling, with *zero* functional advantage - this is important to note, because despite the lack of attention to cosmetic issues, this product was clearly built with attention to playing performance.
I wish this board had a natural finish for its frame and a neater looking support frame, but in the end none of those aspects would improve much the playing performance, which is excellent.
Hopefully, the details I included in this review will set your expectations correctly and will help you make the right decision for you.
Build quality is solid. Ply is super thick.
Carrom board surface is working fine even in the first month.
We expect it to be smoother after initial burn-in period. There is certain roughness with which coins experience higher friction but it is expected.
We will append the review after a quarter to let you know how it is behaving after use.
15 gms striker is working out fine.
Back side of the carrom board is not finished, not pained and it looks ugly when we 'park' the carrom board against the wall after playing. IT looks like an ugly piece of furniture in our otherwise good looking family room. This does not bode well with "Export Quality Unit"
I still remember, the carrom board that my father bought 35 years ago was well finished in the back side.
Coin set is not champion quality. Black coins are smaller than white and this is creating quite a challenge to adjust your striker speed while playing black,
The coins in general seem to be very light.