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Croquet: The House Rules

Before reading the rules, I strongly recommend reading the definition of terms, especially if you're new to the game.
I also encourage you to read the official rules, which vary slightly but are a bit less enjoyable, in my opinion.

    Starting the game:

  • The 10 wickets and 2 posts are placed as shown in the diagram.

  • The sequence of colours on the starting post determines the order in which players shall play. The top colour shall be first to play, etc. Colours are assigned by chance.

  • At the start of play, the ball must be placed next to the starting post.

  • General rules:

  • Any part of the mallet will suffice for hitting the ball, but the ball must be struck, not pushed.

  • The tour of the ball (as shown in the court diagram) is from the starting point through wickets 1,2,3, the double wicket 4,5,6 and 7 to the turning post, and return through wickets 7,6,8, the double wicket 9,10,2 and 1. After going through all the wickets, a player becomes a Rover and must croquet all the other players before hitting the starting post.

  • The tour of the ball continues as long as it passes through a wicket or wickets, or strikes another ball or the turning post.

  • A stroke counts, however slightly the ball is moved. A stroke is counted if the ball returns to its original position after the shot.

  • If a player misses the ball completely, one may strike again.

  • If a participant plays out of turn, all balls are returned to their original positions, without penalty, and the rightful player resumes play.

  • When the wrong ball is played, it is returned to its original position and the erring player is deprived of a turn.

  • Opponents alternate in partnership play (optional).

  • When a player drives a ball out of bounds, the ball is immediately replaced at the edge of the playing area where it went off.

  • Participants receive a single stroke after passing a wicket or striking the turning post, and the ball must be played from where it comes to rest after striking the turning post.

  • When a player's ball is bridged, the player's mallet must not come in contact with the wicket when striking the ball. If the wicket is touched, the ball is returned to its original position and the turn is forfeited.

  • The double wicket:
    Wickets 4 and 9 on the diagram represent two wickets placed over each other, forming a cross. Passing this wickets means passing both hoops, first from the left to the right side and while returning from the top. When a player has only passed half of the double wicket, he does not need to go through both again. The other hoop will suffice.
  • Roqueting and croqueting

  • A player cannot roquet or croquet an opponents ball before the opponent has passed the second hoop. If the balls collide, nothing happens.

  • A player striking (roqueting) another ball is entitled to two additional strokes. In this instance, one may croquet or roquet-croquet the struck ball, and take one stroke, or place the ball a mallet's head length away and take two strokes.

  • If a player hits an opponent's ball and both pass through and arch, an extra stroke is won only for the current player.

  • No ball can roquet the same ball twice until it passes through a wicket or strikes the turning post.

  • If a roqueting and croqueting ball both pass through the proper wicket with the same stroke, only one extra turn is conferred.

  • If a ball roquets more than one ball, play is taken from the first ball struck. Play of the other balls is then permissible.

  • If a rover in any manner comes in contact with the starting post, it is automatically eliminated from the game.

  • The player roqueting a rover so that it strikes the starting post, has the privilege of continuing, but cannot croquet or roquet the eliminated rover.

  • Winning the game:

  • The first player who has passed all the wickets (and thus has become a rover), has croqueted all the other players and has hit the starting post, wins. This does not mean that the first player becoming a rover automatically wins.

Definition of terms

  • Bridged
    A ball is bridged if it has not passed fully through a wicket, i.e. the handle of the mallet touches the ball when laid across the wicket on the side from which the ball was struck.

  • Croquet
    When the ball comes in contact with a roqueted ball, the player is allowed to place his ball next to the croqueted ball, place a foot or hand on his ball, and with the mallet drive against his ball, sending the croqueted ball in any desired direction.

  • Rover
    A player who has passed all the wickets in the right order is called a Rover. The Rover must roquet and croquet all the other balls in play before he can hit the starting post. If he by any legitimate means hits the starting post before he has croqueted the other players, he is out of the game. A rover gets two turns for each ball he croquets, but other players only get one turn for croqueting a rover (which is normal). When the rover has croqueted all the other players and thereafter has hit the starting post, he wins.

  • Roquet
    To roquet a ball is to cause your ball, by a stroke of the mallet, to come in contact with another, either directly or indirectly. A player so doing is entitled to two additional strokes, or he may elect to croquet or roquet-croquet the roqueted ball and then take an additional stroke.

  • Roquet-Croquet
    Similar to croquet, except the player's ball is placed in contact with a roqueted ball, and, without placing a foot or hand on the ball, strike his ball with the mallet, driving both in the desired directions.

Playing field diagram:

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