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American 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 altnernate rules, which vary slightly and make playing far more enjoyable, in my opinion.

  • The sequence of colors on the starting post determines the order in which players shall play. The top color shall be first to play, etc.

  • At the start of play, the ball must be placed in a direct line between starting post and wicket 1, and one-third of the distance from starting post to wicket 1 (as shown in diagram).

  • The ball must be struck, not pushed, and always with the full face of the mallet tip.

  • The tour of the ball (as shown in the court diagram) is from the starting point through wickets 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 to the turning post, and return through wickets 8,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 to strike the starting post, thus determining the order of finish. When partners are playing, a player may elect not to strike the finishing post after completing the wicket course, but instead make the ball a "rover" to aid a partner or partners.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • If a player roquets another ball and then passes through a wicket, the player takes play and must pass through the wicket again.

  • No ball (except a rover) can roquet the same ball twice until it passes through a wicket, roquets another ball, 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 or roquet-croqueting a rover so that is strikes the starting post, has the privilege of continuing, but cannot croquet or roquet the eliminated rover.

  • Opponents alternate in partnership play.

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

  • 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.

  • A bridged ball shall not prevent passage of another ball through the wicket, providing both balls properly pass through. The player knocking the bridged ball from within the wicket is then entitled to only one stroke. One may, however, play upon the previously bridged ball.

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
    With the ball in contact with a roqueted ball, the player is allowed to place a foot or hand on the ball, and with the mallet drive against the roqueted ball, sending it 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 the ball with the mallet, driving both in the desired directions.

Playing field diagram:

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