One of the outdoor games that all family members or friends can play together is croquet. There was a period of time when it was the lawn game of choice because of its simple rules. The early version of the game dates back to medieval France, in which balls were tapped around a course with hoops. It was said that the word mall came from the paille-maille, which is the original French name of the game that means ball-mallet.
Modern croquet was said to have started in England in the 1850s, and its popularity spread quickly. In 1868, the All England Croquet Club in Wimbledon was formed. It was where the National Championships for croquet were held until the lawns were turned into tennis courts. This might be one of the reasons why the size of a tennis court is half of a croquet lawn.
At present, croquet is still played all across the globe. There are international competitions held each year in various countries. Played on various terrains and different team compositions, croquet is one of the outdoor games that can provide fun and excitement for the family. This guide will help you learn how to play croquet.
- Croquet mallets
Croquet Number of Players
Croquet can be played by two to six players.
Croquet rules may differ from one family to another. You can opt for no time limits if there is no hurry in playing the game. But in some tournaments, players are given a time limit for each shot if the ball is not struck within the given time, and then the turn is over.
How to Play Croquet
- Set up the court. Croquet set up is easy to do. It is best to play on a recently mowed lawn that is flat. It can be difficult to play the game on a sloping lawn. Place seven wickets in the ground at the points of two diamonds that form a figure eight. Then place the remaining eighth and ninth wickets near the bottom and top wickets, respectively. Then plant stakes near the bottom and top wickets. You can define the boundaries of the court with strings and pegs.
- Each player chooses a color. This is an important step because the order of play is determined by the colors on the stakes. The player with the top color goes first.
- Start gameplay. To start the game, the ball is placed between the first stake and the wicket. You should strike the ball with the croquet mallet to make it go through the two wickets near the starting stake. If the ball successfully got through the wicket, then the player is awarded another stroke. The objective of the game is to hit the ball through all the wickets laid on the court.
- Hit the ball of another player. If you managed to hit the ball of another player, then you have two options. The first one is to earn another stroke. The second one is to send the player’s ball. If you picked the second option, then you place your ball next to the opponent’s ball and hit your ball with all your strength to send the other player’s ball off the course. If the ball is sent out of bounds, then it can be placed a mallet length inside the boundary.
- Go through the course to win the game. The objective of the game is to be the first person to get through all the wickets along the course. You move in a counter-clockwise from one wicket to another. If the ball doesn’t go through a wicket, then it will be the next player’s turn. You win if you managed to pass through all the wickets in proper order and hit the finishing stake first. The other players may continue to play the game in order to find out who finishes second, third, fourth and so forth until the last player completes the course.
Croquet Game Variations
There is a game variation of croquet called Poison. It follows the same rules as above, except the objective of the game is to be the last player standing. When a goes through the course and hit the starting/finishing stake, the ball becomes poison. This means that if the poison ball hits another player’s ball, then that player is eliminated from the game. Once the ball becomes poison, the main objective is to hit the other players’ balls.
As the other players move through the course and reach the starting stake, then there is a possibility of several poison balls on the course. This will make the game trickier and more exciting to play. The game ends when there is only one player left. And that’s another way on how to play croquet.
Croquet Video Tutorial