Rules of Croquet
We all know croquet; a simple and fun backyard classic. Croquet, like a lot of games we talk about here is easy to get started and easy to play, but difficult to become skilled at. This is what we appreciate about it- anyone can play but no everyone can become a master.
There are many iterations of croquet, but for today’s purposes we’re going to keep things simple and speak only about what’s known as 9-Wicket Croquet or, for our purposes, the more aptly named Backyard Croquet. While croquet has a long history that dates back to the mid 19th Century, we’re going to focus on a few of the rules that keep the game moving in the right direction and maintain the fun element.
Chances are you have a dusty old croquet set laying around your yard or tucked away in the shed, and while that may get the job done temporarily it is certainly not a long term solution. There are many nice sets out there now that can be purchased online. Here are a few of our favorites: The Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set & UBER Games 4-Player
Both of these sets contain all the pieces necessary to enjoy a fine game of croquet anywhere you would like. All the pieces allow for many players and the handy carrying case makes it easy for you take pack it along for camping trips or outdoor events with friends.
What attracted us to these sets is the relatively low price-point and the quality going into the construction. Some folks choose to have a set for home and one to take with them when they’re away on a trip or with friends. This is a fine idea as you won’t ever have to worry about losing any pieces.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to tackling the rules, including the ones that must be adhered to and the ones we can bend in the name of fun.
- As the name suggests, you'll need to set up nine wickets, or "hoops" in your yard. Tradition dictates you set the wickets up in what's known as a double-diamond pattern but we think this is an opportunity to get creative
- If the people playing are of a lower skill level, try something a little easier at first and then ramp up the difficulty as everyone gets their legs beneath them
- The longer you play (and perhaps the more cocktails you consume) the more you should manipulate the course. Try and include as many obstacles as you can to keep people interested
- Set up the two posts in spots that are still accessible, yet hard to reach. You want things to be difficult and fun but not have each game take hours to complete
- The objective of the game is to go from one end to the other, going through the wickets on the way there, hitting the one post, and going back hitting the post where you began. The first player to do this is declared winner of the game
- Where things get interesting is when you make contact with an opponents ball, or what's known as a roquet; once a roquet takes place you have three options:
- 1. You can do nothing and take two shots
- 2. You can move your mall a mallet-head's length from the ball you struck and then take two shots
- 3. You may place your ball in direct contact with the ball you originally struck and do one of two things: hit both balls in any direction you like, or place your foot or hands over your own ball, ensuring it stays put, and hit it such that the other balls goes rocketing elsewhere while yours stays in place. In certain circles this is known as a "buggy-ride" and is an extremely effective way to throw your opponents a little or a lot off course
What makes croquet fun is the fact that everyone can play, and a big yard or open green space lends itself well to hours upon hours of fun. Follow the rules to the best of your abilities but don’t let them get in the way of the enjoyment of the game. If some of these rules don’t work for your party don’t hesitate to change them to get the most out of it.
The point of doing these things is to enjoy the people in your life and to have a fun way to pass the time. Croquet is a great way to do that and we think you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do.