Please visit the Croquet Association web site (www.croquet.org.uk), click on Association Croquet at the top and then on Synopsis. The link on our website ‘How to play croquet’ takes you to the Oxford Croquet web site where there is a wealth of information including some animated diagrams.
Variations on the standard game.
For all except the very best players a game lasts about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. We usually define a time limit for a game, which means that whoever has scored the most points when time is up is the winner. It is convenient sometimes to play a quicker game. The shortest is a 14 point game (through each hoop once and then the peg with each ball). 18 point games are often played, perhaps with both balls starting from hoop 5, but there are other variations. You can also play a 22 point game where the balls start at hoop 3.
In this variation, unsurprisingly, each player has one ball instead of two. The laws are exactly the same as normal Association Croquet, but with only two balls on the lawn it is much more difficult to execute a long break. Believe it or not, top players can perform an all-round break.
Advanced and Super-Advanced.
These variations were developed because if a top class player ‘hit in’, i.e. managed to roquet another ball, they would frequently execute an all-round break and then leave the balls such that their opponent would be unlikely to hit in but so that they could on the next turn. Many games were won 26-0, with the losing player having three shots, one to put each of his balls on the lawn and then a forlorn attempt to hit in after his or her opponent’s first break. It is not appropriate to go into the details of the regulations here, but in a nutshell, if a break continues past a defined point the other player is entitled to reposition either of their balls to a more advantageous position. If a break continues past two of these defined points in the same turn, the other player can start his next turn by picking up either of his balls and placing it in contact with any other ball and playing from there.
Alternate stroke doubles
In standard doubles games each player uses one ball all the time. When, for example, it is the turn of the side playing with red and yellow to come onto the lawn, they decide which ball should be played and the person whose ball it is takes the turn. In alternate strokes games, the two players on each side take alternate shots. This variation is often used in competitions where each partnership consists of a strong player and a weak player and is a good way of picking up tips from better players.
This version is played on a small lawn, technically of the same proportions as a full sized lawn. In practice, most clubs that play any Short Croquet simply divide full lawns into two half lawns. The games are played to a time limit of 1 hour 15 minutes and are 14 point games. They are always played as handicap games with full bisque allocation – see the page on handicapping for an explanation.
This is a lot of fun! It is a doubles game on a small lawn, 14 points to win. There is a pair of clocks, much like chess. One clock is running all the time (for one side or the other) and each side has 25 minutes of playing time. If you run out of time then whenever it is your turn you have just 10 seconds to play a shot – progress after you run out of time is almost impossible.