How to Play Croquet

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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How to Play Croquet
Play Croquet

Whether you're on the "cool" team or the "hot" team, croquet's a great game. The following guidelines have been adapted from the official rules of the United States Croquet Association.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Children's Croquet Sets
  • Croquet Sets

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  1. 1

    Divide players into two teams: a "cool" team that plays the blue and black balls, and a "hot" team that plays the red and yellow balls of a croquet set.

  2. 2

    Decide which team goes first. They will play the blue and black balls. Take turns in the order of the corresponding colors on the stake - blue first, yellow last.

  3. 3

    Place your ball 3 feet south of the first wicket, and try hit it through. If you succeed, you earn a bonus stroke. Otherwise, your turn is over.

  4. 4

    Take two bonus strokes if your ball comes to rest in contact with another player's ball during your turn. This is a "roquet."

  5. 5

    Use this first bonus stroke to hit your ball so that both your ball and your opponent's ball move. Use your second stroke to hit your own ball toward the proper wicket.

  6. 6

    Pass your ball through the wickets in the proper order: southwest 1, northwest 2, northeast 3, southeast 4, south-central 5, and north-central 6, followed by 2, 1, 4, 3, 6, and 5.

  7. 7

    Remove your corresponding colored clip from the wicket when your ball passes through, and place it on the next one.

  8. 8

    Become a rover once your ball has passed through all six wickets twice (in the proper order.) Take your rover ball out of play when it hits the final stake.

  9. 9

    Roquet any other ball in play, but no more than once each a turn - unless your rover ball passes through a wicket (any wicket). Your rover, however, cannot roquet the same ball twice in succession, even if it passes through a wicket.

  10. 10

    Win the game if your team is the first one to hit the final stake with both balls.

Tips and warnings

  • The directions north, south, east and west used above don't necessarily refer to geographic directions. The southwest corner of the croquet court is defined as the corner where the first wicket and starting area are located. The other directions follow from this definition.
  • Orient the court north-to-south if possible to avoid having the sun in your eyes while playing.
  • If each team has two players, each player plays one ball. If only two people are playing, each player plays two balls. If three people are playing, one team has only one player, who plays both balls for that team.
  • Place the clip on the tops of the wickets the first time through (1-2-3-4-5-6) and on the sides of the wickets the second time through (2-1-4-3-6-5).
  • In American croquet, a player cannot use his or her foot to stop his own ball from moving.

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