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Rules of American Croquet


1.1 Start


a) The game is played between two (2) sides. One side plays blue and black while the other side plays red and yellow.

  1. Singles is played with one (1) player on each side, (i.e. one plays blue and black, the other plays red and yellow).
  2. Doubles is played with two (2) players on each side, (i.e. each player plays one ball throughout the game).

b) The object of the game is for a side to make each ball on the side score the 12 wicket points and the stake point, a total of 26 points, before the opponent. See figure 1 for the order and direction the wickets must be scored.

c) A coin toss determines the playing order. The side winning the toss has the choice of playing first and third with blue and black or second and fourth with red and yellow.

1.2 Clips

Figure 2: Clip

a) At the beginning of the game the four colored clips are placed on the crown of the #1 wicket. When a ball scores a wicket, the striker shall remove the appropriate clip and, at the end of the turn, place it upon the next wicket or stake to be scored by that ball. When the stake is scored, the clip is removed from the court. The first six wickets are distinguished by placing the clip on the crown of the wicket, the last six by placing it on one of the uprights (figure 2). A rover ball’s clip is placed on the top of the stake.

b) Any player, referee, or assigned official must call attention to a misplaced clip as soon as it is observed. The clip shall then be properly placed to prevent incorrect information as defined in rule 11.7.

c) Clips and other court accessories such as corner flags and deadness boards may be temporarily removed when they impede the striker’s shot.

1.3 Order of Play and Starting Area

a) Play shall begin with the blue ball followed by red, black, and yellow (the order of colors descending on the center stake) and that shall be the proper order of play until the game ends or a ball stakes out, in which case the remaining balls continue in the proper order of play (e.g. if yellow stakes out, the order becomes blue, red, black, blue, red, black, etc.).

Figure 3: The Starting Area

b) Refer to figure 3: Each ball shall begin play from anywhere in a starting area which is three feet south of the #1 wicket, parallel to the south boundary, 16¼ inches wide, and is equally divided by a line that passes through the center of the wicket.

c) If a ball cannot be placed in the starting area due to the presence of other balls, it shall be placed up to nine inches east or west of the starting area.

d) If the striker places an opponent’s ball in the starting area and strikes it, the striker has played the wrong ball (rule 11.2) and the striker’s turn ends. In addition, the opponent’s ball played in error is removed from the court, all other balls are replaced in the positions they were at the beginning of the turn and the striker shall place the correct ball anywhere in the starting area.

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