How Do You Play Backyard Croquet? Everything You Need to Know

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Although croquet may seem like a simple, easy-to-play game, there are many things to know and learn. The rules and how to set up a game, the croquet equipment, and knowing which is best and the different versions of croquet and features that are good to have. 

The rules of any game are also essential to play correctly and can be easily forgotten, so it’s vital to read through them until they’re clear and understandable. There are also different versions of the croquet game that we have listed further down in the article if you’re interested in trying one out or want to know how those versions are different. 

One of my favorite outdoor summer games is croquet. It is a perfect family game if you have a bbq or bonfire in the backyard. It’s also a great party game idea for your kids!

This article will cover all of the croquet basics – some you may know and maybe some you haven’t thought of, but you may find helpful. 

What Is Croquet?

Croquet is typically a lawn/backyard game that originated in 1850. It works when you hit plastic or wooden croquet balls through hoops in the grass until you hit the last stake. This is a straightforward but fun game to play with family and friends or even practice yourself. 

You can’t go wrong with a simple outdoor game for the summer! It’s an easy game to set up and can be played with a large group of people. 

Croquet Equipment 

A significant thing to know is what equipment you need for croquet, so here is a quick list! 

  • One mallet for every player 
  • Nine wickets 
  • Backyard/lawn (grass needed) 
  • Two stakes 
  • Different colored balls for each player 

How to Play Croquet 

Firstly, croquet can be played with 2-6 players. Croquet must be played on a grass lawn since the stakes must be in the ground. Preferably, a freshly mowed lawn so that the croquet balls can be hit and moved more smoothly.

Each player will have their colored ball with a matching mallet to know whose ball is who’s. The order by color is marked on the stakes to know which color goes first to last. Unless there are bonus shots, each player gets one hit only per turn. 

You receive a bonus shot if you hit another player’s ball or hit a stake/wicket, which simply means an extra shot for your turn! 

The game’s goal is to hit your ball through the hoops until you reach the last stake. You want to be the first to reach it! 

How to Set Up Croquet (9-Wicket Croquet)

  1. The court size is typically a rectangular shape. The first stake should be placed in the center of the court six feet from one end. 
  1. The first wicket is centered six feet from the first stake, and the second wicket is six feet from the first wicket. 
  1. The two outside wickets are 16 feet up/ahead from the second wicket, six feet in from the sides of the court.
  1. The middle wicket is placed in the center of the court, about 32 feet from the second wicket.
  1. You can mirror these exact setup steps for the other side for the second half of the court. (If you’re playing in your backyard, you can change the measurements to fit according to your yard space.)
  1. You can use chalk or string to mark the boundaries of the court if that makes it more accessible. 
  1. The wickets should be very firmly and securely put on the ground.

How Many Players in Croquet? 

You can play the game croquet with 2-6 players. But, if you want to practice by yourself, you can do that too. 

Rules of Croquet 

Like any game, the rules are critical to know and can seem complicated at first until you have played them a couple of times. If you’re having trouble remembering these rules or understanding them, you can write them down or return to this article when playing outside. Once you have played a few times, the rules and setup will become more apparent! 

  1. If you swing and miss your ball (fail to hit it,) that still counts as your shot, and your turn is over. 
  1. You have to go through the wickets in order. 
  1. You can choose whether you want the croquet game to have boundaries or not. If you choose to and a ball goes out of bounds, you can put it back, one mallet length into bounds, from where it got hit out.
  1. Here are a couple of ways you can earn extra shots 
  • If you hit your ball and it hits someone else’s ball 
  • Going through hoops/the next hoop in order
  1. Each ball has to go through the six hoops correctly and then the peg point.
  1. You can only hit the ball with the end face of your mallet. 
  1. You cannot move pegs or hoops during the game to make the game easier. 

Different Versions of Croquet

Association croquet 

The goal of association croquet is to move and hit their croquet balls and their opponents to make points for their side while also minimizing the opponent’s chances of gaining points and doing the same strategy. 

Golf Croquet

In the game of golf croquet, the goal of the game and way to win, is whoever hits their ball through the most hoops first. Each player takes turns hitting a ball through the same hoop. Unlike association croquet, there are no extra turns for hitting other balls in this game. 

Nine-Wicket Croquet 

The nine-wicket croquet game is designed to be simple and quick to play and less of a formal match than the American six-wicket croquet game. In a nine-wicket cricket, there are two sides, and it’s divided into blue and black balls versus red and yellow balls. In doubles, each player plays the same ball throughout the whole game – two balls in singles. 

The object of this croquet game is to maneuver the balls through all of the wickets (in order) and then into the finishing stake. The first side to go through the course correctly with both of their croquet balls wins the game. 

American Six-Wicket Croquet 

This is the most common version of playing croquet. The American six-wicket croquet game is played with the blue and black balls versus the red and yellow. For singles, two balls are played, and for doubles, it’s played with the four players, each hitting one ball. Each player hits the same ball throughout the game! 

That is all today for our article on how you play backyard croquet. You can easily play this game even if you have a smaller yard, as long as the setup is correct and the rules are followed! I hope you found this article helpful, learned something new, or if you have never played croquet before, I hope this made you want to try it out! Thank you for reading, and make sure to share this article with your friends and family! 

Final Thoughts on How to Play Croquet

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