The Rules and Regulations of Croquet

As used by Croquet Canada and the USCA

All credit for this page goes to Mr. Chris Percival-Smith





1. The game can be played by 2,3, 4, 5, or 6 players.

2. The game is designed to be played with 6 balls or 4 balls. The game can be played between 2 sides or as individual (cut- throat) play where each player is playing for him/herself with no partner.

3. Wickets may be up to twice the diameter of balls.

4. All terrain; close cropped grass is best.

5. Wicket clips are useful but optional.

6. The standard double diamond rectangular court may be adjusted to fit the size and shape of the space available. In ideal situations, use the nine wicket court diagram which shows a 50' x 1OO' court with boundaries. Marked boundaries are optional.

7. A game usually requires from one to two hours to play to its conclusion, that is, until one of the two sides has "staked out" by striking the "finishing stake" with each ball on a team.

8. In games with time limits, the winner is determined by counting points ( see rule 10 below) to see which side has progressed the farthest around the court at the moment time has expired.

9. Each wicket made in the proper order and stake hit count as one point.

10. Each ball in a game can score 16 points for its side, 14 wicket point and 2 stake points. In the 6 ball game there are 48 points that can be scored by each side (3 balls to a team). In the 4 ball game there are 32 points that can be scored by each side (2 balls to a team).



11. When playing with 6 balls the order of play is blue, red black, yellow, green and orange. When playing with 4 balls the order of play is blue, red, black and yellow.

12. In team play with 6 balls, one side plays blue/black/green while the other plays red/yellow/orange.

13. In team play with 4 balls one side plays blue/black while the other plays red/yellow.

14. In singles, one person plays all the balls of one side. It is recommended that the four ball version be used in singles. Blue and black oppose red and yellow.

15. In doubles, two players per side, each playing one ball. It is recommended that the four ball version be used in doubles as in singles.

16. In triples, three players per side, each playing one ball. It is recommended that the six ball version be used.

17. In individual (cutthroat) play each player is playing for him/herself with no partner. It is recommended that the 6 ball version be used in individual play.

18. In games for two, four or six people, players play in regular sequence playing the correct ball in rotation. If there are three or 5 players, two players on one side and one or three on the other, the side with two players play in sequence with their balls playing in correct rotation, the other side can play in the following manner; on a side with one player that player plays two balls, on a side with two players the players alternate play on one ball.


19. A coin toss is used to determine which side gets to go first.

20. Each of the balls is brought into play in the first six sums, beginning 36" directly in front of the "starting stake".


21. In a six ball game the order of play is blue, red, black, yellow, green, then orange.

22. In a four ball game the order of play is blue, red, black, and yellow.

23. At the conclusion of a turn in which a wicket or stake point is scored, the wicket clip of the color corresponding to the ball should be placed on the next wicket or stake to be scored by that ball.

24. If your set does not include wicket clips you may use colored clothespins.



25. There are two ways to earn bonus strokes;


1) Scoring a wicket or hitting the "turning stake" gives you one bonus stroke.

2) Roqueting (hitting) a ball with the strikers ball gives you two bonus strokes.

26. All wicket or stake bonus strokes must be played from where the ball lies after the point is made.

27. After roqueting (hitting) a ball a player has four options:


1) Take the two bonus strokes from where the players ball has come to rest.

2) With "ball in hand" place the players ball one mallet head's length away from the other ball in any direction and then take two bonus strokes.

3) With "ball in hand" place the players ball in contact with the struck ball (where it has come to rest) then strike the player's ball so as to send both balls in the desired direction. This is called a croquet shot. The striker then has one bonus stroke remaining.

4) With "ball in hand" place the players ball in contact with the struck ball (where it has come to rest) and placing the player's foot on his own ball so as to render it immobile, strike the player's own ball so as to send the other ball off in the desired direction while the player's ball remains where it is. The player then has one more bonus stroke remaining. If the players ball moves from under the foot there is no penalty and the bonus stroke is taken.

28. Each ball may be roqueted (hit) for bonus strokes only once in a turn, unless the striker scores a wicket or strikes the turning stake, in which case the balls may be roqueted again for bonus strokes.

29. Bonus strokes may not be accumulated. Only the last earned bonus strokes may be played. The exception to this rule occurs if you score both wickets at the starting and turning stakes.

30. Roqueting a ball a second time in a turn with not yet having scored a wicket point is not considered a fault. You do not receive, however, additional bonus strokes as a result of the second roquet. Play proceeds from where the balls came to rest.

31. If another player (partner or opponent) puts your ball through its proper wicket or into the turning stake, your side gets the point but no bonus stroke.

32. If a player roquets (hits) more than one ball in a stroke it will get bonus strokes from the first ball roqueted with the other balls remaining where they came to rest.

33. Playing the game with "Deadness" is optional. See Part 10. DEADNESS for specifics.


34. Rovers are balls which have completed all of the course except for striking the finishing stake.

35. Rovers may be staked out, that is, driven into the finishing stake with any legal stroke by any player at any point in the game.

36. Rovers can only roquet (hit) the other balls once in a turn to receive bonus strokes.

37. The purpose of the rover is to help his/her partner and to hinder the opponents.

38. A rover can only score a point by "staking out" at the finishing stake and is then removed from the game.


39. String or painted boundaries for the nine wicket court shown in the attached illustration are not essential. Natural boundaries such as trees or bushes can be used.

40. Boundaries designated by string or other means should be at least 6' beyond the outer wickets. See diagram.

41. A ball sent out of bounds should be placed on the boundary margin one mallet length (36 inches) inside the boundary line at the point of exit. If the player has a second bonus shot he/she then plays it. There is no penalty for going out of bounds.

42. All balls that come to rest within the boundary margin (closer than one mallet length to the boundary) are immediately replaced on the boundary margin, with the one exception of the players ball being still in play on a bonus stroke.


43. You must strike the ball squarely with the face of the mallet only.

44. The mallet may not hit another ball when striking the ball you are playing.

45. The mallet may not hit the wicket or stake to cause your ball to move.

46. If a fault is committed, as in the above, all balls are replaced and the turn ends.

47. Unless there is a referee the word of the player should be taken in disputes.

48. If a ball is played out of turn it is not a fault. The ball(s) are replaced and the proper ball plays.


49. A ball is "dead" on another ball when it roquets it during a turn. You do not become "alive" and able to roquet that ball again until you have been through a wicket in proper sequence or hit the fuming stake. A rover ball may become "alive" by going through any wicket in any direction, but may still only roquet (hit) the other balls once per turn. This option allows for more complex strategy.