Baseball, cricket, hockey…there are certainly quite a few sports that involve striking a ball or other small object with an elongated stick/club. Perhaps one of the more unique examples of these is croquet! Croquet (properly pronounced “kroh-kay”, although syllable emphasis varies) is a sporting activity that can differ in rules and game function. However, the aspect of this sport which remains a staple across all variations is also the primary game mechanic – every player must methodically move a ball across a field of sorts utilizing a specially-shaped mallet.
Mechanics and Gameplay
As previously stated, croquet can be played in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most recognized form of croquet is Association Croquet or “International Rules.” The game features 4 balls paired into 2 teams. To win the game, one team must pass its pair of balls through every hoop. There are a total of 6 hoops in this version of the game – 3 on either edge of the court. Association Croquet is made noteworthy by the employment of the “croquet shot” – a special kind of mallet stroke that can potentially prolong one team’s turn. If, on their stroke, a player manages to hit the team’s other ball with the ball that is struck, it is called a “roquet” and the player may continue the turn. A continuation stroke can be earned during a turn if a player manages to pass one of the team’s ball through a hoop. This prolongs the current team’s turn and can be of great advantage if used strategically. Another type of stroke that can be accumulated during a player’s turn is the “croquet stroke.” This is earned by striking the player’s ball against another ball during a swing. The player’s subsequent shot must involve aligning and striking the balls together in a single swing. Ultimately, the strategy of Association is to accumulate swings during one’s turn to maximize progress and minimize the opposing team’s advancement.
Another of the more common forms of croquet is Golf Croquet. Unlike Association, this game mode involves players “winning” hoops by passing their ball through them in a set layout. Additional swings cannot be earned by any player, so every shot’s effectiveness must be maximized with strategy. The game is won by the player who accumulates the most hoops. Because of its simple rules and competitive nature, Golf Croquet is rapidly becoming popular.
The modern sport of croquet can be dated back to the mid-19th century and is believed traceable to Ireland. However, it quickly spread across multiple English-speaking countries. There is a roaming theory that croquet was brought to Britain by France and known at the time by the name of “pall-mall.” This intriguing sport bears a striking semblance to croquet and is definitively considered to be an ancestor of the game. One thing about croquet that is absolutely certain is that its popularity surged across England, quickly becoming a renowned, enjoyable lawn game.