A simple introduction
Association Croquet, is played with four balls, Blue and Black versus Red and Yellow. Each side (which may be a single player or, in doubles, a team of two) has to guide its balls through a circuit of hoops. The winner is the side which scores all 12 hoops with both balls, and hits them against the centre peg.
If a ball scores its hoop, it earns another shot. If it hits one of the other three balls it earns another two shots, the first of which is the “croquet” shot for which the game is named.
For this, you pick up your ball, place it touching the other ball, and hit it so that both balls move. With practice, one ball will go where you can earn more bonus shots, and the other ball somewhere ready for a future shot. Skilful players can string together a series of bonus shots, and score several hoops in one turn. Make a mistake and it’s the end of your turn – you’ve let your opponent back on the court.
Under the handicap system weaker players receive extra turns (called “bisques”). These can be used to stay on the court when otherwise your opponent would be starting their turn.
The WCF rules of Association Croquet (7th Edition) can be viewed and downloaded here.