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How to Play Croquet - Rules for Beginners


Time to read 5 min

Who remembers how to play croquet?

When we think of croquet, we remember playing this classic game at summer events or birthday parties during our childhood. But admittedly, a lot of us don’t even know how to play croquet.

Looking at the different rule books, there are a variety of ways to play croquet - from complex matches to simple garden games. We’re covering the Association Croquet rules, which are perfect for getting the whole family involved. This version is all about strategy and teamwork and is suitable for all ages, from little ones to grandparents.

Although it can seem a little confusing when you first pick up your mallet, croquet is easy to get to grips with. And we’ve made it even easier with this step-by-step walkthrough of how to play croquet.


Just be the first team or player to race around the circuit of six hoops. You have to try to hit all of the balls through the two courses first, hitting the central peg to win. All while scheming by sending off your opponent’s balls off course to stop them from winning.

Setting Up the Game

Setting up our croquet sets is quick and simple, with a variety of ranges that you can scale to suit every-sized garden. The game is best played on a well-mowed lawn that is as free as possible of rocks, bumps, and holes that could trip you up.

setting up your court

Section off a corner in your garden, and place the peg in the centre of the pitch. Place four hoops equidistant from the peg to form a rectangular-shaped space. The first hoop should be on the southwest side, and the second in the opposite corner on the northwest side. Repeat with the other two hoops, the third on the northeast and the fourth on the south-east.

The final two hoops should sit north and south of the peg, with the southern centre being the last hoop. We call this hoop the Rover, and it normally has a red stripe, so you know this is the last hoop you need to strike your ball through before hitting the central peg.


Most basic croquet sets consist of 6 hoops, 1 peg, 4 mallets, and 4 balls coloured red, black, yellow, and blue.

Our croquet sets can feature some fun extras, such as more balls for larger teams, colour-coded hoop clips to indicate where to aim, and corner flags or pegs to help mark the edges of the court.

player rules

There are many different ways to play croquet. Whether you want to get the whole family competing together or want to play as a couple - two to six players can get involved. You can set up the game as follows:

Basic Game Play

starting point

The game starts with a coin flip, where you find out which coloured ball set you or your team will be playing with. The player with the top colour (usually blue) goes first, placing their ball between the peg and the first hoop.

The player who is currently hitting the ball is always known as the "striker." Once all the balls are on the pitch, the teams or players take alternating turns. The striker can choose which of their balls to play at the start of each turn.


The strikers have to aim their ball through the hoop in a circuit, making sure it's the correct hoop and in the right order. Remember, you have to hit the ball in the direction the game is going - you can’t hit backwards!

When you finally get to the last hoop, you have to hit the peg and start the second circuit. You have to hit the ball through all the hoops again, but in the other direction. The winner is the first team to complete the second circuit and hit the final peg. The order is as follows:


Sounds simple, right? But there are a few more rules. You can get extra shots during the game in two ways. Striking through a hoop in the correct direction and order, or if your ball hits another ball - known as a "roquet."

If a roquet happens, you place your own ball in contact with the one you've just struck and try to knock it out of the way with the mallet. You then get another go, but you can only roquet each ball once per turn (but this resets if they score a hoop). This allows players to run a series of hoops in one go, or in the croquet-world, “making a break.”.

Your turn is over if your ball does not go through a hoop, you hit another ball, or the ball is accidentally knocked off the court. Each turn must be played from where the ball comes to rest.


The final way a turn is ended, is if the player faults. There can be many different ways a fault can happen:



Croquet is great for bringing out your competitive side, especially when you’re battling it out against your whole family.

Scoring in croquet is simple; the team that gets to 26 points first is the winner! 

But how do you quickly rack up points? You get 12 points from running the hoops and 1 peg point for each ball, with 26 points collected all together.


If the points system sounds a little confusing, we’ll break it down for you. You score a point when your ball passes through a hoop in the correct direction and in the right order. This can be done by hitting the ball directly with the mallet or with another ball.

If the striker causes an opponent's ball to go into its next hoop during their turn, they automatically gain a point, and the striker ends their turn.

Points are kept tracked by attaching coloured clips to the hoop each time the matching-coloured ball passes through. During the first circuit, the clip is attached to the top of the hoop, and on the second circuit, it is moved to the side.

When all of your balls go around the circuit twice, you have to successfully hit the peg to score one final peg point. This is scored by a direct hit or by striking a rover ball that hits your ball into the peg. A ball becomes a “rover” when it has scored its last hoop point.

Once your team has hit all their balls into the peg and has racked up 26 points - it's game over!

It's time to grab a mallet

After all, croquet isn’t just about hitting balls with mallets in the garden. It’s a game of strategy and teamwork, where precision and tactics intertwine with some family-friendly competition. This walkthrough will have you picking up a mallet in no time, as croquet is easy to learn. All you need is one of our croquet sets, a patch of grass, and some friends, and you can let the games begin!