A 9 Wicket "backyard" Croquet Game.

When you purchase a “backyard” croquet set it comes with six balls. The popular game with six balls is called “cutthroat” croquet. Six balls, six players each playing one color ball. The rules are usually made up by the owner of the croquet set.

For the “backyard” player’s there is another six-ball game called “guerilla croquet” with six simple rules. The court layout is a double diamond with boundary lines, two sides and six players.

                The Object of the game is to peg out your sides three balls first.

1.  A coin toss decides the sides; blue/black/green or red/yellow/orange. The order of play is blue, red, black, yellow, green and orange.

2. When a ball is placed on the ground 9 inches in front of wicket #1 it is in the game and can be hit by an opponent’s ball.

3.On each turn, the striker is alive on all opponent balls.  

4.  You earn two strokes for hitting an opponent’s ball and one stroke for clearing a wicket or the turning stake. Clearing two wickets with one stroke and you earn two extra strokes.Note: You earn no extra strokes for hitting your own balls.

5 When you hit an opponent ball, you must place your ball in contact with that ball for your first stroke. You may place your hand or foot on your ball when taking your first stroke from your opponent’s ball.

6.When any ball goes out of bounds the striker’s turn is over and all balls come in on the boundary line.

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  • What is the source for this variant? I've played this three vs three version and it was the worst experience I've had playing croquet.

    • How was it "the worst experience I've (you) had playing croquet"? Did you get beat?

      • I played it at a team tournament. It was a mess, too many balls and an endless rotation. I was new to the group at that point and also new to "real" croquet. It was a time when the group was trying to move away from one-ball play and was trying partner and team events to be more inclusive. I don't think anyone enjoyed it and they moved onto traditional partner ball right away.

        I do think we lost the one game we played and that knocked us out. But it wasn't the losing ... I wanted to be done 30 minutes in. Two years later, I played in the first KC 9W Nationals and got destroyed in every game, but loved my first taste of "real croquet" and have never looked back.

        After that three vs three event, I didn't take croquet very seriously for several years. I'm not really sure how they kept my interest after that.

        • Dylan, I have not played this game yet, but will give it a try later this spring for fun. I will share something I was told by the "celebrity" 

          . . . . "I'm almost sure I didn't tell you the critical element in GUERILLA CROQUET as we played it, and as played for those six years as the "official USCA backyard croquet game.  The critical element in a six-ball game is that your side may hit ONLY the other side's ball for extra strokes.  Hence the name "guerilla" because you usually have to figure out some sneak attack.  Without this rule, the game is too chaotic, in my opinion, for most backyard play.  And in the culture of games, it's kind of "weird" that you can "kill" balls on your own side...."

          • Dylan, have you figured out who the "celebrity" is yet?

            • My guess would be Bob Alman based on all of the magazine research I did this winter. I understand the desire to figure out what to do with green and orange in a six ball game. But I didn't enjoy that one.

              We've just recently tried a few traditional cutthroat 6-ball games with one rule mod. The mod was that no matter what, after hitting the turn stake ... your turn ends. This guarantees at least one turn for every ball. 

              It created some interesting scenarios as there is no real way to do a leave after hitting that turn peg. Also, as we did timed games and there was a fun flurry where a couple of us had to do a little speed croquet to hit the stake in order to have a fighting chance during the last turns round.

              • Good research.

                In the new nine game, that we play, on the first turn a player after clearing wicket 7, turn over. This is in the “spirit of the game”.  When a ball hits the turning stake, and the opponent side is behind in points, on their next turn, they may pick up one of their balls and place it 9 inches from where the ball that hit the turning stake came to rest. We are playing non-sequence balls after clearing wicket 1 and any ball that goes out of bounds, turn over.

    • A well-known celebrity in the croquet world, who’s name I don’t have permission to publish

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