Backyard Croquet: Challenging Options
All players in the game must consent to these options before the start of the game. Any combination of options (none to all) may be chosen.
Option 1. Using Deadness
Deadness occurs after a roquet is made and the striker is unable to score his/her wicket. The consequences are that the striker is not allowed to roquet the ball(s) again until scoring the wicket. Once the wicket is scored, the striker becomes ‘alive’ and is able to roquet the ball(s) again. If a striker roquets a ball he/she is dead on, all balls are replaced to their positions before the shot, and the turn is over. Deadness carries over from turn to turn.
Option 1A. Special Relief of Deadness
A side may clear one of its balls of deadness when the opponent makes the first wicket after the turning stake (the 8th wicket) so long as that side is behind in points (not tied) at the end of the opponent’s turn.
Option 1B. Clearing Deadness
A side may clear one of its balls of deadness when the opponent makes the first wicket after the turning stake (the 8th wicket) regardless of score at the end of the opponent’s turn.
Option 2. Out of Bounds Play
A) A ball is considered out-of-bounds if it is more than halfway over the boundary line which is considered to be the inside edge of the boundary marking. If a striker sends any ball(s) out-of-bounds as the result of their shot, all balls shall be measured in 9” from the spot where they crossed the boundary line and the turn ends.
The only exceptions to this are when the striker’s ball crosses the boundary line as the result of a roquet (where it is then lifted and placed either in contact or up to 9” from the roqueted ball) or a striker ball directly hits (not a cannon) any other ball out of bounds after it has roqueted a ball (any such ball is marked in and the striker takes croquet from the roqueted ball).
Additionally, any ball coming to rest within 9” of the boundary shall be marked in 9” prior to the next shot unless it is the striker ball and it has any remaining shots. Any balls within the 9” at the end of a turn shall be marked in 9” inches. A mallet head is normally 9” in length. Longer heads should have a 9” mark on it for the placing of balls.
B) If Option 1 is in effect and the striker roquets a ball out-of-bounds, the turn is over and the out-of-bounds ball is marked in 9”. However, no deadness is incurred.
Option 3. Starting Deadness
May be used in conjunction with Option 1 regarding deadness. No extra shots are earned by hitting another ball until both the striker ball and the ball to be roqueted have cleared a designated wicket(typically #1, #2, or #3). A ball “not in the game” may have a ball(s) “in the game” marked and lifted for a shot – and vice versa. Balls “out” of the game are dead on balls “in” the game- and visa versa.
Option 4. Wired
If an opponent causes the striker ball to be blocked by a wicket or stake (wired) when the striker wishes to shoot at a ball it is alive on, the striker may move his/her ball a mallet head’s length or up to 9 inches in any direction from its wired position to enable a possible open shot on that ball. The striker is not obligated to shoot at a ball from this new position and may take any shot he/she wishes. This optional rule does not apply if the striker’s side placed the striker ball in its current position, only if the opponent placed it there.
Option 5. Blocked at a Wicket by a Dead Ball
If an opponent causes a ball to be blocked from scoring its wicket by a dead ball(s) for two consecutive turns, the blocked ball becomes alive on the blocking ball(s).
The opponent must be responsible for the block, not the side claiming a block. A block must be confirmed by the blocking side in order to be counted as a block, in order to avoid disputes. In addition, the proposed wicket shot that is claimed to be blocked must be possible to make to count as a block.
Option 6. Rover Play
A rover may hit all balls once per turn; however, once the rover is dead on a ball(s), it must go through any wicket in any direction to clear its deadness on that ball(s). The rover does not get an additional (bonus) shot after going through this clearing wicket.
Option 7. Poison
A poison ball is one that has scored all the wickets but hasn’t hit the finishing stake. A poison ball may hit any opponent ball and have it removed from the game. Conversely, if an opponent ball hits a poison ball, the poison ball is removed from the game. If a poison ball fully passes through any wicket in any direction, it is removed from the game. A poison ball does not earn bonus shots for hitting other balls.
Option 8. Over Time Play
When a timed match has expired, each ball gets a last turn. If a ball has played its last stroke of the turn and is still rolling on the court when time expires, it will get another turn. If the losing side has played its last turns, the winning side may not play its last turn (aka last ball/last turn may not play). If the score is tied after the “last turn” round, the ball closest to its contested wicket gets an extra point for the win. A tournament director may choose to use multiple last turns rounds (ideally, no more than two rounds).