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).
Option 2. Out of Bounds Play
If a striker croquets any ball (including the striker’s) over the boundary, the turn ends with the boundary balls measured in bounds. Other balls remain where they come to rest on the court.
If a striker roquets a ball out of bounds, the turn is over with no deadness incurred (if Option 1 is in effect). All balls remain where they come to rest with boundary balls measured in.
If a striker hits his/her ball over the boundary, the turn ends with the ball measured in. If a striker roquets a ball that does not go out of bounds but the striker ball goes out of bounds, the turn is not over but the striker must place his/her ball in contact with the roqueted ball or put it one mallet head’s length or up to 9 inches away from it and then receives two shots.
Option 3. Measuring Balls in from the Boundary
The striker shall measure all balls in from the boundary a mallet-head length instead of a full mallet length. A mallet head is normally nine inches. A head that is longer than nine inches should have a nine inch mark on it.
Option 4. Restriction from Roqueting Partner Ball for Bonus Strokes
The striker is not allowed to roquet his/her partner ball to gain bonus strokes.
Option 5. Removal of Sequence of Play (Blue, Red, Black, and Yellow)
The striker may choose to play any of his/her side’s balls at the beginning of the turn, but must continue play with that ball for the duration of the turn. For instance, blue could be played in consecutive turns. However, the players (in doubles and triples) must play in order (i.e., Mary, John, Mary, John, etc.).
Option 6. 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 7. 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 8. Blocking
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 9 inches in any direction from its wired position to enable an 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 9. Starting Deadness
Used in conjunction with Option 1 regarding deadness, all balls are dead on each other until both the striker ball and the ball to be roqueted have both cleared a certain wicket (e.g. the first, second or third wicket, depending on the size and lay-out of the court).
Option 10. 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.