Croquet is always a go-to game in our backyard for a fun time on the weekends or in the afternoon. We’ve come up with a few ways to make the game of croquet even more fun, so I decided to share our ideas.
Croquet is a fun and engaging backyard game enjoyed by many people around the world. With multiple variants, some challenging and some team building, there will always be a form of croquet game that anyone can enjoy. Croquet is easy to learn, allowing almost anyone to start playing right away.
I want to talk about the different variants of croquet game like 6 wicket or 9 wicket, but also wanted to add our house rules we use to make the games more fun. We’ve also come up with our own croquet variant that just so happens to be an absolute blast to play.
Versions of Croquet
There are multiple variants of croquet, some are played professionally while some are more of a social game, and some are both. We typically only play 9-Wicket croquet in our backyard, and so do most people. 9-Wicket backyard croquet is the most popular form of croquet in the US.
Popular Croquet Variants:
- Association Croquet
- Golf Croquet
- Garden Croquet
- American 6-Wicket
- American 9-Wicket
All of these different croquet variants are played on either a 6-Wicket court or a 9-Wicket court. Garden croquet is mostly played in England as a recreational activity. We will focus on 9-Wicket croquet in this article, because that’s what most people are playing in their backyards.
Croquet Variants We Invented For Extra Fun:
- Hit Splash Croquet
- Bucket Croquet
- Zombie Croquet
You’re going to need a decent croquet set to play any variant of croquet, including the ones below. If you don’t already have a croquet set, I suggest checking out this Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set (link to Amazon) that we use, or looking through our Croquet Cost and Compare Guide to find a set that works for you.
Before we get into our house rules, and the other things we add to the game to make it more fun, I wanted to give a quick run-down on regular croquet. That way when I mention the changes we make, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’ve played croquet before, go ahead and skip down to the fun part.
Court Set Up
We set our court up using the official 9-Wicket croquet court, except all the measurements are cut in half to fit in our yard. The 9-Wicket court is sometimes referred to as the double diamond. For more info on setting up a croquet court, visit our How To Set Up A Croquet Court page.
Here’s a quick video to show you how we set our court up.
How To Play Croquet
To play some of our made up (super fun) versions of croquet like Zombie Croquet, you’ll need to the rules of regular croquet first. If you’ve never played croquet before, I suggest checking out our How To Play Croquet article that covers everything you need to know to start playing a game.
After a while of playing regular croquet, we started inventing ways to spice up the game a bit. This happened naturally, but we’ve come up with some real keepers that we go-to before playing croquet the right way. Now onto the ways we make croquet more fun for everyone in our backyard.
Add Water Balloons
We so badly wanted to incorporate water balloons into our croquet games, especially on hot days. So we tried a few different things to give players a bit of relief while playing croquet. The most successful so far has been what we call ‘hit splash’.
Hit Splash Croquet:
Basically, whenever you get a roquet (when you hit another players ball) you get to throw a water balloon at the player whose ball you hit. The thrower has to stand at a stake, and the other player stands near the middle wicket. The person can’t move, and if you hit them with a water balloon, you get an extra shot.
It’s a fun way to add some cooling off to the game. Because we love croquet, but on hot days, it can get pretty brutal and the kids lose interest. Another fun option, if you have enough players, is to have people standing on the side lines with water balloons. Whenever anyone score a wicket, everyone can throw water balloons at them.
Having obstacles on your court is perfectly fine, in fact, some people don’t have a choice with the way their yard is layed out. You may have heard this referred to as Extreme Croquet. Where players will play croquet over large distances, hilly areas, or with obstacles on the court.
Usually the obstacle are things like trees and bushes that can’t be moved and must be played around. But we’ve found a fun way to add obstacles to the court to make the game more challenging.
There’s a few ways you can go about adding obstacles. You could simply just add things to the court that the players must play around, or even move some wickets to different areas that the players must get their ball to. Or you can do what we do.
We’ve been calling it Bucket Croquet, but this game has no official name. The first person that gets through their third wicket, has the option to place a bucket anywhere on the field rather than take their extra shot. The only rule we have is that you can’t place the bucket over a wicket, that kind of ruins the fun of it.
Then, anyone that makes a wicket at any time during the game, can trade their bonus shot for moving the bucket anywhere on the court. This usually results in everyone trying to put the bucket in the way of whoever’s in the lead. It’s a really fun, and sometimes funny, twist on the game.
Zombie Croquet has by far been the most popular version of croquet that we play. We use all the same rules as regular 9-Wicket croquet with an added chase and tag element to it.
How It Works:
Start by selecting a zombie, usually there’s someone that actually wants to be the zombie, so not a problem. If no one wants to be the zombie, the last person to make it through their third wicket, becomes the zombie. If multiple people want to be the zombie, whoever hits their ball closest to the center wicket gets to be the zombie.
The zombie will go last, after everyone else has had their turn and starts making their way around the court. The zombie must make it through the first two wickets, like everyone else, but that’s it. If you become the zombie because everyone has made their first three wickets except you, you just become the zombie wherever you are.
- The zombie doesn’t need to follow the direction of play or score any wickets
- The whole goal of the zombie is to hit other players balls, and turn them into zombies
- The zombie only gets one hit per turn, and can not gain additional shots in any way.
In order for the zombie to win, they must turn everyone else into a zombie. If you get hit by a zombie ball, you become a zombie automatically. This is really a fun twist on croquet, and makes for some huge laughter coming out of our backyard.