A simple introduction
“Association” Croquet, is played with four balls, Blue and Black versus Red and Yellow. Each side has to guide their balls through a circuit of hoops. The winner is the side which scores all 12 hoops for each ball, and hits them against the centre peg. If a ball scores its hoop, it earns another shot, and if it hits one of the other three balls it earns another two shots.
The first of those two extra shots is called a “croquet”. For this, you pick up your ball, place it touching the other ball, and hit it, so that both balls move. Play this right, and you can send your ball close enough to earn more bonus shots, and the other ball somewhere useful. Skilful players can string together a series of bonus shots, and score several hoops in one turn.
The handicap system is based on extra turns, called “bisques”. Weaker players receive a number of these bisques, and can use them to score hoops or croquet the other balls.
A more detailed description of the rules in plain English is here.
For the official Laws of Association Croquet, visit the Croquet Association website.
For coaching advice, visit Oxford Croquet which focuses on the skills and tactics of Association Croquet from beginner level to advanced play.