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An introduction to Ricochet Croquet

Ricochet was initially developed as a training game for Association Croquet and has become a useful transition game to take players from Golf Croquet (GC) to Association Croquet (AC).

However it has also developed in its own right and a set of rules has been prepared and published by the Queensland (Australia) Croquet Federation.

The lates rules for Ricochet were published by Croquet Australia in June 2023
and can be found here
Ricochet Rules


Hitting the ball in a specific direction to a required length are basic skills that need to be mastered for all versions of the croquet game. Running hoops successfully is also a necessary skill.

Successful GC requires strong strategic thinking as to whether to help your other ball, defend your ball, thwart an opponentís attack or defence, just make position or run a hoop. Different shots such as the stop shot need to be mastered.

Ricochet Croquet builds on these skills and techniques and adds another dimension which will in time help a transition to Association Croquet.

The aim in Ricochet is for each colour ball to pass through each hoop in the correct order and then "peg out".
The players play in strict rotation and choose which of their balls they wish to play for that turn at the beginning of that turn.
Breaks are built up by hitting other balls and so gaining extra shots.

Main Differences

For those used to playing GC the main differences are:

a) The start position is now from the baulk line, which is a yard in from the lawn perimeter and runs half the width of the lawn, and is at either end.

b) Whilst the aim is to run the hoops in the correct order, the peg is also in play as the 13th point for each ball (or 7th point in a short game).

c) Each ball now has to run each hoop, so coloured clips are used to denote the next required hoop for each ball.

d) Like GC, each player goes in strict turn, the difference being that the player, or striker, has an initial choice (once all the balls are in play) of which of their balls to play at the start of each turn.

e) The big difference is that by hitting one of the other three balls, two more strokes are awarded. Usually the first of these is used to position the ball in play so that it can either hit, or ďroquetĒ, another ball to get another two strokes, or to run the required hoop. Unlike GC, if the hoop is run correctly then a single extra stroke is awarded.

f) Once a ball has been roqueted it is deemed ďdeadĒ and does not earn two more strokes if it is hit again until it is a new turn or a hoop is run. Hitting a ball again when dead, is permitted though, and may be done for tactical reasons to move it around the lawn to a better or safer position.

g) For AC players the major differences are that the striker is dictated by the player order, not the ball colour and that after the roquet the balls are played from where they lie. Thus the position of the target ball is dictated by how it runs after being hit by the striking ball, i.e. the main control of the end position of the target ball is by how it ricochets off. For many AC players this makes the game more difficult, not easier!

h) Once the correct hoop is run, the balls all became live again. It is in this manner that, by positioning balls strategically in the roquet and positioning shots, breaks can be set up. This enables multiple hoops to be run in a single turn.

Although the above may sound complicated to the new player whose only experience is GC, after a game or two the process becomes straightforward.


Pairs of black dots represent hoops (uprights).

Brown arrows indicate direction of play through hoops 1 - 6 (forwards).

Blue arrows indicate direction of play after hoop 6 through hoops 1b - 4b then PENULTIMATE and ROVER (backwards).

PEG indicates position of the peg (last point of game).

The inside of the white line is the playing boundary of the court.

Grey line here shown inside the white boundary line is an unmarked "yard-line" on which balls are replaced after going off court.

At start of game balls are played from anywhere on either of the BAULK-LINEs (here shown in yellow) at players' discretion.

Basic Rules

Ricochet is played between sides. One side plays with black and blue balls, the other side with red and yellow balls. The sides play alternate turns.
The object of the game is for each side to compete to make both its balls score 12 hoop points and a peg point, a total of 26 points, before the other side. A side wins when it has scored maximum points or has scored more points than the other side when the game is ended. A ball scores a hoop point by passing through the correct hoop in the correct order of 1 to 12. Once it has scored all 12 hoops then it is then called a rover ball. It may then score a peg point. It is then said to be pegged out and it and its clip are removed from the court.
The player whose turn it is to play is known as the striker, and the ball that is struck during the turn the strikerís ball. By striking the strikerís ball, the striker may cause it or other balls to move and score hoop or peg points.
A handicap system may be used to allow players of different abilities to compete so that they have a more equal chance of success. The weaker side receives a number of extra turns.
A shorter, 13 point game is possible.

Singles or Doubles Play

a) Singles where each player has two partner balls (blue and black, or red and yellow). The players take alternate turns. In a turn a player may choose either ball of their side to be the strikerís ball for the duration of that turn. It is an error to change the strikerís ball during a turn.
b) Doubles where two pairs of players play each other. The players in each pair alternate in taking the turn for their side. As in singles, the player may choose either ball of their side as the strikerís ball for the turn. (This is a different in AC where the players choose the striker by choosing which ball to play.)
c) Triples is a variation for three players with 6 balls (using a pair from the secondary colours). The striker elects which pair to play against at his turn, with the other pair considered dead and lifted where necessary.
d) Advice or Instruction The striker may request to be told the State of the Game at any time. Any other advice or instruction can only be received from the doubles partner. For example, an opponent must not warn a striker appearing to play a wrong ball or run a wrong hoop.

Getting Started

a) Before play, a coin is tossed. The winner of the toss may either nominate which side is to play first, or choose which pair of balls to play with. The loser then makes the remaining choice.
b) The first stroke for any ball is played from any position on either baulk-line. Subsequent strokes are played from where the ball lies as a result of the previous stroke (or previous turn).

The Striker

a) The person in play is known as the striker. The striker may choose to play either ball of their side and then that ball is known as the strikerís ball for that turn. The strikerís hoop is the next hoop to be run by the strikerís ball.
b) During a turn the strikerís ball is only measured in if it has left the court. Otherwise it is played from where it lies, including when it lies in the yard-line area. This allows the strikerís ball to be positioned ďbehindĒ another ball to roquet it into play.

The Turn

a) At the start of a turn the player is entitled to one stroke. As a result of that stroke, the player may become entitled to further free strokes.
b) The player is entitled to one free stroke if the strikerís hoop is run, or two free strokes if the strikerís ball makes a roquet (hits a live ball).
c) In any stroke the strikerís ball may ricochet off any other ball to score its hoop, or peg itself out (if it is a rover ball); or cause another ball to run its hoop; or peg out another ball (if both balls are rover balls), or combine several of these - or the player may simply hit the strikerís ball to a desired position on the lawn, or run the strikerís hoop.
d) The turn ends when there are no further free strokes to play or a fault or error has occurred, or the game ends.
e) At the end of a turn the player measures in any ball that has left the court or come to rest in the yard- line area, places clips on their correct hoops or peg, and moves directly off the court.

Hoop Running

A ball can complete the running of its hoop in one or more strokes, during one or more turns by either side.
a) If the strikerís ball leaves the court in its hoop running stroke it is measured in onto the yard-line. Otherwise it is played from where it came to rest. In either case, the free stroke applies.
b) If a ball completes the running of a hoop and in the same stroke hits a ball that was beyond the non- playing side of the hoop at the start of the stroke, ďhoop and roquetĒ has occurred. The striker is entitled to two free strokes. (ďHoop and roquetĒ also occurs when the strikerís ball completes the running of its hoop and leaves the court in the same stroke without touching another ball, but is touching a ball when measured in. That ball is deemed to be roqueted and the striker is entitled to two free strokes.)

Making a Roquet

a) After making a roquet the striker is entitled to two free strokes.
b) Note that in any stroke if the strikerís ball leaves the court without making a roquet or running its hoop, the turn ends.
c) In the first free stroke it is not necessary to make a roquet or run a hoop. (Typically the first stroke is used to gain position ready for the second stroke.)
d) In the second free stroke the strikerís ball must either make a roquet or run the strikerís hoop, otherwise the turn ends.
e) Free strokes earned by making a hoop or a roquet cannot be accumulated. After making a roquet the striker is always entitled to just two further strokes. After making the strikerís hoop (unless it was hoop-and-roquet) the striker is entitled to just one further stroke.

Placement of Balls on Yard-Line (Measuring In)

a) A ball has left the court as soon as any part of the ball protrudes outside the boundary.
b) After any stroke, any ball that left the court is placed on the yard-line in the nearest lawful position to where it went out. Any ball other than the strikerís ball, which came to rest in the yard-line area, is then similarly placed on the yard-line. This is called measuring in.
c) If it is the last stroke of a turn and strikerís ball came to rest in the yard-line area. it is also placed on the yard-line as above.
d) If another ball (or balls) prevents accurate placement, the ball must be placed on the yard-line in contact with the preventing ball(s), on either side at the strikerís discretion. Once lawfully placed, the choice cannot be altered. (Note that the yard-line extends at right angles in two directions from the corner spot, see Diagram 2.)
e) After a roquet, if the strikerís ball leaves the court and is placed on the yard-line in contact with a ball that is still live, that ball remains live (only one ball can become dead as a result of any stroke).
f) The player must face the relevant boundary while measuring in.

Pegging Out a Rover Ball

a) A ball which has scored its last hoop is known as a rover ball, and its clip belongs on the peg.
b) If the strikerís rover ball hits the peg either directly, or after ricocheting off any other balls (live or dead), the strikerís ball is pegged out and the turn ends.
c) If the strikerís rover ball hits a live ball and the peg simultaneously, the striker nominates whether the ball is pegged out, or a roquet is made.
d) If the strikerís rover ball causes another rover ball to hit the peg, that ball is pegged out.
e) A pegged out ball and its corresponding clip must be removed from the court.
f) The game ends if both balls of a side are pegged out.


Latest update on 20th March 2024