American Six Wicket

Caution, this game is addictive!

I’ll try to give you a basic synopsis of the game.

Only four balls are played.  Blue, Red, Black and Yellow.  Blue and Black are partners, Red and Yellow are Partners.  In singles play, there are two players.  One plays blue & black, one plays red and yellow.  In doubles, there are four players.  Each player plays one ball.  The Blue/black players are a team and the Red/Yellow are a team.

The court layout is different from the 9 wicket court.  There is only one stake and it is in the middle.  The wickets are arranged according to the layout on this page.

The objective is to place the balls so you can run the wickets, and hinder your opponent from doing the same.  In six wicket croquet, it is possible to run your ball through all of the wickets 'post out’ on the center post in only one turn. Each wicket counts for one point, and the final post counts for one point.  So you can score 13 points per ball.

The first shooter is determined by a coin toss.  The winner of the coin toss gets to pick which colors they want.  Play begins with blue shooting first, then red, then black and then yellow.  The center stake has the four colors in that order so you can tell who shoots next.

To start out, you set your ball 3 feet from the number one wicket, and shoot.  If you make the first wicket, you are considered ‘in the game’.  Until you are ‘in the game’ you get extra shots for hitting another ball.

Hitting another ball:  When you hit another ball, it is called a ‘roquet’.  At this point, you can place your striker ball (the ball you are shooting) up against the ball you hit, and take a ‘croquet’ shot (no you can’t put your foot on the ball).   After this you have a ‘continuation’ shot.  So, by hitting another ball, you actually get two shots.  It get even better if when you originally hit the ball, you drove it into a favorable position for you (that’s called a rush).  So, if you hit a ball towards your wicket, you can place your ball next to the hit ball and drive them both towards your wicket, then use your continuation shot to actually make the wicket.

Deadness:  Once you hit a ball, you are dead on that ball.  You cannot hit that ball again until you make a wicket.  When you make a wicket, you clear all of your deadness on all of the balls.  So you should not just hit other balls because your can, you should hit them to help you progress around the court.  Deadness is an important part of the game.  You should be especially aware of deadness on your partner ball.

Breaks:  Creating a three or four ball break is how you win the game.  By using your partner ball to set up a break and using the opponents balls to help, you can set up a break.  A break puts you in a position to send balls to your future wickets (pioneers) so that they will be in place when you are shooting for those wickets.

Once you get the gist of the game, it becomes very addictive.
American 6 Wicket is a combination of pool and chess.  The complete rules can be found here:
http://www.croquetamerica.com/croquet/rules/american/
Click here for a virtual court illustrating the 4 ball break, the 3 ball break, pivot swap, triple peel and sextuplet.
More information on Croquet can be found at the United States Croquet Association website.  Click here to see.