The first player to go through all the wickets in the correct direction and order and then strike the stake with his ball is the winner. Each player has one stroke per turn, but an extra turn is awarded for every wicket the player's ball passes through. An extra turn is also awarded for each opposing ball your ball strikes.
For the first game of the day, players line up at an agreed-upon distance from the stake and hit towards the stake. The player whose ball is closest to the stake goes first. The player whose ball is second closest to the stake goes second and so on, so that the player whose ball is farthest from the stake goes last. Play begins 18" away from the stake or far enough to allow for a player to take an unimpeded swing. Play then continues on in that order.
After the first game of the day, order of play is dictated by the results of the previous game. The winner goes first, second goes next, and so on. The loser goes last, unless a new player arrives. New players always go last.
An extra turn is awarded for passing more than 50% through the next wicket on the course. The ball may pass through and then roll back, as long as it was observed and approved by at least one opponent. No extra turns are awarded for passing through the wicket in the wrong direction, for passing through a wicket previously completed, or for passing through a wicket out of order. If another player knocks your ball through the wicket, you have completed that wicket, but you are not awarded the extra turn.
An extra turn is awarded for each opposing ball your ball strikes. Thus, if you ball strikes two balls at once, you are awarded two turns. However, you can only strike any opponents' balls 3 times (in total) and be awarded an extra turn. After your three strikes, your ball may hit off another player's ball, but you will not be awarded an extra turn. This is known as the three hit rule. The three hit rule resets after you pass through a wicket.
If your ball comes to rest touching another player's ball, you may hold your ball in place with your foot and then knock the other players ball to infinity and beyond by striking your ball. However, if your ball is not touching the other player's ball, this maneuver is not allowed. If you miss your ball, hit the ground and the other player's ball moves, it is assumed that a hit was made, but you must endure the other players' snide remarks.
Normally, the definitive indicator that two balls knocked is a crisp, audible sound. If no sound is heard, it is assumed that there was no touch and the burden of proving the balls touched is placed upon the striker. If your ball passes close enough to another player's ball and comes to rest with only grass blades between the balls AND the opponent's ball moves, then it is assumed that your ball hit the other player's ball and you earn an extra turn. This must be agreed upon by all observing player's, as it often results in conflict and shouting. If your ball causes the other player's ball to move without touching it and there is visible space between the balls as they pass at their closest point of contact, then it is assumed that the balls missed each other and no extra turn is awarded. Since this is such a hot button issue, it must be emphasized that without the audible sound of balls knocking, whether they hit or not is a judgment call, and players are reminded of the Extreme Croquet Code of Honour which forbids cheating. Any players who saw the play should voice their opinion, and the majority shall rule.
Exception: No extra turns are awarded for striking a ball that has not passed through the first wicket.
Magnolia Crescent Dr., the fenced in areas of the yard(s) (using the current course configuration), and the lake are the only true area out of bounds. If you strike your ball into an out of bounds area, you must place your ball in bounds at the point where it went out of bounds, but you lose any extra turns you may have had on that go AND you must skip your next turn. Furthermore, your ball is considered out of play until it is your turn again. If your ball is hit out of bounds, you may place your ball back at the point where it went out of bounds, but you do not lose any turns.
There are quasi-out-of-bounds areas. These include the driveway pictured as dark grey of the course map, garages, bushes, and other landscaped areas that aren't grassy. In these areas, you are allowed to play your ball if you'd like from the spot where the ball comes to rest. If that doesn't go well, you are allowed to place your ball back at the point where it went out and then skip your next turn. If you are hit into these areas, it is assumed that your ball is hit out of bounds, and you may place it at the spot where it went out of bounds without losing your turn.
There is a transition area of the driveway pictured as light, textured grey on the course map. This area is used to transition from one side of the course to the other. As such, it is considered in play and not out of bounds should a ball come to rest in this area. Should a ball be struck by another ball while in this transition area and consequently end up in an area where the player cannot hit, the ball shall be considered out of bounds, and it should be placed at the last location where it entered the transition area.
If your ball comes to a stop above the ground (e.g. inside a bush), and the player does not elect to play the ball from the elevated position, the ball is considered out of bounds, and the player may place the ball on the course at the point it went out of bounds. Since it is considered out of bounds, the player must also lose a turn.
A ball is considered out-of-bounds (or quasi-out-of-bounds, if applicable) if the ball is resting on concrete.
If a player hits their own ball out of bounds or into a transition area, that player must declare their intention for the next turn to either play the ball or place the ball where it went out and skip a turn.
A player is allowed to remove any sticks, branches, clumps of pine straw, tennis balls, or other small, unattached obstacles from his desired path. However, potted plants, pumpkins, sacks of concrete or other such large obstacles are considered part of the course and may not be moved.
If a player's ball comes to rest next to a permanent obstacle, has less than 180 degrees of available hitting area, and cannot cleanly strike any part of the ball using a normal croquet swing towards the next wicket, they may move the ball the width of the mallet away from the obstacle. They can then employee a hockey-like sliding slap shot to strike the ball. Note that this rule does not mean that you can move the ball if you cannot hit it in the direction you want to hit it, only if you have less than 180 degrees.