The standard setup for croquet is commonly called the double diamond pattern. Beginning with 9 wickets and two stakes the players pick out a field upon which to play.
Ideally the field will be 100 feet by 50 feet on relatively even ground. However, this is not strictly required. Almost any terrain may be used (within reason). The layout should be made in a manner as close as possible to that shown on the diagram to the left.
The game was designed to be played with four or six balls. Yet it may be played with two to six players. Generally, two teams are formed. If there is an odd number of players, the extra player may play two balls. Players may also play "cut-throat" where each plays one ball and scores for himself.
The order of play is determined by color and where that color appears on the end-posts. The player with the colored ball at the top of the post goes first and then down the post. Players on opposing teams should hold alternating positions in play. For example, the player who is first should be allied with the third and fifth player. While the second player should be allied with the fourth and sixth.
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