Croquet Tea is a quintessential Philo spring event: dressed in period finery, we stake out a lawn, play croquet, and nosh on dainty comestibles.
Croquet Tea is a great idea for fall to drum up interest, as a sort of rush event. Plus, we don't use our lovely croquet sets nearly often enough.
Mr. Prywes claims to know the rules. Mr. X claims to have produced a "clunky, boxy .gif" containing an "Unofficial Codification of the Official Rules of Philolexian Croquet". Either or both of these should be placed here.
Mr. X's Rules of Philo Croquet: Philo croquet is played in teams. Two or three teams of two players each compete to become the first team to get both members through the course to become "stingers".
Course set-up: Drive in one post in approximately the center of Hamilton Lawn (ie, whatever playing field is available for Philos to play croquet). Walk nine paces from the post and set up one wicket. Then walk another nine paces away from the wicket at a forty-five degree angle calculated not to bring you closer to the post. Place another wicket. Return to the first wicket and repeat the process in the other available direction to place the third wicket. Return to the post and repeat the process in the opposite direction to place three more wickets. (See the accompanying diagram.)
Teams: Each player chooses a color and uses the ball and mallet of that color. Players take turns hitting in the order that their colors are marked on the center post. In a 4-player game, the 1st player teams up with the 3rd, 2nd with 4th. In a 6-player game, the 1st teams up with the 4th, 2nd with 5th, 3rd with 6th.
Sequence of Play: Choose one of the outer wickets as the first goal. Players will take their first shots from a point two and one-half mallet lengths from the first wicket. They must start from the outer part of the lawn and work inward, through the wicket. Play then proceeds to the second wicket, directly across the field, length-wise, from the first. Players must put their balls through the second wicket in an "outward" direction.
The third wicket, across the field width-wise from the second, must be passed through in an "inward" direction. The fourth, across length-wise from the third, is also to be passed inwardly, so that players must proceed from the third wicket across the field and "behind" the fourth to hit their balls through the wicket in towards the center of the lawn.
The fifth wicket is that roughly between the fourth and the center post, and the sixth is that on the inner part of the lawn, opposite the post from the fifth. Both of these must be passed through in an inward direction, towards the center post. Players who have cleared all the wickets must knock their balls into the center post.
Rules of Play: Each player is allowed one hit per turn. Each time a player clears a wicket, she is allowed an additional hit. Players may also earn extra hits by hitting their balls into other players' balls on whom they are "active". One player is active on another when she has not struck the other player's ball since clearing the last wicket.
Striking another player's ball earns two extra hits. The first of these must be taken from a point touching the struck ball. A player may NOT put her foot on either ball to stabilize it while taking this shot, but must instead use the evil laws of physics to put both balls in the position desired.
No extra hits can be earned by putting a ball through a wicket in the wrong direction, or by hitting a ball that you've already hit unless you've cleared a wicket in the interim. A player who has missed a wicket must, must, on his next turn (or sooner if he has extra hits) return to clear the wicket from the correct direction. (See the accompanying gif diagram.)
A player who has cleared all wickets ends her turn by striking the center post, even if she would otherwise have hits left over.
Stingers: On clearing all the wickets and hitting the center post, a player becomes a "stinger." A stinger is active on all other players once each per turn and must help her partner clear the wickets and reach the center post while preventing her opponents from doing so.
Winning: A team wins when both of its players are stingers.