===Battle Croquet Rules===
This version of Croquet, "The Queen of Sports" is a sport invented by Steampunks in the UK who "rediscovered the original rules of Croquet." The idea was first discussed by Conrad Ormsson and Kevin Leech at a planning meeting in New Malden, UK, in 2013 and was duly researched and developed into a game by a small team of dedicated UK Steampunks. It is a highly competitive team game, and is raucous, surreal and fast paced. The game is played by two teams of three players, but requires at least four referees (three line referees and one head referee), as well as one 'bomb warden'.
Battle Croquet requires a set of six mallets and eight balls, coloured in pairs, and sixteen hoops, plus four pegs. Additional items include: at least four Fez, and six bouquets of flowers, (three of one kind, and three of another), and one 'time bomb', which is essentially a timer which may be set by minutes which rings when it goes off. One of the mallets must have a signifier (usually a coloured band) which means that the player using that mallet is the 'Spy'.
The other two mallets will have bands of the same colour, and the two players using these mallets are called the 'Grenadier Guards.' Each team has four balls, two of which will be one colour (for example yellow) which are 'Grenadier balls', the other two (for example red) will be the 'Spy ball', and the remaining ball is placed on an upturned egg cup - which is the teams 'Field Marshall.'
Setting the Battlefield
The hoops are laid out in a four by four square in rows known as trenches. Hoops in each trench face the same way, but trenches alternate: Trench 1 has hoops facing East/West, Trench 2 has hoops facing North/South and so on. The four pegs mark the boundary of the Battlefield. Balls that stray beyond the perimeter have a penalty applied by the Head Referee. The aim of the game is for the team's Spy ball to make it through the trenches by going through one hoop of each trench and to knock the opposing team's Field Marshall off his egg cup.
Role of the Spy
The Spy ball is the only ball that is allowed to touch the Field Marshal.
Role of the Grenadier Guards
The role of the Grenadier Guards is to protect the Spy as he makes his way through the trenches, and to protect their own Field Marshall from the opposing team's Spy.
Role of Line Referees
A line referee takes on the responsibility of making sure each ball that crosses a trench does so by passing through a hoop. If a ball crosses a trench without passing through a hoop, they stop play by hurling their fez onto the battlefield. They then attempt to communicate what the foul was to the Head Referee by means of sign language or interpretive dance. Charades also works. Whistles may be blown at any point by a Line referee in order to help them carry out their work. (A full set of fouls and guides to etiquette for Battle Croquet Line Referees is available in "The Mornington Ruleset", which is sadly now out of print).
Line referees get easily distracted when bouquets of flowers appear on the battlefield, and on seeing them, will walk over to them, pick them up, and start discussing their beauty. Whilst distracted like this, they are completely oblivious to anything else that happens on the battlefield. They may come out of their blissful trance when they feel like they have a complete understanding of the flowers arrangement, or when a Field Marshal is defeated.
Role of Head Referee
The Head Referee is the host of the game, and usually has to briefly explain the rules to the spectators, as well as the players. They take on the role of commentator, if no other commentator is present, but also have the task of interpreting the fouls as indicated by the line referees (A full list of correct interpretations for Head Referees is available in "The Mornington Ruleset", which is sadly now out of print). Whatever the Head Referee says must be adhered to, because they are absolutely in charge. Head referees also get easily distracted when bouquets of flowers appear on the battlefield. Whilst distracted like this, they are completely oblivious to anything else that happens. They may come out of their blissful trance when they feel like they have a complete understanding of the flowers arrangement, or when a Field Marshal is defeated.
The objective is for a team's Spy ball to 'dethrone' or knock off an opposing team's Field Marshall from his throne. Doing so means that Spy's team has won the game.
Teams take turns to play. All three members of one team play simultaneously, taking three strikes each to their own balls, attempting to cross the trenches. Once they have each had three hits each (and had any penalties applied), it is the other teams turn.
Battle Duration and the Time Bomb
The time bomb is held by the designated Bomb Warden - who at the start of each game winds the time bomb up (a stop watch may be used at a pinch) and sets it to go off after eight minutes, which signifies the end of a battle. If neither team has defeated a Field Marshal at the end of the eight minutes, the bomb goes off, play is stopped and the teams must swap sides. A game consists of two eight minute battles. If neither team has defeated a Field Marshal in that time, a draw (or "Truce") is announced, and players must shake hands with great abandon.
If a player crosses a trench without going through a hoop this is a foul - a line referee must stop play, and draw attention to the foul by throwing a fez onto the Battlefield. The referee then attempts to communicate the nature of the foul using sign language or interpretive dance, and these are interpreted for the benefit of the spectators by the head referee, who then applies a penalty.
The Head referee interprets the foul for the benefit of the spectators, and applies a penalty. This is at their discretion, and can consist of one, two, or all three balls in play retreating one trench, two, three, or even resetting.
Each player also carries one bouquet of flowers whilst they play, and if a player throws a bouquet of flowers onto the Battlefield (which they may do at any point in the game), all the referees become distracted and walk over to the flowers, picking them up and discussing how beautiful they are., for a certain amount of time. Whilst this is happening, and the referees are distracted, players may cheat.