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Extreme Croquet is a variation on croquet mainly distinguished by its lack of any requirement pertaining to out-of-bounds or field specifications. A close relative of the croquet played in most backyards and gardens, but expanded by more adventurous enthusiasts and played throughout the world in conditions unfamiliar to official tournament players.
A typical extreme croquet game starts with location scouting, searching for terrain that might present interesting and novel challenges such as trees, roots, hills, sand, mud, or moving or still water. Play proceeds following the usual croquet rules, with alterations generally designed to handle circumstances not found in the garden game.
A certain amount of experimentation and development has occurred with the equipment used to play. Traditional croquet sets typically do not stand up well to the rigors of "extreme croquet", and various methods have been used to strengthen the mallets, balls, and even the wickets. This has led to the origin of mallets with beveled faces to add "loft" to the ball, and two-story wickets.
Due to its inherently anarchistic nature, extreme Croquet will forever be without a governing body (though legitimizing the sport on a national level has its benefits), meaning different societies play by necessarily disparate rules. Many organizations opt to list these on their websites, offering other groups a look at their own unique interpretation. Variations include the following:
- When one ball strikes another, the striker may choose to continue play as the strikee's ball.
- A player receives an extra stroke for passing through a second story of a wicket.
- A player may strike the ball with any part of the mallet, including a billiards-reminiscent style.
- The first player through the second wicket determines the direction of play.
- As each player reaches the starting post after clearing all wickets, he is "poison" and must declare his status to all players.
- A non-poison player can eliminate a poison player by sending the latter through a wicket.
- Passing through a wicket out of order is punished by sending the ball back to the previous post.
- Small children and dogs are legal obstacles, and if they interfere with the ball's placement, the player must still "play it where it lies."
The Richmond Extreme Croquet Group has these rules:
- Revert Rule: If a ball traverses its prior wicket in the opposite direction, this now becomes its current wicket; exceptions: (1) a rover cannot be reverted; (2) until the ball remakes that wicket, it cannot be reverted again
- Nosering Rule: Once per game, at the end of one's turn, one may move one's ball exactly one mallet head, except not into or thru one's current wicket in either direction; in a team game, one may use a teammate's unused nosering move
- Alzheimer's Rule: Before or after hitting the ball, if that player or anyone else realizes that the player forgot his current wicket, the hit is retaken (if in fact it has been taken), except when croqueting another ball; all players have the obligation to point this out
- Acts of Dog: If a player's ball is relocated by an unleashed dog, it shall be played from the location the dog releases the ball. If the ball is released out of bounds, then the ball shall be played from the point (after adjusting for a mallet width from the boundary) it was removed from the field.
- Dynamic Starting Order: After lagging to the stake for starting order, the players exercise the option to go or not go in order of closeness; after each player goes, the remaining players rechoose who goes next in the same order.
Extreme croquet locations
The worlds oldest extreme croquet club was founded 1975 in Sweden. The first documented extreme croquet matches in the United States took place in Friendswood, Texas, around 1995. A group of college kids looking for a bit more excitement than the traditional game could offer began to test the boundaries of the sport.
Boston University is the home of BU International Extreme Croquet Society. The organization was founded in 2008. On April 5, 2010 BU Today featured a film  on the club.
The Northwest Arkansas Nonprofessional-professional Extreme Croquet Association, or NANECA utilizes both urban and natural settings for its free flowing extreme croquet.
- "A Short History of Croquet" introduction to croquet
- "Extreme Croquet" article on the origins of the game
- "Extreme Satisfaction" feature article in Washington D.C. CityPaper about extreme croquet
- "Pardon, But My Last Shot Seems to Have Spilled Your Beer" from the San Francisco Chronicle
- "With Mallets Aforethought" from Smithsonian Magazine
- Castleman, Amanda (1 June 2005). Extreme croquet: In this game, there's no such thing as a level playing field, Seattle Post Intelligencer