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Croquet is a lawn game, played both as a recreational pastime and as a competitive sport, which involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded into the grass playing court.
The American rules version of croquet - a six-wicket game - is the dominant version of the game in the United States and is also widely played in Canada. It is governed by the United States Croquet Association. Its genesis is mostly in association croquet, but it differs in a number of important ways that reflect the home-grown traditions of American "backyard" croquet.
Two of the most notable differences are that the balls are always played in the same sequence (blue, red, black, yellow) throughout the game, and that a ball's "deadness" on other balls is carried over from turn to turn until the ball has been "cleared" by scoring its next hoop. Tactics are simplified on the one hand by the strict sequence of play, and complicated on the other hand by the continuation of deadness. A further difference is the more restrictive boundary-line rules of American croquet.
In the American game, croqueting a ball out of bounds or running a hoop out of bounds causes the turn to end, and balls that go out of bounds are replaced only nine inches from the boundary rather than a yard as in association croquet. "Attacking" balls on the boundary line to bring them into play is thus far more challenging.
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