Some campers like to find remote mountain streams filled with trout. Since we have teenagers to entertain, we prefer busy camping resorts filled with people. We love to play games to pass the time and avoid the dreaded cries of "I'm bored." One of the best group games we always enjoy at the campground is croquet.
Most of us have played croquet at one time or another. Croquet is at least as old as the game of golf, and far less expensive to play [game sets retail from $30 to over $300]. As long as you can find a reasonably well-groomed grassy area, you can gather up a crew for a round of croquet.
You don't need lessons or a handicap to compete, and there are no greens fees. Up to six players can compete individually, or you can form up teams for larger groups. The object of the game is to navigate a course of small wire wickets by striking a wooden ball with a mallet. There are interesting rules variations for recreational play, as long as everyone agrees beforehand. Playing croquet is a fine game for getting a bit of exercise, sun, and socializing along the way.
What makes croquet such a good choice for camping?
1. Players of all ages can compete. Kids always enjoy hitting things with mallets. Grown-ups have plenty of time to chat it up between turns. Even someone confined to a wheelchair can join the fun.
2. A little rain or wind won't ruin the game. While the balls and mallets are wooden, they are quite durable. You can play through a cloudburst without worrying about damage.
3. Croquet is cheap and portable. You can find used games at garage sales and charity stores for less than $20. Some come in folding cases, while others take up a bit more space. A standard set will fit in the space of a suitcase.
3. No batteries or power cord needed. All the energy required to play is supplied by the contestants.
4. Games can be as long or short as desired. All you have to do is vary the size and/or complexity of the course layout. Purists will insist on the design set out in the official rule book; but lots of players enjoy plotting out more creative wicket locations.
5. There's room for at least six players. Your kids can invite their new campground friends. You can play as couples, making room for twelve. For even larger crowds, you can form teams and take turns with the mallets.
6. You can leave and come back. When the burgers and steaks are ready, everyone can break for dinner right in the middle of a game. Eat, drink, and then pick up right where you left off earlier.
7. Nobody has to keep score. Croquet is a game of geography: first to the end-stake wins. No points to count keeps things the stress and arguments to a minimum.
8. You can make up your own rules:
We like to leave all rule books at home when we go camping...
copyright 2009 - all rights reserved (reprint rights available)
-- croquet set image courtesy of BackyardGardener.com
How about you? Do you have a camping games review you'd like to share? We'll feature these during the season as available. If you'd like to submit your review for posting, you can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.
See this story as it appears on Helium.com
Read Jim's Profile on Helium.com