Portland’s keeping it unusual this Sunday with the Annual Mondo Croquet World Championships and Mad Hatter Picnic. Players dress in traditional British Lawn Whites, or out of Alice in Wonderland, and use sledgehammers and bowling balls to play “American-Style Croquet”. It is free to play, and they have bowling balls to loan if you do not have one you’d like to smash. We asked organizer Stephen Peters a few questions about it a couple years back and the answers are below.
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More Mondo Croquet Pictures, Q&A, Instructions, & 2013 Info:
Northwest Park Block
NW 8th and Everett, Portland OR
Ladies and Gentiles, Gentiles & Reptiles,
The time has come, the 16th Annual Mondo Croquet World Championships & Mad Hatter Picnic. It’s Croquet – American Style, with bowling balls and sledgehammers!
Don’t delay, sign up today! Bring a bowling ball, bring a sledgehammer if you can, dress appropriately, (or appropriately inappropriate) and bring something cold to drink. Invite your friends, trash-talk your enemies. Sharpen your balls and wax your hammers.
Q&A with Stephen Peters of Mondo Croquet
PDXP: Can you describe what Mondo Croquet is in a a couple sentences?
SP: Mondo Croquet – it’s croquet American style with bowling balls and sledgehammers! There’s nothing quite so satisfactory as smacking a bowling ball with a big mallet. We also hold the Mad Hatter picnic at the same.
PDXP: When did it start?
SP: We held the first Mondo Croquet World Championships here in Portland back in 1997.
PDXP: How did it start?
SP: With a dispute over a woman.
PDXP: How many people usually attend?
SP: We generally play from noon until around 4:30. During that time something like 40 people come and go.
PDXP: Are there prizes/is it is a competition?
SP: Outrageous fun is it’s own reward. The games have friendly competition, but we don’t take it seriously enough to keep track of who won which game throughout the day.
HOW TO PLAY MONDO CROQUET
Instructions courtesy of The Mad Martian
The object of the game is to get your ball through all the hoops in the proper order, hit the flags, become a zombie, and knock out all your opponents.
Generally bent rebar is used for the hoops and straight rebar is used for the flag poles. Plant the rebar deep so it does not get knocked out by balls. The far flag pole should be topped with your favorite stuffed animal while the start/end flag pole should be topped with a skull or skeleton since hitting it makes you a Zombie. Alternatively a Santa doll may be used. The playing field is made up of hoops in the following configuration:
The arrows show the order in which you must go through the hoops. Game play starts at the first flag, with the ball touching the flag post. You get one hit at the start of each turn plus one hit for each hoop you correctly go through, plus one hit for each other ball you hit, up to a maximum of 3 hits at any given time. You must go through the hoop in the correct direction in the correct order or it doesn’t count (but doesn’t hurt you).
Is It Through?
To be considered “through” a hoop, a ball must be more through than not through. It does not have to be completely through. Touching the rebar or even knocking it over is ok, if it can be determined within reason that had the rebar not moved, the ball would have gone through. If another player’s ball hits your ball through in the correct direction and the correct order, then your ball counts as through. You don’t get an extra hit, you just don’t have to go through that hoop again when it’s your turn.
Going through the two hoops in front of each flag post of course gives you two more hits. You must also hit the flag post after going through the two hoops. Once you hit the flag post, your hits return to one regardless of how many you had. Place your ball touching the flag post and go back through the other way, getting two additional hits if you successfully make it back through both hoops.
Hitting Another Ball
Hitting another ball only counts once for each ball until you go through another hoop or you start a new turn. Thus hitting the same ball twice on the same turn without going through a hoop only counts the first time. You have 2 options when you hit another ball in this manner. You may take an additional hit or you may “send” the other ball. If you hit multiple balls with one hit, you may choose which one to act on, even if you max out at 3 hits.
Taking An Additional Hit
You may take your extra hit from where your ball lies, or you may choose to place it a mallets distance in any direction from the final resting place of the ball you hit.
Sending Another Ball
If you choose the “send” option, pick up your ball and place it touching the ball you hit. Place your foot on your ball, then strike your ball. If you do this correctly, your ball will remain under your foot while the other ball will be sent away. If you do this incorrectly, I hope you are wearing shin protection. Be forewarned that people don’t like getting their balls sent and are likely to take revenge at some point.
Becoming A Zombie
Once you have completed the course by striking the starting flag post, you become a zombie. Remove your ball from the playing field and sit out one turn. When you come back, place your ball touching the flag post. This is the last time you may touch rebar. As a Zombie, rebar is like antimatter – if you touch it or go through a hoop, you die! Therefore, do not hit your ball back through the hoops.
Each turn you get one and only one hit, regardless of the result. Any ball you hit dies, even if it is also a Zombie. You only die if another Zombie hits you when it’s not your turn or if you hit rebar or go through a hoop. If a non-Zombie hits you, the non-Zombie is dead. When it is your turn, other Zombies cannot kill you but they can still kill other balls and Zombies. Thus if your Zombie hits another Zombie and the other Zombie then hits another ball, that ball is dead too, even if it was also a Zombie. The balls do not “die” until they stop rolling.
The person with the last ball on the field wins. Any situation that does not leave one ball on the field results in no winner. Thus if two balls remain and a Zombie strikes the other ball in the same turn as also striking rebar or going through a hoop, there is no winner, even if the Zombie eliminated the other ball before meeting its doom. In this scenario, both balls die when they stop rolling and there is no winner.
If your ball splits into multiple pieces, you must finish the game with the largest piece. There is an optional rule where the ball can be replaced if the person buys everyone beer.