Roque is an American variant of croquet. It is played on a hard sand/clay 30x60 ft court. Unlike croquet, the roque court has a raised border tapered at the ends to form an octagon. Players use this border to caromed their balls similar to how billiard balls are played off the cushions of a billiard table. The [ wickets] , called "arches" in roque, are permanently anchored in the court. The arches are narrow as in professional six-wicket croquet. The mallets with which the balls are struck have a shorter handle (approx. 24 inches). One end of the mallet is surfaced with rubber, the other with wood, plastic, or aluminum. The court has ten arches in seven points configured in a double diamond (or figure-8). The two farthest end points and the central point of the figure-8 have two arches, one after the other, while the four corner points have single arches. While in nine-wicket croquet the single central wicket opens up to the length of the court facing the pegs, in roque the double center arches face the sides of the court. After scoring the center arches, the player scores the corner arch from the outside of the court coming in, rather than in the direction of flow as in nine-wicket croquet---in other words, in roque the ball must pass through the corner arches toward the center of the court, rather in the direction of the next stake. Finally, roque players often employ "english" (applying spin to a ball to affect its movement, as in Billiards) and the playing surface is faster than croquet.

Roque developed sub-variants, including Two-Ball Roque and Royal Roque.

The term "roque" (ˈrōk) was suggested by Mr. Samuel Crosby of New York in 1899 by removing the "c" and "t" from "croquet." [] The National Croquet Association, formed in 1882, thereafter changed its name to the National Roque Association in 1899. [] The term "roque" is not to be confused with the term "roquet" ( ō-ˈkā) where a player strikes an opponent's ball with his own.

The American Roque League was founded in 1916 and after mergers with various other roque entities, became the centralized roque league in August 20, 1920. [] It last published its rules in the 1950s; the National Two Ball Roque Association last published its revised rules in 1961. []

In 2004, the American Roque and Croquet Association suspended tournaments because the number of participants at the Nationals had shrunk to single figures. []

Roque is still played by a small number of people in the United States. An annual roque tournament is held annually in Angelica, New York. While there are reports that the American Roque League still operates, there is no independent evidence of this. Considering roque was an event at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, United States, the demise of the sport was meteoric. This is despite the survival of croquet, the creation of new variants of croquet, the smaller court, the relative ease of maintaining the court, and the indoor playing possibilities of roque.

Roque features heavily in Stephen King's novel "The Shining." Unlike the movie, where he wielded an axe, in the book Jack Torrance's weapon was a roque mallet. In "The Shining", King's character Ullman tells Jack Torrance that roque is the older, original form of the game and croquet is a "bastardized" American version. However, croquet is the original European game and roque is a later American "scientific" innovation.

A chapter in John Steinbeck's novel "Sweet Thursday" also describes a rivalry that arose among the town's residents over the game.

See also

* [ Roque description]
* [ Roque rules with brief history]
* [ Diagram for roque court]
*Roque at the 1904 Summer Olympics

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