Advantage GC

2024 - Minor amendments   *March 2024 update*

The only changes from the 2023 document are:

    • Pages 7 & 8 - the addition of Scoring Scales (ratios) for unfinished timed games.
    • Page 2 - the Tournament Play paragraph concerning the ordering of tournament blocks has been revised.

Users/countries are at liberty to follow these recommendations, or not, as they wish.

To avoid distribution of out-dated documentation Countries are strongly advised to publish a link to this PAGE and not links to individual FILES. The most recent version of Advantage GC will always be accessible here.


If you've not tried this variant yet, then we invite you all to give the game a try and, if you wish to, please send us feedback. Please let us know your impressions and observations and also provide game results which show the handicaps and/or DGrades of the players.  Please use the dedicated email address set up for this purpose –


History of Advantage GC

The existing form of handicap GC uses extra strokes and is played mainly in Australia, England, and New Zealand and almost nowhere else.  It is not generally regarded as the optimal way of allowing players of different abilities to compete on equal terms.

In 2020, the WCF Management Committee (“MC”) obtained details from the Croquet Association of Ireland of a form of handicap GC that it had used successfully in recent years.  This did not use extra strokes but instead gave the weaker player an advantage in the form of a certain number of hoops.  Unlike the current form of handicap GC, this version did not require different tactics from the level game and it was believed that this made it easier for new and improving players to develop.

The MC then established a Working Group with representatives from Australia, England, Latvia, Uruguay and USA with the task of coming up with a statistically sound and yet simple-to-use algorithm which would give both players a 50/50 chance of winning a game through an adjustment of the number of hoops that needed to be scored by one or both players to win a game.

The Working Group developed a form of GC which was named “Advantage GC”. After exploring options, the MC decided to work with Roy Tillock from the Southern Federation to run a series of trials starting in 2021.

2021 Official Trial Results
An official trial took place during the English CA's Southern Croquet Federation (SCF) 2021 League season.

The MC are pleased to report that the trial was completed successfully, with both good data and subjective feedback received.

Roy Tillcock, who organised the trial, has analysed this data and it is extremely encouraging. We know that many clubs around the world tested the new variant, and their feedback was also extremely favourable. We thank everyone who has helped test the game and submitted their data.

The full results can be seen here > SCF 2021 Advantage Trial Report

2022 update - amendments identified
The trial showed that most people felt this game provided a closer experience to level play GC than using extra strokes. The data showed that this variant provided closer matches than the use of extra strokes. Previous analysis has shown that extra strokes generally favours the stronger player, however, data collected over some 836 games of Advantage GC, showed that in some cases there was a slight advantage for the weaker player. To correct this, the Starting Scores Table was been amended.

2023 update - further amendments identified
After capturing further data during the 2022 season, amendments to the tables were approved by the WCF GC Rules Committee in July 2023. Please ensure you use the file at the top of this page which includes the latest information.



2023 Advantage GC Starting Scores Table - First to 7 Points

An example Advantage Post - useful for placing starting clips to avoid overloading hoop 1