I’ve played croquet all my life, it was a favorite past time at my grandparents where my brother and cousin would play together in their large back yard. There were obstacles, fences, houses, window wells, flowers, and trees. It was great. Recently we invented our own ‘house rules’ version. The rules were difficult and changed with the person in the lead, but it made for some pretty interesting games.
It was also a favorite past time of the Victorians. The game as we know it was apparently invented in Ireland in the 1830s. It spread, though somewhat slower here in the states and Canada, but remains popular. And there are even professional games. I expect the competition is fierce.