Association croquet is the more traditional, and oldest, form of the game. It began just before the introduction of the forerunners of golf croquet. The origins are unknown, though various sources suggest it came to England from Ireland.
This is a subtle and delicately-played game which involves a high degree of skill in controlling, in the main, two balls at once. The lawn has six hoops and a centre peg. The idea of the game is to get both a side's croquet balls round a certain chosen number of hoops (usually twelve), and then each ball must hit the centre peg. A side will be given 'extra' shots depending on whether hoops are run or other balls are hit. Thus the judicious player can use these shots to take a ball or balls a long way around the lawn in a big break. If a side makes a mistake and runs out of turns then the other side takes over and tries to take their own balls round the lawn.
Only one side is on the lawn with the other side sitting out until their turn arises. Games can take 2 or 3 hours. However, a game of 'speed Association' can be played and has many attractions for players.
This is a fascinating game of careful ball positioning especially around the hoop, but also on the wide lawn, in order to set up a situation in which continuation shots are easy to accomplish while also positioning balls to run hoops.