The stakes are high. I’m not talking about the new board game “Steak Stackers” in which players take turns building a tower of raw, USDA Top Choice Sirloin Steaks until it topples, sending juicy steaks flying all over the living room (that’s still under review by the FDA, and stands to make a certain amateur board game inventor, whose name rhymes with BailsNails, very, very rich), I’m talking about the epic game of strategy, revenge and unbridled, smack-you-in-the-mouth aggression: croquet. You would think croquet is only meant to be played by rich aristocrats and their pets, and you would be correct. According to my totally unreliable sources, croquet was invented by the Earl of Flatbread in 1725 as a way to entertain visiting French dignitaries and their jaded poodles. Alas, the poodles were NOT impressed with the ridiculous pseudo-sport, as they preferred something with a little more speed and body contact, but the game was adopted by the Earl’s staff of gardeners, who played the game with shovels until one of the gardeners lost all of his front teeth, and thus softer wooden mallets were the equipment of choice from then on. Fast forward hundreds of years and you arrive at the game known in some circles as golf for simpletons: croquet. By combining the natural hazards of the common backyard, metal wickets, mallets and balls that weigh more than SUV tires, you have a game that takes no prisoners and turns even the most innocent garden party into a veritable bloodbath. Croquet is so intense that Universal Studios has been in talks to develop a full length action feature adaptation entitled “Croquet.” Rumor has it they’re going for a hard PG-13 rating, but the MPAA could very well smite them with a “Rated R” lightning bolt. It’s all very exciting.