Bocce Ball Instructions: How to Play Bocce Ball

Italian ball or Bocce ball is fast gaining popularity in America. A fun game for all the family, here's an insight into the game, and how you can go about playing it.
SportsAspire Staff
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2018
Evil Bocce Balls!
In 1576, the Republic of Venice declared playing the sport of Bocce ball to be a crime. Anyone caught playing the game was fined or imprisoned. Also, the old Catholic church banned the clergymen from playing this sport. It was considered to be a form of gambling.
Your search for an exciting ball game to play with friends and family ends here. Bocce ball is an ancient Italian game that needs skill, accuracy and strategy for playing.

Bocce or bocci is played with 8 large balls and one small target ball. The 8 balls are separated into two color sets of 4 balls each. The large balls are called 'Bocce' and the small ball is known as 'Pallino' or 'Jack'. This game is played by two people or in teams of two or four players.
Basic Rules of Bocce Ball
  • This game is ideally played on a flat surface, such as packed dirt, gravel or grass. A normal bocce court is about 76 feet long and 10 feet wide.
  • The 8 balls are divided among the two teams. Each team has a set of 4 similar colored balls.
  • The teams toss a coin to decide who will start the game. The team that wins the toss selects a player at random to throw the pallino.
  • The players can roll or lob the bocce, but cannot shoot the ball beyond the center line of the court.
  • Each team player rolls out a ball, till all 4 balls are rolled out. The objective is to roll the bocce closest to the pallino.
  • The next team either tries to roll the bocce closer to the pallino than the opposition's ball, or tries to better their own first attempt (whichever is closer to the pallino).
  • At the end of each round, the team that has a ball closest to the pallino, earns a point. In case of a tie, no points are awarded to either of the teams.
  • The team with the highest score starts the next frame. If none of the teams have scored any points, then the team which threw the pallino last, begins the game.
  • If a player throws a wrong colored ball, the team needs to replace it with the right colored ball.
  • If a player throws a ball out of his turn, then the opposing team may return any moved balls to their original place or may leave everything as it is. They can even choose to remove the thrown ball from the game.
  • If any bocce ball is moved before all the other 8 balls are played, the opposing team replaces the ball to its original position.
  • If a bocce ball rests on the pallino, or another ball touches the back wall, that ball can remain in play. The ball touching the wall is taken out of play. If a pallino touches the wall, it remains in the game.
  • If a ball touches the backboard, and then strikes a stationary ball, the stationary ball is moved back to its original place and the ball hitting the backboard is removed.
Bocce Ball Guidelines
  1. A player from the team which wins the toss throws the pallino as far as he can.
  2. The same player then throws a bocce ball as close as possible to the pallino. This player is considered 'inside' as his ball is closer than the other balls.
  3. He cannot take a turn throwing balls. All other players are considered 'outside' till one of them gets closer to the pallino than the 'inside' player.
  4. The game continues till all 8 bocce balls have been thrown. One point is earned by the team for each of the balls that are closer to the pallino than the other team's closest ball.
  5. The frame ends when all points have been awarded and all eight bocce balls have been thrown.
  6. The game can continue till one team earns a score of 12.
  7. The teams can look to adopt the strategy of knocking the opposing team's balls away from the pallino. They could also try to knock their bocces toward the pallino or knock the pallino toward their bocce.
  8. A team could also try and shield their bocce which is closest to the pallino, by rolling the bocce close to the ball. This would make the opposing team's attempt to score a point that much more difficult.
Bocce ball is tons of fun, and helps build up the team spirit. You can enjoy a game of bocce ball with your family without keeping score. The winner could be the team with the closest ball to the pallino. This is makes for a recreational activity during family gatherings. It allows all the members of the team to actively participate in the game, and creates an enthusiastic atmosphere. So grab a bocce, and set the ball rolling. Cheers.
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