How to Play Bocce Ball

History of Bocce Ball:

Bocce Ball has been evolving for thousands of years. The basics of the game can be traced back to games that were played in Egypt around 5000 BC when people first began settling along the Nile Delta. Records dating to the 3rd century BC also show the popularity of a Bocce-like game with Roman soldiers. As the Roman Empire spread, this game was introduced throughout the European continent, Asia and North Africa.


Bocce Ball is one of the oldest of all lawn or yard games. Best known in Italy, it is gaining popularity in North America since it can be played by people of all ages and on a great variety of surfaces. Bocce is played between two players or two teams of up to four players on a team.


The Objective of Bocce:

The object of Bocce is to get as many of your bocci (bigger, weighted balls) as close to the pallino (smaller target ball) as possible. If you are successful in getting your bocci closer to the pallino than your opponent, you are awarded points.


Bocce Ball Playing Surfaces:

Bocce Ball can be played on a variety of flat surfaces such as: Bocce Ball Courts, Beach Sand and Yards or Parks. A large area is needed in order to make the game more challenging. An actual Bocce Ball court measures 76 feet long and 12 feet wide. The game however is just as much fun without the court.


Bocce Ball Scoring:

When all balls have been thrown, the teams shall proceed to measure the distance of the balls from the Jack. Each teams ball that is closer to the target ball than the nearest ball of the opposing team, scores 1 point. Games are played to a set point total usually 12, 15 or 21.


How To Play Bocce Ball (Beach or Backyard Rules):

Divide players into two teams of one, two or four players each. Each team gets four balls, divided equally among the players. A coin toss determines who will play first. 

To start the game have a player from the starting team stand behind the foul line (which is 10 feet from the throwing end of the court) and throw the small ball, or "pallina," toward the opposite end of the playing surface. The same person who tossed the Pallino then throws the one Bocce Ball trying to get it as close to the Pallino as possible without touching it.


The next team then throws one ball trying to get closer than the first team. If team two gets closer, then it is Team one’s turn. If Team Two’s ball does not come closer then they continue to throw until they get a ball closer to the Pallino or until they are out of balls. Then Team One throws the reminder of their bocce balls. REMEMBER: you can knock your opponent’s balls away from the Pallino to increase your score.

The team with the closest ball gets one point for each of its balls that are closer to the pallina than the other team's closest ball.

Keep in mind that if the two teams' closest balls are an equal distance from the pallina, no points are awarded.

End the frame after all eight balls have been thrown and appropriate points have been awarded. The scoring team begins the next frame. If no team previously scored, the team that threw the pallina last begins the next frame.

Play as many frames as needed until one team has a total score of 16 points.


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