The object of the game of bocce is for one team to get as many of its balls as possible closer to the pallino (the small target ball) than the opposing team’s closest ball.
Who Goes First?
Begin the match with the flip of a coin between the “capos”(captains) of each team. The winner of the coin flip may choose to have the first toss of the pallino or choose the color of the balls.
Tossing the pallino
A player may toss the pallino any distance so long as the pallino passes the center line of the court and does not go out of bounds. If a player fails to toss the pallino properly within two tries, the opposing team will toss the pallino and put it into play. If the opposing team fails to properly toss the pallino, the pallino reverts to the original team. Any time a player is rolling; opposing players must remain outside the court.
How do you start?
When the pallino has been properly put into play, the team who originally tossed the pallino throws the first bocce ball. If the bocce ball rolls out of bounds, that team must roll again. Otherwise he/she steps aside and his/her team does not roll again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce balls closer to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls. The team whose bocce ball is closest to the pallino is called “inside,” and the opposing team, “outside.” Whenever a team gets inside, it steps aside and lets the outside team roll. The team outside throws until it beats (not ties) the opposing ball. This continues until both teams have used all their bocce balls (a total of 8, 4 from each team). The team that scored last in one frame throws the pallino to begin the next frame. Consecutive throws by a player is required. When a team wins a game, players exchange ends of the court and substitutions may be made. The team winning the previous game will toss the pallino to start the next game.
Where do you roll from?
Player’s movements are limited to the foul line. The first frame of play starts at either end line. In subsequent frames, the foul line is placed within +/– 5 feet of the pallino in the previous frame. The player shall play behind the foul line and should not step on or over the foul line before releasing the pallino or bocce ball. If the intent of the foot foul rule is abused, the offending player may be removed from the game by a ruling official.
How do you score?
Scoring is done after all bocce balls are thrown by both teams. Only one team, the “inside” team, scores in a frame. One point is given for each ball that is closer to the pallino than the closest ball of the opposing team, two points are awarded for a bocce (ball touching pallino). There is no minimum distance to the pallino. If at the end of any frame, the closest ball of each team is the same distance from the pallino, the frame ends in a tie. No points are awarded to either team, and the game resumes from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the pallino. The first team who scores 10 points in the Round Robin and 8 points in the final rounds, wins the game. All measurements should be made from the edge of the pallino to the edge of the bocce ball. Only an official and one representative from each team may be present for the measurement if there is a question as to the measurement. Capos of each team are responsible for keeping the score sheet and for reporting the results of the match.
What is out of bounds?
If the pallino or ball is outside the court and not touching the rope, it is out of bounds.
What are some strategies that good players use?
Offensive and defensive tactics can be employed to out-maneuver your opponent. For example:
Shooting, tossing the ball in the air beyond the center of the court is not allowed.
What if a ball rolls out of bounds?
Should a player’s bocce ball roll out of bounds, the bocce ball is considered a dead ball.
What if the pallino goes out of bounds?
Once the pallino has been tossed past the center line and is in play, it remains in play even if it touches the rope boundary. However, if the pallino is knocked out of the court or it is knocked in front of the center line, the frame will end with no points awarded and play will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the pallino.
What IF THE wrong ball is thrown?
If a player rolls the wrong color ball, simply replace it with the correct color when it comes to rest. If a player rolls out of turn, the other team has the option to return the thrown ball and replace any moved balls to their original position or leave all balls as is.
How many people on a team?
Games are played by teams of two (“doubles”). In doubles, both players play 2 balls each from each end of the court. At the end of each frame, the game goes to the opposite end of the court.