What started as a game for Romans to pass the time is now a game that is beloved by many around the world!
If you play bocce ball, you know it is the perfect combination of fun and challenging. Couple this with a tournament with either friends or family, and you’ll be playing the game all night long.
Before things start to get heated, here is everything you need to know about how to score bocce ball.
The game is pretty straightforward. You’ll start by throwing the Pallino (a specially marked ball).
Then, each team will take turns throwing bocce balls. Your primary goal is to end up with your bocce balls closest to the Pallino.
Each ball closer to the Pallino than an opponent’s bocce balls gets one point. If your ball is touching the Pallino, you get two points.
The team who secures 12 points first wins!
Each bocce ball game is made up of a series of rounds. These are known as frames.
Once a frame is over, the points are awarded to each team.
Requirements for Bocce Ball
You’ll need at least two teams. There can be 1, 2, 3, or 4 players on each team.
Bocce Ball Set
A bocce set comes with 8 larger balls and occasionally a smaller ball (Pallino ball).
The 8 larger balls are divided into 2 sets of four balls. Both sets have different colors to represent each team easily.
The Pallino represents the target.
Bocce Ball Court
If you play bocce ball, you know that having a smooth, flat playing surface is a must.
If you’re hosting an official competition, you’ll need a regulation-size court (13 feet wide and 91 feet long).
If you are playing with friends and family, the court can be whatever size you need to accommodate your space as long as it has ample playing area.
Even though installing a raised barrier around the court is recommended, if it’s a social game between friends and family, you don’t need one.
Setting up the Court
Before you can play bocce ball, you’ll need to set up the court.
Start by outlining the rectangle of your court. Once you are done, mark a foul line on each courtside. Typically, it is 10 feet from the bocce ball throwing end of the court.
You’ll also need to mark a center line.
For marking, you can use chalk or string or simply draw a line in sand using a stick.
Bocce Ball Rules
Now that your court is set up, it is time to throw bocce balls.
Each team gets four balls which are to be equally divided among the players.
If the team consists of one player only, they will make all the throws. If there are two players in the team, each one gets two throws.
Deciding Who Goes First
Each team chooses a captain to represent them. Typically, team captains do a coin toss to decide who throws the first bocce ball. Some prefer doing rock paper scissors instead.
The winning team gets the following privileges:
- They get to throw the first bocce ball
- They get to throw Pallino
- They get to choose the side of the court according to their preference
The opposing team gets to decide what color of bocce balls will represent their team.
Setting the Pallino
When setting up the Pallino, the thrower must be behind the foul line.
For a valid throw, the following conditions need to be met:
- Pallino must pass the halfway mark
- It shouldn’t hit the back wall
If either condition isn’t met, the opposing team will throw the Pallino. Until a valid throw is achieved, the teams must keep alternating the Pallino.
The coin toss winner will retain the first throw even if they foul on the Pallino throw.
First Throw and Turns
Keep in mind that your primary goal is to get as many bocce ball closest to the Pallino (more so than your opponent’s balls) by the time the current frame ends.
Spock is when you throw a bocce ball with the intent of hitting an opponent’s ball.
You’ll need to announce the intent before making the play. If it fails to hit any balls that have been thrown so far in the game, it will be considered a dead ball and removed from the play.
This means no points are awarded.
The teams should keep alternating until all bocce balls have been thrown.
When a new frame begins, the team who didn’t get to throw the Pallino and bocce ball first in the last frame (losers of the coin toss) get to do it in this frame.
Only one team gets to score in each frame, and the game will be won by the team who reaches the 12 points first.
To score points, players need to identify who has got the closest ball to the Pallino.
Then count the number of balls that are closer to the Pallino than your opponent’s ball. Each ball closer gets 1 point, and a touching ball scores 2 points.
The fun part about bocce balls is that it’s a flexible game. You can make up your own rules or use one of its many variations.
If the ball hits Pallino and remains in contact with it by the time the frame end, 2 points are awarded. You can play with or without this scoring rule.
This is one of the common variations of bocce ball. Instead of alternating, the second thrower (coin toss losers) will continue throwing their bocce balls until they run out.
The first team (coin toss winners) will take their turn, and once they’re done, scoring proceeds as usual.
The winning score can be whatever you want it to be, and instead of 12, you can play to any number.
Some bocce ball players prefer using a win-by 2 rule. This means that when a player or team reaches 12 points, they are only deemed winners if they have at least a 2-point lead over the other team.
You need to master the art of bocce ball throwing if you plan on winning the game, and by using the rules mentioned in this guide, you’ll be scoring high points in no time!