Petanque vs Bocce

The words Petanque and bocce ball are often used interchangeably. Yes, both of these games belong to the boules sports category, but they are not the same. There are plenty of differences between these two games. The topic of this post is petanque vs bocce, and the goal is to help you understand both the similarities and differences. 

What Is Petanque?

This is a bowling game that originated in France. The game involves throwing a ball targeting another smaller target ball. If your ball gets closer to the target than your opponent’s ball, you get one point. The team or player that scores thirteen points first becomes the winner.

The game consists of rounds. The team that wins gets the opportunity to throw first in the next round. To win, players employ various tactics. One common tactic is to shoot the opponent’s ball. This is often done to remove the opponent’s ball. However, it involves risks. If you miss, your ball might exit the field.

Petanque is a popular social game. It is even played at national and international levels. Countries like the USA, England, and France host big showcase events.

What Is Bocce?

Bocce is another bowling game that can be traced back to ancient times. This game also involves throwing a ball toward a smaller target ball. Archeologists suggest that this game was played even in ancient Egypt. However, we do not know the details of how this game was played in those days.

Over the years, bocce has evolved significantly. From Egypt, it spread to Greece and Rome. It is a historic fact that bocce was played in 264 when the Punic Wars took place. During this time, the game had the same rules we know today.

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This game is closely related to French petanque and British bowls. In modern times, bocce is played all around Europe, North America, Australia, and South America. The game is called bocha in Brazil and bolas criollas in Venezuela.

Bocce has also gained significant popularity in Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the sport is not well-known in Asia.

It has been popularized among the wider community by the descendants of Italian migrants. People of all ages can participate in bocce, and this is one of the reasons for its popularity.

Petanque vs Bocce: What Are the Similarities?

People often confuse these two games because they have a lot of things in common. Both of these games belong to the category of boules sport. Some other sports such as Raffa, lawn bowling, boule lyonnaise, and crown green bowling are also under this category.

Both these games involve throwing a ball toward a smaller target ball. This is the main similarity between the two.

There are also similar scoring rules for bocce and petanque. Another similarity is that an end or frame is completed once a player has thrown all the balls. The winner of the frame is the team that has dropped the ball closer to the jack. In both games, a player gets 1 point for throwing a ball closer to the jack.

Petanque vs Bocce: What Are the Differences?

Now let’s see the differences between the two games. Petanque and bocce use different types of balls, and their throwing techniques are also different. Bocce balls are more colorful and a bit heavier. When throwing the balls, players take a few forward steps.

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On the other hand, the balls are lighter in petanque. Players standstill when tossing the balls. Here are the other differences:

  1. In petanque, the balls are smaller. The standard size of a typical petanque ball is 73mm in diameter. On the other hand, a typical bocce ball is 107mm.
  2. The balls used in petanque are made of steel and are hollow. In contrast, typical bocce balls are made of epoxy resin and are solid. In the past, bocce balls were made of wood.
  3. Petanque balls, due to their hollow center, are lighter. The weight of a standard petanque ball is 680 grams. A petanque ball typically weighs 920 grams.
  4. Owing to their steel construction, petanque balls are not colorful. Different sets of petanque balls are identified with different patterned grooves. But bocce balls are colorful.
  5. When trying to understand the rules of petanque vs bocce, it is important to remember the techniques of throwing the balls. Bocce balls are larger, and that is why they are rolled with the palm. Petanque balls are lighter and small. Players just toss the balls like in horseshoes.
  6. Petanque players standstill while throwing the balls. According to the rules of the petanque, players have to stay within the circle when they throw the balls. This is not the case in bocce. Players step forward when throwing the ball.
  7. Petanque and bocce also differ in the court size. The width for both courts is 13 feet. But there is a big difference in the length. The standard length of a petanque court is 50 feet. On the other hand, the standard length of a bocce court is 91 feet.
  8. Bocce balls need to run smoothly across the surface, and that is why the court needs to be smooth. But petanque can be played on any terrain, even if there are rocks and trees in between. Uneven terrains are even more suitable for playing petanque.
  9.  Building a bocce court can be expensive and time-consuming because the game requires a large, smooth surface.  Bocce courts are expensive also because they need sideboards. To keep the court usable, you have to be careful about its maintenance. On the other hand, building a petanque court is a lot easier. It is very cheap to build and maintain.
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We have discussed different aspects of petanque vs bocce, and how hope now you understand the similarities and differences. In terms of the basic structures, the two sports are pretty similar. The balls and some playing rules make them different. There is no doubt that both are super fun.