You may have seen it on the beach, at the park, or played in your neighborhood. It looks challenging, but the players are having a blast. You might be thinking “what is it?” It’s bocce ball! This game is friendly to all ages and gets people working as a team! Using teamwork and a total of eight large balls, each team works to score.
Break it Down
Bocce takes place with two teams of two players each. Each player has two large balls called bocce. A smaller ball called “the Pallino” is the target. People play on a court, but players generally play bocce wherever they find enough ground on which to roll the balls. Teams should decide which side will go first.
The first team to go will throw the Pallino, and wherever it stops will be the target. All players should then stand behind a line to make their throws. Generally, everyone agrees on where it is fair to stand. The team that threw the Pallino throws the first bocce. Teams and players alternate throws until all eight balls have been thrown. Players try to make their team’s bocce be the closest to the Pallino. Players should alternate by allowing the team farthest from the Pallino to throw. However, in many casual games, players just alternate from one team to the next.
Get Ready to Score
Only the team with the closest bocce to the Pallino will score any points. The closest team, or inside, gets several points equal to how many of their bocce is closer to the Pallino than the other team’s nearest bocce. If the player’s bocce touches the Pallino, it is called “a Baci” and the team earns two points for that ball. A game of bocce is called a round, and it lasts until a team reaches a predetermined point value. Common winning scores that are used are 9, 11, 12, and 15. Any disputes can be settled using a tape measure or even a stick to check the distance from the Pallino. In the case of a tie, or any dispute that cannot be settled, no points are awarded to either team.
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Don’t Be a Rule Breaker
When a player steps over a designated line when making a throw, that is a fault. The penalty can be either a warning or an invalidation of the throw. Bocce is a casual and fun game and a warning will keep most people within the rules. If a player makes a throw out of order, the teams can usually agree to let it go or to replace the balls approximately where they were. Lastly, no one from the opposite team should try to distract a thrower.
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