Bocce Ball Basics
Bocce includes elements of many other popular games such as bowling, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and skee-ball. It’s simple, yet addictive, and a lot of fun.
To play bocce ball you only need three things:
- A set of bocce balls, which can be purchased fairly inexpensively. Bocce sets consist of a small ball called either the jack, pallino, or boccino and 8 large balls.
- 2 to 8 people. If you have a larger group you can have a tournament with multiple sets of bocce balls.
- A relatively flat open space, although you can mix things up by playing on hills or uneven surfaces.
How To Play Bocce Ball
According to Philip Ferrari at World Bocce, these are the game’s rules of play:
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 and throw the small ball, or pallino, toward the opposite end of the playing surface. The same person who tossed the pallino then throws a 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 to the pallino than the first team. If team two gets closer, then it’s 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 opponents’ balls away from the pallino and/or knock the pallino to increase your score. The team with the closest ball to the pallino gets one point for each of its balls that are closer than the other team’s closest ball. The team whose ball is closest to the pallino is the only one awarded points for this frame. Keep in mind that if the two teams’ closest balls are an equal distance from the pallino, 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 pallino last begins the next frame. Play as many frames as needed until one team has a total score of 16 points.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin
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