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Bocce Game information

Bocce is traditionally played on an oyster shell court, but has also been played on decomposed granite, soil, or asphalt court. Courts are made to be a range of sizes. Generally the overall dimensions of a Bocce Court are 10-13 feet wide and 76 to 100 feet long. Bocce balls can be made of metal, wood, stone, or various kinds of plastic. Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias.

A game can played with teams of 1 to 4 players. Players toss Bocce balls in an effort to get their team’s balls closest to the Pallino. The length of a game varies by region, but is typically played to 11, 12, or 13 points.

Rules

Game Pieces

  • 1 target ball, called the Pallina or Pallino
  • 4 bocce balls per team

Game Play

  • Divide players into two teams of one, two, or four players each.
  • Each team has four balls, divided equally among the players.
  • The match shall begin with the flip of a coin between the captains from each team. The winner of the coin flip may have the first toss of the Pallino or choose the color of the balls.
  • To begin, a player from the starting team stands behind the foul line and throws the Pallino toward the opposite end of the playing surface. A player may toss the pallino any distance so long as the pallino passes the centerline of the court, and does not hit the backboard. If a player fails to toss the pallino past the centerline, or it hits the backboard, the opposing team will toss the pallino and put it in play. If the opposing team fails to toss the pallino past the centerline, or it hits the backboard, the pallino reverts to the original team.
  • The player who originally tosses the Pallino throws the first bocce ball. Their ball is now the closest to the Pallino, so the other team throws their bocce balls until they are closest to the Pallino.
  • Continue in this fashion until all eight balls have been thrown. The team with the closest ball gets one point for each of its balls that are closer to the pallina than the other team’s closest ball.
  • If a bocce ball hits the back board without hitting a bocce ball first, it is considered a dead ball and is taken off the court until the next Frame.
  • If each team’s closest balls are an equal distance from the pallino, no points are 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 11 points.

Making Your Own Bocce Court

  • Find a large, flat area. A regulation bocce ball court is 76 feet long by 10 to 13 feet wide. This will be your court, though, so make it a size that will work best for you, or fit best in the area you plan to use.
  • Clear and flatten your area. This may involve removing grass, weeds, rocks, etc. Your playing area must be completely flat, for best game play.
  • Ram or steamroll the soil. Rent a rammer or small steamroller from your local hardware store. Ram the soil so that it is compact and perfectly flat.
  • Build your walls. Choose materials to best fit your time, budget, and construction skills.
    You can use a concrete barrier, or wood landscaping barriers, or pressure treated lumber.
  • At this point, you could lay a sheet of weed barrier.
  • 3-6" of 3/4”minus limestone, class 2 road base, crushed stone, pea gravel, or rock.
  • Incorporate 3" of crushed lime stone. This helps with water drainage.
  • On top of the crushed rock, lay 1-3" of tennis clay or topping clay. Pat the clay down using a roller or rammer. You can also use crushed oyster shells.
  • Water down your court. This will help with settling. You may need to do this several times, brushing or raking the surface in between.