Start of Match

The match shall begin with the flip of a coin between the capos (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.

A player may toss the pallino any distance so long as the pallino passes the center line of the court and does not hit the back wall. If a player fails to validly toss the pallino after one attempt, the opposing team will have a chance to toss the pallino and put it in play. If the opposing team fails to toss the pallino past the center line the pallino reverts to the original team. In any case, when the pallino has been properly put in play, the first bocce ball will be thrown by the team who originally tossed the pallino.

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Play the Game

The team who originally tosses the pallino, whether successfully or not throws the first bocce ball. If the bocce ball hits the back board, that team must roll again. Otherwise he/she steps aside and his team does not roll again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce balls closer to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls. The team whose bocce balls are closest to the pallino is called “inside” and the opposing team “outside.” Whenever a team gets inside, it steps aside and lets the outside team roll. The team outside throws until it beats (not ties) the opposing ball. This continues until both teams have used all their bocce balls (a total of 8, 4 from each team). The team who scored last, throws the pallino to begin the next frame.

If a player rolls the wrong colored ball, simply replace it with the correct color when the ball comes to rest.

If a player rolls out of turn the opposing team may leave everything, including the thrown ball, exactly where it is or may return any moved balls to their approximate original positions and remove the thrown ball from play.

When a team wins a game players exchange ends of the court and substitutions may be made. The team winning the previous game will toss the pallino to start the next game.

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Dead Balls

Should a player’s bocce ball make contact with the back board the bocce ball is considered a dead ball on impact and is removed from play until the end of the frame.

If a bocce after hitting the backboard strikes a stationary bocce, that stationary bocce shall be replaced in it’s approximate original position. The thrown ball is removed from play.

If a bocce after hitting the backboard strikes a stationary bocce, that stationary bocce shall be replaced in it’s original position. The thrown ball is removed from play.

If a bocce hitting the backboard is not removed quickly enough and, as a result, strikes a moving ball that likely would have hit the backboard, allowing the moving ball to remain in play, that moving ball remains in play where it comes to rest.

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Once the pallino has been validly put into play, it remains in play even if it hits the backboard. However, if the pallino is knocked out of the court or it is knocked in the front of the center line, the frame will end, no points are awarded, and the game will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the pallino.

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Foul Line

Player’s movements are limited to the foul line. The player should not step on or over the foul line before releasing the pallino or bocce balls. If the intent of the foot foul rule is abused, the offending player may be removed from the game by a ruling official. When a player releases the pallino or bocce, both feet must be on the court unless the player has a significant physical impairment.

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Shooting is lofting the ball in the air beyond the center of the court. Shooting is not allowed.

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Only the “inside” team scores. One point is given for each ball of the inside team that is closer to the pallino than any ball of the opposing team. If at the end of any frame the closest ball of each team is equidistant from the pallino, the frame ends in a tie and no points are awarded to either team. The game will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the pallino. Capos of each team are responsible for keeping the score sheet and for reporting the results of the match. The team who scores 12 points wins the game (must win by 2 pts).

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All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce ball to the inside dimension of the pallino. Only an official and one representative from each team may be present for the measurement.

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If a team fields less then 2 players, the game is a forfeit. A 2 or 3 member team may play throwing only 2 balls per player. A 3rd or 4th player arriving late may enter the game after the completion of the frame.

A team may make one substitution per game. Substitutions may only be made between frames.
No player may play two consecutive games from the same end of the court.
Players need not alternate throws. Consecutive or alternating throws by teammates shall be at the option of the players.

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Conduct and Courtesy

Team capos are responsible for the actions of their players.

If a player is standing in the playing half of the court while the opposing team requests that the player step aside, that request should be honored.

Only participating players should be on the court while the game is in progress. Spectators are not allowed on the courts at anytime during regulation play.

Courtesy and respect should be displayed at all times. Profanity and unsportsman-like conduct is not permitted. Violations may result in a warning by a ruling official to the player and team captain. Severe violations or a violation after a warning may result in the players expulsion by the ruling official from the game or match.

All trash, pop tops, cigarette butts, etc. are to be discarded in appropriate containers.

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The rules provided here are general and may be modified by officials at individual tournaments. Local rules are specified to each team prior to the competition.

You cannot play in the tournament unless you/your team are registered. Please see the Information for Application on the main Bocce page.

Festa Seattle wants to thank Bam’s Bocce Page for providing the above rules of Bocce.