How to Play Bocce

Question :
What are the rules for Bocce?
Answer :
There are various forms for bocce play and rules used around the world.


A simple way to describe the object of the game is relate it to the game of soccer. In soccer the only real object of the game is to get the ball into the goal of the opposing team more often than they do, within an allotted time period. In bocce the only object is for one or more of your teams balls to be closer than any of your opponents balls to the pallina (small target ball, often white) at the end of every set. Rather than a time period you can play a fixed number of ends and total the higher score to win or the first team to a predetermined score. Typical is 11 13 or 15.

Of course as in soccer there are other governing rules. It is with these rules that each of the various styles varies and denote the difference between casual backyard fun and all the other variations up to International competition level of play. The object is always the same as described above.

  • Bocce is played with eight large balls and one smaller target or object ball called the jack.
  • There are 4 balls to a side, or team, and they are made in two colors to distinguish the balls of one team from the 4 balls of the opposing team.
  • A coin toss will determine which team has the jack and which color balls that team selects.
  • The jack is thrown out by a member of the team having won the coin toss to start the game.
  • The same player throwing the jack must deliver the first bocce ball.
  • The opposing team will then deliver their bocce balls until the point is taken or they have exhausted their 4 balls.
  • This "nearest ball", rule governs the sequence of thrown balls. The side whose bocce is the closest to the jack is called the "in" ball and the opposing side the "out" ball. Whenever a team gets "in" it steps aside and allows the "out" team to bowl.
  • A team has the option of rolling, throwing, bouncing, banking, etc. its ball down the court provided it does not go out-of-bounds or the player does not violate the foul markers.
  • A player also has the option of "spocking" or hitting out any ball in play in trying to obtain a point, or decreasing the opposing team's points.
  • At the end of each frame (when both teams have exhausted 4 balls each), a designated official under the scrutiny of the captain/or designee of each team, will determine the points scored.
  • Scoring points are all those ball of one team closer to the jack than the closest ball of the opposing team, which can be determined by viewing or by mechanical measurement.
  • In the event that the two balls closest to the jack belong to opposing teams and are exactly the same distance from the jack, no points will be awarded, and the jack returns to the team which delivered it.
  • Only balls which are distinguishably closer to the jack than any opponent's balls may be awarded points.


FOUL-LINE FOULS.ln both pointing and hitting, the foremost part of the specific foul-line will not be surpassed by any part of the foot before the ball leaves the player's hand.
One official warning may be granted each team after which penalty will be prescribed.
The penalty for a team committing a 2nd. foul-line infraction will be as follows:
A the team fouled against will be awarded points as they were immediately preceding the foul and the frame will end. The team committing the foul will be awarded no points for the frame.
B or the fouled against team may have the option of declining the penalty and completing the frame.

ILLEGAL MOVEMENT OF A BALL BELONGING TO YOUR OWN TEAM. If a player moves one or more of his team's balls, it or they are removed from the court and considered dead and play continues.

ILLEGAL MOVEMENT OF AN OPPONENT'S BALL. If a player moves one or more of his opponent's balls, those balls are removed and awarded one point each and play continues.
Only one team is awarded points, so only the team fouled against can be awarded points.

ILLEGAL MOVEMENT OF THE JACK BY A PLAYER. If the jack is moved by a player, the team fouled against will be awarded as many points as the number of balls that team has already played the frame will end.
Or, the team fouled against may have the option of declining that penalty and completing the frame.
"Illegal Movement" refers to any movement of a ball by means other than the result of normal play such as kicking, touching, etc.
If a player interferes with an opponent's ball in motion, the team fouled against has the option of:
A playing the ball over
B declaring the frame dead or
C declining the penalty, accept the lie of the touched ball and continue playing.
If a spectator, animal or object interferes with a ball in motion and it does not touch another ball already in play, it must be played over by the same player.
If a spectator, animal or object interferes with a ball in motion and that ball touches another ball already in play, the frame is dead.

OTHER DISRUPTION OF PLAY. Any action which interfered with the position of a ball in play - RENDERS THE FRAME DEAD.

We package easy to follow and more complete rules with every Bocce set we sell. Please click this button 
 to download the Perfetta Bocce rules. They are in PDF form.

Other places to find rules and in great detail for all the nuances of the various styles/versions of play:

Open Rules
International Rules for PUNTA RAFFA VOLO Bocce in English