Bocce Ball of The Doomed

Posted: April 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So, I’ve officially decided I needed to do something with some of my yard space and my time this summer. So on Sunday May 30, 2010 the first Pallina will be tossed and the Merrimac Valley Bocce League will be born.

Bocce or Italian lawn bowling is an ancient game of  a mixture of skill and luck. The League will play weekly games from Memorial day weekend until Labor day weekend. With play offs being held in August and the championship round played on Labor day. Of course there will be a fancy trophy and bragging rights for the winning team to bring home.

All interested parties should contact me @ Teams will be made from 2-4 players depending on the amount of participants.

Croquet tournaments will be held as well depending on the interest.

For those of you unaware of the rules/how to play Bocce here is a list of rules and instructions for play compliments of


Bocce is played with eight large balls-and one smaller target or object ball called the pallino or 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 pallino and which color bails that team selects.

The pallino is thrown out by a member of the team having won the coin toss to start the game. The same player throwing the pallino 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 pallino 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 balls of one team closer to the pallino 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 pallino belong to opposing teams and are tied, no points will be awarded, and the pallino returns to the team which delivered it. Only balls which are distinguishably closer to the pallino than any opponent’s balls may be awarded points.


4 man team-1 ball/player— 16 points

3 man team-1 ball/player— 16 points

2 man team-2 balls/player—16 points

1 man team-4 balls/player—11 points


The Court-is an area approximately 12′ wide by 60′ long. Although this is the recommended court size, variations are acceptable provided foul lines and in-bound maskers are clearly established.

The court surface may be composed of stone dust, dirt, clay, grass or artificial surface providing there are no permanent or temporary obstructions in the court that would interfere with the straight line delivery of a bocce from any direction.

The side and end walls of the court may be composed of any material that would not move during play and be at least as high as the bocce balls. The side or end walls may be utilized for bank shots or rebound shots. All courts should be clearly marked for the following:

(a) 1′ from side boards-in-bounds for first throw of pallino.
(b) 3′ from back boards-in-bounds for first throw of pallino.
(c) 4′ from back boards-foul line for pointing. Distance may vary provided foul lines are clearly marked.
(d) 9′ from back boards-foul line for spocking or hitting. Distance may vary provided foul lines are clearly marked.

(e) Half court marker-minimum distance palling may be thrown on. first throw of pallino. Courts may have additional minimum distance markets for pallino which would overrule half-court markers. During the course of play, the position of the palling may change as a result of normal play; however, the palling may never come to rest closer than the half point marker or frame is considered dead.

Bocce Court Diagram


Balls may be of composition, wood or metal and of equal size.
The pallino must be of a color visibly distinct from both bocce ball colors.


Live Ball-Any ball in play or waiting to be thrown is considered a live ball.

Dead Ball-Any ball that has been disqualified. A ball may be disqualified if:
(a) it is the result of a penalty
(b) it has gone out of the court
(c) it has come in contact with a person, object or thing which is out of the court
(d) it hits the top of the court boards

Pallino-small object ball sometimes called cue ball, jack, etc.

Spock-A throw which is thrown with sufficient velocity that it would hit the back board if it missed the target. The spock line may be used to determine a foul.

Bank Shot-A ball which is played off either the side boards or back board.

Pointing-A ball thrown or rolled to obtain a point close to pallino. The roll line must be used to determine a foul.

Frame-The period in the game in which balls are played from one side of the court to the other and points awarded.


Foul-line Fouls-In both pointing and hitting, the foremost part of the specific foul-line will not besurpassed by any part of the foot before the ball leaves the player’s hand.

One official warning may be granted each team after which penalties 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.


  1. Marty says:

    Bocce Ball is my life!

  2. Marty says:

    But alas the last game I played there was too much weeping and gnashing of teeth, wigs on the green and the sound of bones breaking. Mallets being turned on each-other. Too upsetting.. Difficult to even talk about it..

    • Ah, the craziness of it all. I’m hoping to get some people to partake I’m going to have Gramp’s toss out the first Pallino and have be the mascot for my team which I’m calling Gramp’s Gumbas…

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