Zechariah reads the Law

The Official Bocce
Rules Manual
$15.00
 

The following rules are adapted from the official tournament rules of the COLLEGIUM COSMICUM AD BUXEAS. We have also listed the basic rules of bocce

Executive Summary

Beginning the Round

Scoring and Winning

Bocce Court Parameters

The Giro

Bocce Throws

Marking Bocce and Pallino

Delay of Game and Timeouts

Fouls and Related Penalties

The Advantage Rule

Referee Prerogatives

Administrative Rules

Position Definitions


Executive Summary

The sport is played with one small ball (Pallino) and eight larger balls [Bocce (singular), Bocci (plural)]—four for each team. The Pallino is thrown first and becomes the target. Then each Bocce is thrown with the goal of placing it as close to the Pallino as possible.

A full game of Bocce is called a Round, and it is seperated into a series of scoring periods called Giri (plural) or Giro (singular). The team that reaches nine points first wins the Round (15 point Rounds are used in international tournaments)

In each Giro (scoring period), only one team may score points. A point is scored for the team with its Bocce closest to the Pallino, and additional points are earned for each Bocce of the same team that is closer to the Pallino than the closest Bocce of the opposing team. Hence, if all four Bocci of one team are closer to the Pallino than any Bocce of the opposing team, four points will be scored for the winning team and none for the opposing team. The team that reaches nine points first wins the Round.

    Players may throw each Bocce in one of three ways:
    1. A Punto, or point throw, has the goal of directly making a point. The throw is aimed at the Pallino and attempts to seat the Bocce as close to the Pallino as possible without hitting other Bocci along the way. The ultimate throw is one that seats the Bocce touching the Pallino—this is called a Baci (kiss) and is worth two points if it remains in place at the end of the Giro.
    2. A Raffa is a throw aimed at another Bocce in order to move that Bocce out of the way.
    3. A Volo, an aerial throw, is aimed to move another Bocce or the Pallino.

Each throw must be called in advance with the call acknowledged by the Referee. If a throw is executed properly—a legal throw—all balls moved by the throw remain in place. They may be inbounds or out-of-bounds, the latter being out of play (see Court Markings).

If a throw is illegal, the Pallino and all Bocci are returned to their previous positions, and the illegal Bocce is removed from play. It is for this reason that the locations of all inbounds Bocci and the Pallino must be marked. Under the "Rule of Advantage", however, the opposing team may waive the penalty.

    Typical problems subject to penalties:
    1. Failure to properly call the throw and receive acknowledgment by the Referee;
    2. Foot fault—throw must take place behind a designated line;
    3. Illegal throw—see requirements of a Punto, Raffa and Volo as defined in the rules;
    4. Delay of game—taking longer than 30 seconds to throw;
    5. Intentional grounding—Bocce not thrown in a manner that advances the team's position;
    6. Disorderly conduct.

All of the rules exist either to define the requirements of a legal throw, or to clarify many of the situations that arise in implementing these very simple rules, and hence reduce the arguments and debates that are endemic to a Bocce tournament.




Beginning the Round
1. Selecting Bocci Colors. The Morra. At the beginning of the tournament or when two teams with equal Round records are to compete, the Morraman will represent his team in a single Morra; the Referee will settle any disputes. The winner has the first choice of either (a) Bocce colors or (b) the starting end for throwing and designation of the team that has the right to throw the Pallino for the first Giro.

2. Selecting Bocci Colors, Throwing Team and Starting End After the First Round. When two teams of unequal Round records meet, the team with the weaker record has the first choice of Bocce colors and starting end for throwing, and it designates the team that has the right to throw the Pallino first. (Note: This rule is intended to display the compassionate side of Bocce in which the underdog is given every opportunity for advantage. Of course, any of these rights may be graciously transferred to the opposing team.)

3. Player Positions. At the beginning of each Round, two players from each team are positioned at opposite ends of the Court. They must play the entire Round from the end of the Court where they started.



Scoring and Winning
1. The Round. A Round of Bocce consists of a series of Giri that continue until a team accumulates a total of 9 points. The first team that completes a Giro with 9 or more points wins the Round (official tournaments may use Rounds of 9, 11 or 15 points)

2. The Giro. In each Giro, one point is counted for each team Bocce closer to the Pallino than any Bocce of the opposing team. Any Bocce leaning on the Pallino (a Baci) is scored as 2 points. Two Bocci of opposing teams equidistant from the Pallino cancel each other out, and no aditional points are scored for those Bocci and any Bocci beyond them. The team scoring points in the Giro is the winner of the Giro.






Bocce Play Parameters

1. Definitions of Balls in Play. A Bocce or the Pallino is officially in play if it is thrown (from the moment of release by a thrower until it strikes the Boards or stops), displaced (in motion after being struck by another ball until it strikes the Boards) or seated inbounds (no longer in motion after being thrown or displaced.)

2. Boundary Lines Defined. Boundary lines are marked as follows (see Court Markings): Sidelines are approximately one foot in from the Boards on each side of the Court; Back lines are across each Court end approximately one foot from the Boards; Pitch lines and Volo lines cross the Court from side to side up to the Boards.

3. Line Requirements for Throwers. The Pitch line is the line behind which a player must throw the Pallino and Bocce for Punto and Raffa shots. Volo throws must be executed behind the Volo line. A player may stand in the out-of-bounds area to throw as long as his or her feet are inside the Boards and completely behind the respective throwing lines when the ball leaves the player's hand.

4. The Inbounds Area Defined. The area inside the sidelines and back lines defines the Court's perimeter. The rectangle defined on each end of the Court by the Back line, Side lines and Pitch line defines the inbounds area of play (see Court Markings). Points are scored only by Bocci legally seated in this area. All Bocci not so seated are immediately removed. The Pallino must always be seated inbounds.

5. Inbounds/Out-of-Bounds Bocce.

    a. When Throwing a Bocce. The movement of a Bocce through an out-of-bounds area is legal, but if it touches the Boards or is not seated in the inbounds area, it is removed (lost).

    b. Displaced Bocce—Legal Throw. All Bocci displaced by a legal throw and seated out-of-bounds or having touched the Boards are lost. All Bocci seated inbounds are left in place.

    c. Displaced Pallino—Illegal Throw. All Bocci displaced by an illegal throw, regardless of where they are eated or whether they have struck the Boards, are returned to their marked location. Any unmarked Bocci are lost. (See Marking Bocce and Pallino for Marking Procedures and see The Advantage Rule, Section I for an exception.)

    d. Bocce Striking the Boards. If a Bocce strikes the Boards, it is lost immediately, and any subsequent ball movement is disregarded.

    e. Inbounds Limit. If any part of a Bocce is inside the boundary line, the Bocce is considered inbounds.

6. Inbounds/Out-of-Bounds Pallino.

    a. Throwing the Pallino. The rules for throwing and seating the Pallino are covered in Section D.

    b. Displaced Pallino—Legal Bocce Throw. When the Pallino is displaced during a legal Bocce throw, if it is seated inbounds, it is left in place even if it was first knocked out-of-bounds or into the Boards. If it is seated out-of-bounds, it is restored to its marked place. Any unmarked Pallino is replaced in accordance with Fouls and Related Penalties. (See Marking Bocce and Pallino for Marking Procedures and see The Advantage Rule, Section I for an exception.)

    c. Displaced Pallino—Illegal Bocce Throw. If the Pallino is displaced during an illegal Bocce throw and is seated out-of-bounds, it is restored to its marked place. If it is seated inbounds - even if it was first knocked out-of-bounds or into the Boards - it is restored to its marked place unless The Advantage Rule (Section I) is invoked. Any unmarked Pallino is replaced in accordance with Fouls and Related Penalties. (Marking Bocce and Pallino for Marking Procedures.)

    d. Inbounds Limit. If any part of a Pallino is inside the boundary line, the Pallino is considered inbounds.






The Giro
1. Throwing and Seating the Pallino

    a. For the first Giro, a member of the throwing team as chosen in Beginning the Round (above) throws the Pallino. For each succeeding Giro, the team earning points is the winner, and the opposing team becomes the throwing team for the next Giro.

    b. To be seated in play, the Pallino must be thrown from behind the pitch line. The Pallino may move through an out-of-bounds area, but it must not strike the Boards and must stop within the inbounds rectangle.

    c. If the throwing team fails to legally seat the Pallino, the opposing team becomes the throwing team. If this team also fails, the Pallino is turned over to the Referee, who will seat the Pallino. The original throwing team then resumes play and throws the first Bocce.

    d. Throughout the Round, team members must alternate in throwing the Pallino.

2. Order of Throwing

    a. The player successfully seating the Pallino must throw the first Bocce. The failure of the first Bocce to stop inbounds gives the next throw to the opposing team, and so on in rotation until a Bocce stops inbounds. This Bocce becomes the "point" Bocce.

    b. Once a team establishes a point Bocce, it is "in," and the opposing team becomes the throwing team. This team throws its Bocci until it makes the point (seats a Bocce closer to the Pallino than any Bocce of the "in" team) or uses up all of its Bocci.

    c. If the throwing team knocks all Bocci out of bounds, the opposing team becomes the throwing team.

    d. Each team member must throw two Bocci, but the order of play is the choice of the team and is variable for each Giro.

    e. In any Giro, each member of a team must throw two Bocci.






Bocce Throws

1. Legal/Illegal ThrowsA legal Bocce throw is one that meets the calling requirements and the rules of this section for each individual type of throw. The rules governing displaced balls after a legal or illegal throw are covered in Secion C.5 and C.6 above.

2. Calling Throws—Each throw must be called beforehand and is either a Punto, Raffa, or Volo. For a Raffa or Volo, the target must be specified. The Referee must acknowledge the type of throw and the target.

3. Punto—A throw aimed to score a point.

    a. The Bocce must be directed generally toward the Pallino with the objective of scoring.

    b. The thrown Bocce must strike the ground before the Volo line closest to the Pallino.

    c. The thrown Bocce is not required to strike any Bocce or the Pallino but, if it does, rules d. and e. (below) apply.

    d. If the Pallino is struck first, the throw is legal, and the Pallino and/or any Bocce can be displaced any distance.

    e. If a Bocce is struck first, the throw is legal provided no Bocce and/or the Pallino is displaced more than a "stick" length (15 inches) from its previous seat.

4. Raffa—A throw aimed at a target Bocce.

    a. The target Bocce can be that of the thrower's or the opposing team and must be called. The thrown Bocce must be directed toward the target Bocce.

    b. The thrown Bocce must strike the ground before the Volo line closest to the target.

    c. The thrown Bocce is not required to strike any Bocce or the Pallino, but if it does, rules d. and e. (below) apply.

    d. If the target Bocce is struck first, the throw is legal, and the Pallino and/or any Bocce can be displaced any distance.

    e. If the target Bocce is not struck first, the throw is legal provided no Bocce is displaced more than a stick length (15 inches) and/or the Pallino is not displaced directly or indirectly.

5. Volo—An aerial throw aimed at any target ball.

    a. The target can be a Bocce of the thrower's or the opposing team or the Pallino and must be called. The thrown Bocce must be directed at the target.

    b. The thrown Bocce must strike the ground beyond the Volo line closest to the target.

    c. If no Bocce, nor the Pallino is struck, all balls are left in place.

    d. The thrown Bocce must strike the target ball first.

    e. If the throw meets the requirements of a, b & d of this section, any Bocce and/or the Pallino may be displaced any distance.

6. Intentional Grounding. Thrower must throw every Bocce with the objective of scoring or improving the team's position in that Giro. Intentional grounding is a foul.

In a risk situation (such as when the throwing team can win or lose the Giro on the basis of the throw), a Bocce that never goes inbounds, or the incurrence of a foul resulting in the forfeiture of the thrower's Bocce, is presumed to be Intentional Grounding unless a convincing argument to the contrary is made to the Referee.

The Referee has the final say in an intentional-grounding call and, in making this judgment, he will evaluate the quality of the throw compared to the player's previous performance.

7. Foot Fault. A foot fault occurs when the thrower's foot is beyond the legal throwing line (Pitch line or Volo line) when the Bocce leaves his or her hand.






Marking Bocci and Pallino

The players not throwing are known as the "pointers". It is their responsibility to mark the location of the Bocci. Each team marks its own point Bocce (Bocce closest to the Pallino) and others that they so desire. Only marked Bocci are reseated to their previously marked position if displaced illegally. The responsibility for marking the Pallino is initially that of the team throwing the Pallino and later that of the team that is "in" (the team with the point Bocce.)






Delay of Game and Timeouts
1. Repairs. Within a Giro, each team may interrupt play once to call for the grounds crew to repair a single Volo mark; otherwise the Referee determines when the Court should be repaired and resurfaced.

2. Throwing-Time Limit. An individual player has 30 seconds to throw. A delay beyond this time limit causes the Bocce about to be thrown to be forfeited unless the Referee allows the team to take one of its timeouts for the Round.

3. Timeouts. A team may call a timeout at any time during a Giro. Each team is entitled to three timeouts limited to two minutes each in every Round. The Referee keeps time. The Referee can call timeouts at any time.






Fouls and Related Penalties (Indicated by P:)
1. Delay of Game—Exceeding Throwing Time Limit. See Delay of Game and Timeouts, Section 2.
P: Thrower forfeits his throw, and his Bocce is lost.

2. Delay of Game—Exceeding Timeout Limit. See Section Delay of Game and Timeouts, Section 3.
P: Offending team loses a Bocce selected by the Referee at the end of the then-active Giro. This penalty is repeated for each succeeding violation within the Round.

3. Disorderly Conduct.
Penalty: Referee discretion.

4. Foot Fault. See Bocce Throws, Section 6.
P: The thrower's Bocce is forfeited, and the throw is illegal. (Referee can waive this penalty on a first violation, especially with a Rookie.)

5. Intentional Grounding. See Bocce Throws, Section 5.
P: Removal of the team's Bocce closest to the Pallino.

6. Marking Failure—Bocci. Failure to mark, or inadequate marking of, a Bocce that has to be restored to its seat. See Marking Bocce and Pallino.
P: Bocce from unmarked seat is lost.

7. Marking Failure—Pallino. Failure to mark, or inadequate marking of, a Pallino that has to be restored to its seat. See Marking Bocce and Pallino.
P: Pallino is replaced by the opposing team using its best judgment as to the approximate previous location.

8. Psychological Interference. Players must remain still during a throw and not disturb the thrower.
P: Referee may call a foul and designate an appropriate penalty at any time on this matter.

9. Physical Interference. Bocce strikes a player or is moved or touched illegally by a player.
P: Referee may call a foul and designate an appropriate penalty at any time on this matter.

10. Illegal Throws. This involves a violation of The Rules of Bocce Throws defined in Bocce Throws, Sections 1 through 4.
P: All marked Bocci and the Pallino are returned to their previously marked positions, and the thrower's Bocce is lost.

11. Throwing Bocce Out of Order. See The Giro, Section 2.
P: All marked Bocci and the Pallino are returned to their previously marked positions, and the thrower's Bocce is lost.

12. Throwing The Pallino Out of Order. See The Giro, Section 1.

A. If a member of the throwing team throws the Pallino out of order, any call of the foul by the Referee, and the resulting penalty, must take place before the opposing team throws its next Bocce.

P: Right to throw the Pallino moves to the opposing team, and the Giro is restarted.

B. If the wrong team throws the Pallino, to incur a penalty, any call of the foul by the Referee, and the resulting penalty, must take place before the opposing team throws its next Bocce.

P: Team committing the foul loses one point, and the Giro is restarted with the correct team throwing the Pallino.


13. Throwing the Wrong Color Bocce.
P: Throw is illegal. The Bocce is returned to the opposing team, and the thrower's team forfeits a Bocce. Referee decides which Bocce (played or un-played) is lost.





The Advantage Rule

When any penalty is imposed, the opposing team may waive it, with the following consequences:

  • All Bocci remain as positioned after the violation, including Bocci knocked out-of-bounds or having struck the Boards, which are lost.
  • A Pallino seated out-of-bounds is replaced to its previously marked location.
  • A Pallino seated inbounds, even if previously knocked out-of-bounds and off the Boards, is left in place.
  • A Bocce of the wrong color thrown by the team in violation remains where seated and is presumed to belong to the team of the appropriate color.





Referee Prerogatives

The Referees are the bosses of the Round and will make the final decision on any disagreement or interpretation of the rules. In the event of a foul or other violation, they may impose any one of the following penalties:

  1. A warning to the player or team.
  2. An admonishment of the player or team.
  3. An annulment of one or more Bocci.
  4. An annulment of the right to seat the Pallino.
  5. Termination of the Giro in progress with the points awarded to the Team in accordance with the Bocci positions prior to the throw in/or after which the foul occured.
  6. Termination of the Giro in progress and awarding one point to the opposition.





Administrative Rules

1. Players on the Courts. The only players permitted on the Court are those actively participating in the Giro in progress.

2. Measurements. Measurements for "Points" are taken from the center of the Pallino to the edge of the Bocce being measured. All other measurements between two balls are taken from the edge of each ball, and measurements between a mark and a ball are taken from the center of the mark to the edge of the ball.

3. Substitution of Players. Once the competing teams are constituted, substitution of players is not permitted. Replacement of a player is permitted for illness or injury certified by the Bocce Doc. The replacement player will be selected by the Team Coach.

4. Artificial Aids. Use of artificial aids (manmade) to assist the players is not permitted without advance approval by the Bocce Doc.



 



Position Definitions

1. Captain: The Captain will be responsible for assuring that the team members are all at the appropriate Court on time for practice and Giri. His duties will be as follows:

a. Call the strategy of the Giro and the proper throw.

b. Call the order of play during the Giro.

c. Interface with the Referee and the opposing Coach on any disputes.

d. Speak for the team on any official releases.

e. Replace a player who is ill or injured.

2. Standard Bearer. The Standard Bearer will carry the Team Standard during the Opening Ceremonies and will ensure that the Team Standard is appropriately displayed at the side of the Court on which the team is playing.

3. Morraman: The Morraman will be responsible for representing the team during the Morra conducted on the opening night for the determination of team color and name. He will also represent the team in the Morra conducted before the first Round and in any subsequent Morra required.

4. Scorekeeper: The Scorekeeper will be responsible for ensuring that the scoring displayed on the courtside Score Board is correct and that the scoring on the Main Score Board is also correct. He will bring any discrepancy to the attention of the Coach.





The Basic Rules of Bocce
Equipment
A set of bocce balls : consisting of eight large bocce balls (half of which are of a different color or pattern) and a smaller "object ball" (sometimes called a "pallina" or a "jack")

Playing Surface
The playing surface should be reasonably flat and level and can consist of packed dirt, fine gravel or short grass. While some prefer to play on a manufactured court, a gravel driveway or backyard make acceptible playing surfaces.

Players
The game is played with two teams; each team can have one, two, or four players
Four Player Team - each player throws one ball
Two Player Team - each player throws two balls
One Player Team - player throws all four balls

Object
The object of the game of bocce is for one team to get as many of their balls closer to the pallina than the opposing team's closest ball.

Play
The toss of a coin determines which team will start. The starting team chooses which color (or pattern) ball they will play with. The first team member throws the pallina and then rolls his/her first ball as close to the pallina as possible. It is now up to the opposing team to roll a ball closer to the pallina than the starting team.

If the opposing team uses all four balls and fails to get closer to pallina than the starting ball, the starting team rolls each of their remaining balls, trying to place them closer than the opponent's closest ball.

However, if the opposing team succeeds in placing one of their balls closer to the pallina, the starting team must then roll again to attempt to get closer or "better the point". Each team continues to roll until it beats the point of the opposite team.

While the object is to get close to the pallina, it is permissible for a player to roll his/her ball as to knock an opponent's ball away from the pallina. Likewise, a player may knock or move the pallina toward his/her own team's balls. The pallina is playable anywhere on the playing surface.

Scoring
When all balls have been played, this concludes the frame and ONE team is awarded one point for each of its balls which is closer to the pallina the the closest opposing team's ball. Thus, a team may score up to four points per frame. If the closest ball of each team is equal in distance from the pallina, NO points are awarded. The team that scores in a frame starts the next frame by throwing out the pallina and playing their first ball. Play continues until a team wins by reaching a score of sixteen points.







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